For starters, this was well read. Many of the titles on audible get butchered by mediocre readers. What I liked about re-visting Stranger in a Strange Land (I first read it over 20 years ago) was how much the social conventions have changed. I find it entertaining listening to a book set in the future 50 years ago (which is now our present), and thinking about how much has changed and how much hasn't. On many levels, however, the story is timeless. The individual too far ahead of their time, often suffers terribly.
This classic story begins as a galloping adventure yarn, and spirals into a mystical philosophy of life and belief that is not to be missed. I re-read it every 10 years. Valentine Michael Smith is an amazingly well realized character, and his coming of age in a strange world is joyous, full of wonder, incredibly moving, and beautifully realized. Sexy and funny and sad and joyful and wise...do yourself a favor and read this glorious book (unabridged!)
One of the best books ever written! Not just for Sci-Fi fans! Heinlein knew perfectly how to disguise satirical, social commentary with good old fashioned sci-fi story telling! And Christopher Hurt does an Excellent Job reading it!
Smoke me a kipper; I'll be back for breakfast.
There are two things that give me a unique perspective on this book that you might not find much in reviews - I am female and I didn't read this book a long time ago. Many people say they love this book but that's because they read it back in the day and can't see it unbiased.
There are many books that were important in their time because they pushed scientific viewpoints, social norms, and the like. I believe what makes this book so hard to judge is that it really was edgy and challenging during its time. I'm afraid that the shine has really worn off and in current society this book really isn't much to feel excited by.
This book definitely had potential if it would have focused more on the "man from Mars" and maybe delved more into Martian culture. Some of this is definitely present and I enjoyed that. I also enjoyed the religious parts of the book. Nothing like a crazy cult or two and very strange belief systems to poke fun or even provide meaningful commentary.
The reason I wasn't that thrilled with this book is mostly that it was so long and boring. And this is coming from someone who has read a lot of GRR Martin. Think of it this way - during this period, sci-fi authors were mostly legit scientific visionaries that then decided to write. Nowadays we have more authors that can write well and we definitely suffer for the interesting ideas not being there. So you have an author that isn't technically that good of a writer for this book. There is far too much dialogue and little forwards the themes. The author has the annoying habit of making everyone say "huh?" as a device to get the current speaker to get to say more. Another issue is that there are very few types of personalities. There is one type for males, one for females, and then the unique man from Mars.
There are two warnings to give on this book. One is that there is a "healthy" dose of casual sex in this book. It gets very boring to hear about the exact way each person kisses and who all is banging who all. He also puts in a sex cult so then it gets even more annoying. I guess he was trying to be all 60's free-love before it was hip (good use of forward thinking?).
Warning two is that this book is sexist. If you get squeemish by such things you should probably read a different book. The women are mostly useful as cooks, secretaries, nurses, and sex prophetesses (true story!). There are many bottoms smacked. Men talk to women like they are children. Women faint after kissing. You get the idea. Yes, yes, during that time people wouldn't have cared, but let's be honest, now it's annoying.
I just think that if you want to read period sci-fi there's much better choices. I do believe people that it was significant and important during its time but I think it's time to retire this tired book.
I would recommend that you choose a non-audiobook version. It was suggested to me that a better choice might be an e-book or regular book as then you can easily skip the rambling parts.
After listening to this, a part of me wanted to like it, but another part couldn't get over the blatant misogyny. At its heart this story is a passion play sci-fi style, and while it may have challenged audiences of its day with a profound and hard-to-swallow notion regarding human sexuality, today it's sadly aged. Add in terrible quality audio (I swear I could hear a dog barking in the background at times) and you have a recipe for one frustrating experience. If you're patient, well versed in 50s era telephony and gadgetry, then perhaps you'll walk away with a tear in your eye and a feeling that the world is poorer without Valentine Michael Smith. Otherwise, you'd better give this a pass. You'll just walk away feeling like you've been lectured to for hours by a balding man who has all the right answers and chip on his shoulder.
First off, the recording quality on this book is poor for some reason. I've never had this happen before with Audible.
Second, the book is long winded and not very interesting. Very little happens other than a know-it-all character arguing everyone into submission.
Sorry, I didn't care for it.
When I first read Stranger in a Strange Land, I needed a few days to absorb it and figure out where it stood in my "favorites" list. It's one of the few books that has actually influenced my life on a noticeable scale, and as such, I wasn't sure I would allow myself to enjoy the audiobook. If I have previously read a book and loved it, I'm a lot more critical of the choice of the narrator when it's read or dramatized.
I have also listened to a number of audiobooks and have developed an attachment to certain narrators (Stephen Briggs' Discworld narrations over other Discworld narrators, for example) and am a bit of a "quality" snob.
In my opinion, this is a very well done audiobook. The quality is somewhat gruff, but I insist this fits the book. The narrator's performance of beloved characters is stellar and I would definitely recommend it, with the caveat that you should give it a few minutes to adjust, if you're used to crisp and clean audio quality.
I firmly am in the "timeless classic" camp. This is a book of tremendous import, but also one that is witty, clever, inventive and insightful. This is a nice audio performance; restrained enough that it doesn't get in the way of the work itself. You simply must read this book.