Stranger in a Strange Land

ISBN: 0441788386
ISBN 13: 9780441788385
By: Robert A. Heinlein

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About this book

Only Valentine Michael Smith, newborn, survived the first mission to Mars. Raised by Martians, he returns to Earth an innocent, rich heir, and "owner" of Mars. Protected by irascible popular author Jubal Harshaw, he explores human morality and free love, founds a church, and disseminates psychic talents taught by Martians. Working title The Heretic. "Stranger" alludes to the Bible, Exodus 2:22.

Reader's Thoughts

Donovan

For me, it would be a more apt title if it were “Strangeness in a Strange Book.” Of all the books I’ve read on the list so far [and I’ve skipped around, been reading them as I can find them], I enjoyed this one the least. Overall, I was enjoying the ideas the book was putting forth about religion and politics and community prior to Mike’s intellectual ascent [descent?] as a Man rather than a Martian. I was extra disappointed with it because the premise the book set up in Sections One and Two seemed very interesting and then, somehow, everything became weirdly psychedelic and communist with a side of evangelicalism thrown in.Once he became Man, I became more and more uncomfortable with the book. I don’t know. Maybe I’m repressed, but I doubt it. Some of it probably stems from the fact that I didn’t live through the Free Love Era and the boom of Communism. Both have always been, for me, fabulous ideas that did not work; so to read about them working seems both contrived and naïve. Some of it also stems from the fact that I think Heinlein wanted to think he had some insight into the sexual feelings of women and I think he missed the mark by a long shot. Of course, you can’t win many points with me when one of your main female characters says, “Nine times out of ten, if a girl gets raped, it’s partly her fault.” [pg. 304] Plus, I’m not into losing my individuality, regardless of whether or not it makes me a member of a peaceful society.I had the brilliant idea while reading this book to put in little markers about what I wanted to talk about. Unfortunately, it’s now about 2 months since I finished it and I no longer remember why I put the markers on some pages. I marked the section where Mr. Heinlein points out the ritualistic cannibalism in Christianity, but I forget what point I was going to make about it. I also marked the passage about Jubal’s feelings towards Fosterites and other Earthly religions. I think Heinlein was using Jubal as the adherent to Science as a religion, setting up all belief systems currently at work on Earth, pre-Martian Man, to be resolved under the power of human mental oneness i.e. “grok.” I put a marker on a page that used “grok” a lot and I think it was to remind myself to make the same point Liz made about “grok” sticking in her head and becoming really annoying. [Just wait till Ringworld for new words that will stick in your head.]At one point in the book, I stuck a Post-It note on which I wrote, “I suppose I take it for granted that reading comprehension requires a certain level of knowledge and a certain level of common sense.” The pages to which it was stuck referenced things like Julius Caesar, the S.S., and Hemophiliacs. I realized that if I didn’t know what those things were a lot of this book would not make sense to me. It wasn’t just Stranger in a Strange Land that cause this revelation though. I was reading Ulysses by James Joyce at the same time, and, if it hadn’t been for my love of Irish ballads and history, I would really have had NO CLUE what half that book was about.I’m always intrigued by the levels of future advancement presented in sci-fi. It’s very interesting to see what predictions have come to pass, what things are still distant dreams for us, and what things are totally wrong. On pg. 229, Heinlein mentions a star exploding and Earth not noticing. Right before I read that, I’d just finished reading an article in the Smithsonian about how astronomers have systems set up to alert them when a super nova is occurring so that they can observe the gamma ray bursts. But we still don’t have flying cars.

Paul

I read this. Yes. When I was young. At the time it appeared to be fascism for hippies. Proto-Manson, then. I'm struggling to remember anything. He comes from mars and he starts a new religion and he eats people. No - he gets eaten by people. I think that's it. A bit like Jesus. If Jesus was a fascist. You know what - I can't remember a thing. It's late.

aisha

here are some quotes i like from this book. (hah! lazy reviewer)"'I don't pay attention to politics.''You should. It's only barely less important than your own heartbeat.'"(45)"The three Federation defense stations swung silently in the sky, promising instant death to any who disturbed the planet's peace. Commercial space stations swung not so silently, disturbing the planet's peace with endless clamor of the virtues of endless trademarked trade goods"(95)"History will justify you"(99)"...that streak of anarchy which was the political birthright of every American"(118)"Everything and anything about a culture can be inferred from the shape of its language"(150)"All three of us are prisoners of our early indoctrinations, for it is hard, very nearly impossible, to shake off one's earliest training"(160-1)"Man is the animal who laughs"(183)"Language itself shapes a man's basic ideas"(264)"every choice must be paid for"(398)

Andrew Dugas

Wow, a lot of mixed reviews of this book here. First, the edition referenced is the 1991 UNCUT version, which is about 33% longer than the version published in 1961. So for those of you who felt it was over long, there you have it.Second, about those offended by the book's purported misogyny and homophobia, keep in mind it was written in the late 1950s. By the standards of the day, this book was comparatively forward-thinking. Should we fault Shakespeare for his politically incorrect foibles? Read Catcher in the Rye lately?Third, the social impact of this book is given short shrift in these reviews, especially in regards to the early psychedelic adventurers around the SF Bay Area whom adopted the word "grok" to describe the contemplative aspect of the LSD experience. Throw Free Love and waterbeds into the mix while you're at it.Fourth, as a work of fiction, this book has tremendous scope. A rich diversity of characters whose stories come together with that of Michael Valentine Smith, a well-imagined future that perfectly comments and satirizes the present one. (Consider the focus of the public imagination on the various happenings of celebrities and their excesses, satire still valid nearly 50 years later.) And most of all, the intimated future destruction of Earth at the hands of the Martians, not unlike what happened with the planet that has since become an asteroid belt.As far as the book's take on religion and spirituality, Heinlein has borrowed less from the Eastern traditions (as so many other reviewers have indicated) as early Christian ones.Remember, religion is a human construction. A church is a human institution. Those who confuse church and religion with the Mystery they are intended to honor deserve what they get.

Otis Chandler

I really enjoyed this book. The concept of a man who had grown up on Mars and never seen another human until he was in his twenties is such a fun idea - and a rich canvas. Watching Mike try to grok humans gave a Heinlein great opportunities to point out some of our faults - and our advantages.I think my favorite part of this book is the word 'grok'. I would bet that there are deep discussions over the true meaning of this word - but I will contend that its closest meaning in English is 'to be enlightened about something'. If you grok God you have reached enlightenment. If you grok music you truly understand in the way that Mozart understood it. If you grok another person you love them. If you grok programming then you truly love and are really good at programming - that, and you're also a probably a pretty big nerd for using a word like 'grok' :) I used it in front of my girlfriend and she still hasn't forgiven me, since I had to explain that it was "a Martian word"!One thing that I grokked (yes I'm going to keep using it dammit) after finishing this book is that it is kind of a 60's manifesto for free love. I wasn't alive in the 60's, but given everything I know about the 60's from movies, books, etc it seemed that my grokking was right.

Kristjan

I seem to be hit-or-miss with Heinlein. I have read and enjoyed Starship Troopers and The Glory Road; however I couldn't finish Job: A Comedy of Justice and was not impressed with Stranger in a Strange Land (SISL) ... It is simply NOT good Science-Fiction (even if it is a fair piece of satire). The book is divided into five (5) parts ... Part One [His Maculate Origin] was a good Sci-Fi plot that I actually enjoyed ... the premise being that of a lost human boy raised by non-humans (in this case Martians) along the lines of Tarzan of the Apes and The Jungle Book (which is thought to have been his original inspiration for the story). Next to nothing is actually revealed about Valentine Michael (Mike) Smith's time with his adoptive people, but the story keeps humming along with a little political intrigue and mystery. Unfortunately the plot begins to sink after this until it practically disappears by the end. The koolest concept here has to be the 'Fair Witness' characters ... A very limited version of human machine proxies that could easily be the precursor to the better developed Mentats of the Dune saga.Part Two [His Preposterous Heritage] introduces what is arguably the true main character in the story and Heinlein's alter ego, Jubal Harshaw, who proceeds to introduce 'Mike' to all the ills of human society. This wasn't all that bad a satire actually, even when Jubal waxes on the sermon a bit too much (it had the feel of watching re-runs of "Abbott and Costello', 'I Love Lucy' or 'The Dick Van Dyke Show.') Mike really takes a back seat here so that Jubal can pontificate at will, but the humor of it all was still mildly entertaining. Presumably Jubal's female secretaries provide the strong gender examples that Heinlein is noted for ... They are also incredibly shallow and boring (or as presented in one discussion thread ... They differ by a haircut). There is absolutely NO character development for anybody except Mike from here on out; and as far a Mikey is concerned, all of his character development happens all at once as he is 'wondrously converted from Tarzan/Mogli into the next Messiah of humanity. We also get two main plot items ... The term 'grok' which became a cult classic in the late 60's and the revelation that Mike has a super power to go with his naiveté that just about blows any plot discipline out of the water for the remainder of the story."Thou Art G-d" saith the Man from Mars ...The rest is a complete Grokk.Part Three [His Eccentric Education] was an attempt to develop Mike a little further so that he learns the 'art of the con' that is apparently required to make a go of any religion. Mike needs this, because he wants to harness such shams to 'trick' humans into accepting his rather dubious views on human society (which social change has now exposed as mildly sexist and homophobic). Part Four [His Scandalous Career] Here is where Jubal comes back on stage in order whip the reader with guilt to make it easier to accept Heinlein's free love society. That is really all that you find here. We get such gems as: "I can at least see the beauty of Mike's attempt to devise an ideal human ethic and applaud his recognition that such a code must be founded on ideal sexual behavior ..." Really? Even if accepted as true, Heinlein completely FAILS to explore this concept other then to say that it is obviously good. To support his claim, he gives us a voyeuristic look into his 'Nest' (aka Harem) where such physical contact is open, natural and without jealousy BECAUSE everyone is an equally great looking sex god following the true path to happiness. The problem? We the reader get NO insight into how Mike's disciples change their thinking. They just do ... Possibly because they now see the inherent 'rightness' of the concept once it is properly explained to them (the only instance we get of that is between Jubal and Ben Caxton and that is left unresolved at the end of the encounter).Part Five [His Happy Destiny] After such a stinging rebuke of Christianity (specifically) earlier in the story, it seems surprising the Heinlein would so blatantly force the 'Passion of Christ' upon his protagonist here; and with very little rationale other then some need to highlight one of his more hypocritical definitions of 'grok' that includes consuming the physical body of a person in order to truly know him. Add to this a complete moral bankrupcy where it is okay to cheat, steal and kill as needed and I do not see any appeal what so ever to Heinlein's proposed utopia. Sure ... I get the fact that the story is not supposed to be realistic (it is supposed to be satire) and that it was not intended to be a guide to a practical utopia, but that just doesn't save the later half of the story from being so preachy and simpleminded that it not only obscures the "important questions" about contemporary social mores (specifically sex and religion), it actually fails to entertain with its long-winded monologs defending the 'rightness' of the title character's views on the subjects. While Heinlein may not have intended to provide convenient answers to the questions he thought he was raising, that is in fact what he did, displaying a remarkable ignorance of basic human psychology that ultimately dooms his 'social commentary' to failure.

Letitia

Though this novel has a promising start that is engaging, truly original, and thought-provoking, somewhere around 100 pages it melts into some kind of mind-numbingly misogynistic alternative view of morality. In this author's frantically defended "free love" and "universal property" society, all the women are perpetually horny, deliver sex willingly to multiple partners, enjoy being mistaken for other women who resemble them, wear no clothes, and are - surprisingly - all very beautiful. If Heinlen had continued to do what his first few chapters did, which is propose a highly complicated political, economic, and scientific plot-line that is intriguing, but tied up too neatly too quickly, this book would have been brilliant. But it wasn't. Don't read it unless you have some need to check one of the most famous sci-fi novels in history off your list.

Arun Divakar

I am yet to read Christopher Hitchens but his reputation precedes him for his acerbic pen (& tongue !) has been celebrated and reviled in equal measure. There is this book by him named God is not great and the second line of the book's title is most apt as a summary for Heinlein's story : How religion poisons everything . Hailed as a classic, hugo award winner and quite controversial at its time of release, I found this to be filled with nothing but religious patronizing and a whole lot of it too. Prime example of how a brilliant idea gets convoluted with religious claptrap.Some books stand the test of time for it makes perfect connect with a reader who comes to it even after a good hundred years. Some other books are like a mirror that reflects the world of that day and to a person who approaches the book after a good few decades, there is no connect to speak of and the entire plot is wasted on them. I suffered a similar fate in the hands of this book. It has been some forty plus years since the age of flower power, psychedelic ways to attain nirvana, the paranoia surrounding the space race and all that circus which I can digest but not fully. It's not the first time that I have done time travel with a story and its characters ! But what completely fizzed my circuits out was Heinlein's way of infusing a messianic plot line into the whole mix. I was very satisfied with the story until the point of religious blah blah intervening. Imagine : One man who was born and raised in Mars.The guy has unbelievable superpowers which would send Superman crying back to his mamma. The man is as naive as a newborn but slowly comes to grips with the world around him. The world is a nasty place out to take him for a ride too. He takes baby steps in this world being assisted by a few kind hearted folks and what do you know....he turns out to be a messiah ! Free sex and orgies would have been a rage years ago but it bores my pants off trying to read it now. I could see a lot of parallels with Osho in the reformed Valentine Michael Smith ( the creation of an a total style of living for the people around, belief in open and unbridled love, extreme erudition to name a few traits). Considering the fact that he travelled all over India in the 60's and obtained the stature of a love guru , my hunch grows even stronger. A book becomes controversial when it takes up subject matter that had been delicate for the public till then and goes into territory which till then had been untouched. An onslaught of sex, gurus, cannibalism and rebellion against the system would have been controversy then but is quite archaic now. Which is to say, the only value here is its antique value ! I would have foregone all this if not for this one line in the book Nine times out of ten, when a woman gets raped ; it's partly her fault. You can offer me a thousand arguments for the inclusion of this piece of appalling junk in a book but brother, I am not buying any of them. Initially I thought of a two star rating for this book but this one line and the outstandingly irritating pest of a character named Jubal Harshaw did the job of making this a one star book. I will read your other books Mr.Heinlein but I am not touching this one with even a ten-foot pole again !

Shannon (Giraffe Days)

Apparently a classic of the sci-fi cannon, I'd never heard of this book until it came up on a book club here. It took me a long time to read only because of lack of time, and a rather annoying trait the author has that I'll go into later.This is one of those books that tells us more about the period it was written in than anything else, so it's important to note that it was first published in 1961 and later again in 1968 - when moon fever was running high and people seemed to have high expectations for human achievement. Events are set in an undisclosed future but the older characters seem to remember the first moon landing, so I wouldn't be surprised if Heinlein was thinking of it being set around about now. With a mix of very daggy technology like "stereo tanks" (TVs) and large, clumsy listening devices, alongside hover crafts and spaceships to Mars, the scope of the setting is hampered by a 50s' imagination. Stranger in a Strange Land is about Michael "Mike" Smith, the "Man from Mars", offspring of two of scientists on board the original mission to Mars, who was raised by Martians. He is more Martian than human, especially in his thinking and outlook and philosophy, when he is brought back to Earth. Heir to a shitload of money care of his parents' heritage, it's unsurprising that the bigshots on Earth are wanting to keep him locked up tight. A nurse at the hospital where he is first kept, Jill, offers him a glass of water and in that one action becomes a "water brother" - the highest accolade for Mike. She rescues him from the politicians with the help of her journalist friend Ben and takes him to the home of a grumpy, reclusive man, Dr Jubal Harshaw, who lives with three young women who serve as secretaries - Anne, Miriam and Dorcas - and two men who take care of the property - Duke and Larry. Mike's particular talents slowly reveal: he can vanish things, including people, if he recognises there is a "wrongness" in them; he can withdraw from his own body and shut down his body so there is no heartbeat; he can teleport and think telepathically; he can absorb books in minutes and regulate his own body, making it muscular and mature at will; and so on. All of this can be done with understanding of the Martian language, which Jill starts to learn. He's completely ignorant of human ways, of human concepts - things like jealousy, possessiveness etc. are all alien to him. He doesn't understand religions and he has never laughed.After months on the road with just Jill, learning and "grokking", he finally knows why humans laugh and how to do it himself, and gets the human condition. It leads him to start his own "church", though it's more of a way of life open to people of all religious denominations, with free love and open mindedness, and abilities gained through mastery of the Martian language. With Mike set up as a new Messiah, a prophet, there's only one logical conclusion for this story.As a story, Stranger in a Strange Land is enjoyable and original. Yet, as a story, it's also bogged down with sermons, with Heinlein's opinions, and a very out-of-date mentality. It reads very 60s and 70s, though it was written before then. Not as far-sighted as it would like to be! It's especially noticeable in the relations between men and women, which have that faintly liberated tinge that's all really lip service, and a great deal of sexist language. Which is ironic, really, considering Mike's free love cult. There's also an affectionate insult for a Muslim character who's nicknamed "Stinky" that I couldn't help but be offended by.It does make it hard to read, though, when you come across lines like this, as spoken by Jill very matter-of-factly: "Nine times out of ten, if a girl gets raped, it's partly her fault." (p304) While today the statistics are more like "nine of ten times, a woman's rapist is someone she knows", the idea that it's "partly her fault" is still considered true by way too many people. To hear this come out of Jill's mouth makes it especially awful.Another example is Jubal saying: "Pipe down, Anne. Close your mouth, Dorcas. This is not a time when women have the vote." (p382) Granted, they ignored him and did what they wanted anyway, but there're a lot of these flippant, dismissive remarks all through the book. Product of its times, sure: just not at all futuristic.Then we come to the proselytizing, which the book is rife with. Today, reading this book, the opinions shared are very "yes, so?" - old hat, in other words. Though it is fun to read the rants, the set-up is cringe-worthy. Jubal is the main lecturer, and the characters around him serve as props. There are a great many "Huh?"s from educated and knowledgeable people so that Jubal can share his abundant wisdom. One "huh?" is okay, but when each long paragraph of Jubal is responded to with a "huh?" it gets a bit silly. Frankly, it's bad writing. It reminded me somewhat of The Da Vinci Code, which also uses characters to expound the author's theories on religion etc. at great length. While these things did at times make it harder to read the book, essentially the book is easy to read and often quite fun too. Jubal's sermons (and when Jubal isn't around, other characters fill the role, like Ben and Sam) can be a bit heavy-handed and obvious but a lot of it I agree with, so it wasn't rubbing me up the wrong way. Mike is a challenging character to write, because in order to write a naive, ignorant character to this extent, you need to be incredibly self-aware. Heinlein has fairly good success here, and Mike's growth, maturation, development and resolutions fit the character and work. He has charisma and is definitely intriguing; yet because he lacks the human flaws, he's also somewhat unapproachable and alien: a good balance to achieve.

Erik Simon

Fingernails across a chalkboard.

Sandi

** spoiler alert ** I really, really, really hated "Stranger in a Strange Land" when I read it 25+ years ago. I only disliked it this time. The first half is pretty good, if you can overlook the outdated idea that there could be life on Mars and that it could support human life. One can even suspend disbelief enough to accept that a human infant could be raised by Martians much in the same way Mowgli was raised by wolves. However, it goes downhill quickly once Mike and Jill run off to join the circus (actually, a carnival). It get really ridiculous when it brings in the archangels. It gets hideous when Mike and his followers form a orgiastic church/commune. And it ends with a totally obvious religious allegory in which Mike is killed by an angry mob and his disciples (water brothers)become one with him by drinking (grokking) a broth made from a piece of his finger. Heinlein tends to get really preachy in "Stranger in a Strange Land". He seems to be out to tear down every single belief and taboo of modern society. The only taboo he upholds is homosexuality. Until I looked at the publication in my copy (printed in 1968), I thought this book came out in the late Sixties. In fact, it was first published in 1961, during the Kennedy administration. At that time, America was still pretty conservative. By the time my copy was printed, the hippie movement and the sexual revolution were in full swing, and this novel seems perfect for that era. It's not perfect for 2008 though.

Joe Boeke

I remember reading _Stranger In A Strange Land_ as a young high school student in the late 70s. At the time, the story appealed to my changing state (as an adult, I think I can finally admit that the adolescent young man who read this book the first time, did so because my friends told me it was filled with lots of sex scenes). I also remember that despite Heinlein's writing found it a difficult book to read as a result I "skipped" around looking for the "good" parts (which are all in the second half of the book).However some (other) passages in the book did leave an impression on me during that first read. Heinlein's railing against the parochialism of the Church (and the Catholic Church in particular) was certainly instrumental in shaping my views on religion and partially contributed to some of my more existential leanings (I'd also note that the criticism leveled at Heinlein for passing off his impressions/views/ideas as fact is certainly warranted).So, when I found myself stuck in the Charlotte, NC airport for 5 hours this weekend (awaiting a 5 hour flight home to LA) I surprised myself by deciding to buy the Ace (trade paperback) version of _Stranger In A Strange Land_ and re-read it -- in retrospect, I am ambivalent that I took the time to re-read the book.The protagonist, Valentine Michael Smith, is a child born on Mars to two of the crew of the first human expedition to that planet; he is raised by the Martians when a catastrophe wipes out the adults of the expedition. Years later, another expedition to Mars results in contact with the Martians and Michael's return to Earth, completely innocent of knowledge about the planet. The greater part of the novel details his attempts to understand human nature from his Martian philosophical perspective (which is rather like that of Eastern philosophy); these end in his foundation of a new religion to help human beings achieve their full potential which hitherto has been impossible because of the straitjacket of human culture.The book makes me think, which now (that I am considerably past my adolescence) I appreciate much more. It can be slow in parts (most of the book is dialogue with very little or no action), but (and I'm not sure if it is my age, or the fact that Ace added back in 30,000 words to this edition that weren't in the copy I read 30 years ago) much more readable than the first time through.Some parts, especially in the second half of the text, result in disturbing thought patterns, even now. The concept that all human morals are arbitrary (which is how the "Martian" Valentine Michael Smith views them) and that anything that leads one to "grow closer" is good -- also leads down a slippery slope where moral objections to murder, and other heinous things, can be downplayed (in the name of the collective growing closer). While these attacks on Western culture don't seem quite as shocking as they must have been back in the 1960s, other parts of the book are just preachy and long-winded. The international intrigue and world government sub-plot of the first half of the book are more interesting to me now than they were on my first read (but ultimately unfulfilled as Valentine Michael Smith escapes to become the messiah like character of the second half of the book).It would be easy to write this classic of science fiction off as a novel of the hippie era and relegate it to the dustbin (and history could still do that). However, the somewhat unique premise of analyzing human culture from an alien point of view as well as the fact that the novel forever broke (maybe bridged) the barrier between science fiction and mainstream literature, put it into the classic (must read at least once) category. By all means, read it and form your own opinion. Or better yet, (re)read Starship Troopers :)

Kait

** spoiler alert ** I picked up Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein as part of the Science Fiction & Fantasy book club. I'm always willing to try new books, especially ones out of my typical genre. I borrowed this copy from the library, and it is the uncut version, having 60,000 words that were cut from the original restored.If it were possible, I would have given this book 3.5 stars. I more than liked it, but I wouldn't say that I really liked it (which seems like a major commitment to me). *Spoilers may start here*I loved the first half of the book. In fact, if I could rate the first and second half of the book separately, I would have given the first half five stars. That's how much I loved it. The characters were human, the story moved along nicely and was very interesting. Heinlein shows his adeptness at writing sci-fi by making technical, complicated things read so very well. I didn't need a quantum physics degree to understand this story at all, nor did I need any kind of advanced training in anything to understand what his gadgets and technical stuff looked like and did. It was all really plain. The language was a little annoying - grok isn't my favorite word, but I have found myself thinking about the word a little bit. I did, however, LOVE the fact that it seemed very roaring 20's to me. I'm not sure if it was the language, the settings, or what, but it felt like someone had cut the culture of the early 1900's and transplanted them somewhere in the (not so distant, now) future and everything remained fairly intact. Some might find this disturbing, but it appealed to me - I felt very "retro" reading it... or maybe that was just how I filtered it. After Mike learns of sex, the story went to pot for me. I'm not sure if it was my version or not, but I felt like certain cast members would get pages of soliloquy, about religion, sex, morals, etc. While I have nothing against trying to teach something to your readers, there were parts where I just wanted to shout "enough all ready! Get back to the story!" The worst scene for this (IMO) was when Ben came home from the Nest and was talking to Jubal about it. Jubal went on and on and ON about it. I found the last half of this book to be very much like this (except for maybe the last two chapters). It seems like any time that Heinlein got a chance to "speak" through one of his characters, he did. And excessively, in my opinion. I would love to know what the last half of this book was like in the cut version.I did find that, for the most part, that Heinlein dealt with sex in good way. I'm not saying that I believe that polyamoury is something I'm interested/believe in, I just thought that he wasn't vulgar or rude. To be honest, he had more sex in his book than some of the urban fantasy type books that I love to read, but it didn't feel like the book was dripping with sex. So I don't really know what my final verdict on the book is. I truly loved the first have of the book. I think If I could cut scenes out of the second have (the ones where things actually happened, and it wasn't just jibba jabba), I would have loved the whole thing. As the uncut version stands, it's a heck of a lot of preached, balanced by some storytelling.

Erich Franz Guzmann

I am delightfully surprised with Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" and the places in my mind it had taken me, placed me and left me. It is a really powerful novel; and also a very influential one as well. I can easily see how and why this novel was hip and cool to read during the so called "hippie movement" era. Which to my dismay I missed the 60's and 70's, for it was just before mine. I am very curious however, if this book is close to at all with the free lovin', peace and love ideology and attitude that supposedly many people had during this time? And if so, it somewhat gives me a better understanding of how all these people came to their belief system.It is still radical to me; but the beliefs I have right now would be just as radical to the people in the 60's and in the 70's. I can almost grok it but not completely... maybe someday? But thou art God, and never thirst, my Brother's.

Christina Wilder

Started out fantastic, got preachy at the end. I could comment on my personal beliefs with some issues raised in this book but I'd rather not, as I'm not interested in having that discussion online (and certainly not on this site). Anyway, while I found some of the statements appalling (Jill's assertion that rape is the victim's fault), I tried to think of them as dialogue, but they were so insulting that I had a hard time doing this.Still, for the sci-fi elements, the fantastic scenes of Jubal not putting up with bullshit from condescending politicians (too funny), the suspense of the early part of the book leading to Jill and Mike on the run, and the utterly bizarre ending made this an enjoyable read. The preaching, not so much. Even if I agree with a point being made, I don't need care for proselytizing.

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