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Stranger in a Strange Land

Written by: Robert A. Heinlein
Narrated by: Christopher Hurt
Length: 16 hrs and 17 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (55 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Valentine Michael Smith, an earthling born and educated on Mars, arrives on Earth with superhuman powers and a total ignorance of the mores of man. On his new planet, Smith is destined to become a freak, a media commodity, a scam artist, a searcher, a sexual pioneer, a neon evangelist, a martyr, and, finally, a messiah. Stranger in a Strange Land is the most famous science fiction novel ever written. It became the bible of the "love generation" and transcended the genre to achieve the status of a modern classic.

©1961 by Robert A. Heinlein (P)1996 by Blackstone Audiobooks

What the critics say

  • Hugo Award, 1962

What members say
Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I groked it

Although there are aspects of this book that don't age well, (misogyny and victim-blaming), this book contains some really progressive and compelling ideas of religion, sex and society. Heinlein introduces these controversial ideas, not in a preachy self congratulatory way, but puts the reader in a bystander position to see the compelling aspects of otherwise radical beliefs. Smith's innocence at the beginning of the book is incredibly endearing and had me laughing out loud. His character development alongside Gillian was incredibly engrossing. The story is very well written and even if it challenged my own personal tastes, I found it to be enriching and enjoyable through-out.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story, interesting concepts

Enjoyed a great deal of it, but it was a little long winded in the middle. An abridged version, maybe 3/4 would be great.

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out of this world

an amazing story and an amazing performance I would recommend it to anyone whether you enjoy sci-fi or not

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not too fond of the whole religion/cult/free love

I want very interested until it turned into a religion/cult/free love thing. It just seemed to go on, and on, and on after that bifurcation. Can't love them all.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • W. Seligman
  • 2004-02-26

We live in the world this book made

Will you find this book boring? You may if: you expect all science fiction to be about action, aliens, spaceships, violence, and bizarre sex; if you don't have the patience to listen to a conversation about ideas; if you don't know what the American world-view was like when the book was written.

SIASL was written before the sexual revolution began, before cynicism about our government was popular, when mainstream religious thought was considered above criticism. I don't say this novel was solely responsible for changing the world, but it was part of the spark that began that change. In the post-Watergate, post-Pill, post-Sun-Myung-Moon era, it's hard for some folks to see the stunning impact the book had. Now we've had communes and religions that were formed based on the ideas in this book. We live in the world that this book helped to make; it's hard to be shocked by it anymore.

But the ideas remain, and they're still thought-provoking. Could the religion described in the book actually exist? There now is a real Church of All Worlds; clearly, their members think so.

I admit the book shows its age. Heinlein's attitudes towards homosexuality would change over the next couple of decades; the book's views on that and on drug use are stuck in the 1960's. But all works are products of their times, and this one fine story for those who choose to listen.

A special mention for the reader, Christopher Hurt, who does an excellent job with his voice work.

79 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dawn
  • 2009-01-01

Amazing...a must read!

SiaSL is one of the few books that I grab a copy of whenever I go into a second hand book store to be given away to anyone who shows an interest. It is also the first Audible book I downloaded. It is classified as a Sci-Fi book but it is much harder to easily describe such a fine book. It is a commentary on the human race and our traditions from the perspective of an insightful outsider. Religion is the most obvious and controversial issue. It was actually banned in some states from public libraries and schools because of this fact. It is not a religion bashing book howeever, it just makes you think about things that so many take for granted. I strongly reccommend this book for those that are looking for powerful, likeable characters and insights that only a genius could create. (I have tried to read his other books but am not a big fan of hardcore sci-fi books. Take a chance and learn to Grok your life in a whole new way!

47 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ceil
  • 2009-09-10

Great narrator!

OK, this book is now a little dated, but it's still a classic; I remember being shocked by the views on religion and sex. Now, not so much. But Christopher Hurt is a wonderful narrator, and brings the characters to life. Great fun.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Harris
  • 2003-03-09

A Parable for the Ages

Although written over forty years ago this semi sci-fi still rings true today. While it tells the story of an earthling born on Mars who returns to Earth, it is really a parable on many of our social mores. The author has a sharp knife. He doesn't spare government, religion, the media, sexual proclivities or law enforcement. Our Martian sic earthing is the reluctant "deus ex machina" using his extra terrestrial powers to right wrongs and showing us "Gods" way. While similar plots have been use in numerous Hollywood movies over the last several decades, the book is still interesting and worth listening to.

30 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Connie
  • 2009-08-14

Enhanced version seems to correct audio defects

As other listeners below experienced, I at first found the sound quality too poor for listening, but I downloaded the book again when Enhanced format became available, and the audio quality problems disappeared.

36 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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  • Kyle
  • 2011-12-23

Wildly Entertaining

What did you love best about Stranger in a Strange Land?

The narration was excellent. Just excellent.

What did you like best about this story?

I particularly enjoyed the personality of the characters.

What does Christopher Hurt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrator did exactly what he was supposed to do: Read the text while adding just the right amount of emotion without becoming annoying. It's not easy to find a voice that you can listen to for 16 hours.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed often at the wit of the characters.

Any additional comments?

Excellent book, I highly recommend.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lorela
  • 2004-02-14

Excellent bit of nostalgia...

It was a pleasure to hear, thirty years later, a book I loved to read so much in my teens. A bit dated, perhaps, but not badly so. It stills says a lot about society in general. The narrator was excellent, so much so as to add quite a lot to a story I already knew. I would listen to a book narrated by him just on his talents alone. I suppose you are either a Heinlein fan or you are not...I am.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mike Hart
  • 2004-01-16

The reader groks Jubal

Very well done. The voice of the reader in conveying Jubal Harshaw was great and added a lot to the story for me. I have read the book many times over the years and it simply doesn't age. This reading of the book was very well done and I enjoyed it very much!

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tom
  • 2003-09-01

Excellent Great story and Narration.

I read this book 20 years ago and really liked it. I felt enough time had passed that it wouldn't be boring. Glad to say I was right.

If you like Heinlen you'll love this book, it's a great story and brings up many fascinating concepts.

The narration is excellent. The narrator does a great job of playing the different characters.

This is a must listen for science fiction fans.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • 2008-07-30

Ok

First off, the recording quality on this book is poor for some reason. I've never had this happen before with Audible.

Second, the book is long winded and not very interesting. Very little happens other than a know-it-all character arguing everyone into submission.

Sorry, I didn't care for it.

6 people found this helpful