Stranger in a Strange Land – Book Review

Like the strange adventures of “Alice In Wonderland.” author Robert A. Heinlien
captures the same aura of belief in his science fiction novel “Stranger in a Strange Land” which describes the odyssey of a human reared on Mars. Heinlien’s main character, Valentine Michael Smith, finds himself like Alice, confronted with a new incomprehensible way of life as confusing and frightening as the looking glass of Alice.

Though satire in style, the novel portrays Smith as a super human character who Innocently manages to humiliate the foundations and product of mankinds’ civilization. His complete Ignorance of monetary values, religion, politics, justice, time and even sex leads him to search for the real truth between his early Martian existence and the “Wonderland” ways of earth.

Smith becomes a multi-billionaire after inheriting two large conglomerate corporations from his genius parents who left him sole heir of their space-age inventions. His inheritance makes him many enemies and subjects him to cope with several powerseeking schemers. Fortunately Smith is abducted by a well-meaning nurse who introduces him to Jubal Harshaw, a retired lawyer-doctor, who takes custody of Smith and attempts to educate him in the human ways of life.

Following much trial and error Smith sets out on his own to find some truth and to figure out what is tho motivating factor which drives men to behave the strange way they do.

With his super human powers to levitate objects, makes things disappear and to read minds. Smith first takes a crack at show business.

Heinlien sprinkles throughout the novel several amusing and stimulating characters all of whom become Smith’s “water brothers,” similar but more bounding than the familiar blood brothers. With his water brothers as a core, Smith initiates his own “religion” although he refers to it as a way of life (Martian?).

Dr. Harshaw and Valentine Smith have one confrontation over the advisability to continue with his fast-growing “religion.” Harshaw points out to Smith that human nature will not allow men to sit by while he crushes their institutions and morals.

“Stranger in a Strange Land” is like a valuable Persian rug, woven very carefully to create one enormous beautiful work of art with light colored humor and made from the fabric of every basic aspect of life.