Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein

Yet another book that I recently read was Stranger in a Strange Land (the 1991 version), by Robert Heinlein. I bought this at the Fantasy Centre last time I was in London.

This is one book that I know I ought to have read a lot earlier, but as always there is never time enough to do everything I want to. Since this is one of the most well known books by Heinlein I felt that I had to read it. It is also important since this is the book where the word “grok” was invented.

The first part of the book is very interesting. The human Valentine Michael Smith, who has been raised by martians has problems with the Terran humans and their rules and cultural values. The martian ways of doing things are very different. This can be an inspiration when dealing with aliens in Traveller.

The second part of the book is just a religious rambling (with lots of sex). For me this part of the book was just silly, but others have founded religions based on it. 😮

Heinlein

Image from wikimedia. License: GNU Free Documentation

Finally, there is the Ultra-Condensed version. 😉

3 thoughts on “Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein”

  1. Interesting. Based on that review I might find it and read it. I read Starship Troopers as a kid and loved it as a rattling good battle story. Then I read it as an adult and I was shocked. It’s basically a cover-to-cover advocacy of fascism (i.e. embittered returning veterans take over society by force of arms and run it through martial law including corporal punishment – almost directly lifted from Mussolini’s rise to power).

    The writing in places is annoyingly preachy (although in fairness I’d level that charge at Avatar as well although I’m sympathetic to the message that film is preaching).

    The movie adaptation of Starship Troopers is pretty much bang on the money: the screenplay writers realised pretty quickly how ridiculously cold-war the whole thing was and took it in the direction of Dr Strangelove.

    But your post has raised my interest – this book sounds a lot more intriguing at the level of ideas.

  2. In this book there are a lot of talk (and critisism) of the corrupt government. So I hope you find a copy and find it interesting. (At least the first part of the book.)

    I won’t go into Starship Troopers here, since there are a number of older posts about that subject.

  3. Starship Troopers has zero to do with fascism (the society in Starship Troopers is a deomcracy and there’s no evidence in the written book that it’s not an honest one), but a lot of people don’t get it. That includes Verhoeven.

    Berka, I agree with your “review”, SiaSL started out really interestingly and then degenerated into a rant. In that it very much resembles later Heinlein books. Heinlein had some weird notions, to put it mildly.

    As for weird notions and Sci-Fi-inspired religions.. look up the Gorean movement. 😛

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