STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND by Robert A. Heinlein

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND

The Original Uncut

KIRKUS REVIEW

If any sf novel deserves to be called a "classic," it is Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. Now, 30 years after its original publication and two years after the author's death, we have a longer edition--by 50,000 words--based on the original manuscript. Valentine Michael Smith is a human raised to adulthood by Martians, his viewpoints completely alien. This is the mechanism for Heinlein's Swiftian examination of human culture, politics, religion, and customs, starting with Michael's puzzlement and ending with his founding of a religion/discipline combining Martian wisdom and Michael's understanding of what human nature really is. If anyone expects whole new scenes or plot elements, they will be disappointed. The additional words and pages consist of longer descriptions, more dialogue, and perhaps two sexually explicit (for their time) scenes that were toned down in the first edition. A line-by-line comparison reveals no new scenes, but, instead, shows Heinlein's craft as a writer, distilling the information and flavor of whole paragraphs into single lines without loss, while increasing clarity and impact. Of interest to Heinlein completists and scholars, but, in cutting this version by those 50,000 words to produce the 1961 edition, the author made a good book into a great one.

Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 1990
ISBN: 0441788386
Publisher: Ace/Berkley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1990




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