Stranger in a Strange Land, Copyright 1961 by Robert A. Heinlein
(ISBN 425-04688-5)

For those of you who have not read Stranger in a Strange Land, well . . . it's about a human raised from infancy by Martians, and then sent to Earth. Actually, it's about the difference between "morals" and "ethics". No, really it's about all the things that the word "grok" means. On the other hand, I guess it's sort of about what it means to be human. Or not human. Hmmmm.

It is certainly one of the most famous speculative fiction novels ever written. (As of 1989 it was in it sixty-fifth printing, presumably it's well beyond that now -- it's certainly still in print.) It's also one of the most contraversial sf novels ever. It arguably influenced (inspired?) the "free love" movement, and the "sexual revolution" in general. Much to the author's suprise, it inspired a "far-out cult" (his words) by the name of Kerista (which lasted as a polyfidelitous family until very recently) and even a church (The Church of All Worlds), which still exists.

Much has been written about Stranger, both in praise and condemnation. Perhaps the best words are Mr. Heinlein's own:

"Stranger is a fairy tale; if it amuses the reader, he has received what he paid for. If he gets something more out of it, that's a free bonus. But I'm durned if I'll 'explain' it .... [W]hat was I tryng to say in it? I was asking questions."

(from pp 240&245 in Grumbles from the Grave, copyright 1989 by the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Trust (ISBN 0-345-36246-2))

Anyway, I recommend it. But you might not like it.

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