Saturday, July 31, 2010

Book Review: Stranger in a Strange Land

This is a book I've had for a while. A friend bought it for me when I was 18 (I think; it is getting difficult to remember that far back) and for whatever reason I had not read it, but managed to hold on to it. Finally I picked it up and read the dang book. It was really good. Well written, interesting, strong characters and plot. Basically everything you would look for in a book, this one had. The story is about Michael Smith a man born on Mars to astronaut parents who is adapting to life on Earth. He has strange habits and beliefs given his martian origins and it is interesting reading about him trying to learn human behaviors and actions. Mostly humans do not make sense to him, but when he finally understands he becomes a powerful man who is messianic in nature. To further that idea he starts his own complicated church, which is a strange mixture of pagan practices and highly organized denominations. I began to get the sense that Heinlein was somewhat similar to Ayn Rand in that he was promoting personal enlightenment and responsibility and even the Randian theme of human heroes. I'll have to grok that some more. Overall it was very good, a little slow in the center of the book, but still great. I especially loved the character Jubal Harshaw the eccentric and grumpy lawyer/ writer who mentors Smith among other things. I recommend it to anyone interested in solid Sci-fi and even general fiction. It is a great read.

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