Stranger in a Strange Land
Once you grok this book, you won’t be able to put it down.
Stranger in a Strange Land, my most recent Heinlein conquest, tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, “Mike” to his friends, a human being born on Mars. Raised by Martians, Mike returns to Earth to grok our strange Earthling ways and teach us his.
The beginning of the book shows us Mike’s education. Immediately bonded to the capricious nurse Jill, Mike escapes the hospital where he is essentially being kept prisoner (he does not grok any such concept) and flees to live off the hospitality of liberal and licentious Jubal Harshaw and his three lovely secretaries. Mike is in an unusual position: he is innocent and naive yet stands to inherit a lot of money, a lot of land, and thus he is in high demand; however, what is truly valuable may be his powers that we don’t even understand.
As Mike grows to understand our human ways, he in turn imparts some of his Martian ways onto his new “family.” His innocence, his trust, his way of seeing right and wrong wind their way through lessons in Earth religion, morality, and sexuality.
The most charming aspect of the book may be the characters we are allowed to get to know, as they let us grok them in fullness.
The Stranger in a Strange Land may not be as strange as you think. If you’re looking for a book that might shift your perspective to grok things from a different angle, SiaSL is a speedy and nicely-paced novel with interesting guesses at what “the future” will be like and how we can change it. I guarantee it is a goodness.