Have Space Suit—Will Travel by Robert Heinlein (spoilers)
I think this is an overrated Heinlein juvenile novel. There’s some interesting stuff at the end, but in order get there you have to get through a lot of boy stuff.
It takes place in the relatively near future in which men are just beginning to colonize the moon. Teenage boy lives in small town in flyover country that feels exactly like the 1950s and not the future. Boy’s dad is like the dad in every other Heinlein juvenile novel, preaching extreme self-reliance.
Boy wins a used space suit in a contest sponsored by a soap company. (Soap? Heinlein predicted space travel, but failed to see that detergent would replace soap? And that detergents and soaps combined would become a very minor part of the economy?)
Massive amount of copy devoted to explaining the technical details of how space suits work. Various plot elements are contrived so that boy needs to wear the space suit. Boy, supposedly not the best student in his school, knows more about science and math than most valedictorians.
That stuff out of the way, the interesting stuff at the end is that all of humanity is put on trial by a federation of aliens, and the boy is forced to represent mankind. The aliens believe that humans are violent and warlike, and if our technology continues to progress at such rapid speed, we would become a threat to the peaceful races of the galaxies. The punishment, if found guilty, is that all mankind would be destroyed. The aliens are not exactly the merciful Christian good guys.
Good news for mankind: we are given a reprieve and will be re-evaluated again sometime in the future.
Some people think that Heinlein was an evil fascist because he proposed a government in Starship Trooper in which only military veterans are allowed to vote. But the reality is that Heinlein was interested in exploring different ideas and one shouldn’t assume any one novel represents his true beliefs. In this book, he proposes an idea that I associate with liberal leftist science fiction, that mankind is barbaric compared to civilized alien races. This type of liberal leftist science fiction is demonstrated by the movie Arrival in which the aliens come with a gift for mankind, but mankind, paranoid and barbaric, launches a military attack on the peaceful aliens.
On the other hand, the Heinlein aliens, by even contemplating the harsh punishment of genocide of all humans, are much more evil than humans, at least by modern standards of judging good and evil, so there’s sort of a jumble of liberal and conservative science fiction ideas.