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The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag…

The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag (1959)

by Robert A. Heinlein

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (12)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
This is a title that makes you want to read the book. Just what is Mr. Hoag's unpleasant profession? Even he doesn't know, though he suspects something terrible, and hires a detective to follow him round one day to find out. From there on it is a trip down the rabbit hole, or rather through the looking glass.

There are also five shorter stories here:

"The Man Who Traveled in Elephants": No, he doesn't actually travel in an elephant; apparently it was a way of describing a traveling salesman's specialty. A widower continues to journey around America as he always did with his wife, until a tour bus incident sends him into a strange but somehow familiar place. The ending was a little predictable, only because the general concept has been done many times since.

"-All You Zombies-" is a twisted time travel story about a man who offers another the chance to have revenge upon the one he believes ruined his life.

"They" is about a man who seems to suffer from the solipsistic delusion that he is the only real person and everything else is an elaborate facade enacted for reasons he's yet to uncover. I read this a few years ago in a horror anthology. It's not an outright horror story in the traditional sense, but it is horrific in its philosophical implications.

"Our Fair City" is a sentimental and whimsical story that reminded me of Bradbury. A newspaper columnist teams up with a sentient whirlwind to bring down the corrupt local authority.

"-And He Built a Crooked House-" explores the perils and pitfalls of owning a four-dimensional home.

I'm still fairly new to the work of Heinlein at this point, but I really enjoyed these stories and look forward to continuing. I'll especially have my eye out for any other collections. ( )
  chaosfox | Feb 22, 2019 |
A 4, because although it's ultimately a bit familiar territory, I suspect it's the first one to trod that particular path, and it did so briskly and effectively where others meander to get to their point. This is a second read, but the first one happened quickly as a tween, and I barely remember it, so that shouldn't count. This is a quick, light read--a short novella or longish story--effectively combining a tale of private detectives with an eerie twist. Not too hard-boiled, with a pleasant camaraderie between the protagonists--hard not to like.

(Note: 5 stars = rare and amazing, 4 = quite good book, 3 = a decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. There are a lot of 4s and 3s in the world!) ( )
1 vote ashleytylerjohn | Sep 19, 2018 |
The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag Hoag determines he suffers from a daily bout of amnesia and cannot remember what he does or where he goes during the day, including how he earns his living. He hires a pair of investigators to determine this. .. Clever twist, but mostly a 'meh' story.
The Man Who Traveled in Elephants A man who spent his life on the road with his late wife visiting all kinds of fairs and exhibitions, takes a bus to a fair unlike any other he's seen before. .. Mostly a description of the incredible fair, but a lovely ending.
"All You Zombies" The story of the "Unmarried Mother" .. I've read this one before; it's been collected elsewhere quite a bit, I believe, but it's still a fun one every time.
They A man in conversation with his psychiatrist. He's convinced the world is created for his benefit alone and he's the only conscious human. All others are playacting around him for nefarious purposes. .. I wonder if the writers/creators of The Truman Show were influenced by this one? An interesting thought-experiment.
Our Fair City A newspaper writer meets a conscious whirlwind. .. Cute story, but a little confusing. This news guy has a real beef with City Hall.
"And He Built a Crooked House Architect tries to explain and then build a house that's a tesseract. .. This was a lot of fun, but I feel bad for the guy who paid for the construction. (p.s. Why does spell check not know the word Tesseract?) ( )
1 vote EmScape | Jul 12, 2018 |

I really liked this when I first read it 30 years ago, and it hadn't lost much in the intervening decades - Heinlein in fantasy mode, approaching Philip K. Dick in some ways, with the young couple at the centre of the narrative discovering that our world is very different from what they thought. ( )
  nwhyte | May 21, 2018 |
I'm not a great fan of Heinlein's and this book is much in line with his usual productions. "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" is the flagship of this convoy and is well known...I can't find any memory of the other entries here. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Oct 17, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
'In den Beginne,' verklaarde Stoles, 'was de Vogel.' Hij bedekte plotseling zijn gezicht met zijn handen; alle anderen die zich rondom de tafel geschaard hadden, deden hetzelfde. De Vogel... Randal kreeg ineens een beeld van de betekenis van die twee simpele woorden toen ze uitgesproken werden door die weerzinwekkende dikke man; geen zacht en donzig diertje maar een roofvogel met sterke vleugels, roofzuchtig - ogen die niet knipperden, bleek van kleur en starend, purperen halslellen - maar het duidelijkst zag hij de poten, vogelpoten, bedekt met gele schubben, vleesloos en met smerige klauwen...
Wat is het beroep van Jonathan Hoag? Als hem tijdens een diner die vraag wordt gesteld, weet hij het tot zijn eigen ontzetting niet. Hoag treft bovendien onder de nagels van zijn rechterhand steeds een kleverige roodbruine substantie aan waarvan hij zich de herkomst evenmin herinnert. Bloed? Ten einde raad schakelt hij Edward Randall in, een particulier detective...
added by karnoefel | editNBD/Biblion (via BOL.com)

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Heinlein, Robert A.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aldridge, AlanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bruna, DickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Engle, Robert J.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaughan, JackCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gudynas, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundgren, CarlCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Poel, W.I. Van DerCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skurski, BillCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Velez, WalterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Visser, FelixTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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- the end it is not well. From too much love of living, From hope and fear set free, We thank with brief thanksgiving Whatever gods may be that no life lives forever; That dead men rise up never; That even the weariest river Winds somewhere safe to sea. SWINBURNE
To Eugene R. Guild
First words
'Is it blood, doctor?' Jonathan Hoag moistened his lips with his tongue and leaned forward in the chair, trying to see what was written on the slip of paper the medico held.
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Book description
Includes Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag, The Man Who Traveled in Elephants, All You Zombies, They, Our Fair City, And He Built a Crooked House
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Jonathan Hoag has a curious problem. Every evening, he finds a mysterious reddish substance under his fingernails, with no memory of what he was doing during the day to get it there. Jonathan hires the husband and wife detective team of Ted and Cynthia Randall to follow him during the day and find out. But Ted and Cynthia find themselves instantly out of their depth. Jonathan leaves no fingerprints. His few memories about his profession turn out to be false. Even stranger, Ted and Cynthia's own memories of what happens during their investigation do not match. There is a thirteenth floor to Jonathan's building that does not exist, there are mysterious and threatening beings living inside mirrors, and all of reality is not what they thought it was. Part supernatural thriller, part noir detective story, Heinlein's trip down the rabbit hole leads where you never expected.… (more)

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