Stranger in a Strange Land

Robert A. Heinlein
Stranger in a Strange Land Cover

Stranger in a Strange Land


Stranger in a Strange land is quite a departure from Heinlein's usual space opera.

I read Stranger in a Strange Land many years ago. It has always been on my personal best books list. The first time I read it, I was a college hippie. My memory of it was vague - I remembered some of the characters but none of the plot. So now I have re-read it. Stranger is heavily into fictional religion and philosophy, but very much in a satirical way. My young mind back then was was much more willing to delve into mystical metaphysics. After all these years my way of looking at things is more calloused and scarred. The pseudo-theological theme really didn't register with me this time, but I did grok the cynical take on commercial religion.

Valentine Michael Smith is The Man from Mars, the child of astronauts and the only survivor of the first manned mission to mars. Raised by Martians, he returns to earth as a young man. Hijinks ensue. Smith is the title character, but Jubal Harshaw is the most prominent character, and the one I remembered most from my hippie days. In the audiobook version I heard, The narrator, Christopher Hurt, gives Jubal a wonderfully arrogant southern voice.

At this point, I haven't been able to decide if Stranger in A Strange Land really is one of the best books, but until I do decide, I'll let it stay on that list. (I reduced my mental rating of it, but I'm sure that's related more to my point of view than to the book itself.) It certainly should be on everyone's should-read list.