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Higher education
Charles Sheffield
Adult Fiction SHEFFIE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Two SF powerhouses collaborate on an exuberant kickoff to the publisher's Jupiter series, which is dedicated to novels patterned after Robert A. Heinlein's classic inspirational tales for young adults and adults. In the 21st century, American public education is foundering under the weight of bureaucracy. But when Rick Luban, 16, is expelled for a school prank that gets out of hand, he's recruited by the asteroid-mining corporation Vantage Mining and Refining, which has its own system of "higher education." Through the company's screenings and schools on Earth and in space, Rick acquires not only formal learning but a mature sense of responsibility. Ultimately, he plays a vital role in uncovering a lethal sabotage attempt by one of Vantage's corporate rivals. As might be expected from Sheffield (whose novelette "Georgia on My Mind" won both a 1994 Hugo and a 1993 Nebula) and Pournelle (Footfall, etc.), the scientific and technological background is outstanding. The portrait of society tends toward the didactic, and credibility is stretched when Vantage bets its future on new talent like Rick and his cohorts. But in response to that bet, Rick matures, and in a believable way‘an essential element in any SF coming-of-age novel, including this high-spirited exemplar.(June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In a politically correct world where the school system fails to educate for fear of lawsuits, illiterate, ignorant students face a bleak future of unemployment. When Rick Luban is expelled for a minor prank, he joins Vanguard Mining and finds asteroid mining training to be more rigorous and demanding than school. This fast-paced adventure begins the new "Jupiter novels" series with danger and intrigue in space. Recommended for most sf collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Rick Luban
Male
Age: 16
Uneducated
Illiterate; high school drop out.
Asteroid miner



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