Monday, March 1, 2010

Book Review: Stranger in a Strange Land

Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Publisher: ACE trade, first edition, paperback, ISBN: 0-441-78838-6
Date Published: October 1, 1991

Summary (from Goodreads)

One of the greatest science fiction novels ever published, Stranger in a Strange Land's original manuscript had 50,000 words cut. Now they have been reinstated for this special 30th anniversary trade edition. A Mars-born earthling arrives on this planet for the first time as an adult, and the sensation he creates teaches Earth some unforgettable lessons. "A brilliant mind-bender."--Kurt Vonnegut.

I’ve heard so many talks about this particular book recently that I finally got around to purchasing the original uncut version at a deep discount to read.

This book may be classified as Science Fiction; but, I don’t think there is much that classifies it as science fiction other than the fact that people went to Mars and one lone orphan of two highly intelligent people, raised by Martians since a baby, returned to earth as a young adult. This book is more philosophical in political (libertarian?), religion, and sexual areas. I totally understand why this book became a cult classic of the hippie movement.

With that said, I must say that this book was not my cup of tea. It was a huge disappointment. It was slow going at first. But, the story started picking up in Part II. Even then, it was tedious to wade through. I did “grok” the book. However, it was ideological to the point of being an impossible dream. Also, there were some aspects that I did not care for nor agree with.

For example, near the end, the “discorporation” of people just because wrongness existed within them bothered me. I have always felt that no matter how evil a person is, there is always room for redemption for them if shown the way.

Another thing that bothered me was the free-love and “polyamorous” relationship thing. I think the concept unrealistic simply because we are human. I also think that sex should be reserved for the marriage bed – between husband and wife and none other.

I also did not like how the main character had a messianic complex.

If you’re a devout Christian (like I am), I would highly recommend that you do NOT read this book.

My personal rating: 2 out of 5 stars