I enjoyed The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and I usually like fantasy more than sci-fi, so I thought I'd try Glory Road. The story is moderately interesting in the beginning when it's set on earth. But as soon as the fantasy elements show up, it gets bland. It's as if Heinlein thought that by writing fantasy instead of science fiction, he never had to think very hard about why anything happened.
As I read on, the sexism became harder and harder tolerate, and eventually I had to give up. The casual racism also makes the book hard to read. I know the book is a product of its time, but there are plenty of books from the same era that are much less problematic.
Some sections were so well written that I was compelled to keep going, others sections were simply arduous. The underlying sexism was appalling and reminded me of Barbarella, another "gem" from the sixties.
It starts off very good with an interesting concept and interesting characters. Around about the middle the characters start to become more one dimensional and the narrative starts to get quite preachy. Also after while the performers Ah shucks accent starts to wear on your nerves.
My preference for a good story is something totally unusual and not run of the mill stuff. Give me something I haven't heard before.
Heinlein must have slipped into some 'babbling' storyline in his head that seemed to just ... BABBLE. It was OK but really wordy. I liked the voice of the main character but not some of the other characters. Pinchot, you do a bad girl and bad French accent. Maybe that's a good thing, but not while listening to this story. All that wordiness coupled with some of the bad character voices made this story a bit annoying as time went on.
It's one thing to want to get to the end to find out what happened, it's another to want to get to the end so you can go on to something better to listen to.
Glory Road Review
Bronson Pinchot is absolutely amazing, changing his volume, tone, & speed to accurately portray the emotional content stated or implied by the author. I want to hear more read by him because it is read by him. His performance could make a bad story great.
As for the story, this is another Heinlein novel, describing his view of correct morality, justice, propriety, and politics that made him a controversial and star storyteller. I enjoyed the adventure and was drawn into the philosophical discussion. But, ultimately, the message is that there is nothing more than this life, so eat, drink, & be merry, or find your own passion and live for that, for that is all there is to this life, and all we should hope for is that science will advance enough to extend one's merriment for as long as one should desire to endure it, and social and political customs will change to allow for individual pursuit of hedonism without interference from others.
Glory Road is a fantasy-esque story with a tip of the hat to science fiction when it comes to "explaining" magic and the evolution of dragons. It's not really more than a hat-tip and it's all very hand-wavey with regard to details but it added a little more depth to the universe and I liked it.
The story follows a young man, honorably discharged from the army after being injured in the Vietnam War, as he tries to work out what to do next (in as cushy a manner as possible). There's a bit of a run-up as the setting is explained and the hero's background suitably elaborated upon and then the story leaps head-first into a full-on fantasy adventure. This carries on until about two-thirds of the way through when the next thing happens but I'm not going to mention what exactly because that's kind of the point of reading and I hate when people spoil things for me.
This all sounds pretty good but there were several things that basically ruined this book for me. The main issue is the male protagonists attitude regarding members of the opposite sex. There's nothing inherently wrong with having an extremely misogynistic character in a book, and a book published in 1963 perhaps needs to be read with that time-period in mind. By itself, this wouldn't necessarily be a show-stopper but the thing that made this so unforgivable and jarring was the initial setup of a very, very strong female protagonist who turns into a whimpering, fawning mess whenever Sir Protagonist so much as raises his eyebrows. It just made no sense. Added to that are several other vital plot-points that also just make no sense, and the fact that the book seems to be 2-parts fantasy/adventure as a setup for the following 1-part lecture/diatribe on the ills of the world according to the author.
I probably wouldn't recommend anyone read this, award-winning classic or not.
Mr Pinchot does a fabulous job of voicing the characters (although I admit to getting a little annoyed by the drawn out "sheeeeee" pronunciation whenever Rufo mentioned Star).
One other thing to note, although the Afterword by Samuel Delany is mentioned in the copyright, it is not included in this recording.
Free Love enthusiastics and people that prefer to 'get off' on things implied more then the graghic detail.
The soap boxed free love scenes.
Basically you have an adult wizard of oz type book on the surface. Wierd natural laws allowing for wierd solutions to wierd problems. And lots and lots of unerotic sex. Free love is ultimately the real moral of the book. And that anything that inhibits the desire for free love is wrong. This is not to say this is an erotic book, no, nor is this just the autrhor squeezing in his own beliefs or fantasies. I mean I had to stop around chapters 9 or 10 because the characters were literally monologung about the virtues of free love and how strange and immoral prudism is. And it was boring. And even before this so much time was spent describing the women, and the main character's struggle to not indulge that that I was getting exasperated with the boredom. There were some witty remarks to keep it entertaining, some worthwhile comic relief and even a few though not long or common, but a few entertaining action scenes. But ultimately the repeated pounding of the message of 'IF TWO OR THREE PEOPLE ARE ATTRACTED TO EACH OTHER THEY SHOULD HAVE SEX! ITS STUPID AND WRONG FOR ANY CUSTOM THAT PREVENTS THIS! AND EVERYONE IS HAPPIER WHEN YOU ALLOW IT!' That it just became so boring I could no longer listen to it.
loved the book. the audio narration is better than what was in my head. the book was brought to life very well I think Bronson P. "gets" Heinlein and his sense of humor and seriousness in perfect balance.