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.
“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)
As is typical of a Heinlein yarn, this one has free-thinking, lusty characters who engage in far-ranging philosophical discussions, occasional battles, and ties to much of his earlier work. I remember reading it when it was new, and while some parts are holdovers from the early 1970s, it aged well and any disparity was swept away by the end.
I am not generally a fan of books with multiple narrators, and while the narration was certainly well done and in character with the way the book was written, I believe I would have enjoyed the experience more with a single gifted narrator such as Dick Hill.
This was not a book that could be absorbed in one sitting. There were parts that simply induce sleep.
Heinlein managed to pay homage to many of his contemporaries and inspirations in this book. By that point, I was tired of listening to it, and simply wanted it to end.
I very surprised that the rating were high when I bought it. I love Heinlein's Sci-Fi that not a joke. This a comedy and party continues
A different story.
My first Heinlein book, thought he was a master of sci-fi but it was all nudity, incest, wife swapping etc. Where's the sci-fi!! He is an award winner so maybe I just don't get it, but I still don't know the "number of the beast"!
They did the best they could with what they had to work with.
All but the first.
I'm sorry,but I listen while doing other things. And this book is just not written for that. You have to pay way too much attention as the story jumps from times to places to alternate universes way too much.
One good narrator for the whole book. Or one narrator for the female parts, one for the male.
Number of the Beast is for hardcore Heinlein fans. It's my favorite Heinlein book -- which is probably why this narration bugs me so much -- but it's not for everyone. If you haven't read Heinlein, get something else first. Tunnel in the Sky is a good juvenile and fun for readers of any age. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of his best, period, and listening to the audio is even more fun than reading the book. Time Enough for Love is a good later novel, as is its sequel To Sail Beyond the Sunset. (The latter has has a stellar performance by Bernadette Dunne who narrates Hilda here in this book).
Five of the narrators are fine: I especially like Bernadette Dunne (Hilda) and Malcolm Hillgartner (Jake). But unless you keep your finger on the fast forward button, Emily Durante can spoil the whole experience. She sounds young and whiny, and her narration does not convey Deety's intelligence and vivacity. It's just not FUN listening to her, and if this book works for you (tastes vary, see reviews on Amazon), it's a FUN book. Listening to Dunne is like babysitting a spoiled toddler. She has apparently done some science fiction, but she is NOT right for this part. She has the range of one of those ornithopters on Mars-10. Someone else should have been chosen for the role of Deety. It's not too late -- get those chapters rerecorded and I'll buy the book a second time!
If you have a copy of the book and dislike one narrator, you can skip his or her sections by using the lists below. The audio is divided into three parts. Each audio chapter contains one chapter from the book. In the book, the chapters are numbered consecutively across all four parts, albeit with Roman numbers.
---AUDIO (Parts 1-3)---
* Sean Runnette (Zeb) Part 1: 1,2,3,10,11,13,20. Part 2: 9,14. Part 3: 2,5,10,12,15.
* Emily Durante (Deety): Part 1: 4,7,9,14,17. Part 2: 2,6,8,10,13. Part 3: 8,14.
* Malcolm Hillgartner (Jake) Part 1: 5,16. Part 2: 4,7,11. Part 3: 3,6,9,13.
* Bernadette Dunne (Hilda) Part 1: 6,8,12,15,19. Part 2: 3,5,12. Part 3: 4,7.
* Paul Michael Garcia (Smith) Part 3: 11.
* Tom Weiner (Narrator): 16
---BOOK (Arabic numerals substituted for Roman)---
* Zeb: 1,2,3,10,11,13,20,28,33,34,37,42,44,47
* Deety: 4,7,9,14,17,21,25,27,29,32,40.46
* Jake: 5,16,23,26,30,35,38,41,45
* Hilda: 6,8,12,15,19,22,24,31,36,39
* Smith: 43
* Narrator: 48
Very dry, very little action, no story. Author spends more time on discussing educational degrees and his characters walking around naked then actually putting together a good story.
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