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The Number of the Beast Paperback – Oct 1 1987

3.3 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd; New edition edition (Oct. 1 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0450046753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0450046759
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 11.2 x 4.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,719,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Publisher

Like many people, I go way, way back with Heinlein. My very favorite book (and one that stands out in my mind--and with much affection--to this day) is Tunnel in the Sky. I really, really wanted to go off to explore new worlds with a covered wagon and horses, like the hero does at the very end of the book. But one of the nice things about Robert Heinlein is that he's got something for everyone. One of my best friends has a different favorite: Podkayne of Mars. Go figure.
                        --Shelly Shapiro, Executive Editor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

When two male and two female supremely sensual, unspeakably cerebral humans find themselves under attack from aliens who want their awesome quantum breakthrough, they take to the skies -- and zoom into the cosmos on a rocket roller coaster ride of adventure and danger, ecstasy and peril. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Let me say up front that I am a Christian. There's lots of material in this book that could be taken as offensive for someone of my faith/tradition. Nevertheless, I decided to give the book a try with an open mind, and found on my first read (at about age sixteen) that it was an extremely confusing book, and yes, I was shocked to the core by some of his suggestions. I reread it a few years ago and found myself enjoying it much more. Yes, I don't particularly care for Heinlein's dabbling in adultery, and fornication, nor can I appreciate his approach to incest (probably confusing this with Time Enough For Love), nevertheless, his story on the second read made much more sense, and was much more enjoyable. I find that Christians usually have to open a SF book with an extra dose of open-mindedness, or he/she will never pick up a book. This is probably true for most other genres in this day and age. At any rate, if your problem is a lack of understanding about the story line, put the book down, pick it back up and reread it a few years later. You will find that the story grows on you.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Heinlein is unquestionably one of the greatest science fiction writers to pick up a pen. He influenced the genre perhaps more than any other writer, and, when he was at his best, he wrote highly entertaining, witty, and thought-provoking novels that you could read through fairly quickly and still leave an impression on you. However, he sometimes got carried away. The Number of the Beast is a case of an aging, highly successful writer getting to write exactly what they wanted to write. Okay, so where does that leave the reader? Well, due to it's constant references to previous RAH fiction, (not to mention other writer's fiction) and assorted other esatoric meanderings, Beast is essentially a 500-page inside joke. However, if you have read a good portion of Heinlein's fiction (which, you shouldn't even consider reading this book if you haven't) you will be in one the joke. A lot of people seem not to get this book. They remark that it has no plot, no theme, or anything of the sort. These people are missing the point of the book. So, just what the hell IS Beast, you ask? It is a parody of the genre (of science fiction.) It's apparent from the very first setence, and it only becomes increasingly obvious throughout the book. There is, indeed, no real plot... the four characters just plod throughout the universes seemingly at random, having encounter after encounter that are connected, but not inherently coherent. But then, of course, just when the book seems to have lost all hope of having a point, a new element is injected into the book and it becomes a continuation of the Future History series, and yet another installement in the Lazarus Long chronicles.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I believe that this book demonstrates the culmination of RAH's talents as a science fiction writer In stranger in a strange land he transcended the science fiction mold of technology fantasizing and delivered a powerful in depth story. His rhetoric alone(described as ranting by some)upon reflection can provide insights in to ourselves as well as the characters, and RAH himself. The brain exercises required to follow the strange loop presented within the plot are worth the price of the book. The social interactions of the characters and their development demonstrate one of RAH's best characteristics.
His ability to take you inside the thoughts of his characters not only unleashes a bond between reader and character but it creates a synergy of thought on behalf of the reader.
Why do we read books? Sure the characters get naked and have morals that stray away from the bible belt code of conduct. So what! I read to be inspired, not to recieve a cheap thrill(that's just a bonus) RAH's explanation of the inner workings of the universe was terrific and only surpassed by his attempt to show us the inner workings of the ideal mind(Stranger in a Stange land) and then much later to show us the inner workings of the here after(Job) The best thing about these three stories is that they are the same but a million miles apart. If you don't love a good paradox, read L. Ron Hubbard or Al Gore.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
before you even pick this up, you do need to do some reading
in particular...other heinlein stuff such as: time enough for love, stranger in a strange land, the unpleasant profession of jonathan hoag, the rolling stones.
and possibly others, but those were the ones i noticed at least
the book is divided into three sections, the first, can mostly stand on its own, and not require much knowledge of any other literature...
the first part details the setting for the other two sections, and is basically about how the space-time twister comes into being... having a basic grasp of mathematics through here will not hurt you much either
section two is the foray into other dimensions and such, and here, is where you will begin to require a little knowledge of other literature, as heinlein begins to incorporate other fiction here, so a little knowledge is an assest, but not essential
third section, this is where heinlein gets incredibly self-referential, although it begins in the second section, but is expounded upon in the third.
not the heinlein book to start with, but if you have read some of the aforementioned materials, you will derive great pleasure (or should) from this book
however, another handy thing to have, would be the oxford english dictionary, as it seems to be one of the few places you can track down the word floccinaucinihilipilificatrix, which is among the words you may (like myself) find yourself looking up.
it is quite refreshing to feel your mind involved in reading.
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