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Farnham's freehold by Robert A.…
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Farnham's freehold (original 1964; edition 1964)

by Robert A. Heinlein

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2,500313,635 (3.31)51
Member:karenb
Title:Farnham's freehold
Authors:Robert A. Heinlein
Info:New York : Berkley Books, 1971, c1964
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:
Tags:read, SFF

Work details

Farnham's Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein (1964)

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It is the early 1960s and the United States is on the verge of nuclear war. To prepare for this, Hugh Farnham constructed a fully stocked bomb shelter beneath his house years before. On a night when Hugh’s daughter, Karen, invites her friend Barbara to the house, the local radio station in their Midwestern town begins transmitting warnings of a possible nuclear strike. Hugh’s son, Duke, is skeptical that either side would commit such an act of suicide. He considers the bomb shelter an overreaction on the part of his father—until the radio station issues its first bomb warning during a round of bridge (a game that features prominently throughout the story).

All hands rush into the shelter where the pragmatic Hugh assumes the role of a supreme commander, giving orders and demanding unswerving obedience as he tries to get the situation—and his alcoholic wife, Grace—under control.

After a series of blasts rock the shelter—resulting in minor injuries to the occupants and superficial damage to the shelter—the family ventures outside expecting to find the radioactive remains of their obliterated neighborhood. Instead, they find themselves surrounded by a serene woodland paradise unblemished by even the slightest mark of humanity. At first, the area is completely unfamiliar, until Hugh, Duke, and the Farnham’s servant, Joe, begin scouting the area and recognize natural landmarks. To complicate their dire survivalist predicament, both Karen and Barbara announce that they are pregnant.

Hugh and Grace’s marriage was disintegrating long before this catastrophe and on a day when Grace decides to leave Hugh and the shelter to strike out on her own (albeit with Duke to protect her), the entire lot are captured by a group of dark-skinned humans in a flying craft unlike any they’ve ever seen... and from that moment on, the fate of the Farnhams takes more than one otherworldly turn.

Heinlein spares no details in this well-paced adventure, from the graphic descriptions of births (both human and feline) to a thoroughly developed caste system of a future Earth that is at once fascinating (reverse-racism, adherence to a diluted form of Islam) and disturbing (benevolent dictatorship, cannibalism, female servants labeled—and used as—sluts or “bedwarmers”).

Although Farnham's Freehold sparks much debate among hardcore Heinlein fans and general SF readers alike for its political and sociological views, it was not my favorite of Heinlein’s works by far. The story itself did not appeal to me and sometimes I find Heinlein's portrayal of his female leads to be doltish, naive, or unrealistic and nowhere was this was more evident than in the character of Barbara. ( )
  pgiunta | Apr 16, 2018 |
Heinlein's ultra libertarian novel was very entertaining when I read it long ago. These days, I might be afraid to open it.... ( )
  datrappert | Oct 18, 2016 |
Critics seem to knock it but it was one of my favorite Heinleins. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
I read this as a kid. What the hell was I thinking.

Faux-ideological drivel which boils down to "I shall have ultimate freedom and the script will save society from any consequences".

Also, this guy seems to have perfected the "hot young lass falls for a mature old fart that obviously resembles me" message. Also, if you're going to include incest, at least treat it with some depth. IF. ( )
  meekGee | Jul 6, 2015 |
A great story if you can get past the fact that Heinlein is a real pervert. I can believe that Heinlein's later works were a bit bizarre, but then he supposedly had a brain tumor. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 19, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert A. Heinleinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bieger, MarcelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Docktor, IrvingCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freitas, Lima deCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hickman, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langowski, JürgenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lehr, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundgren, CarlCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Major, FredNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pignolo GinettaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reß-Bobusch, BirgitTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodrigues, Fernanda PintoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szafran, GeneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weiner, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zitzewitz, Hoot VonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Alan Nourse
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"It's not a hearing aid," Hubert Farnham explained.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
the Portuguese version was publish ed in two volumes: O Mundo que nos Espera, 1º volume and O Mundo que nos Espera, 2º volume. They should not be combined here unless entering both volumes under a single entry.
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Book description
This is the story of how one family survived a nuclear war. They had to cope with a world far different than what they expected to find when they finally did emerge from their self-built shelter.
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"Bomb warning. Third bomb warning. This is not a drill. Take shelter at once. Any shelter. You are going to be atom-bombed in the next few minutes. So get the lead out, you stupid fools, and quit listening to this chatter! TAKE SHELTER!"

For Hugh Farnham this warning was something he had long expected, and for which he had carefully prepared. But not even the wisest man could have taken precautions against the extraordinary world into which Hugh and his little family party were catapulted.

This is a powerful and prophetic novel about what happens after a massive nuclear attack to one American family who survive to face a strange, harrowing, and all-too-possible future.
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A nuclear blast sends Hugh Farnham and his family flying two thousand years into the future where humans are forced into slavery as punishment for having nearly destroyed the world.

(summary from another edition)

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