This book was written for those of us who grew up checking cereal boxes, just in case, because smart girls need spacesuits too! About a year ago I begged Audible for this book. Let's face it, we aren't getting any younger, and no large print editions were available. Experiencing this book in audio is truly a wild ride in the Gay Deceiver as it should be done, voice and ears only! This is a MUST LISTEN for Heinlein fans.
Dr. Christopher W. Roberts Ph.d I am a Computer Geek working around the U.S. and the world. I have a lot of Air miles to listen to audible titles.
The sory in this book besides a homage to the authors of the golden age of SF & F is the ultimate multiverse story. The two following novels form RAH "The cat who walks through walls" which also has the prerequisite of "The Moon is a harsh mistress" the novel "to sail beyond the sunset" is also based on the result of this book. A must listen for Hienlien fans.
The performance is interesting, with the round-robin of narrators reading the chapters as told from the various characters' points of view, and the narrators do very good jobs, but it's ultimately Heinlein himself who lets us down. The concept of the story is good, but the story itself is just a hot mess. Jerry Pournelle once said that Heinlein's biggest problem was that he became too big to edit, and this story is proof of that statement.
As Pure Story It was beyond bad. I almost tossed my hard copy of it into a recycle bin so that, if someone stumbled on it in a used book store or library, it wouldn't be on my account and my conscience would be clear. The characters and their dialogue are so tiresome as to bore Prometheus on his rock. It's inane, sexist, verbose, And Ayn Randishly right wing. I tried reading it as a teenager and found it too preposterous even then. I thought, with age and an audio version, I might be able to appreciate something I missed. I didn't until I thought about it. This is a textbook displaying everything you don't do in writing. When you watch a bit though.... When the "Black Hats" show up, while the Odious main characters are blathering away, you will find examples of excellent writing happening in the background. I think It's a practical joke, and many sci fi forums seem to agree. The talent here lies in how Heinlein could write a brilliant premise so abysmally.
Added an introduction with some hint at, what I think, was the actual intent...Or written a separate textbook and burned the manuscript for this one.
Sure. the narrators aren't at fault for the writing.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My head hurts to think of it.
A Science Fiction fan since I could read.. and to a lesser degree Fantasy.... I however enjoy many types of books......
"Read the paperback as a teenager. Now in my late 40's forgot what a long convoluted and ultimately unsatisfactory story."
Great performances but this story doesn't really translate to audio. Better in print. The huge amount of dialogue between characters becomes very tedious.
This fits in well with Heinleins other later works. I first read it a long time ago, possibly when it came out.
It is the story of four or five people. They are all very clever but also impressively individualistic (selfish) and have some rather bizarre personal politics .
On fact, all of Heinleins books show his politics to be right wing and libertarian, in the US usage of the term.
As a child, I never noticed the politics of this excellent story and would recommend it.
You might benefit from having read some of his earlier books first though.
The voices were wrong, IMHO. Zeb's voice was too old, Jake, not "professor-ish" enough. The story, for me, was strong enough to overcome, but the voices were distracting.
To start with I've enjoyed everything from this author so far. I did not know that this book was part of a series. Saying that, the book is wonderful until the main characters meet the characters from the series other books. The book just looses focus, and goes off in unentertaining ways. The book never recovers.
Elderly Republican men and time-traveling bit players from 1950's romantic comedies, or perhaps teen-age boys whose parents are too strict to let them read anything written after 1970.
As I don't know which was which, I probably won't risk it. Most of them were fine, just two were grating -- and one might have been overacting a part even *she* was too irritated by to read straight.
I loved Heinlein when I was a teenager, 40 years ago. I dismissed the feminist critics who claimed his women characters were products of misogyny -- as I still do. Nonetheless, pneumatic multilingual sex kittens with PhD's in Math get wearisome. I made the mistake of trying to read both this (The Number of the Beast) and Time Enough for Love at the same time, and overdosed. Between RAH's unfathomable pregnancy fetish and the endless bickering of the married characters, the pouting coyness (or coy poutiness?) of one of the female readers and the wheezing of one of the men, I couldn't finish it. I hate returning books -- I always think, "well, I'll give it another try," but not this one. I can re-read Starship Troopers one more time and remember why I loved this writer. Now I realize what made it so great -- no women at all for Heinlein to portray in his singularly bizarre way.
Heinlein 's women where always written light in the personality heavy in the loins. When narrators voice there woman to sound like a fawning dits, those characters collapse completely.