©1961 by Robert A. Heinlein; (P)1996 by Blackstone Audiobooks
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.
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.
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.
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.
I'm an Audible Addict.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Very well done. The voice of the reader in conveying Jubal Harshaw was great and added a lot to the story for me. I have read the book many times over the years and it simply doesn't age. This reading of the book was very well done and I enjoyed it very much!
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.
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