Friday (novel)

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For the Michel Tournier novel, see Friday, or, The Other Island.
First Edition cover of Friday
Author Robert A. Heinlein
Cover artist Richard Powers
Country United States
Language English
Genre science fiction novel
Publisher Holt, Rinehart and Winston
Publication date
April 1982
Media type Print (Hardback and Paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-03-061516-X (first edition, hardback)
OCLC 7875946
813/.54 19
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.

Friday was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1982,[1] and the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1983.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

The book's protagonist is Friday Baldwin, an artificial person both mentally and physically superior in many ways to an ordinary human, but she faces great prejudice and will most likely be killed if her "non-human" status is discovered. Employed as a highly self-sufficient combat courier, her various missions take her across the globe and also to some of the near-Earth space colonies. The novel is set in a complex, Balkanized world, and Friday is caught up in several civil disturbances during the course of her travels. She reaches her employer's home base safely, but is soon displaced. Sent on a space journey as a courier, she realizes that the journey is likely to end with her death, evades the ship's authorities, and settles on a pioneer world with friends made earlier in the narrative.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Friday received nominations for the following awards

Literary significance and reception[edit]

The 1982 Library Journal review said that Heinlein "returns to an earlier style of brisk adventure mixed with polemic in the saga of special courier Friday Jones."[5]

Allusions/references to other works[edit]

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[edit]

The protagonist of Charles Stross' Saturn's Children, Freya, uses the pseudonym "Friday Baldwin" as she smuggles an item to Mars.


  1. ^ a b "1982 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  2. ^ a b "1983 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  3. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 1983 Locus Awards". Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  4. ^ "Prometheus Award for Best Novel -- Nominees". Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  5. ^ "Friday (Book)". Library Journal 107 (10): 1013. 1982-05-15. ISSN 0363-0277. 


External links[edit]