Monday, November 24, 2008

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

Stranger in a Strange Land is the story of Michael Valentine Smith. Born of human parents on Mars and raised by Martians, he comes to earth with different powers and no understanding of humans. This is science fiction about humans and what it means to be human, and change and what causes change. The book has never been out of print and is considered a classic. People who would never read Science Fiction have read this book.

The original copyright to Stranger in a Strange Land was 1961. I probably read it soon after it was published. I included it on my list of favorite books for a long time. When I first read the book I loved the story and I loved the strong women. Today, the women are still strong, but limited by the restrictions of the time. That if nothing else dated the story. However the elements “of individual liberty, self-responsibility, sexual freedom and the influence of organized religion on human culture and government” from Wikipedia that are the heart of the story have kept it relevant. This book caused more discussion than Journey to the Center of the Earth. Again we read different editions of the book. Some people read the original version which was 160,000 words and others read the uncut version which had 220,000 words. All of us who read the uncut version agreed that it needed editing. The extra did not add anything and made the reading drag.

This is a different take on Science Fiction and worth the read even today.

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