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Stranger in a Strange Land | [Robert A. Heinlein]

Stranger in a Strange Land

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.
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Publisher's Summary

Valentine Michael Smith, an earthling born and educated on Mars, arrives on Earth with superhuman powers and a total ignorance of the mores of man. On his new planet, Smith is destined to become a freak, a media commodity, a scam artist, a searcher, a sexual pioneer, a neon evangelist, a martyr, and, finally, a messiah. Stranger in a Strange Land is the most famous science fiction novel ever written. It became the bible of the "love generation" and transcended the genre to achieve the status of a modern classic.

©1961 by Robert A. Heinlein; (P)1996 by Blackstone Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award, 1962

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (3328 )
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4.4 (1832 )
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Performance
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  •  
    M3 Monterey, CA 04-12-13
    M3 Monterey, CA 04-12-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Showing its Age, but Still a Good Read"

    Grabbed this book because I read and enjoyed Starship Troopers so much. I figured an author that managed a successful marriage of real-world military experience, leadership lessons, and science fiction deserved more of my attention. I readily identified with Starship Troopers because much of it mirrors my experience (except fighting bugs - I never fought bugs).

    SIASL is a different animal. This book moved far away from the personal military narrative that was Starship Troopers and began to delve into personal relationships, religion, sexuality, and intergalactic law. This may be familiar territory for some, and granted, the entire story takes place on earth, but the story doesn't cover the same timeless ideas that Starship Troopers does. Summarily, SIASL is showing its age.

    It is worth saying that many of Heinlein's predictions about these areas have come true, and it is amusing to read them through the eyes of the story's main character. However, the main character's ties to Mars are essentially the only science fiction aspect, and the gist of the story reminds me of many "character out of place" stories pushed out by Hollywood, and the resulting confusion/ hilarity that ensues. This story is heavy on the confusion, and low on the hilarity.

    Bright points include the author's assessment of megachurches, which figure prominentely in the story, and the main character's assessment of the effectiveness of tying one's shoes together vs. tying them correctly: "One way holds the shoes on the feet. The other way is only good for lying down." The performance is also a high point - the reader personifies a wide variety of characters with a high degree of effectiveness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill provincetown, ma, United States 03-08-13
    Bill provincetown, ma, United States 03-08-13

    I like horror, science fiction, transgressive writing, and some nonfiction.

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    "a classic and certainly cutting edge for its time"

    I think this novel could have ended about 2/3 of the way through and I would have been happy. The final section was a bit pedantic for me, but I can certainly appreciate it as the classic it is.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kara Durham, NC, United States 02-22-13
    Kara Durham, NC, United States 02-22-13 Member Since 2014
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    4
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    "Great story + social commentary = awesome sci-fi!!"
    Where does Stranger in a Strange Land rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the top 5 - it's an excellent book! I'm pretty selective with the books that I read, so it's not unusual for the books I read to be classics that have been tested by time. But this one is above and beyond.


    What other book might you compare Stranger in a Strange Land to and why?

    Honestly, I think it's impossible to compare this book to anything else - it stands in a class by itself.


    What about Christopher Hurt’s performance did you like?

    He was able to give each character its own voice, which is hard to do when you are the only narrator and there are lots of very distinctive characters in this book!! The best voice he did was Jubal Harshaw - just exactly how I would picture this character talking in real life.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Get ready to forget everything you thought you knew about the human race.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margo 01-07-13
    Margo 01-07-13
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    "A Book That Could Change The World!"
    What made the experience of listening to Stranger in a Strange Land the most enjoyable?

    It was a richer experience with someone reading it to me instead of me reading it myself. I had read it twice before.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The ending which I finally understood.


    Which character – as performed by Christopher Hurt – was your favorite?

    Juble.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The ending.


    Any additional comments?

    It is a deep book with lots of meaning. Worth the listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ginny 12-11-12
    Ginny 12-11-12
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    "Loved it then, love it better now."

    Read this in the 70s. Like it much bettter when I can "hear" the character. Great performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phyllis 11-28-12
    Phyllis 11-28-12 Listener Since 2007

    5 stars - books that I will listen to again and again. 4 stars - books that I might listen to again someday. 3 stars - books that I probably won't listen to again. 2 stars - books that I know I will never listen to again. 1 star - books that I should have never listened to in the first place.

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    "Classic Science Fiction, A Must For Any Generation"

    Okay, the story is a bit dated by today's standards. However with that being said, this is one of those books that if you were forced to read it in high school, you may truly enjoy listening to this audible version as I did. Christopher Hurt's narration was wonderful and made this book better than I had remembered it to be.

    Worth every penny and minute of my time invested.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dale United States 11-13-12
    Dale United States 11-13-12 Member Since 2012
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    "All in all, pretty good"

    The premise and underlying point of the story was interesting, but there was a lot of people sitting around talking to each other about philosophy, which tended to be kind of boring. Not much actually happened throughout the book. The narrator did a good job of differentiating all the voices and expressing characters' moods. All in all, it was pretty good, but I wouldn't say it was one of my favorites.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cameron janetville, ON, Canada 11-12-12
    Cameron janetville, ON, Canada 11-12-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "amazing"
    Would you listen to Stranger in a Strange Land again? Why?

    This is one of the best books I have ever read. The narration was superb and the story was amazing. Its a very deep book a definate read again.


    Which character – as performed by Christopher Hurt – was your favorite?

    Juble for sure


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Montclair, NJ, United States 11-07-12
    Michael Montclair, NJ, United States 11-07-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I don't Get the appeal"
    Any additional comments?

    Maybe i'm just dense...but i just don't get the appeal & fanfare. i kept reading what a life changer this book was, what a comment on society, etc...i just found most of it annoying.
    initially i really liked the 1950/60's feel of it, it made me nostalgic for Sam Spade. but after a while it all just seemed like a lecture on all of the ills of society.
    I get rather tired of SciFi authors whining about our shortcomings through the voice of their story. But where i really gave up was when the author didn't only imply but comes out & stated that most women who are raped are asking for it, i had to stop listening!
    I couldn't recommend this story to anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Glens Falls, NY, United States 11-03-12
    William Glens Falls, NY, United States 11-03-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Characters and insightful dialogue"
    What made the experience of listening to Stranger in a Strange Land the most enjoyable?

    Human psyche inspected in a twisted tale by a genius of a character


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Stranger in a Strange Land?

    Jen and Micheal Smith have their first encounter and find "God"


    Which character – as performed by Christopher Hurt – was your favorite?

    Dr. Hershaw, the character made the book great and Christopher Hurt pulled it off with great detail.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, if only I had no responsibilities and could drift through this world in a sea of books and great movies.


    Any additional comments?

    Can't wait to read more of Heinlein

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Mike
    UckfieldUnited Kingdom
    2/16/07
    Overall
    "First Class"

    Unlike the other reviewer I felt that this was extremely thought provoking and it does stand the test of time very well. Clearly from a scientrific perspective some aspects do not hold up today but generally I felt the points being made are as relevant as ever and the story is well told and compelling.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    London, United Kingdom
    1/31/07
    Overall
    "a clasic SF"

    Knowing that the book was written some time ago I accept, but I was not pleased that is sounds as if it was recorded from an old 78 record. This I found detracted from the enjoyment of listening to a book that I had read a long time ago. I hope that this may in some part prepare future buyers of what they are getting.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • David
    heswall, wirral, United Kingdom
    8/14/06
    Overall
    "Past its sell by date"

    Sorry everyone - This book does not hold its age well / plus the production is appalling

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    London, United Kingdom
    12/24/12
    Overall
    "Very Enjoyable"

    Sci Fi written in the 50s can always be hard work. You have to over look the predictions of the authors future which didn't come true. With Sci Fi I'm all about the story and this is a classic. Essentially this is about a modern day Jesus Christ and how society reacts to him.



    Great stuff.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Patrick
    Thurles, Ireland
    6/21/11
    Overall
    "A great book and one that’s still relevant today."

    I first read this book way back in the early 1970s; in fact, it was my first proper read of any book at the time so there's always going to be a sense of nostalgia associated with it. The story is multifaceted but is told in a simple, straight-forward manner which makes it easy to follow and understand. In this audio version the narrator does a fine job with all the different accents and really helps it all comes to life.

    For me it is a classic in its own right and even though it seems not to hold up to more modern novels it nonetheless captures how Science Fiction was approached back in the 60s.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tashifan
    3/29/09
    Overall
    "Positive"

    I have really enjoyed this book and unlike some other reviewers, liked the production. A strange echoing recording that added to the story. I found I kept listening, even though I had returned home from dog walk or tube journey.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    Welwyn, United Kingdom
    12/27/08
    Overall
    "Getting used to the voice"

    I initially found the narrator's voice most off-putting but slowly the story came through. This book saw me through the first few cold dark months of walking the dog pre-dawn or post-dusk. It is a marathon listen and sounds very dated now but I still enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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