Stranger in a Strange Land

Robert A. Heinlein
Stranger in a Strange Land Cover

Stranger in a Strange Land


I read this as an almost-adult, as a second-hand copy got from a swap shop in Lusaka, Zambia. For someone from that environment, and in the early 1970s, this book was as mind-blowing as it must have been for the hippies who adopted it (probably to the mild consternation of RAH) in the mid 1960s.

It represented such a departure for Heinlein - from the hard science, straight-up-and-down character-filled SF he had written - that I am sure some thought he had lost his mind.

I didn't care; I thought the contrast to "Starship Troopers" was extreme and welcome; I grokked everything for at least six months, and probably drove friends crazy with recommending the book to them. It certainly opened my eyes to the new SF around at the time, and allowed me to make a seamless transition from the "Boy's Wonder Magazine"-type SF I had been reading, into teh New Age.

And now, 40+ years on: my copy finally disintegrated completely, AND got eaten by a dog. And I don't think I will replace it: it was a great read at the time; it helped change and expand my world view - and I think re-reading it would just let me see all of the unsavoury aspects of Heinlein's world view that I did not notice at the time. So, in summary - a must-read for folk interested in the history of SF, or for those who want to know what "grok" means, but just a signpost along the way otherwise.