E. C. “Scar” Gordon was on the French Riviera recovering from a tour of combat in Southeast Asia, but he hadn’t given up his habit of scanning the personals in the newspaper. One ad in particular leapt out at him: "Are you a coward? This is not for you. We badly need a brave man. He must be 23 to 25 years old, in perfect health, at least six feet tall, weigh about 190 pounds, fluent English with some French, proficient with all weapons, some knowledge of engineering and mathematics essential, willing to travel, no family or emotional ties, indomitably courageous and handsome of face and figure. Permanent employment, very high pay, glorious adventure, great danger. You must apply in person, 17 rue Dante, Nice, 2me étage, apt. D."
How could you not answer an ad like that, especially when it seemed to describe you perfectly? Well, except maybe for the “handsome” part, but that was in the eye of the beholder anyway. So he went to that apartment and was greeted by the most beautiful woman he’d ever met. She seemed to have many names but agreed he could call her Star. A pretty appropriate name, as it turned out, for the empress of twenty universes. And she sends him on the adventure of a lifetime.
Robert A. Heinlein’s one true fantasy novel, Glory Road is as much fun today as when he wrote it after Stranger in a Strange Land. Heinlein proves himself as adept with sword and sorcery as with rockets and slide rules, and the result is exciting, satirical, fast-paced, funny, and tremendously readable - a favorite of all who have read it. Glory Road is a masterpiece of escapist entertainment with a typically Heinleinian sting in its tail.
Robert A. Heinlein (1907–1988) was the dominant science fiction writer of the modern era, a writer whose influence on the field was immense. He won science fiction’s Hugo Award for best novel four times.
©1963 Robert A. Heinlein; renewed 1991 by Virginia Heinlein; 2003 by the Robert A. & Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust; Afterword 1979, 1984 by Samuel R. Delany (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“A triumph.”(Chicago Tribune)
“Glory Road maintains a delicacy, a bravura, and a joy that not only are notable, but clearly consign it to his heptology of major SF novels.” (Samuel R. Delany, American author and literary critic)
This is a great book. I've been wishing for a long time that Audible would get it. I've read it over and over again through the years, and I'm happy to say that now I'll be able to listen to it over and over again because Bronson Pinchot does a wonderful job with the characters' voices.
I'm not sure that this is really a fantasy. It has swords and seems to have sorcery, but the magic gets explained in such a way that it seems to (almost) be advanced science. But it has the feel of fantasy. If Heinlein wrote this book today, the publisher would have insisted on a 20-book series, and I truly think our hero Oscar Gordon could have provided it to us.
Heinlein was born more than a hundred years ago, and attitudes toward male/female relations were different then. But just as we do not hold Shakespeare or Homer to 21st Century societal norms, so we must give Heinlein a pass here as well. He was trying.
I think that any young man who likes science fiction or fantasy will like this adventure story. And I think that women who can release their grip on modern feminism for the space of a few hours will like it as well.
Get this book.
Unlike many Heinlein fans, I have loved "Glory Road" since I read it as a teenager. At that time, I had just read "The Lord of the Rings" and was delighted by what I saw as a beautiful fantasy adventure that wasn't quite so heavy and thoughtful.
WRONG. It's just as topical and political and sneaky about making one think as any of Heinlein's books... but more about that later. Suffice to say that E. C. "Oscar" Gordon (and why anyone would name a little baby boy Evelyn Cyril is beyond this writer; though my given name is also Evelyn I'm at least FEMALE) became a voice in my head as the competent, reluctant -- or not so reluctant -- hero, one I always remembered, and the book a sentimental favorite.
I adore Audible books, but often the casting is not to my preference. Hazard of the trade, I guess. The wonder is, after a few moments, Bronson Pinchot, an actor I've always liked but wrongly considered something of a lightweight, BECAME the voice of Oscar in my head. Pinchot's command of narrative, dialogue, nuance, and, yes, dialect, made this story come alive for me as never before. I could close my eyes and be THERE; his reading gave it an immediacy that I seldom get from **any** production, audio, video, or otherwise. I wonder if he's a fan?
Reading "Glory Road" time and again over many years, I have come to see the craft that seemed so effortless the first time through. Heinlein was current with not only the time he wrote this classic (1962 or thereabouts) but with the time I read it, in the early 1970s with the war in Southeast Asia still going on in its bloodiest, most nonsensical glory (yeah, folks, get over it, I AM that old). And sadly, he was correct about how "non-veterans" got treated after that war for many years.
I'm off to find more of Mr. Pinchot's audiobooks. I recommend this for fans of Heinlein, sword and sorcery, and just plain good acting and narration of a book. I had a whale of a lot of fun listening to it, and I'll bet you will, too. It's worth the time.
One of my favorite books, it's Heinlein’s homage to Edgar Rice Burrough -
full of the swashbuckling, macho, romantic ideals of ERBs Barsoom (John Carter/Mars) series (including the silly romantic banter).
Heinlein’s witty, insightful, and caustic (at times) commentary on the military and the Vietnam War in particular are spot-on. The off Earth adventures are over-the-top, filled with sword fights and monsters. The character development is good, especially the grudging respect that grows between Oscar and Rufo.
All in all it is just plain fun and well worth the listen.
Any Heinlein fan would find this novel enjoyable. While his only fantasy, most of the technology in this book was explained as science and not magic. The character creation and word play is vintage Heinlein.
The only complaint I have on the reader is that the volume on the primary female character, Star, drops off considerably from the other characters. When you're listening in a convertible, it means cranking up the volume.
Heinlein first published this book 50 years ago this year and it's been 40 since I first read it. While some people feel that the interplay between the sexes has changed so much in the intervening decades, I note them and enjoy seeing how much has changed. Surprisingly, these distracters never criticize Dickens, Wells, Dumas, or Bronte for their writing in their own milieus.
Heinlein is known for his strong feminine characters (based loosely on his wife Victoria). The hero in this novel, like many of Heinlein's, could not succeed without the assistant of the primary female character.
The characters are colorful and sharp. Classic Heinlein.
Oscar is exactly what I would expect from a Heinlein hero.
I was pleasantly surprised by Bronson Pinchot's narration. With one exception I love what he did with the characters in this book. I was a bit bothered at first by the fact that he gave Rufo a french accent. But it didn't take long to get used to it.
I read this book as a young adult and it's just as much fun now as it was then. A good ride!
I've had this book in my Amazon wishlist for a long time as I've heard a lot of good things about it and read the great reviews. So I was happy when I saw it was available on Audible and gave it a listen.
I don't know exactly what to say other than I just found the book kind of silly and juvenile for the most part. Very disappointing, because the first chapters of the book about Gordon's life and path to Vietnam were really good. It really lost me almost immediately as soon as the story leaves Earth.
I have a feeling my problem with this book is that it was written in 1964 or whatever and just doesn't hold up as well for a first time reader. Its like being a fan of the original Battlestar Galactica and remembering how great it was when you were a kid. But if you show it to your kid today, they likely wouldn't see it the same way.
I hate to bash the book as it clearly has a lot of fans who love it. My comment is just that if you're like me and you've grown up reading Gibson or Stephenson or more contemporary sci-fi writers, you might find this a little unsophisticated.
Bronson Pinchot's narration was pretty awesome though.
Every time the hero stumbled over a custom or situation which was strange to him, I enjoyed "watching" him decide how to respond and what questions to ask to get enough information to really understand what was happening.
Although I've been reading Heinlein for years, I didn't actually remember this story. I truly enjoyed the experience.
Fire Training & Fire Prevention Officer, Safety Training and Safety Consulting. Do a lot of listening while traveling.
Swashbuckling hero, beautiful heroine, fantastic story.
Great challenges to overcome, struggling against nearly impossible odds and yet succeeding.
The final battle with the "Eater of Souls"
This is a good yarn in the "Space Opera" tradition. Heinlein gives a good introduction beginning with a Viet Nam vet being discharged (and how he felt at the time) that almost had me believing I was listening to a different book ( a memoir). Then the fun begins. "Hero Wanted" the ad says. The story is a good middle years Heinlein with the beginnings of the philosophy he more fully elaborated in "Stranger in a Strange Land" and "The Cat Who Walls Through Walls".It is fantasy high adventure and I remember reading it in 1963 or '64 to keep from studying organic chemistry. The "Hero" must save the maiden by rescuing the "egg" and restore balance to the universe. A ripping good yarn but it begins to falter at the end just a bit. Heinlein saves it and it is surely worth a listen . The narrator uses some voices that are difficult for me to hear (but anything is difficult for me to hear on some days) but generally give s good performance. A good choice if you are looking for some "high adventure" with a little Heinlein philosophy thrown into the mix. Heinlein philosophy is always worth the read and the story is good too.
I've been a fan of fantasy and science fiction since childhhood. I kind burned out on sci-fi and now stick mainly to fantasy.
I preface this with the fact that I am a huge Heinlein fan. This book is a turd. The concept is really cool and interesting but poorly executed at best. This book would have needed a complete re-write to be acceptable. As the author is dead that isn't going to happen. I have to say this is one of the few books by the author I do not like.
All of them. I don't like his TV and movie work but Bronson Pinchot is a genius at narrarating audiobooks.
Really this story is more like a draft than a completed work. I'd keep the main concept and the first few chapters and scrap the rest.
Heinlein is one of the most prolific authors of all time the fact that this is one of the few stinkers he ever wrote is a testament to how talented the guy was. You can't hit a home run all the time but most anything else he wrote is excellent.
"Enjoyable reading of perhaps Heinlein’s best book"
I first read “Glory Road” in 1963 when it was serialized in “The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction”. I subsequently bought the book in paperback and, carrying it with me around the world, reread it several times. I think “Glory Road” is one of the few Heinlein books that doesn’t suffer quite so much from the author’s penchant for taking a story so far and then not knowing what to do with it while his sometimes obstreperous libertarianism is not quite so grating here. “Glory Road” consists of two distinct parts: the first is a thoroughly fabulous, swashbuckling “Quest”; the second is a rather insightful examination of the mundane, “real-world” consequences of having undertaken and completed The Quest. It spoke directly to me both before and after becoming an expat.
I know the book very well in other words (I have parts of it memorized) and it was with some trepidation that I bought the audiobook version. I was not disappointed. Bronson Pinchot is an accomplished voice actor. (How many people know/remember that he played “Balki Bartokomous” in the mid-80s/early-90s US sitcom “Perfect Strangers”?). His characterizations (especially of the supporting roles) are a joy to listen to. Admittedly his “Star” is not what I imagined her (he makes her sound like a sultry Doris Day) and his Rufo wanders sometimes disconcertingly between Peter Lorre and Pepe Le Pew. Nevertheless his voice acting makes a huge contribution to the enjoyment of this production, which is much more satisfying that any straightforward reading could have been.
Highly recommended as an enjoyable reading of what may be Heinlein’s best book.
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