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Orphans of the Sky is Robert A. Heinlein's 1963 novel about the struggle of the inhabitants of the generation ship Vanguard to rise from barbarism, ignorance and religious superstition to understand that they are the inhabitants not of a universe limited by metal walls but of a ship travelling across interstellar space. The novel featured two familiar Heinleinian themes:

  • the necessity for elite conspiracy to save the majority from their own irrational folly through common sense, engineering and science.
  • the necessity for colonization of the space frontier.

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