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The Number of the Beast Audiobook
The Number of the Beast
Written by: 
Robert A. Heinlein
Narrated by: 
Bernadette Dunne, Emily Durante, Malcolm Hillgartner, Sean Runnette, Paul Michael Garcia, Tom Weiner
The Number of the Beast Audiobook

The Number of the Beast

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Publisher's Summary

The wickedest, most wonderful science-fiction story ever created in our - or any - time. Anything can begin at a party in California - and everything does in this bold masterwork by a grand master of science fiction.

When four supremely sensual and unspeakably cerebral humans - two male, two female - find themselves under attack from aliens who want their awesome quantum breakthrough, they take to the skies - and zoom into the cosmos on a rocket roller-coaster ride of adventure, danger, ecstasy, and peril.

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.

©1980 Robert A. Heinlein. 2003 by the Robert A. & Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“One of the grand masters of science fiction.” (Wall Street Journal)

“The most influential science fiction writer of all time!” (Locus)

“[A story] about two men and two women in a time-machine safari through this and other universes. But describing The Number of the Beast thus is like saying Moby-Dick is about a one-legged guy trying to catch a fish.” (National Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (564 )
5 star
 (236)
4 star
 (137)
3 star
 (105)
2 star
 (47)
1 star
 (39)
Overall
3.9 (519 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.9 (514 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (95)
2 star
 (38)
1 star
 (28)
Performance
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  •  
    Adam ARNOLD, MO, United States 03-12-15
    Adam ARNOLD, MO, United States 03-12-15 Member Since 2014

    thebluecanary

    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
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    395
    8
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    "About 80% of a good book."

    To start with I've enjoyed everything from this author so far. I did not know that this book was part of a series. Saying that, the book is wonderful until the main characters meet the characters from the series other books. The book just looses focus, and goes off in unentertaining ways. The book never recovers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Skian 01-04-15
    Skian 01-04-15

    skianmcguire

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "This Heinlein didn't age well"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Elderly Republican men and time-traveling bit players from 1950's romantic comedies, or perhaps teen-age boys whose parents are too strict to let them read anything written after 1970.


    Would you be willing to try another one of the narrators’s performances?

    As I don't know which was which, I probably won't risk it. Most of them were fine, just two were grating -- and one might have been overacting a part even *she* was too irritated by to read straight.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved Heinlein when I was a teenager, 40 years ago. I dismissed the feminist critics who claimed his women characters were products of misogyny -- as I still do. Nonetheless, pneumatic multilingual sex kittens with PhD's in Math get wearisome. I made the mistake of trying to read both this (The Number of the Beast) and Time Enough for Love at the same time, and overdosed. Between RAH's unfathomable pregnancy fetish and the endless bickering of the married characters, the pouting coyness (or coy poutiness?) of one of the female readers and the wheezing of one of the men, I couldn't finish it. I hate returning books -- I always think, "well, I'll give it another try," but not this one. I can re-read Starship Troopers one more time and remember why I loved this writer. Now I realize what made it so great -- no women at all for Heinlein to portray in his singularly bizarre way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin 12-30-14
    Justin 12-30-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    37
    3
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    "Heinlein wrote women thin."

    Heinlein 's women where always written light in the personality heavy in the loins. When narrators voice there woman to sound like a fawning dits, those characters collapse completely.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ross Bradley 12-23-14 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    15
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    Story
    "Very interesting ideas, but hard to finish."

    The story started off interesting, and the idea of multiple universes in this context was unique. That aspect of the story was very enjoyable, however, the end of part three and all of part four have no drama. The story devolves into a polygamous sex orgy that I did not find either enjoyable or purposeful. It is nice that the multiple different stories of Heinlein are merged in this story, but nothing meaningful or resolute comes from it, other than that they are all now husbands and wives in the Long family and have lots of sex with each other.

    The several different narrators gives the audio performance a nice touch, and it keeps things interesting until the latter part of part three and into part four. At that point, only a change in the story could save things. The Cat That Walks Through Walls makes more sense now though, which is nice. I'm a fan of Heinlein, but this book just didn't do much for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremy R. Snyder 09-06-14

    J.R. Snyder

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Misses greatness, but still enjoyed it"

    First the book: This is a great addition to the set of Heinlein's works for those who loved Lazarus Long and wanted more in that vein. The book is largely character driven, plot is uncomplicated, but enjoyable if you can come to enjoy the people in it.

    Next the reading: This could have been stunning. An ensemble cast reading of this book... the idea took my breath away. That is not, precisely, what this is. The book is, with an exception or two, written from the perspective of the four major characters, each one voicing a chapter at a time. One reader takes each chapter, so you have Hilda's voice... and Hilda's reader doing Zeb's voice... anyone familiar with audiobooks is accustomed to that, but it was a strange choice. One voice is a bit grating as other reviewers have indicated. The two main male voices are pleasing, but were mis-cast, they should have been reversed.

    I am a great lover of this book, so I still enjoyed this reading, but I couldn't help but reflect regularly as it went on that it could have been so much better than it is. If a flawed choice in reader or readers ruins an audiobook for you, I do not recommend this recording.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Dyer CA USA 07-10-14
    K. Dyer CA USA 07-10-14 Member Since 2016

    KD

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "So disappointing, because I know it's a good book"

    I've read the book, long ago, so I know it is good. Listening too this version was painful. I had to stop after a few hours. Just couldn't take it any longer. The narration was not working well at all. Timing and emphasis seemed all way off. Made it difficult to follow and impossible to enjoy. Wish it were otherwise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon from Reston VA 05-17-14

    Jon

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    25
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    "A Heinlein disappointment"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Nothing: the story is drenched in sex and coarse humor. Very disappointing


    What was most disappointing about Robert A. Heinlein’s story?

    Strong sexual content and coarse humor


    What three words best describe the narrators’s performance?

    acceptable


    What character would you cut from The Number of the Beast?

    N/A


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jussi Espoo, Finland 05-01-14
    Jussi Espoo, Finland 05-01-14 Member Since 2013

    nerd, biker, finnish, middle-aged and cool

    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
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    15
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    "Insider joke?"
    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Something from Neal Stephenson.


    What didn’t you like about the narrators’s performance?

    I actually did not dislike the narrator's performance all that much.Even though I did not understand why so many narrators were used in the first place, the narrators were doing a decent job. But why so many?


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Throughout the story I had a feeling that the book was an insider joke. Sure, I did recognize many of the references to other fiction, and I even greeted "something from the stranger in the strange land" with a small smile.
    I could not understand the reason why the book was written. Heinlein has done a great work in speculating with sociology and technology of the future, but here, the experiments with nudity taboo and economy did not save the day.


    Any additional comments?

    I gave up listening a couple of times, but there were occasions I had no other book to listen, so I carried painfully on.
    I was happy to get to the end, and even that was an anticlimax.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig West Palm Beach, FL, United States 02-24-14
    Craig West Palm Beach, FL, United States 02-24-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    1
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    Story
    "Wonderful voice actors until the last chapter"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    As long as you DO NOT LISTEN to the last chapter, you'll be very happy.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hilda--a true force of nature, funny, sexy, smart, and fierce.


    Would you be willing to try another one of the narrators’s performances?

    For the four main characters, yes. For the creature that voiced Jubal Harshaw, not in a million years. It will takes years of therapy to undo the damage that man did to my brain. He made Jubal Harshaw sound like Frank Zappa's Thing-Fish.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Print: The final chapter is the only sore spot for me. The book is quite wonderful, and the World as Myth concept is highly engaging.

    Audio: Loved the 4 main characters. The second I heard the voice for Jubal, I wanted to hit my iPhone with a brick until it stopped making that horrible noise. I cannot describe how utterly AWFUL and ridiculous he sounded.


    Any additional comments?

    The voice actor for Jubal--Tom Weiner?--should be forever banned for this performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Berlin, Germany 02-12-14
    David Berlin, Germany 02-12-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Confusing Reading Style"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes. Interesting Idea of the universe are put forward. But let down by it's presentation


    What did you like best about this story?

    The idea of "free" time space travel, and what could be out there.


    Would you be willing to try another one of the narrators’s performances?

    Which narrator! This is my big problem with this book there are many narrators and they change each chapter. This makes it very hard to follow who is who, as the whole reading style changes. The narrators ranged from very good to comical. Over all the male narrators did a better job than the female ones, as the women speaking as males were not as believable.BTW is this question even grammatically correct? "narrators' performances". Sorry just a question, I've always had problems with genitive in english


    Was The Number of the Beast worth the listening time?

    For this recording, Listening time NO.But I would attempt it again with a single male narrator. Or just pick up the book and read it myself.

    And I know now to stick to early Heinlein work.


    Any additional comments?

    The story read as if it was out of the 50s or 60s. it's really hard to believe it was written and published around 1980. There is a lot of "our dear husbands", and "now were married". Then later in the book the story drops into FKK, wife swapping and finally into incest. I personally think this is not Heinlein at his best (or anywhere close to it). However I really like the basic premise of mathematics bridging worlds and times and imagination.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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