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
As other listeners below experienced, I at first found the sound quality too poor for listening, but I downloaded the book again when Enhanced format became available, and the audio quality problems disappeared.
Although written over forty years ago this semi sci-fi still rings true today. While it tells the story of an earthling born on Mars who returns to Earth, it is really a parable on many of our social mores. The author has a sharp knife. He doesn't spare government, religion, the media, sexual proclivities or law enforcement. Our Martian sic earthing is the reluctant "deus ex machina" using his extra terrestrial powers to right wrongs and showing us "Gods" way. While similar plots have been use in numerous Hollywood movies over the last several decades, the book is still interesting and worth listening to.
SiaSL is one of the few books that I grab a copy of whenever I go into a second hand book store to be given away to anyone who shows an interest. It is also the first Audible book I downloaded. It is classified as a Sci-Fi book but it is much harder to easily describe such a fine book. It is a commentary on the human race and our traditions from the perspective of an insightful outsider. Religion is the most obvious and controversial issue. It was actually banned in some states from public libraries and schools because of this fact. It is not a religion bashing book howeever, it just makes you think about things that so many take for granted. I strongly reccommend this book for those that are looking for powerful, likeable characters and insights that only a genius could create. (I have tried to read his other books but am not a big fan of hardcore sci-fi books. Take a chance and learn to Grok your life in a whole new way!
The narration was excellent. Just excellent.
I particularly enjoyed the personality of the characters.
The narrator did exactly what he was supposed to do: Read the text while adding just the right amount of emotion without becoming annoying. It's not easy to find a voice that you can listen to for 16 hours.
I laughed often at the wit of the characters.
Excellent book, I highly recommend.
OK, this book is now a little dated, but it's still a classic; I remember being shocked by the views on religion and sex. Now, not so much. But Christopher Hurt is a wonderful narrator, and brings the characters to life. Great fun.
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.
It was a pleasure to hear, thirty years later, a book I loved to read so much in my teens. A bit dated, perhaps, but not badly so. It stills says a lot about society in general. The narrator was excellent, so much so as to add quite a lot to a story I already knew. I would listen to a book narrated by him just on his talents alone. I suppose you are either a Heinlein fan or you are not...I am.
You will not regret downloading this one. The narrator is highly skilled at his craft and the story considered Heinlein's best in many quarters. This consideration is deserved. The story is compelling, the pacing strong, and the plot thought provoking and entertaining.
Possible one of the 10 ten books available in all of audible library.
The premise of an earthling born on Mars, raised by Martians and then returned to earth is wonderful. You get some idea of what that unused part of the human brain might be able to do with a little training.
Do not expect ray guns or your usual Space Western. This is, in my opinion, a very dogmatic novel. The views expressed can spur you to think about many aspects of politics, religion, culture and the like in different ways if you lean to being introspective. That is the books greatest strength or weakness.
I read this book 20 years ago and really liked it. I felt enough time had passed that it wouldn't be boring. Glad to say I was right.
If you like Heinlen you'll love this book, it's a great story and brings up many fascinating concepts.
The narration is excellent. The narrator does a great job of playing the different characters.
This is a must listen for science fiction fans.
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.
"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.
"Past its sell by date"
Sorry everyone - This book does not hold its age well / plus the production is appalling
"a classic tale"
Robert Hienlein at his best. An amazing story. well told and acted.
a must read
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.
"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.
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.
"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.
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