Stranger in a Strange Land

By Robert A. Heinlein

Rating: 4 stars

I read a Heinlein book about eight years ago and it’s taken me this long to get around to a second one. I’m glad I did though, since this one was much better, and fully deserves its status of ‘classic’ SF novel. No, I don’t agree with his politics, nor his treatment of women in his books, but there was a lot to this book, and I don’t fully grok it yet. The religious aspect of the book intrigued me a lot, particularly the idea that Smith’s teachings could live side by side with existing religions.

The story follows Valentine Michael Smith, who was the baby survivor of the first expedition to Mars. The Martians look after him until 25 years later when he’s rescued and brought back to Earth. Smith has a unique way of thinking and his Martian upbringing has unlocked the potential in Humanity, and it’s up to him to decide what to do with his unique gifts.

According to the introduction, this edition is a restored edition published after his death. When the book was first published, the publisher had demanded that it be significantly cut down, to the tune of about 60,000 words. I can see that this could maybe be trimmed a bit, but I can’t see how you could chop out that much without completely distorting the story.

Book details

ISBN: 9780340938348
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Year of publication: 1961

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