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Glory Road Audiobook

Glory Road

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Publisher's Summary

E. C. “Scar” Gordon was on the French Riviera recovering from a tour of combat in Southeast Asia, but he hadn’t given up his habit of scanning the personals in the newspaper. One ad in particular leapt out at him: "Are you a coward? This is not for you. We badly need a brave man. He must be 23 to 25 years old, in perfect health, at least six feet tall, weigh about 190 pounds, fluent English with some French, proficient with all weapons, some knowledge of engineering and mathematics essential, willing to travel, no family or emotional ties, indomitably courageous and handsome of face and figure. Permanent employment, very high pay, glorious adventure, great danger. You must apply in person, 17 rue Dante, Nice, 2me étage, apt. D."

How could you not answer an ad like that, especially when it seemed to describe you perfectly? Well, except maybe for the “handsome” part, but that was in the eye of the beholder anyway. So he went to that apartment and was greeted by the most beautiful woman he’d ever met. She seemed to have many names but agreed he could call her Star. A pretty appropriate name, as it turned out, for the empress of twenty universes. And she sends him on the adventure of a lifetime.

Robert A. Heinlein’s one true fantasy novel, Glory Road is as much fun today as when he wrote it after Stranger in a Strange Land. Heinlein proves himself as adept with sword and sorcery as with rockets and slide rules, and the result is exciting, satirical, fast-paced, funny, and tremendously readable - a favorite of all who have read it. Glory Road is a masterpiece of escapist entertainment with a typically Heinleinian sting in its tail.

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.

©1963 Robert A. Heinlein; renewed 1991 by Virginia Heinlein; 2003 by the Robert A. & Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust; Afterword 1979, 1984 by Samuel R. Delany (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“A triumph.”(Chicago Tribune)

Glory Road maintains a delicacy, a bravura, and a joy that not only are notable, but clearly consign it to his heptology of major SF novels.” (Samuel R. Delany, American author and literary critic)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (938 )
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  •  
    ShySusan 05-28-12
    ShySusan 05-28-12
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    "Heinlein's only fantasy"

    This is a great book. I've been wishing for a long time that Audible would get it. I've read it over and over again through the years, and I'm happy to say that now I'll be able to listen to it over and over again because Bronson Pinchot does a wonderful job with the characters' voices.

    I'm not sure that this is really a fantasy. It has swords and seems to have sorcery, but the magic gets explained in such a way that it seems to (almost) be advanced science. But it has the feel of fantasy. If Heinlein wrote this book today, the publisher would have insisted on a 20-book series, and I truly think our hero Oscar Gordon could have provided it to us.

    Heinlein was born more than a hundred years ago, and attitudes toward male/female relations were different then. But just as we do not hold Shakespeare or Homer to 21st Century societal norms, so we must give Heinlein a pass here as well. He was trying.

    I think that any young man who likes science fiction or fantasy will like this adventure story. And I think that women who can release their grip on modern feminism for the space of a few hours will like it as well.

    Get this book.

    37 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BRKyle Manassas, VA United States 09-19-12
    BRKyle Manassas, VA United States 09-19-12 Member Since 2013

    BRKyle

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    "Heinlein's great story, a glorious spin by Pinchot"

    Unlike many Heinlein fans, I have loved "Glory Road" since I read it as a teenager. At that time, I had just read "The Lord of the Rings" and was delighted by what I saw as a beautiful fantasy adventure that wasn't quite so heavy and thoughtful.

    WRONG. It's just as topical and political and sneaky about making one think as any of Heinlein's books... but more about that later. Suffice to say that E. C. "Oscar" Gordon (and why anyone would name a little baby boy Evelyn Cyril is beyond this writer; though my given name is also Evelyn I'm at least FEMALE) became a voice in my head as the competent, reluctant -- or not so reluctant -- hero, one I always remembered, and the book a sentimental favorite.

    I adore Audible books, but often the casting is not to my preference. Hazard of the trade, I guess. The wonder is, after a few moments, Bronson Pinchot, an actor I've always liked but wrongly considered something of a lightweight, BECAME the voice of Oscar in my head. Pinchot's command of narrative, dialogue, nuance, and, yes, dialect, made this story come alive for me as never before. I could close my eyes and be THERE; his reading gave it an immediacy that I seldom get from **any** production, audio, video, or otherwise. I wonder if he's a fan?

    Reading "Glory Road" time and again over many years, I have come to see the craft that seemed so effortless the first time through. Heinlein was current with not only the time he wrote this classic (1962 or thereabouts) but with the time I read it, in the early 1970s with the war in Southeast Asia still going on in its bloodiest, most nonsensical glory (yeah, folks, get over it, I AM that old). And sadly, he was correct about how "non-veterans" got treated after that war for many years.

    I'm off to find more of Mr. Pinchot's audiobooks. I recommend this for fans of Heinlein, sword and sorcery, and just plain good acting and narration of a book. I had a whale of a lot of fun listening to it, and I'll bet you will, too. It's worth the time.

    21 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" 04-10-14 Member Since 2016

    My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.

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    "Full Figured Amazon"

    This was published in 1963 and marks the beginning of when RH seems to have one hand on the typewriter and the other. This is nowhere near as bad as what he will write in the future, but you can see it coming. I found this silly and not worth my time.

    I am a fan of the Heinlein of the 50's, I wish I would have never read anything after Starship Troopers.

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John OK 06-07-12
    John OK 06-07-12
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    "Fun swashbuckeling tale full of monsters & maidens"

    One of my favorite books, it's Heinlein’s homage to Edgar Rice Burrough -
    full of the swashbuckling, macho, romantic ideals of ERBs Barsoom (John Carter/Mars) series (including the silly romantic banter).

    Heinlein’s witty, insightful, and caustic (at times) commentary on the military and the Vietnam War in particular are spot-on. The off Earth adventures are over-the-top, filled with sword fights and monsters. The character development is good, especially the grudging respect that grows between Oscar and Rufo.

    All in all it is just plain fun and well worth the listen.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie Bellmore, NY, United States 12-09-13
    Bonnie Bellmore, NY, United States 12-09-13 Member Since 2013

    BJS

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    "So glad t get on audible"
    Would you listen to Glory Road again? Why?

    I've read just about every Heinlein book that was ever written. I read this MANY years ago. It is Heinlein's only true Fantasy. .


    What did you like best about this story?

    Well the hero was mature for his age, but not self conscious. You also have to realize the story was supposed to have been taking place around the time of the Vietnam conflict. So the What is considered PC now was not so then. How ever the story if you over look that one small thing again it is Fantasy so it takes you to places that may be more like the way we see things now that we did then.


    Which character – as performed by Bronson Pinchot – was your favorite?

    Bronson Pinchot is one of the best narrators that Audible has. I've listened to him narrate about 5 different books. Each of them having many characters from women to gruff monsters, Mr Pinchot does it all with class. Also expressing emotion as well.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I was trying to but I fell asleep and had to go back about 9 chapters. If you are a Heinlein fan and never read this book give it a shot. I was so glad I got this because Bronson Pinchot did a 5 star job of narration.


    Any additional comments?

    I think you should get Mr Pinchot to narrate more books.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bionichands washington, d.c. area 05-30-12
    bionichands washington, d.c. area 05-30-12 Member Since 2009

    procrastinator

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    "Not sure this is really as good as you remember"

    I've had this book in my Amazon wishlist for a long time as I've heard a lot of good things about it and read the great reviews. So I was happy when I saw it was available on Audible and gave it a listen.

    I don't know exactly what to say other than I just found the book kind of silly and juvenile for the most part. Very disappointing, because the first chapters of the book about Gordon's life and path to Vietnam were really good. It really lost me almost immediately as soon as the story leaves Earth.

    I have a feeling my problem with this book is that it was written in 1964 or whatever and just doesn't hold up as well for a first time reader. Its like being a fan of the original Battlestar Galactica and remembering how great it was when you were a kid. But if you show it to your kid today, they likely wouldn't see it the same way.

    I hate to bash the book as it clearly has a lot of fans who love it. My comment is just that if you're like me and you've grown up reading Gibson or Stephenson or more contemporary sci-fi writers, you might find this a little unsophisticated.

    Bronson Pinchot's narration was pretty awesome though.

    20 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Bunce 02-25-17
    A. Bunce 02-25-17 Member Since 2016
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    "A quality listen"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, but this is a complicated answer. Judging and reviewing "Glory Road" today is an interesting, and somewhat difficult, task. Written in 1964, the height of Heinlein's literary success, it becomes apparent very quickly that this story, and its characters, are from a different time, when gender roles were viewed differently, but also when politics and foreign military action were viewed and received differently. Just consider the themes: E.C is drafted and serves in a "foreign military policing action", as the west reacts to the "red scare" that former French colonial territory Indochina, afterwards known as Vietnam, would transition fully into a communist state and shift the balance of the post-WWII, cold war era world. Believe it or not, I considered most of this when I set out to read this book - and unlike some people, whom were insulted or offended by the overtly sexist bits, or Heinlein's more conservative views towards government and the military, I found them fascinating, as if not only looking back onto this masterfully crafted story, but also the time period and sociopolitical undercurrents that shaped it.<br/><br/>I didn't find E.C "Scar" as likable as most of Heinlein's protagonists, and yet, he wasn't entirely unlikable either. His confidence-sometimes bordering on arrogant demeanor made him less relatable for me. But then again, I must also make concessions. This is a young man taken from his home, shipped overseas, and thrust into a conflict people couldn't understand, or support. When considering this, his attitude starts making more sense. A person who looses control of their destiny, or more realistically, their short-term future (draftees) might come back and seek to not only retain some semblance of control over their lives, but also struggle reintegrating into a culture that they are either ill equipped for, or were never allowed to acclimate to before joining military service. This is a concept broached by many authors - and it is something that young men struggle with this very day.<br/><br/>Scar's relationships with Star and Rufo are interesting, and definitely drive the plot, especially when you mix in later twists. Scar's attitude towards women is a mix, as at times he comes off as a misogynist, threatening Star with spankings (not only the hand variety, but with her own sword), but also with how they interact. At other times, Scar slides towards the other end of the spectrum, noting his distaste for the idea of young Vietnamese women (or little sisters as he refers to them) who offer themselves to men at a price. This theme is confronted again while the trio is questing, as Scar is offered a small group of female bed mates by a local lord, as hospitality. Heinlein briefly confronts these issues of sexuality, even confronting legalized prostitution - noting that our earth is the only one in an expansive system of inhabited planets to engage in the barbaric tradition. For the most part, Scar functions as the "A" typical man, exerting control, and thus dominance, on the others in his party. The interesting question that continued to pop into my head is this: Is E.C this way, because that was the male gender role of the time - the strong, dominant, head-of-the-household type that makes women sub servant, or, is this the post military, combat veteran reestablishing himself in a world void of strict military discipline, rank, and chain of command? Was he trying to retake control of his life? Or was this ingrained or learned misogyny.<br/><br/>Story wise, Heinlein mixes equal parts fantasy and science fiction, which work very well together. The plot moves at a crisp pace - and I love that he didn't end the story at the cliched moment "quest complete/item retrieved, hero and heroine return to kingdom and live happily ever after." Yes, some people will fault the ending as weak, but I found it intriguing. It speaks to Scar's character, the relationships he builds with Star and Rufo along the way, as well as a natural, intrinsic wanderlust suffered by people whose lives have been altered by war or dramatic change. The Glory Road, much like the soldier's path tears down much, if not all, of what a person's knows or expects. It changes their views, their ideals, but mostly, what they will come to expect and demand out of the world, and the people around them. You don't simply live through something like that and expect to go unchanged - no, you will be a different person. I believe that is one of the central themes Heinlein was trying to confront in this book. How the conflict of the road for glory changes us, and thus, how and where we fit into society afterwards.<br/><br/>In the end, I found Glory Road a fun, engaging read well-worth my time


    What about Bronson Pinchot’s performance did you like?

    Pinchot's performance is very good, and his accent work is top notch. Although, I found his voice for Star to be more than a bit distracting. Her husky, almost perpetual whisper, with a slight French accent doesn't carry the sensuality I believe Pinchot is trying to convey, instead, it sounds more like a man trying to sound alluring and feminine. I can forgive this as the other characters are fabulously done, especially Rufo.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Unfortunately, no.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Akela 09-05-16
    Akela 09-05-16

    smiling wolf

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    "narration is all wrong for Heinlein"
    Would you listen to Glory Road again? Why?

    Definitely not - I love the book, I'd better re-read it again. It is fortunate that I already knew the book, otherwise I would have dropped it. Bronson Pinchot is a very good narrator - just not for female voices and not for Heinlein.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    All of them as it is a very well told story that maintains an ideal balance of characters, plot, humor and sheer joy of life.


    What about Bronson Pinchot’s performance did you like?

    Actually I did not particularly like it. His Oscar is very good. But others... Why use a funny accent for Rufo? - after the hero learned the languages, there is no reason to assume that Rufo talks with some ridiculous kind of accent (and those irritating hissing "sheeeeee"s are horrible). The gorgeous proud, smart and funny empress comes across more often than not as a simpering sniveling little maiden in distress - nothing could be farther from Heinlein's heroine.Heinlein himself practically never used funny accents or dialects - his heroes usually speak clear concise English and his humor is dry.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I love the duel with Cyrano de Bergerac in the Dark Tower.


    Any additional comments?

    I do hope not to hear a narrator to imitate crying in a book again ))) LOL that was so over the top I nearly switched it off for good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nick 05-18-16
    Nick 05-18-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Ok"

    Overly sexist and rather lackluster. Disappointing and anti climactic ending. Definitely not Heinlein's best work

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard A. Bamberg Colorado Springs, CO 05-06-13
    Richard A. Bamberg Colorado Springs, CO 05-06-13 Member Since 2017
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    "Great redition of a classic"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Any Heinlein fan would find this novel enjoyable. While his only fantasy, most of the technology in this book was explained as science and not magic. The character creation and word play is vintage Heinlein.


    Any additional comments?

    The only complaint I have on the reader is that the volume on the primary female character, Star, drops off considerably from the other characters. When you're listening in a convertible, it means cranking up the volume.<br/><br/>Heinlein first published this book 50 years ago this year and it's been 40 since I first read it. While some people feel that the interplay between the sexes has changed so much in the intervening decades, I note them and enjoy seeing how much has changed. Surprisingly, these distracters never criticize Dickens, Wells, Dumas, or Bronte for their writing in their own milieus.<br/><br/>Heinlein is known for his strong feminine characters (based loosely on his wife Victoria). The hero in this novel, like many of Heinlein's, could not succeed without the assistant of the primary female character.<br/>

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
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  • BobBr
    Turkey
    9/26/12
    Overall
    "Enjoyable reading of perhaps Heinlein’s best book"

    I first read “Glory Road” in 1963 when it was serialized in “The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction”. I subsequently bought the book in paperback and, carrying it with me around the world, reread it several times. I think “Glory Road” is one of the few Heinlein books that doesn’t suffer quite so much from the author’s penchant for taking a story so far and then not knowing what to do with it while his sometimes obstreperous libertarianism is not quite so grating here. “Glory Road” consists of two distinct parts: the first is a thoroughly fabulous, swashbuckling “Quest”; the second is a rather insightful examination of the mundane, “real-world” consequences of having undertaken and completed The Quest. It spoke directly to me both before and after becoming an expat.

    I know the book very well in other words (I have parts of it memorized) and it was with some trepidation that I bought the audiobook version. I was not disappointed. Bronson Pinchot is an accomplished voice actor. (How many people know/remember that he played “Balki Bartokomous” in the mid-80s/early-90s US sitcom “Perfect Strangers”?). His characterizations (especially of the supporting roles) are a joy to listen to. Admittedly his “Star” is not what I imagined her (he makes her sound like a sultry Doris Day) and his Rufo wanders sometimes disconcertingly between Peter Lorre and Pepe Le Pew. Nevertheless his voice acting makes a huge contribution to the enjoyment of this production, which is much more satisfying that any straightforward reading could have been.

    Highly recommended as an enjoyable reading of what may be Heinlein’s best book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Richard Irwin
    Wiltshire, England
    5/11/17
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    "Good start, bad middle, could not face the end"

    Definitely a story of its time which would not be so sexist if the voice of the heroine was not so quiet and simpering. She is meant to be an multi-universe empress, but sounds like a mid-western housewife who wouldn't say boo to a goose. The way the story is rendered loses all the humour that the words imply. Eventually I found I could listen no longer, my mind just switched off and had no interest in the outcome of a story which had a good and original start. Shame, I used to like Heinlein's work a lot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Phil
    3/15/17
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Real Old School Sc-Fi"

    One of Heinlein's best stories but now so out of it's time it quite difficult to listen to without flinching at some of the attitudes expressed.
    I always found this story difficult to put down because the universe described is so alluring it was almost a culture shock to come back to reality.
    Sadly, (or fortunately) this narrator cured me of that problem - the most irritating French accent I've ever had to suffer. Strange and poor choice for this performance.
    Try reading the book yourself first perhaps.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • martin g cummins
    7/29/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Classic Playboy Era Sci-fi"

    I read this for the first time back in the seventies and it seemed the height of sophistication to the spotty adolescent I was then. Now it seems a bit chauvinistic and the end unnecessarily drawn - out. Despite this it remains a sexy adventurous romp, far superior to most of the modern day sword and sorcery stuff and is undoubtedly one of Heinlein's best.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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