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Reading this book in public compelled strangers to bark their opinions of Robert Heinlein, always adding, … AND HE WAS A FASCIST!!! STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND?

All I wanted was to sit in a corner enjoying my tea and novel, lonely and undisturbed.

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I haven’t read Stranger in a Strange Land yet, so I don’t know why it makes people foam at the mouth. I look forward to barking my response though. That review will be written in all caps. HOPE YOU LIKE IT.

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Having read and LOVED Jo Walton’s Among Others, I’m excited to start digging into the exhaustive science fiction reading list Mo supplies as she discovers the wonders of her local library. Heinlein was quite prolific, so it’ll take some time to work through his oeuvre.

have space suit

When Kip announces to his dad that he wants to go to space, hi dad says okay and returns to reading his book. It’s up to Kip to figure out the how part and, as he attends a school with sub-par academics, it’s also on him to stretch his mind. Otherwise he doesn’t stand a chance of getting into a decent college and joining the others who are already up there.

(This book was published in 1958. Cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin became the first human to travel into space in 1961. Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon in 1969.)

Kips first big chance comes in the form of a slogan contest for Sky Soap. He doesn’t win a trip to Mars, but does acquire a space suit, fixes it up and walks around in it. It’s on one such walk in which a couple of space pirates abduct him. He wakes up in a room with Peewee, a skinny genius girl intent on protecting the Mother Thing, a wise if not particularly agile alien species. Their first escape attempt is on the moon and probably the slowest chase scene I’ve ever read.

We’re simply trying to survive – and the first principle of survival is not to worry about the impossible and concentrate on what’s possible.

(Andy Weir echos this sentiment in the The Martian.)

They end up on Pluto and then Vega then elsewhere. The small details, like how Kip has to lean into turns in his space suit, makes his moon walking feel as real as driving a car. Having stretched his mind, he’s able to note how he’d improve upon the space suit by adding a rear-view window and a chin window so he could see down.

Bumbling space pirates are led by an evil, powerful alien intent on taking over Earth and maybe eating us because we’re delicious. Without the outer-worldly setting and PeeWee’s sparkling personality, this book may have fallen flat, in part because the bad guys aren’t as bad as bad can be. Kip is practical and determined, and the villains are clearly no match for him and clever PeeWee. Though their motives are dark, the main villain never became solid to me. And the momentum is odd, mainly because Kip and PeeWee don’t make choices, they’re constantly reacting to new situations and challenges, but their actions aren’t what forwards the plot.

I did appreciate how the pirates articulated their wishes with “Shaddup”. 

Good books always teach me something. This one taught me how to sweet talk my honey. Hint: “Shaddup“. So much fun to say.

I woke up from a terrible nightmare, remembered where I was and wished I were back in the nightmare.

I enjoyed reading Heinlein’s writing, but didn’t love this book – I’m not quite sure I even liked it. Maybe it’s not for everyone. The plot escalates, but it’s slow in parts. It didn’t, as my niece would say, pop my head off (we suspect she means “blow your mind”). Still, it’s a product of a grand imagination and that alone makes it worth the read. Can you tell I’ve been watching Sesame Street?

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