Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stranger in a Strange Land

This is an okay book written by Robert Heinlein. A human named Valentine Michael Smith was born and educated on Mars by the advanced aliens inhabiting that planet. He is sent as a visitor to Earth and has several psychic powers: telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, telekinesis, teleportation, and pyrolysis, but is completely innocent regarding the mores of man. After his tutelage under a surrogate-father figure, Valentine begins his transformation into a prophet.

For the most part the story is interesting, but I didn’t like the pantheism and cannibalism, and I thought the words “grok” and “thou art God” were overused. I also didn’t like that the Martian creates a cult that is mainly intended to learn the bizarre language and have lots of sex. There were a few things at the beginning of the book that reminded me of Joseph Smith and the Mormons.

In Exodus 2:22 (KJV), Moses sees his firstborn son Gershom and says: "I have been a stranger in a strange land." The book was originally shortened by 60,000 words, but in 1991 the author's wife Virginia had the unedited version published. In 1968 Tim Zell started a neo-pagan religion called the Church of All Worlds that was based on the ideas in the novel.


At 7/19/2010 5:25 PM, Blogger Green said...

I completely agree with you about the weird cult Smith created. I was really into the book, then it took a really weird turn. I felt it very 60's.


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