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

by Robert A. Heinlein

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,516101586 (3.83)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 (1991)

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    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values 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 102 (next | show all)
Describes a world where everyone could be happy. A sci-fi book that transcends the genre, it also highlights how we tend to isolate ourselves from others. The message of "sexual freedom" influenced the emerging culture of the 60s. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
The first mission to colonize Mars ends in tragedy when all eight of the colonists die; however, there is one survivor: a baby named Valentine Michael Smith. Twenty years later when Earth sends another ship to Mars, they find Mike, who has been raised by the Martians, and bring him back to his "home" planet. Mike is neither completely human nor completely Martian and has to learn what being human is. In the process, he meets a few people who he can trust and quite a few people who just want to use him for the vast amount of wealth and power he has inherited. Mike does eventually come to understand what makes humans different from all other beings in the universe, something that humans don't appreciate ourselves. After recognizing the strengths and flaws of humanity, he embarks on a personal mission to make the human race better.

As most science fiction novels do, Stranger in a Strange Land takes advantage of placing the action in an alien world in order to criticize aspects of human society. Heinlein uses Mike's innocence to criticize organized religion, human beings' unwillingness to take personal responsibility for our actions, and society's values, among other things.

I'm not a huge science fiction fan, so I'm very picky about which books I read. While not one of my favorites, I'm glad I picked this one up because it's given me quite a lot to think about. The things I liked about this book include the fact that it takes place in a relatively familar setting (I have trouble getting through sci fi/fantasy novels that make me remember massive amounts of details about completely new worlds) and parts of the social commentary (I don't buy all of Heinlein's arguments). The things I didn't like about it were that the first couple hundred pages were far too predictable and the whole cult mentality that encompassed the end of the book. Overall, the questions of defining what it means to be human versus what it means to be Martian and of how Mike would cope with being both and neither at the same time provided a strong enough underlying theme to make the novel worth reading. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
2.5 stars
I know I'm probably in the minority here but I didn't think this book was all that amazing. I enjoyed the first half of the book but the second half stalled for me and was more about preaching a certain ideology than it was about plot development. His views on women (female characters are secretaries, strippers, or nurses) were bothersome to me. If you can get past that, some passages were brilliant but on the whole not as enjoyable a read as I had hoped. ( )
  JenPrim | Jan 15, 2016 |
Stranger in a Strange Land Robert Heinlein
★★★

This is the story of the man from Mars, Michael Valentine Smith the legally legitimate heir of 3 human parents who has subsequently been raised on Mars by the Martians.

When he is 20 Smith returns to earth understanding nothing about the politics or culture of the planet he is a sweetly naïve boy who is lucky to be rescued from corrupt government forces by Jill a nurse and Jubal a writer and lawyer.

The first half of this book was really interesting and involved the social and political considerations of how a return to Earth could affect a human who has never experienced the planet, it was interesting and entertaining especially the political and monetary ramifications.

The second half of this book went downhill for me and dealt with Smiths reaction to human religion and how people treat each other something he thinks he can improve upon.
( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
Valentine Michael Smith, the Man from Mars, knows nothing of his home planet when he arrives there. Not the language, not the customs, not what it means to be human, since he was raised by Martians. Circumstances lead him into the strange household of Jubal Harshaw, where he adapts to life on earth and learns all there is to be known to this strange future world. As he does, so do we learn about the strange abilities he acquired on Mars.

This was a very strange read. Not focused - as I had expected - on Mike's discovery of our world. But a lot of the story is about his abilities and how he uses them to shape his life on earth and start transforming humanity according to his own ideals. Very irritating is his description of women and their role in the story. I wanted to give up on this at many points, yet there were so many fascinating ideas I kept coming back to continue reading. I'm left fascinated, irritated and a bit baffled. Not at all what I had expected.
( )
  sushicat | Jan 14, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert A. Heinleinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heinlein, VirginiaPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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FOR
ROBERT CORNOG
FREDRIC BROWN
PHILLIP JOSE FARMER
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:20 -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)

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