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  1. #31
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flatlander View Post
    It feels as though a short sequel has been tacked onto the end detailing Smith's subsequent career as a messianic figure, and feels as though it was there merely to provide Heinlein with extra space - it doesn't really feel like it adds anything to the story
    I agree with this. I had lost patience with the book by the final chapter anyway and just skimmed through it - whilst seemingly eloquent, Heinlein's long-winded views and opinions added nothing to what had been an interesting story. It was a disappointment and left me feeling I had not enjoyed the book, when I had obviously found a lot to enjoy in the first three quarters. I did like the poetry in the last chapters though.

    Give me a shorter Heinlein next time..

  2. #32
    I've actually owned this book for about two years now. I bought it immediately after finishing Contact by Carl Sagan, because that book just really made me want to dig deeper into the alien/sci-fi world, and I found that Stranger In A Strange Land had so many great reviews. I bought the expanded edition that restored the text Heinlein originally cut out. I tried reading it almost as soon as I received it but the book was just so obviously dated. The slang, the way the characters spoke... it was all kind of a turn off to me. Too 60s, I thought.

    Anyway, I only recently, as in about a week ago decided to give it another shot. After getting past the part I originally gave up on (MINOR SPOILER: Jill was at Caxton's place and Ben was trying to convince her to let him in to see Mike), the book began to grow on me. I'm at about page 307 (They're at the Fosterite service), so I'm more than halfway through it now. I gotta say, I really shouldn't have stopped reading it 2 years ago. It's great. I love reading Michael's interactions with whomever he's interacting at the time. Juball is a 'bad ass' sometimes. Jill was a nice character but later seems to be just another of Juball's errand girls.

    Great book so far and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress seems to be pretty interesting. I MAY give it a go after finishing SIATL.

  3. #33
    Let me be your gateway Chekhov's Avatar
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    The book actually felt much more 50s than 60s to me in a lot of ways. It arrived on the cusp of the sexual revolution and the hippie movement did not arrive until the second half of the decade. Much of the technology is still analog, for example.

    As far as characters go, Mike's attempts to understand (or grok, if you prefer) Earth culture were interesting and very funny. Jubal was likable but kind of a Mary Sue. I wish the story had focused more on Ben Caxton, since he made a good foil to the aforementioned two.

    Oh, and even in the original edition, the book is either too damned long or doesn't move fast enough. It got kind of boring at times when there were just chapters of one character or another railing against religious fundamentalists or sexual mores.
    Good point though: if Smith had just been an 'outsider' from say, an unexplored area of the Amazon rainforest, would it matter?
    Well... yes and no. One of the plot points was that Martians are completely different from humans in both physiology and culture; we have no frame of reference for comparison. What seems like magic to us is second nature to them (shades of Clarke's Third Law here).

    But should there have been more focus on technology/space travel? I think so; I would have liked to hear more about what Mars was like and what the mission did there.

    So the consensus on this book seems to be: well-written with many good ideas, but rather dated (understandable, it's half a century old) and overly long and preachy.
    Last edited by Chekhov; June 8th, 2011 at 02:06 AM.

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