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Stranger in a Strange Land Audiobook

Stranger in a Strange Land

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Publisher's Summary

Valentine Michael Smith, an earthling born and educated on Mars, arrives on Earth with superhuman powers and a total ignorance of the mores of man. On his new planet, Smith is destined to become a freak, a media commodity, a scam artist, a searcher, a sexual pioneer, a neon evangelist, a martyr, and, finally, a messiah. Stranger in a Strange Land is the most famous science fiction novel ever written. It became the bible of the "love generation" and transcended the genre to achieve the status of a modern classic.

©1961 by Robert A. Heinlein; (P)1996 by Blackstone Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award, 1962

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (5121 )
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4.5 (3465 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 12-06-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Beakermadness"

    Sixties era misogyny at its height. First half is interesting. Second half is male sexual fantasy. I found it disgusting, and I'm a man.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremy Fairbanks 11-06-15 Member Since 2015
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    "2 parts insightful yarn, 1 part soapbox"
    What did you like best about Stranger in a Strange Land? What did you like least?

    The first 2/3 of the book is a great story. He creates interesting characters and forces you to think much about what it would be like to interact with a truly alien race and way of thought. Then you get the rug pulled. The story essentially stops. For 8 hours of play time, the plot is advanced in tiny increments while chapters are spent with our characters in deep conversation, espousing personal freedom and free love. Pages and pages go by where nothing really happens at all. Conflict and struggle are neutralized by a convenient dues ex machina, and characters wander around eating, drinking, having sex, and patting one another on the back about how great everything is and how happy they are. It's really somewhat nauseating, especially when Heinlein uses the characters he spent the first 2/3 of the book crafting and making you care about to simply parrot his political and social viewpoints. (he does this in his other books as well) It gets stranger and stranger up to the end, where it finishes with a whimper. Really, Heinlein finished the book at about hour 10, but he apparently wasn't through telling us how right he is about the benefits of nudism and orgies. It's akin to listening to a "worldly" college kid scoff and condescendingly tell you, "Dude, I got some stuff you should read." I found myself hoping terrible things would happen to characters I'd previously liked, just so they (the author) would shut up. The sprinkling of wince-inducing, dated viewpoints made it that much worse. For example, and I quote, "whenever a woman gets raped it's at least partially her own fault". Wow. Add to that obvious racism, sexism, and homophobia, and you can really feel the years since publication. It was difficult to finish.


    What could Robert A. Heinlein have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Maybe stop disguising political rants within character conversations?


    Have you listened to any of Christopher Hurt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Hurt's narration is fantastic. He adds life to the story that my own brain could never have equaled. His portrayal of Jubal is especially good, and he makes Heinlein's thick-and-fast dialog really pop. His delivery of Heinlein's staggering vocabulary would do any Tarantino film proud.


    Was Stranger in a Strange Land worth the listening time?

    For the first two thirds, yes. After that I found myself sighing and rolling my eyes as if listening to an idiot politician speak endlessly on television.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are familiar with and share Heinlein's political views, you will enjoy this immensely. But be forewarned that the book is largely an arrogant soapbox, classic Hugo winner or no.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Hart California 01-16-04
    Mike Hart California 01-16-04
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    "The reader groks Jubal"

    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!

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Chino, CA, United States 09-01-03
    Tom Chino, CA, United States 09-01-03 Member Since 2013
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    "Excellent Great story and Narration."

    I read this book 20 years ago and really liked it. I felt enough time had passed that it wouldn't be boring. Glad to say I was right.

    If you like Heinlen you'll love this book, it's a great story and brings up many fascinating concepts.

    The narration is excellent. The narrator does a great job of playing the different characters.

    This is a must listen for science fiction fans.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RKR Georgia 04-26-12
    RKR Georgia 04-26-12 Member Since 2007

    Drama teacher and Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan

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    "Still one of my favorite books"

    I've found that you either love Robert A. Heinlein or you hate him.

    I, for one, have enjoyed every book I've read by him. In fact, I get overly depressed when I think about all of the books of his that I have not read.

    Is he a perfect author? Absolutely not, but perhaps it is the flawed (and sometimes dated) nature about his books that makes me enjoy his novels so much. It is undeniable that he is The Grandmaster, but none of his books illustrates this title as much as this particular novel. STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND is a thought provoking story about a human being raised by aliens. The book develops into a messianic story about a man who is stronger - both mentally and physically -- than the humans around him --- a superman with a na??vet?? that makes him both endearing and frightful. Peppered with memorable characters like Jubal Harshaw, Heinlein explores topics from sex to religion.

    The audiobook is a great way to revisit this novel. However, having a copy of this book is helpful because there are several passages that are worth re-reading a number of times. I hate to make the comparison, but like a well worn bible, my copy of STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND has become a sort of palimpsest with my notes scribbled in the margins. You can see my thoughts (and weaknesses) from my teens to my twenties and on in to my thirties. You will earn your SECRETARY badge by hitting your BOOKMARK button several times. Make the notes, keep them, re-read the book in ten years. You will see how much you've grown and you'll interepret the novel in new, more mature, ways.

    If you are a fan of Science Fiction, I recommend this novel simply because I feel that it holds Heinlein's soul.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason lake hughes, CA, United States 05-31-10
    Jason lake hughes, CA, United States 05-31-10 Member Since 2017
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    "One of the best books ever."

    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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hoya Jack 03-28-10
    Hoya Jack 03-28-10 Listener Since 2010
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    "Every thing I had hoped for."

    At last another way to enjoy my favourite book and number 1 author it was every thing I had hoped for.Once again I can emurse myself in his amazing words and Grok it fully. This story changed me from the moment I read it and I have evolved eversince, A philosophy that blends itself to all who Grok and can see the changes to be made . Thank you Robert for your words and well done Christopher Hurt for you vocal prowes in delivering them as they were written clean clear and intuitively. I have enjoyed this Audio Book and will enjoy evry other one from the same Author . Thank you

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Avatar of Irresponsible Internet Consumerism Austin, TX 02-28-09 Member Since 2011
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    "Mixed feelings."

    After listening to this, a part of me wanted to like it, but another part couldn't get over the blatant misogyny. At its heart this story is a passion play sci-fi style, and while it may have challenged audiences of its day with a profound and hard-to-swallow notion regarding human sexuality, today it's sadly aged. Add in terrible quality audio (I swear I could hear a dog barking in the background at times) and you have a recipe for one frustrating experience. If you're patient, well versed in 50s era telephony and gadgetry, then perhaps you'll walk away with a tear in your eye and a feeling that the world is poorer without Valentine Michael Smith. Otherwise, you'd better give this a pass. You'll just walk away feeling like you've been lectured to for hours by a balding man who has all the right answers and chip on his shoulder.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gwendolyn 11-17-08
    Gwendolyn 11-17-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Stranger In A Strange Land"

    An all time classic! I strongly recommend it as one of my "10 most influential books that I could not do without". I have two well-loved hardcopies of the same title; what a joy it is to re-read (hear?) & review this via AudioBook! In the same wide-open perspective as all the other titles that I have read by Heinlein, he has given us a brilliant, intuitive & unique aspect on the "illusion of (American) morality" and all of the most fundamental & sacred cows are sacrificed; it has revolutionized my views on so many aspects of society (specifically American!) that this title in particular is, as the author, one that sparks an ever-increasing desire of my own to question the Establishment and discuss the philosphy of reality as we know it. Outstanding! Indispensible!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
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    T. Connelly 03-15-08
    T. Connelly 03-15-08 Member Since 2013
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    "Classic Revisited"

    I read this book when it ws first released and enjoyed it hugely. With great anticipation I downloaded the audio book, after all these years, to revisit this classic of science fiction. This is a dangerous thing! After all, I had cherished the original text in my memory and personally coloured all the charaters in the story. All too often (like seeing the film of a favourite book on the silver screen) this can be disappointing.
    This audio reading does not disappoint! Of course the book itself is wonderful, imaginative and timeless but it is greatly enhanced by the way it is narrated. Highly recommended. In fact I will search out other books by this narrator!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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