First Edition cover of Friday
|Author||Robert A. Heinlein|
|Cover artist||Richard Powers|
|Genre||science fiction novel|
|Publisher||Holt, Rinehart and Winston|
|Media type||Print (Hardback and Paperback)|
|ISBN||0-03-061516-X (first edition, hardback)|
|LC Class||PS3515.E288 F77 1982|
Friday is a 1982 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It is the story of a female "artificial person", the eponymous Friday, genetically engineered to be stronger, faster, smarter, and generally better than normal humans. Artificial humans are widely resented, and much of the story deals with Friday's struggle both against prejudice and to conceal her enhanced attributes from other humans. The story is set in a Balkanized world, in which the nations of the North American continent have been split up into a number of smaller states.
The book's protagonist is Friday Baldwin, a genetically engineered human (known as an Artificial Person or AP) who is both mentally and physically superior in many ways to an ordinary human. Friday conceals her AP status as she faces great prejudice if discovered.
Employed as a highly self-sufficient combat courier for a shadowy private organization, her various missions take her across the globe and to some of the near-Earth space colonies. Friday is returning from her latest mission when she is captured, tortured and interrogated by an enemy group. She is then rescued by her own people, who tell her that her highly critical mission was in fact successful as her captors failed to find the data implanted in her body.
After recovering from the ordeal, Friday takes a vacation to visit her group family, composed of several husbands and wives and many children. In an argument over racism, Friday reveals to her family that she is an AP, and they promptly divorce her.
On the way back to her company's headquarters, she meets and befriends the wealthy Tormey family. Friday is their house-guest when a worldwide civil emergency known as Red Thursday occurs. Various groups claim credit for the assassinations and sabotage, but Friday later learns that it is the result of a struggle between rival factions within the ultra-powerful Shipstone corporation. Her last mission was to carry information about the attacks before they occurred.
Facing detention under martial law, Friday kills a policeman who attempts to arrest her and Georges as non-citizens. They become fugitives, traveling across the various countries of a Balkanized North America as she attempts to return to her headquarters. After several adventures, she succeeds in rejoining her company, but her boss soon dies and the organization disbands, leaving her temporarily homeless and unemployed. She learns that her boss left her money in trust, to be used only for the purpose of relocating to an off-earth colony of her choosing.
Friday eventually finds another courier job which will incidentally allow her to visit and evaluate several of the colonies she wishes to explore. However, after embarking on an interplanetary cruise ship for her mission, she learns that agents of her employers are watching her constantly, and that she is a virtual prisoner on the ship. Realizing the top-secret nature of her mission, she fears that her employers will kill her when it is over. While the ship is docked at a rustic colony world, she escapes with the Tormeys, who have been on the run since the policeman's death and happen to be fleeing Earth on the same ship. After evading the ship's authorities, they all join the colony and settle down to lead a quiet life.
Awards and nominations
Friday received nominations for the following awards
- 1982 Nebula Award for Best Novel
- 1983 Hugo Award for Best Novel
- 1983 Locus award for Science Fiction Novel
- 1983 Prometheus award for Best Novel
Literary significance and reception
Allusions/references to other works
Friday is loosely tied to the novella "Gulf", which appeared in Assignment in Eternity, since both works share characters — "Kettle Belly" Baldwin and "Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Greene". (The latter two do not appear in Friday, but are mentioned as two of the title character's genetic progenitors.) The motif of a secret superman society in the latter work, however, is not mentioned in Friday, where the heroine is an artificial person and is not part of a secret society; the principal reason to be secret about her artificial nature is to avoid discrimination. However, at his death, Baldwin leaves Friday a subsidy to finance her emigration to any planet of her choice, except Olympia, where the "supermen" went at some indeterminate time in the past.
The Shipstone, the extrasolar colonies Fiddler's Green, Proxima and Botany Bay, and the start of the balkanization of North America are mentioned in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. It is stated that Roger and Edith Stone from The Rolling Stones are now living in Fiddler's Green. Botany Bay is also featured in Heinlein's novel Time for the Stars, and another extrasolar colony, Halcyon, is featured in Starman Jones.
Homages/references from other works
- "1982 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
- "1983 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
- "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 1983 Locus Awards". Retrieved 2008-05-15.
- "Prometheus Award for Best Novel -- Nominees". Retrieved 2008-05-15.
- "Friday (Book)". Library Journal 107 (10): 1013. 1982-05-15. ISSN 0363-0277.
- "Robert Heinlein:The Novels". The Robert A. Heinlein Page. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
- "Friday". Robert A. Heinlein: Dean of Science Fiction Writers. Archived from the original on 2013-05-14. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
- "Robert A. & Virginia G. Heinlein Papers" (PDF). Online Archive of California. 2007. p. 2. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
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