Customer Reviews


454 Reviews
5 star:
 (272)
4 star:
 (55)
3 star:
 (48)
2 star:
 (42)
1 star:
 (37)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5.0 out of 5 stars Strange
Heinlein does not get the credit he deserves. Do you know how many movies , authors have used the phrase Stranger in a Strange Land. He too you away with even language that was for the story only.

Let yourself be carried away to another land.
Published 2 months ago by Darrell Ducharme

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fine yarn, but dated and self-indulgent.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Heinlein conceived STRANGER in 1948, but didn't finish it until
1960. His editor asked him to cut it from 220,000 to 150,000 words; as
published it was 160,087. It was reissued from the original
manuscript in 1991, and I just got around to reading this "uncut"
edition. I first read...
Published on Dec 28 2003 by Peter D. Tillman


‹ Previous | 1 246 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fine yarn, but dated and self-indulgent., Dec 28 2003
By 
Peter D. Tillman (Cambria, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Stranger in a Strange Land (Mass Market Paperback)
-----------------------------------------------------------
Heinlein conceived STRANGER in 1948, but didn't finish it until
1960. His editor asked him to cut it from 220,000 to 150,000 words; as
published it was 160,087. It was reissued from the original
manuscript in 1991, and I just got around to reading this "uncut"
edition. I first read STRANGER in the early sixties -- it's the only
"major" Heinlein I'd never reread (unless you count _To Sail the
Sunset Sea_ as major).
STRANGER hasn't aged well. Ostensibly set in the 21st century, it
reads like the 1950's. News commentators are "winchells" and
"lippmans" -- I recognize the names, but remember nothing else
about the originals; do you? The bad guys and minor characters are
purest cardboard. Women ("bims") have the "liberty permitted cats
and favorite children"; homosexuals are "poor in-betweeners". The
world beyond the USA is almost invisible.
Jubal Harshaw, the writer, patriarch and "father of all", is a self-
indulgent know-it-all given to long, hectoring speeches. The
women are quick to shed clothing and inhibitions, and couple with
any water-brother. They grow younger, more beautiful -- and more
exhibitionist -- as they learn Martian mind-control. Feh.
And yet, and yet .... STRANGER still works as a novel -- I reread it
pretty much at one go. The idea of a child raised from infancy by an
alien race ... Valentine Michael Smith's journey from innocence to
full humanity to New Messiah ... the cheerfully crass
commercialism of the Church of Foster ... the silly-but-serious
mysticism ... Heinlein, whatever his flaws, was a master story-
teller.
STRANGER was Heinlein's first crossover bestseller, becoming
something of a Sixties icon -- peace & love, y'know. Bits and pieces
were taken up in pop music and culture: "Discorporate, and you'll
be free", urged the Mothers of Invention. Grace Slick of the
Jefferson Airplane sang of "sister-lovers, water-brothers". The
ability to grok was briefly important, if mostly forgotten now.
Should you read, or reread, STRANGER? Mmmph. I don't regret
doing so, but the book stays pretty low in my mental ranking of
Heinlein novels. And if I were you, I'd hunt up the earlier edition --
the restored 70,000 words add little but bulk to the story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This wine turned into vinegar, Nov. 20 2003
By 
Ritesh Laud (Houston, TX USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Stranger in a Strange Land (Mass Market Paperback)
Heinlein's "masterpiece" Stranger in a Strange Land starts off brilliantly. The first 100 pages or so comprise a well-paced absorbing thriller, and even up through the 200-page mark the story remains strong. And then the protagonist Valentine Michael Smith grows up and takes charge of his own life. And the whole novel falls flat on its face and remains thus for the remaining 250 pages.
You see, in the beginning Michael is innocent and somewhat helpless. So he's powerless against his enemies and I naturally rooted for him. Then he slowly began to use his superhuman powers and I became even more absorbed and thrilled, watching him shake off his foes and emerge unscathed. Then he took asylum in a large secured residence with the evil government of the U.S. bent on capturing him and using him for their own ends. Could it get any better, I asked? This was five-star material.
Unfortunately, that's the climax of the story and it comes less than halfway through. The rest is supremely mediocre. Mike becomes a god on earth due to his invulnerability and wealth. What does he do with this status? He basically uses his powers to establish a large harem and teaches others how to do the same thing. The only interesting character in this whole charade is Jubal Harshaw, who probably represents Heinlein himself and his opinions on various matters of philosophy, sex, religion, etc. Two stars here.
Average: three and a half stars but I'm knocking it down to an even three due to the unsatisfying ending.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Half good, half bad, Feb. 8 2004
By 
"jac348" (Athens, OH United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Stranger in a Strange Land (Mass Market Paperback)
I loved the first half of this book, in which plot and character rose to the fore. Great action sequences, terrific dialogue, and tons of suspense tricked me into thinking that this was a five star novel. Jubal Harshaw in particular was--and remains--one of the most richly realized characters in contemporary fiction. Alas, the novel quickly sags beneath the weight of its own socio-political and pseudoreligious philosophies. The plot thins, the action comes to a screeching halt, the characters flatten into cardboard, and the rest of the novel becomes so self-consciously preachy and churchy and utterly unsexy (despite the frequent nudity and bedhopping) that it lost all appeal to me. Less politics, more plot. I could grok that, anyday.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shallow, Dec 23 2003
By 
J. Vuren "James" (Seattle, WA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Stranger in a Strange Land (Mass Market Paperback)
This book is too light-weight too be a classic. I admire Heinlein for being daring enough to say things in 1961 that are obvious to many of us now, e.g. most people are easily fooled, religion is ridiculous, the Bible has parts which are bizarre, all governments place preserving their power above serving their citizens, there is no absolute moral basis for monogamy, homosexuality is fine, etc. I think Heinlein understood the world fairly well. For the most part he was properly critical about it, without being universally cynical. However his statement, "Nine times out of ten, if a girl gets raped, it's partly her fault." is impossible to overlook. You can say, "Well, he was just being cynical about men and saying that any intelligent woman should be able to see how dangerous they can be and plan accordingly.", but I think that's a stretch. The Occam's Razor answer is that Heinlein was something of a misogynist. As we all know, misogynists see things in overly simple terms. This book is light-weight because it makes simplistic observations. For instance, I just don't think sexual jealousy is a major contributor to the troubles of the world. Heinlein makes shallow, impractical, utopian recommendations for how to fix things. Sure we could do without sexual jealousy but Heinlein fails to see that it can't be eradicated because it's genetic(babies get jealous). Did Heinlein really think that having us all sleep with each other would eliminate war? This reminds me of people who say that if we all smoke pot there will be no crime, war, etc. I think Heinlein was impractical about religion too. Sure we could do without religion, but religion will never be completely eradicated because the majority of humans inherently hate to feel they are alone and/or have an inborn need to believe life has some kind of meaning - that's why "spirituality" is appearing to fill the void created as organized religion slowly fades. I do believe there will eventually be real solutions to the world's problems, but as forward-looking as this book is supposed to be, it doesn't really begin to get at any of those solutions. I grok Stranger - it's not that deep.
Having said all that, there are some things I'm unclear about regarding this book. First, I'm not even sure if the 438 page paperback version I read includes the text which was originally expurgated in the 1961 version. Like the Dead Sea Scrolls, that missing text could change things. Second, I think we can assume Heinlein was okay with orgies, but was he also saying all men should sleep with each other, or only gay men? If the former, that would be a recommendation I have never heard before.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much philosophy - not enough story, Aug. 30 2003
By 
This review is from: Stranger in a Strange Land (Mass Market Paperback)
I've heard it said that if you haven't read 'Stranger in a Strange Land' you really haven't read Robert Heinlein. I've read a number of his books, and his best in my mind is probably 'Starship Troopers'. But I'd never read this one, so decided to do so. Let me say that I agree with the general reviews I've seen on here. The first 1/2 of the book is a wonderful story about a boy raised among Martians, who develops some extraordinary powers and is then brought to Earth where he struggles to understand the human race. It had so many great things about it. Suspense, Humor, Action, etc. Jubal Harshaw (my favorite character in the book) was also one of the chief reasons to like this story.
The problem is that the book just dissolves after the first 1/2. When Michael Valentine Smith leaves Jubal's home, he goes through a number of incarnations, first as a carnival huckster, then finally ending up as a 'New Age' messiah. The similarities to the life of Jesus are inescapable. My problems with this aren't merely that I strongly disagree with Mr. Heinlein's philosophies that all religions are equally valid and that all of them are 'made up' to one degree or another, but instead my problem is that he spends the better part of the book writing endless philosophical dialogues that have nothing to do with anything other than trying to force his viewpoints down our throat.
I think that everyone has a right to their opinion, and I think that Mr. Heinlein certainly had the right to put his opinions in his own novel. I can further see why this book was so popular in the 60's (especially the 'Thou art God' line). But, for me, this really wasn't a novel as much as it was a philosophy book with a bit of story thrown in as vehicle to let the author tell you what he believed. It's fine that he did so, but I think the book suffers as a result.
The 3 stars are for the first 1/2 of the book. If he had kept the rest of the book like the first, he would easily have scored 5 stars from me. But, unfortunately, the last 1/2 of the book ruined the first.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Started off good, April 3 2004
By 
William Black "buddman921" (La Vergne, TN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Stranger in a Strange Land (Mass Market Paperback)
The first couple of sections are very good. Of course, you have to suspend disbelief, but this is easy as long as you just redefine mars as a planet in another galaxy or something. Science proved wrong alot of what was written in this book. Stereotubes? The were TV's then. Like a good reader though, I can suspend disbelief and believe that people call the TV a stereo tube.
Some where in the second or third section the book turns to complete crap. It becomes Heinlein's reactions to religion and philosophy. Most religions are blasphemed and free love orgies run rampant. The way Mike makes things just disappear has me worrying about the environment and I really don't see what humans are doing know as that damaging. Did I mention this book is sexist. Women are nurses, strippers, secretaries, rites of passage in new religions. The purpose of women in this story is to serve men, even sexually. (...) But every man realizes that this is just a male fantasy.
Read something else.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Strange, May 18 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Stranger in a Strange Land (Mass Market Paperback)
Heinlein does not get the credit he deserves. Do you know how many movies , authors have used the phrase Stranger in a Strange Land. He too you away with even language that was for the story only.

Let yourself be carried away to another land.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Lost And Found, Nov. 11 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I lost this book do to water damage and was glad this I counld get it at Amazon. Thank you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars A classic for some, March 1 2013
This review is from: Stranger in a Strange Land (Mass Market Paperback)
I suppose I find myself in a minority but this "monumental" book is a complete bore. I felt that way when I first read it back in the 70's and when I tried to reread it "uncut" version. I get what Heinlein was exploring, but like authors of his time, he had his good stuff and this dreadful stuff. And this is one of them. I found the writing turgid, the characters uninteresting and the book meandered everywhere and anywhere without purpose. I suppose, in the end, I just didn't grok it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pompous demagoguery of the highest order., June 20 2002
By 
This review is from: Stranger in a Strange Land (Mass Market Paperback)
A novel that begins with the promise of cultural exploration instead quickly devolves into heavy-handed philosophical prolesthetizing masquerading as social commentary. In typical Heinlein fashion, the author thinly veils the outright declaration of his hedonistic and anti-theistic views in stilted dialogue. Furthermore, he characterizes any and all viewpoints that contradict his own as "narrow-minded" and "opressive" while pretending to be an open-minded champion of free inquiry. One might argue that this book is worth reading because of the impact it made upon the hippie culture of its day; I would remind such a person that Chairman Mao also made a significant impact on hippie culture.
Though this book serves as a good example of the bloated, sophomoric philisophical tracts that posed as science fiction throughout much of the sixties, I would not reccomend it to anyone looking for good reading. It is pompous, long-winded, morally backward, intellectually deficient, and eminently dull. A monumental waste of time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 246 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein (Mass Market Paperback - Jan. 11 2002)
CDN$ 9.99 CDN$ 9.49
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews