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Publisher's Summary

Epic, entertaining, blasphemous, this is the most influential and controversial of Science Fiction novels.

Stranger in a Strange Land caused uproar when it was first published as it savaged conventional religious, sexual, and social ideals. Many years in the future, Valentine Michael Smith's upbringing is exceptional. Orphan child to two astronauts killed in space, he is raised on Mars. Twenty-five years later he is "rescued" and brought back to Earth. The initial enthusiasm of the administration in Smith's safe return is soon dampened by the realisation that they cannot control him. Possessed with superhuman skills and a unique philosophy he threatens their society - Smith must be contained.

Then a nurse helps him escape his hospital jail. Their flight becomes a journey of discovery, enlightenment and wonder. But danger is following fast behind, and there will be no escape from the final confrontation.

©1961 Robert A. Heinlein (P)2012 Hodder & Stoughton

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Still relevant

Worryingly many of the threads of the book are still relevant today; of course, not all. It is remarkable how many things writers of that time, it was published in 1961, got predictions right - video phoning, mobile phones in cars, etc. But some of his notions are really out of date; his writing of women characters is very much the thinking of the 50s; although I can see him struggle with modern concepts of their place in changing times.

The reader does a good job with a long book. Sometimes the voices lose distinction and it is momentarily hard to work out who is speaking, but that is a minor issue. More difficult is the he uses whispering to indicate some of the "speech" which makes the dialogue un-hearable; good intentions, but doesn't work with an audiobook.

Some parts can drag on ... mainly because their novelty at the time doesn't translate to our modern times, but it's worth persevering. The original draft was 220,000 words, published in 1991, but the editors got him to cut it down to 160,067 words, 1961. I'm not sure which version this is. Received the Hugo Award for Best Novel (Wikipedia).

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • mcfrood
  • 11-14-17

Bloated, Self-Indulgent Waffle saved only in part by great narration

I am a Sci-Fi fan, and thought I was a fan of Heinlein, until listening to this audiobook. Perhaps the abridged version (I'm starting to believe abridged = better editing), might have offered a better narrative, because this unabridged version is bloated and full of trivial dialogue (ie excuse for Author to insert his own detailed opinions on everything under the sun - sex, religion, politics, the law - just to name a few). It starts strongly, but then just meanders everywhere and ends with a sputtering weak gasp of a closure. It's internal logic is massively broken - how does the world lose interest so quickly in mars, the martians and the man from mars? The characters seem to be obsessed with teaching Mike about all the things he needs to do to integrate into humanity, rather than bombarding him with the million questions one would expect when offered an insight into a far more powerful alien species. It's almost like it was written by someone having a colonialist wet dream - look how I domesticate this savage I have brought back from the New World. Isn't he quaint with such quaint ways. Even after Mike proves he has telekinetic powers, his mentors seem more interested in making sure his social graces are improved than any deeper scientific understanding.
The only thing that saved this from getting five raspberries from me - was the top narration from Martin McDougall. I am going to keep my eye out for his narration in future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Clyde
  • 12-06-15

Just ..... No !

It's been 35 years since I've last read this story. Being a huge Heinlein fan as a teen, I was keen to rediscover the stories and science fiction of my youth.

Oh how wrong a choice that was. Such a long winded narrative that dragged on and on and missed creative opportunities to just preach over and over the whole sixties free love philosophies. It wouldn't have been so bad if not for the downright dated aspects of sexism that I had to endure throughout. I'm a guy, and I was just appalled at the narrow minded disrespect given to female characters. They were there for just two things. To look good and to have sex. And let's try to forget his outright 'rape' comment in the text saying that women deserved it. My respect of this author has been shattered.

I've just finished reading Arthur Conon Doyle and although written decades before this book, still manages to have more modern intentions than anything in this current book of 'Stranger'.

The narrator does a great job, but it feels as if even he doesn't like reading the misogyny that drips from every page.

Glad it's over.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tim
  • 01-11-18

Low grade

This is the lowest kind of sci fi. Limited insight, no real characters and extended preaching about the authors own moral perspective.

Avoid.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • fd46
  • 06-10-17

Martin McDougall ruins a good story

Any additional comments?

The reader cannot handle multiple voices, not even for 10 seconds.
This makes it hard to follow conversations. I cannot give the reader a negative or zero rating, so the overall rating is not an average of the others. The story is good.

For Audible, the format of submitting comments ranges from paternalistic (as if
we're children and don't know how to say something) to ridiculous
(imagine playing 'editor' and deleting 'scenes' from a classic like, say, Hardy ---
not to mention the conflict of logic when the work is supposed to be unabridged).

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  • Jeff Northam
  • 11-06-15

So much better than expected.

when every I finish a great peice of work I am always a little sad that it is over..

I feel that this morning, this was am amazing book. The author really took his time to provide a great masterpiece.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Jacqueline
  • 11-13-17

hard going

Struggled to finish. Disliked subordinate female characters. Very dated attitudes. I do not reccomend this book

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sue
  • 03-16-16

As thought provoking today as when it was written,

I found Stranger in a Strange Land challenged me to think about my own beliefs

0 of 1 people found this review helpful