Finished Stranger in a Strange Land

Making progress on my sci-fi/fantasy reading list! While I’m working on reading Game of Thrones as a physical book, I’ve also been listening to Stranger in a Strange Land as an audiobook. I finished it on Saturday and I think it’s going to take me a while to grok it in fullness. (Sidenote: ProfX has been teasing me about my having immediately adopted phrases from the book.)

My initial impression is that it’s going to have an effect on my mental landscape similar to the one I got from reading the Sandman comics a few months ago. The world was comprehensive and the whole book felt very…full. It was so descriptive that my head is full of pictures, the way it was when I read Sandman. And there were so many ideas (also like Sandman) that I’m not sure I caught them all.

It was so intense that I could only listen to an hour at a time, tops. Excellent reader for the audiobook, I recommend him. I’d say it’s the best book I’ve read all year except that I’ve also read Sandman and Ender’s Game and those were both phenomenal. This has been a great year for reading!

Some of the elements felt a little off, such as the effective inequality between the sexes and the heterosexism. I suppose the latter was necessary at the time. Group marriages always seem to raise that issue and I suppose Heinlein wanted to settle it clearly, though I found it interesting that it was implied that two of the women would have sex but that it’d be wrong for the men to do so, except by connecting mentally while having intercourse with women.

Other things felt like so many other visions of the future from that era—things which are almost laughably-dated. But that didn’t bother me at all, I simply noticed it as part of the world. It made the book feel rather familiar, just like books set in the Regency period or the Victorian era all feel connected by similar elements even when they’re wildly different.

I’ve already started on my next audiobook Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, though the audiobook’s title/cover is “Blade Runner,” which I find disappointing. It’s a 25th anniversary edition and I suppose it’d draw more eyes. I just find the title very clever!

I’ve set up my reading list on LibraryThing based on the suggestions everyone has given me, so I can keep track of the books. So far am really enjoying this. Game of Thrones is excellent, but sometimes I have to slow down because I’m so involved in the story & scared on behalf of the characters! I know that he can’t possibly kill off all the good ones in the first book, but it’s requiring stronger nerves than I expected.

6 Comments

  1. 8-bit Emma says:

    The heterosexism got to me when I read that book. I went on to read other Heinlein and found it to be much the same. Actually, many writers from that era seem to be effectively writing to other men. That said, I do enjoy a lot of books from that era. I loved Stranger in a Strange Land, even the ending and all it entails.

    On another note, have you read the Foundation series. I highly recommend that if you haven’t had the chance. And the Rendezvous with Rama series… Ok, I’ll stop!

    Great post. Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Ruth says:

    Thanks, Emma, I’m glad it wasn’t just me being overly-sensitive! I agree about men writing for other men. Not that it’s wrong for men to write for men (or women for women), but it narrows the audience and on something that should be as broad as this I feel a little cut out. Still worth reading though. :)

    I read at least the first Foundation book a number of years back but it’s been a while. It’s on my list!

  3. Mike says:

    I liked the book quite a bit. Might be time for a re-read.

  4. Terry says:

    I’m a big SIASL fan and I’m sure I was grokking everything after I read it. Do Androids is also an amazing read. I wish I could re-read some of this stuff for the first time.

  5. Terry says:

    and why am I getting a Mirror Universe Ruth for my icon?

  6. Ruth says:

    Default gravatar setup. But it looks like you’ve fixed it. :) I need to put a goatee on that default gravatar!

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