The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (The World As Myth)
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The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (The World As Myth)

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  14,585 ratings  ·  400 reviews
When a stranger attempting to deliver a cryptic message is shot dead at his table, Dr. Richard Ames is thrown headfirst into danger, intrigue, and other dimensions, where a plot to rescue a sentient computer could alter human history...
Paperback, 388 pages
Published June 1st 1988 by Ace (first published November 11th 1985)
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Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books
165th out of 4,274 books — 15,504 voters
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Your Favorite Heinlein Novel
9th out of 40 books — 187 voters

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Community Reviews

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Kori Warren
Aug 15, 2008 Kori Warren rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
This was my very first RAH book...the one that got me hooked. I thought it had a cool cover and was in the discount bin so I had just enough for it. I was 15. I couldn't put it down. Since then, I've read almost everything he has written and have loved every single one!
Simeon Kohlman Rabbani
What I learned from "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls":

1) If a government official refuses to speak with you, just threaten to walk out and he'll change his mind immediately.

2) A fez, not unlike Clark Kent's glasses, makes an impenetrable disguise.

3) Sexism will make a big comeback in the future. Incest, too.

4) Alternate universes and time travel can be used to fill any plot hole.

5) Cutting in line is a death-penalty offense, but murder... meh.

6) Just like in "Field of Dreams," Iowa is teh awesom...more
Review from 01:

I am a great lover of the words of Heinlein. But this book has got to be one of his worst. While it has some very interesting quantum physics threads, and some interesting character as aware entity moments, it does not hold together. The relationships of the main character and his children (near the end of the book) are confusing and more explicit than needed/wanted. The 'mysteries' the main character was trying to solve fell apart like wet tissue paper. I was dissapointed that th...more
Aug 09, 2010 Josh rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to Josh by: Nobody
I haven't read any Heinlein previous to this novel, and I'm somewhat glad, as it gave me an opportunity to evaluate it based on its (lack of) merits as a story, rather than any fanservice appeals to classic Heinlein characters.

The story starts off as a decent sci-fi action romp. The charismatic protagonist is likable in a James Bond sort of vein, his banter with his girlfriend is punchy, his quirks are endearing.

Things start getting weird the moment another female character enters the story. Sud...more
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Robert Heinlein has always been near the top of my favorite science fiction authors. His stories, projected through lush language and vivid images, have always given me a chance to escape whatever task I'm doing and invite me to "live" in his world for a bit.

THE CAT WHO WALKS THROUGH WALLS is a bit different. Heinlein takes a romance and tries to stuff it between space opera and detective fiction. I can't say that this ménage a trois fails, exactly, but I have a feeling that space opera and det...more
When I bought this book a couple of weeks ago, I was with two friends, one of whom is a fairly decent sci-fi fan, and the other of whom is a completely nutty sci-fi fan. Both of them started lyricising about how wonderful this book was, how absolutely fantastic, how I definitely had to read it. And, similarly, a week ago, another friend saw the book on our coffee table, and again, this lyrical Heinlein-is-amazing rhapsody was replayed.

Having now read the book myself, I have to confess that I di...more
Allison Rockwell
Ok, I'm only partway through, but I'm going to post my thoughts so far.

The first Heinlein book I read was Stranger in a Strange Land, which I found among my mother's book when I was 12. I adored that book, and read it many, many times. However, I'd never really read much other Heinlein.

This book started out great - James Bond style space adventure with witty banter and a clever female sidekick. Despite the sagacity of the girl (actually much older than we initially think), Heinlein has sprinkled...more
Aug 04, 2009 Peter rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Heinlein fans
One of Heinlein's last books, and not one of his best. It represents yet another installment in the "World As Myth" theme that he used so often later in life, and therefore includes many characters from his older, better works - including, inevitably, Lazarus Long, who continues his long (pun intended) degeneration from the original interesting protagonist of "Methuselah's Children" into an annoying incest-freak, Heinlein surrogate, self-parody (I suspect), and all-around jerk-who-must-be-worshi...more
Jun 23, 2008 Sara rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People familiar with Robert Heinlein, people willing to accept broadly impossible sci-fi plots
This is kind of two separate books smooshed together. The first half is pretty straight-forward space adventures, and then everything gets weird after that. Not bad, just weird and very separate-feeling from the first half. This is not uncommon with Heinlein, and it didn't ruin the book or anything, but I did kind of feel betrayed that the first half was somewhat meaningless. Also, the ending left me hanging more than I would have liked. I plan on reading the rest of this "series" (having alread...more
Apr 02, 2012 Tim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Heinlein's works
I've read this book many times, but just finished the audiobook for the first time and as such I've finally decided to review this book.

I love this book. That said, there are other Heinlein books that are better overall. The main problem with this book is that this book can be viewed as two books pushed together. In some sense, it seems like he wrote himself into a corner for the first half and pulled out the second half so he can hand wave the questions that arise in the first half.

So, why I do...more
This was not a book. This was 386 pages of setting up for the book and 2 pages of frantically trying to sum things up. As the story really went nowhere for most of the book it was incredibly difficult to read. Heinlein uses the same gambit in every single meeting the main character goes through which I have summed up here: "I must see these people/they say they must see me on matters of huge import but they're being jerks and making me wait. Ok, I'm going to pretend to get offended and start wal...more
WARNING: You must read Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress," "The Rolling Stones," "Time Enough for Love," and "The Number of the Beast" before reading this book. It would also be helpful to have read "Stranger in a Strange Land," and "Friday." Familiarity with Baum's Oz stories and Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars series is recommended. I think that a lot of the negative reviews here stem from people reading the series out of order or just picking this book up independently of the series or any...more
Joshua Keezer
At some distant point in time down the road, a fan of mine will stumble onto my goodreads account and read my reviews. This fan will notice that of all of the Heinlein books, only one book was given a five star review. This fan will wonder why.

Unfortunately, when this fan reads this review of the book, he will find himself disappointed as I do not intend to explain why this book is getting the rating I'm giving it. The reason for the fifth star is just too personal.

The Cat Who Walks Through Wall...more
Jeff Yoak
I remember liking this book less when I read it long ago. Robert A. Heinlein's "World As Myth" series doesn't appeal to me and I tend to prefer the older juvenilia and middle novels much more. The thing is, I've become such a fan of his, and particularly of his wonderful characters, that the opportunity to meet most of the characters from most of his novels again was a happy one.

I wouldn't suggest this book for anyone not already a serious Heinlein fan. I imagine it would be pretty much a failur...more
Dr. Richard Ames is an normal guy (that is, if you overlook the fact that he lives in space and is a decorated soldier in hiding) that is in the wrong place, every time. He and his new bride bop across the galaxy, trying to figure out who is trying to kill them and why. Throw in an invincible bonsai tree, a super-sonic space bus and a cat who walks through walls.

This book was weird and witty and adventuresome. My only other exposure to Heinlein was Starship Troopers which I appreciated but didn'...more
I first stumbled upon this book when I was about 12 years old. I know, I know, it's not exactly YA, but back in the day there weren't a lot of YA books available where I lived. After reading everything my little library had to offer, I moved into the adult section and found this book. Chances are, I picked it up at the time only because it had the word CAT in the title.

However, it quickly turned out to be a favorite of mine. I loved it from the first read, and re-read it every few years whenever...more
I am a late-comer to the Heinlein bandwagon. I've now read/listened to two of his books and have been pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls starts in the same universe as The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, which worked well for me as I was already familiar with some of the culture that was referenced and had more time enjoying the action that was going on. Mind you, Heinlein is great at keeping the action up. There were only a handful of pages total that cou...more
There is a saying that when pizza is good, it is great, and when it’s bad it’s still pretty good. This saying may also apply to RAH titles.

This is not one of his greatest, but not bad either, pretty good. I like the world as myth concept, imaginative and entertaining as all his books are, and I especially liked the return of some older RAH characters. Books about time travel are always confusing, maybe by default (see Piers Anthony Bearing An Hourglass) and this one is no exception.

This one ta...more
Michael Sorensen
Surprising that this book is on no one's list yet... As part of Bob Heinlein's massive "Future History" Series, this one book was fairly pivotal, and built on the idea that we writers create our own existences which was first introduced in "The Number of the Beast" I have always enjoyed nearly everything Bob did, save for his darker stuff--like Farnham's Freehold...brrrr--and the incipid "Stranger in a Strange Land" (which was Bob's throw down in the "Create your own religion" competition betwee...more
The legendary Robert Heinlein is beyond reproach by a mere fan like me.
So I will do my best to keep from criticizing this.

It starts out, say the first 60% as a sci-fi mystery / conspiracy story. I liked it quite a lot. Then it falls back on previous characters from older Heinlein books, and I could not muster the same enthusiasm for the story. If it was anyone but RAH, I would say that they had gotten lazy and took a cheap way out. Especially the end...

Still, only a few to go and I will have rea...more
I want to paddle Heinlein's bottom and watch it turn pink for adding so much nonsense to what was a perfectly wonderful story! Was there a point to it? The fact that everybody had a make out session whenever they were coming or going (men, women, children; doctors, lawyers; even some computers got in on the action although in the books defence they were sentient computers) it just made no sense to me and distracted me from what was, for the most part, a very unique and interesting plot. The dial...more
I suspect I made a mistake in reading (actually listening) to this book in isolation. I chose it because it was available for download from my local library, not realizing it is part of a greater series. It does not stand well on it's own. I'm not sure it would stand well in conjunction with it's series either though, I found some major issues with it.
The first is the main voice. My problem may be at least partially due to the voice-actor reading the book, but I think it...more
An old friend.

Somehow, on revisit, this wasn't as good as I remember it being. I raced through it, glad to see all the familiar plot points and funny bits, but I'd forgotten how the end just sort of... disintegrates really fast, as soon as the World As Myth crowd show up.

It's good Heinlein, but I'm not sure it's a good book, objectively, especially if you haven't read any of the rest of the Future History stuff.
One of my favorite Heinlein books.

It's not every day a story book character curses the author writing their story...

It's a bit better if you have some familiarity with The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and other works in the Lazarus Long Universe of books, but it might be enjoyable if you've never read anything else by Heinlein.

I would still recommend Moon before this one, but not by much.
E. Newby
This book is a bad joke.

The first half of the book is a run of the mill space adventure (following newly weds who banter on and on). The second half of the book has four times the characters in any given scene, four times the banter, but only one quarter the attrition tags. I spent most of the story wondering who was who and who said what. It felt like I'd been dropped into the middle of a reunion for a family I'd never meant, tasked with picking out the few strands of relevant data from a sea...more
Matteo Pellegrini
Il colonnello Colin Campbell, alias dottor Richard Ames, ex appartenemente ai corpi speciale e attualmente scrittore a tempo perso, conduce un'esistenza agiata e tranquilla su Regola Aurea, un habitat artificiale in orbita attorno alla Luna. Ha il suo lavoro e i suoi hobby a cui pensare, senza dimenticare le donne. Anzi, la sera in cui tutto ha inizio, in un ristorante, il colonnello sta addirittura pensando di proporre il matrimonio alla sua attuale compagna, l'affascinante Gwen Novak. Quindi,...more
Heinlein at his best and worst. The rollicking time warps are usually obvious but confusing, but not enough to carry a story. This seems like more if a polemic on Heinlein's view of the hedonistic male-fantasy of females in heat. I had the same reaction to this novel that I had to 'Time Enough For Love' and this carried on much of the theme of polygamous relationships and the swinger well as some of the characters from that and other Heinlein classics like 'Stranger in a Strange L...more
The book was disappointing. Long, rambling & full of 'sage' advice from his various father figures. More tying his various universes together, unnecessarily. If you like any of his books originally published after 1970, you might give it a try, but I wouldn't put it high on my list. If you like "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" you'll like this.
Beth Haynes
I have tried several times to finish this book. Currently on pg 185 out of 388 and I am deciding not to finish it. I rarely stop reading a book once I start it, but this is one of those times. Heinlein is just too bizarre for me right now.
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Robert Anson Heinlein was an American novelist and science fiction writer. Often called "the dean of science fiction writers", he is one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of "hard science fiction".

He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was the first SF writer to break into mainstre...more
More about Robert A. Heinlein...
Stranger in a Strange Land Starship Troopers The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Time Enough for Love (The World As Myth) The Puppet Masters

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