Thursday, 5 November 2009
Stranger in a Strange Land
by Robert A. Heinlein (978-0340938348).
This book lacks much real science fiction. At most it's a fantasy book. What it really is is a dig at society and religion and that, unfortunately, stifles a story that actually isn't there. Many science fiction books make these points as well, but that doesn't make this science fiction. If this was a relatively new book I'd say it's all been done before, but given its age, all I can say is that it's all been done again since and better. If I was reading it in the 1950s or when I was a teenage boy, I'm sure I would have loved it.
One ray of light in an otherwise dull read was one of the main characters, Jubal. The story is very much told through his, very sensible, view on the world. He understands everything perfectly, has seen it all before and is never fazed by anything. While everyone else is giving into their prejudices and preconceptions he is watching and making sense of it all.
The ending was probably the worst part. The main character is murdered for the good of the people, his followers rejoice and then he visits Jubal from beyond the grave. Time for some more Alistair Reynolds I think.