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William

Nyack, NY, United States | Member Since 2004

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  • Stranger in a Strange Land

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2742)
    Performance
    (1300)
    Story
    (1322)

    Stranger in a Strange Land tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, an earthling born and educated on Mars, who arrives on Earth with superhuman powers and a total ignorance of the mores of man. Smith is destined to become a freak, a media commodity, a scam artist, a searcher, and finally, a messiah.

    Harris says: "A Parable for the Ages"
    "We live in the world this book made"
    Overall

    Will you find this book boring? You may if: you expect all science fiction to be about action, aliens, spaceships, violence, and bizarre sex; if you don't have the patience to listen to a conversation about ideas; if you don't know what the American world-view was like when the book was written.

    SIASL was written before the sexual revolution began, before cynicism about our government was popular, when mainstream religious thought was considered above criticism. I don't say this novel was solely responsible for changing the world, but it was part of the spark that began that change. In the post-Watergate, post-Pill, post-Sun-Myung-Moon era, it's hard for some folks to see the stunning impact the book had. Now we've had communes and religions that were formed based on the ideas in this book. We live in the world that this book helped to make; it's hard to be shocked by it anymore.

    But the ideas remain, and they're still thought-provoking. Could the religion described in the book actually exist? There now is a real Church of All Worlds; clearly, their members think so.

    I admit the book shows its age. Heinlein's attitudes towards homosexuality would change over the next couple of decades; the book's views on that and on drug use are stuck in the 1960's. But all works are products of their times, and this one fine story for those who choose to listen.

    A special mention for the reader, Christopher Hurt, who does an excellent job with his voice work.

    20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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