Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Stranger" redux

So, a week or three ago, I posted about how much I was loving Stranger In A Strange Land, but I must have forgotten to knock on wood, 'cause almost immediately afterward, I started to NOT love it so much.

I'm embarrassed to say this, since I so rarely blog about books, but maybe it's 'cause I don't talk about books that I ought to amend my original post. There comes a point in the book where the storyline suddenly changes. It's like night and day, when there's a shift in storytelling technique, and from that point on, almost without exception, the book was never the same. It started to get really strange, what with the Fosterites, and then the time at the carnival, and the sharing of more than just water, and eventually the whole Mike starts his own religion thing.

I have to admit that I considered quitting on a couple of occasions (something I do a lot more with books nowadays than I used to; if a book starts to lose my attention or rub me the wrong way, I just dump it, because whatever I paid for the book is no longer the overriding concern in reading it), though I would have missed that great joke at the end where some guy in the mob that attacks Mike demands that he "stop the goddamn blasphemy."

Really, Stranger In A Strange Land was two books, and it's the second half, the second book, if you will) that has touched so many lives, inspired so many people to think differently, and encouraged them to leave their puritanical upbringings in the dust, never looking back. That I didn't respond to it, appreciate it, or really, even "get" it says a lot more about me than the novel.

But hey, somebody's got to buy those "Star Trek" tie-in books, kids.

Rish "Juvenile Fiction" Outfield

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's when I stopped reading it - Mike makes his own religion.
I may have been born in the 60's but I don't really feel like I am a product of it.

It needs to come off the list of SciFi must-reads. It is completely dated in an salvageable way. Too many contemporary books should occupy the spot Heinlein has been undeservedly taking.