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Stranger in a Strange Land (original 1961; edition 1991)

by Robert A. Heinlein

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6,02389691 (3.84)183
Member:Bacon
Title:Stranger in a Strange Land
Authors:Robert A. Heinlein
Info:Ace Trade (1991), Edition: First Edition. first thus, Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Own, Read, Pleasure

Work details

Stranger in a Strange Land (uncut edition) by Robert A. Heinlein (1961)

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    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig (emf1123)
    emf1123: If you're in your late teens, reading both of these books back to back (stranger in a strange land, zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance) is a good quality mindfuck. I doubt that either have the same influence as one ages, though.
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» See also 183 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
I'm not sure how much into the sci-fi camp this book belongs, despite its being labelled "important." I think its importance lies, not in its greatness as a science fiction novel, but its influence on the hippies during the 1960s. Sci-fi elements are limited to flying cars, aliens, and a world government, none of which are given much explanation as far as science. It's more on the level of fantasy, but as a religious allegory, or a religious satire. Heinlein had a message to tell, more than a story to tell, and rather heavy-handed at that. ( )
  michael336 | Sep 28, 2014 |
I know this is supposed to be a classic, but this is far from my favorite Heinlein novel. ( )
  greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
Stranger in a Strange Land is one of those must-read-if-you-want-to-be-considered-a-lover-of-science-fiction kinda books.

I enjoy a lot of Heinlein’s novels, including his juvenile novels of the 50’s such as Starship Troopers and Space Cadet, as well as his more modern Friday and Methuselah’s Children.

But ‘Stranger’ didn’t hit out of the park.

‘Stranger starts out pretty well, with a ship full of explorers landing on Mars and certain crew members were messing around and there was Valentine Michael Smith. His parents died and he was raised by the local Martians (in some ways reminds me of ‘Tarzan’ origins, but I digress.).

Mike finds his way to Earth and is looked at as an odd addition to the media-crazy government and people out for power – both the religious and the political kind.

Douglas and his wife (who pulls the strings) were great characters. He the most powerful man on Earth and she, manipulating him, create all kinds of trouble for Mike and a rogue reporter called Ben Caxton. And finally Jill, a nurse who happens to run into the ‘Man from Mars’, not knowing that he is not supposed to see women yet.

Heinlein’s characters do tend to be opinionated as I slog through several sarcastic chapters of what his thoughts are on politics, religion and certain mavericks that buck the trend, such as Jubal Hershaw, local curmudgeon.

And the book would not have been half bad if Heinlein didn’t just drop all these great characters once Mike came on the scene and came into his own.

The last half became a long argument about Mike’s new socialist mentality, his use of making people go away and his new religion, of which we have a familiar ending.

We learn words like the Nest, how to Grok and new uses of telepathy and mind over matter. We also learn the true intent of the Old Ones of Mars.

But Robert, why did you leave so many plot holes? What about Douglas? What happened to his wife? The police state government completely backs off, now what?

Bottom Line:

Good book from a historical perspective, and the book is important in how it influenced Heinlein and future dystopia stories, but frankly it was not that great.

The Kindle edition had a few misspellings here and there, but nothing to worry about.


( )
  jmourgos | Sep 12, 2014 |
Not sure why I put this on my shelf...
  Moem | Mar 11, 2014 |
First off, the only thing I really knew about this book was that it was mentioned in Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire", so that is to say, I didn't really know anything. I was even surprised to discover that it was sci-fi when my sci-fi/fantasy book club was discussing possible selections. It is indeed sci-fi, but more than that, it is 60s, but I was only able to really get that after I switched from the paperback to the audio book. I liked it better as audio, but I still only liked the parts Jubal was in - didn't really care for any of the other characters. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Nov 22, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert A. Heinleinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heinlein, VirginiaPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Once upon a time when the world was young there was a Martian named Smith.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please distinguish this "original, uncut" version of Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land (1991) from its edited first publication (1961). Thank you.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0441788386, Paperback)

Stranger in a Strange Land, winner of the 1962 Hugo Award, is the story of Valentine Michael Smith, born during, and the only survivor of, the first manned mission to Mars. Michael is raised by Martians, and he arrives on Earth as a true innocent: he has never seen a woman and has no knowledge of Earth's cultures or religions. But he brings turmoil with him, as he is the legal heir to an enormous financial empire, not to mention de facto owner of the planet Mars. With the irascible popular author Jubal Harshaw to protect him, Michael explores human morality and the meanings of love. He founds his own church, preaching free love and disseminating the psychic talents taught him by the Martians. Ultimately, he confronts the fate reserved for all messiahs.

The impact of Stranger in a Strange Land was considerable, leading many children of the 60's to set up households based on Michael's water-brother nests. Heinlein loved to pontificate through the mouths of his characters, so modern readers must be willing to overlook the occasional sour note ("Nine times out of ten, if a girl gets raped, it's partly her fault."). That aside, Stranger in a Strange Land is one of the master's best entertainments, provocative as he always loved to be. Can you grok it? --Brooks Peck

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:15 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A young man from Mars comes to Earth & must learn our strange ways. Annotation. One of the greatest science fiction novels ever published, Stranger in a Strange Land's original manuscript had 50,000 words cut. Now they have been reinstated for this special 30th anniversary trade edition. A Mars-born earthling arrives on this planet for the first time as an adult, and the sensation he creates teaches Earth some unforgettable lessons. "A brilliant mind-bender".--Kurt Vonnegut… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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