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Stranger in a Strange Land (original 1961; edition 1963)

by Robert A. Heinlein

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7,43799471 (3.94)251
Member:cjahnke
Title:Stranger in a Strange Land
Authors:Robert A. Heinlein
Info:Putnam Adult (1963), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 408 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Fiction, Mars, religion

Work details

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

  1. 20
    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein (persky)
    persky: An earlier book with a lot of parallels to this one, particularly in terms of the "Mike" protagonists.
  2. 00
    Only Begotten Daughter by James Morrow (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: Near-future SF centered on a Christian-type messiah from an unforeseen quarter. Both books combine satire with sentimentality, and neither caters to conventional piety.
  3. 00
    Spin by Robert Charles Wilson (hyper7)
  4. 00
    The Book from the Sky by Robert Kelly (bertilak)
  5. 00
    Steel Beach by John Varley (lesvrolyk)
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» See also 251 mentions

English (94)  Italian (2)  French (2)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (99)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
I liked this book very much.

I didn't expect to enjoy it so thoroughly, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it was because I haven't been much of a science fiction reader since I studied "science fact" as a major in college (I was too afraid of confusing myself -- seriously). Or maybe it was because the book is older, and not all classics stand up to the test of time as well as they claim to. As for the latter, however, Stranger in a Strange Land definitely passes. Once one accepts the premise -- involving a race of humanoids living on Mars (therefore, Martians) -- it's nearly impossible to tell the book was written in 1961. There is some innate sexism among the human characters on Earth that I was surprised to read (the surprise caused by such prejudice being mixed into an otherwise modern story set in the future), but it makes sense for a book written by an American author just before the second wave of feminism in the United States.

Ultimately, Stranger in a Strange Land is a fascinating study of humanity, which is probably why it is so popular. Sci-fi fans or not, people, as a race, are narcissistic -- therefore, we enjoy reading about ourselves. :) ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
I liked this book very much.

I didn't expect to enjoy it so thoroughly, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it was because I haven't been much of a science fiction reader since I studied "science fact" as a major in college (I was too afraid of confusing myself -- seriously). Or maybe it was because the book is older, and not all classics stand up to the test of time as well as they claim to. As for the latter, however, Stranger in a Strange Land definitely passes. Once one accepts the premise -- involving a race of humanoids living on Mars (therefore, Martians) -- it's nearly impossible to tell the book was written in 1961. There is some innate sexism among the human characters on Earth that I was surprised to read (the surprise caused by such prejudice being mixed into an otherwise modern story set in the future), but it makes sense for a book written by an American author just before the second wave of feminism in the United States.

Ultimately, Stranger in a Strange Land is a fascinating study of humanity, which is probably why it is so popular. Sci-fi fans or not, people, as a race, are narcissistic -- therefore, we enjoy reading about ourselves. :) ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
Well, now I know where the hacker culture word "grok" comes from, and I suspect one of the influences behind Bowie's Ziggy Stardust character.

This is an important and influential book, but not really a good one, hence three stars. It's far too long (I read the later uncut version, perhaps the earlier shorter edition would have been better), and it seems like the author wants to push his free-love agenda a little too much.

I'm glad I read it, but probably won't want to read it again. ( )
  Pondlife | Oct 30, 2013 |
I didn't grok this ( )
  BakuDreamer | Sep 7, 2013 |
4 1/2 stars - although Mike is "the man from Mars", this story is really about human culture & religion. Mike just provides a fresh set of eyes to see Earth & humanity. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 26, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert A. Heinleinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gällmo, GunnarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundgren, CarlCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Santos, Domingo,Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Robert Cornog
Fredric Brown
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Once upon a time there was a Martian by the name of Valentine Michael Smith.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please distinguish this edited first publication of Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) from the "original, uncut" version (1991). Thank you.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0441790348, Mass Market 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 13:18:35 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A boy, raised on Mars, must adjust to life on Earth.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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