Skip to comments.HEINLEIN Traveled On Many Levels
Posted on 10/31/2004 8:57:04 PM PST by Lancey Howard
Reviewed by Marc Schogol
Glory Road By Robert A. Heinlein
If it weren't for 'Stranger in a Strange Land', Robert A. Heinlein probably would have been known only by science fiction buffs.
But with its out-of-this-world motifs, including a mind-melding, mind-bending communal lifestyle where everything - everything! - was free and shared, 1961's 'Stranger in a Strange Land' made Heinlein a Sixties counterculture icon.
The irony, as anyone familiar with Heinlein and his other works would have known, was that the late science fiction master's political and philosophical bent was very libertarian/anti-egalitarian. Like Jack Kerouac, who was never comfortable with his reputation as the spiritual father of the hippies, Heinlein (1907-1988) was not, and never wanted to be, a guru to the Woodstock generation.
Originally published two years after 'Stranger', it ('Glory Road') has been considered a lightweight effort by many science fiction aficionados. But others loved it then and have found themselves enjoying periodic rereadings since.
(Excerpt) Read more at philly.com ...
I know there are some Heinlein fans around here, so when I read this review of 'Glory Road' (re-issue) in today's Inquirer I figured I'd post it for those who may be interested.
Dad, I'd like to get a spacesuit.
Well you know how to work. Get a job down the corner pumping gas and in three months you'll be able to buy your own.
By the way, 'Stranger' was the only Heinlein book (and I read them all) that I couldn't finish. Hated it.
"But with its out-of-this-world motifs, including a mind-melding, mind-bending communal lifestyle where everything - everything! - was free and shared,"
Not entirely correct - nothing was free. But michael valentine and his followers had figured out an easy way to make money and had a lot of it just lying around to use whenever they chose.
Also, the book was also quite anti-UN in nature. It was only a hippie type book for those who weren't paying attention to the main points.
Supposedly, "Stranger " was a competition or bet between L Ron Hubbard and Heinlein over who could start a religion. Or maybe it was just Heinlein's take on the 70s foolishness.
Did you read the original or the re-released unabridged version?
The editors originally made him cut out some of the more 'racy' parts in order to release the book.
Stranger was pretty weak, and the beginning of his turn to navel-gazing. I had to really push my way to the end. Talk talk talk. Like the preachiest of Ayn Rand.
Am on Double Star now, and Gods of Mars by ERB
And with that, he slams the sneering poet into a wall.
Sounds like a must-read!
They were all part of a whole. Read his first work.
Well I cut my sci-fi teeth on Heinlein in the late 50's and early 60's - "Tunnel in the Sky" was my first- then I trod the "Glory Road" with 'Scar Gordon searching for Horned Ghosts and the Cold Water Gang- I've been on the road ever since
One of the very best. Heinlein was a thinker. The ending is pretty cool, and you wonder why you didn't realize it. And you are right - - Heinlein's best stuff was the so-called "juvenile" sci-fi. I read all of Heinlein's books in the '60s and I occasionaly enjoy re-reading them today. 'Door into Summer', 'Puppet Masters', and my personal favorite, 'Tunnel in the Sky'. Great, great stuff.
Grew up as a kid reading lots of SF...started reading it seriously when I was in 3rd grade...started reading Heinlein when I was in 5th grade...(mostly his future history stories)...was shaped by people like him and Asimov and John Campbell back at Analog....
But I always sort of prefered Moon Is a Harsh Mistress to Stranger....
I completely agree with your assessment. I disliked Heinlein's later works (exception being "Moon is a Harsh Mistress" but I reread the juveniles every couple years. "Tunnel in the Sky" was my very first science fiction novel.
Want to make a kid like science and math? Hand him Heinlein...
I doubt both theses. The timing is wrong. L. Ron Hubbard had already started his Scientology movement when "Stranger" came out. And "Stranger" was published long before the 70's
There were one or two after 'Stranger' that were pretty good, but the success of 'Stranger' apparently made Heinlein think he had "progressed" into a writer for "adults". I'm glad he got a good twenty or so "juvenile" books under his belt first, because those are the books that made Heinlein great. 'Stranger' merely put him on the radar screen of the pompous, cultural-elite book reviewers.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.