When a stranger attempting to deliver a cryptic message is shot dead at his dinner table, Ames is thrown headfirst into danger, intrigue, and other dimensions where Lazarus Long still thrives, where Jubal Harshaw lives surrounded by beautiful women, and where a daring plot to rescue the sentient computer called Mike can change the direction of all human history.
©1985 Robert Heinlein; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio
"Dialogue as witty as Oscar Wilde's, action as rollicking as Edgar Rice Burroughs', and satire as spicy as Jonathan Swift's." (New York Times)
I love this book, and decided to try it as an audiobook. I have to say, I was somewhat disappointed from a production standpoint. When reading the book, the dialogue sounds witty and bantering, yet very literate - when read aloud, it often sounds stilted (In fairness, I have not heard another reader attempt this, so cannot say whether this is the writing not translating to spoken word or poor presentation on the part of the narrator). I was somewhat underwhelmed by the emotional range shown by the narrator. Additionally, anyone who has read Heinlein knows that he comments on the "tall corn, rusty Midwest" accents. Unfortunately, the narrator takes this to extreme, with most character's voices representing some variant of "hick accent". Having listened to Lloyd James' presentation of "Moon Is A Harsh Mistress", I wished he had been available for this one as well.
This is an abridged version. Having read the paperback version of The Cat Who Walks though Wall several times I can understand why people give this version such a bad review. This supposedly unabridged reading goes from one scene to another leaving out serval paragraphs that where in the original paperback version. Save your Audible credits and spend your money on the paperback, you will enjoy the book more in its unedited form.
I have always been a fan of Robert Heinlein. I especially loved Stranger in a Strange Land. However, now that I'm older, I think the dated style that Heinlein used is starting to grate on me. This one is done in the noir style of Raymond Chandler, et al. But his cutesy banter between men and women wasn't even realistic in the forties, let alone today. It appeared often enough that I got tired of rolling my eyes and searching for a way to skip past it in the audio-book (too bad they don't have a Skip Forward button!)
Also, the Everyman Yankee (AKA MacGyver) who can do the most random things that 99% of people can't do (and serendipitously progress the plot) has become less believable as I have grown more experienced. For example, how many readers can really pick a lock?
The story is pretty good, and the narration was quite good. But I guess I have just outgrown Heinlein. :(
Action, imagination, great ideas, great story telling, thrilling, full of twists. All you want is there. Heinlein excels in the The Cat Who Walks through Walls. More over the character interaction is not only interesting, it is flammable! The dramatic exchanges between the lead pair are so enjoyable. Author is not scared to include a few spicy twists, which are just rendering the novel more interesting. Don't listen to those religious purists who get red because of that, this novel is excellent. I have read this novel many times and always coming back. Full 5 stars well deserved.
The second half
I wanted to blame the later Heinlein on the success of Stranger in a Strange Land, but looking back on the publishing dates he had later books I liked and earier books not so much. My guess is I like branches that lead somewhere and here he seemed to not only want to bring in many of his old characters, but pay homage to other writers.
As others stated, the narrator is all wrong for this. Bandits? Murder? Time travel? Sexy times with many people at the same time? The narrator makes everything seem so dull. He seems to enjoy hearing himself hanging onto the last syllable of every sentence, which became annoying and distracting for me. Also, nothing really happens for the many chapters in the middle where Heinlein entertains his fantasies with lots of partners, much spanking, and... inbreeding? Seriously, the story came to a grinding halt and shifted gears to something else, only to become interesting again halfway through the second to last chapter where it picked up again. Then in the last chapter it just ends out of nowhere. I did not enjoy this reading. I was such a fan of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Starship Troopers. Maybe if that narrator, Lloyd James had read it would have been better.
strange, fun, exciting
I honestly loved all the characters with the exception of one, who is a famous character from the "not so series" so ill say who i didn't like instead. Lassie long the annoying.....
prepare for the sequel
Although it strongly relies on other stories to finish its tale. This was a very fun odd book.I enjoyed it very much
I've come across Robert Heinlein only recently, in the last 5 years... my favorites Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Stranger in a Strange Land, Friday. This story takes a lot from these a more, but uses Heinlein's more current understanding of how weird real world science is, quantum mechanics,etc... and he simply adds it to his palet to paint a tale that will require reading (listening) to it again, at least once or twice. But I really enjoyed the skill of the narrator, who obviously knows and loves the characters he narrates. I'd encourage anyone who liked the Moon, to take this ride too. Heinlein is spinning a yarn from the natural particles of time and space that we really need to grapple with, and like real, he doesn't tie the yarn into a tidy knot, but for me at least a very satisfying end where I can imagine my own next things to play out.
Weiner is a little weak on the female voices, but his baritone for Richard is spot on, so I didn't mind it much. His Russian accents tend to sound too much the same, and they were attached to characters that I never envisioned as Russian. His French accent was a little off-putting as well (Rev. Schultz). However, I enjoyed his narration much more than Lloyd James' interpretations of "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" and "Time Enough for Love." Highly recommended.
A plot. Any plot would have sufficed, even a bad one, but realistically, there was nothing. There were occasional hints that a plot might begin, but ultimately nothing.
If this is a 500 page book, then 490 of them were composed of the worst filler dialogue I've ever heard. The sexual innuendos were non-stop, in situations where such dialogue was absurdly unrealistic, inappropriate, out of context, and just flat out ridiculous. Heinlein got weird as he got old, and in place of a "story" it's just a series of situations advocating all forms of sexuality, both monogamy and plural marriage, with enough hints of incest and underage sex that I think those things were originally in the book, but some editor made him take them out. Notice I did not say "wise editor", because a wise editor would have put this abomination to a merciful death prior to being published. I actually listened to the whole thing, possibly because I'm clinically insane, but mainly because I couldn't believe that a man who wrote masterpieces like Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress could write an entire book with a plot thinner than gold foil.
There were so many characters that the narrator was taxed to come up with enough different voices, but god bless his heart, he really did his best to make this abomination into a story, but he had nothing to work with.
In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect are forced to listen to poetry so bad they wanted to vomit their brains out. Listening to this book was like that, except worse.
Run. Run away. Run as fast as you can, and don't look back at this book. Ever.
"Classic Space Opera"
There is a temptation to label this novel as 'Heinlein at is best', but 'best' may be the wrong word. It is very classic Heinlein, though: jingoistic, sexist, and politically incorrect in just about every way.
It is not for everybody. Certainly for fans of classic SF, certainly not for those with a broad and open mind.
The narrator sounding more than a little like a cross between Cary Grant and Captain Scarlet took a little getting used to, but worked really well.
"My first outing in Heinlein's Multiiverse..."
...and I must admit I was not that impressed. I think in defence of Heinlein, I should have read a couple of his earlier books, including The Moon is A Harsh Mistress, and would recommend other people to do so if they have not already done so. This would have put what I was listening to into better context.
Irrespective of the placement of the book in a series, I found the style irritating, with the dialogue attempting to be too sassy and quick-witted for it's own good. The narrator, either through his own artistic choice or by the way the text was written, regularly lapses into a poor imitation of the classic 1950's US Private Detective series voice-over. Unfortunately, it starts to irritate.
The plot drifts about continually, with a painfully long description of a journey that the protagonists make, whilst only briefly returning to the main storyline - whatever that was.
I would recommend this book to frustrated teenage boys as tribute to the only consistent part of the plot - the continual references to beautiful, leggy and oft-naked genetically-improved women (totally plot-irrelevant) who greet you with long wet kisses and who seem prepared to do anything in bed, with anyone.
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