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Time Enough for Love (The World As Myth)

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  25,448 Ratings  ·  614 Reviews
Time Enough for Love is the capstone and crowning achievement of Heinleins famous Future History series.
Audio CD, 21 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published June 19th 1973)
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Gennielc No!
This is a book about love and relationships.
The only that the cover has right is that Lazarus Long, the main character, is, at times, a "dirty old…more
This is a book about love and relationships.
The only that the cover has right is that Lazarus Long, the main character, is, at times, a "dirty old man." And as long as you don't mind rolling your eyes at Heinlein's portrayal of him, it's great.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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- Mr. Lazarus Long, since you happen to be passing through the early twenty-first century, could you give us a few priceless gems of homespun wisdom for the Goodreads membership to marvel at?

- Gosh darn it, when I see all the cute females on this site, how can I say no? Could you just pass me the... cuneiform tablets? Papyrus rolls? Parchment? Oh yes, laptop. Sorry, hard to keep things straight. So...

1. If you're a tired SF hack who's completely run out of ideas, don't worry. Just recycle the ol
Sep 11, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is Robert A. Heinlein a dirty old man?


But he was also a visionary who saw the trends of Western Civilization and expounded out into a foreseeable future, not just in terms of science fiction but also in regard to cultures, morals, sociology and ideology. Time Enough for Love demonstrates the fundamental attractiveness of science fiction, the eternal hope that things will get better.

Dystopian fantasies aside, science fiction deals with the future, and that there are people in the future st
S.C. Jensen
Jul 24, 2012 S.C. Jensen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
People seem to have a love it or hate it kind of relationship with Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love. And I’ve gotta say I’m strapped firmly to the former bandwagon. Granted, I can see why some of the negative Nancy’s are getting their panties in a knot (okay, maybe the incest theme goes a little far), but Heinlein’s weirdness just doesn’t bug me. And I think some critics have missed the mark entirely, by focusing on the wrong stuff. Which is fully within their rights, of course, and an opinion is ...more
May 26, 2012 Caroline rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone studying misogyny in literature
This is one of those books that I wanted to stop reading, but I persevered in the hopes that something would redeem it by the end. There was no redemption; only sadness and a burning expletive on the end of my tongue. In a book with over 20 characters, the only one I enjoyed was a talking mule. In a book with nearly 600 pages, only 30 of them contained a story I cared about.

(view spoiler)
Till Noever
Nov 01, 2012 Till Noever rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
(Read the other reviews for plot summaries. No point in rehashing.)

Heinlein has profoundly influenced my thinking and life since I was but in my early teens, so I guess this review isn't exactly impartial. Still, there are books of his that bored me, among them Stranger in Strange Land. In other words, I know the man's limitations.

With all this said, I still think that TEFL qualifies as a curmudgeonly masterpiece, and it banged my head against a wall again and again and said "Get a life, man! Ge
Jun 03, 2008 Angel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science_fiction
I have a love-hate relationship with Heinlein. Some of his stuff is great. Some of it, like Farnham's Freehold, which I reviewed here, I simply hate. However, I like enough of his work that I seek more. This was a book that took me a long time to get through, but when I got done, it was well worth it. I read it back in 2002. From my journal back then:

>>I found it to be a book that makes you think. I thought the opening was a bit slow, but once the narrative was set up, it got interesting.
Gabriel C.
Apr 21, 2012 Gabriel C. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: among-others, 2012
Holy fucking shit. I made a bad mistake, I'm never going to read 30 books in April now. This book is as long-lasting and stupid and boring and disgusting and horrifying as its main character. I'm almost halfway through it and I need to write a half review because I'm going to lose my memories just like Lazarus Long.

#1. This isn't science fiction. This is a pathetic old man (Heinlein was 66) hanging on to his memories of a bygone era. Everything good is frozen in the pioneer era. Pathetic. They h
Mar 04, 2011 Tracey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who aren't easily offended by immoral sex scenes
I love Lazarus Long. That is all.

I think RAH transcends mere sexuality (or he's a horny old goat, one) and winds a tale in his 'future history' series that is unlike anything else I've ever read. IOW, I don't think he could have quite told the tale without sorta 'getting rid' of standard morals about sex and love.

This IS one of my favorites of the series, but I've got to re-read it to remember why I was left with such strong sentiment about this particular book. It, along with Number of the Beas
Sep 19, 2010 Raja99 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is (probably) a great book, but it does have one significant barrier for the reader. I don't consider bringing it up to be a spoiler, since it's an idea and not a plot point, but if you hate even minor spoilage, you should stop reading NOW.

Time Enough for Love consists of a framing story, set in (our) far future, about the oldest man in the universe, and his reminiscences. The final section merges the two. It's less a solid, streamlined novel than a fixup. Which is fine with me; fixups are
Mar 11, 2011 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What would you do if you could live 4,000 years? Try out every profession at least once? Make enough babies to populate a planet? Travel as far as the galaxy goes? Lazarus Long has done all that and more. He’s about to die peacefully when he’s kidnapped and rejuvenated and coerced to tell his memoirs. I could read stories about Lazarus’ life for months, but unfortunately this book only contains two. The rest is action in the ‘present’ (4272 Gregorian), and at the end, an account of Lazarus’ trip ...more

The number one thing I learned from this is book, and in fact from the body of Heinlein's work, is that almost all morality is a construct of society and should change, evolve and adapt to remain useful. I think far too many people just look at the surface of things, without looking a little deeper.

A lot of people seem to miss Heinlein's purpose with the incest thing. He constantly challenged preconceived notions of morality, which is a good thing, in my opinion. A lot of his purpose was simpl

Jun 05, 2014 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The calculation of literary kink: 2 stars for coming up with an interesting premise (2000 year old man reminiscing about life and his times among the stars) MINUS 1.5 stars for ignoring said premise and instead focusing on taunting every sexual more known to current cultural standards, culminating in time-travel visits to meet Mom and thus begin what I can only describe as pornographic Back To The Future fan-fiction.

Plus half-a-star to have the willpower/stubberness/tone-deafness to continue on
Mike (the Paladin)
Not his best (in my openion). Tying up the Long's story. In his later years Heinlein got more comfortable with putting his thoughts into his books. I find him (and some may disagree with this or find it odd) very close to Ayn Rand in some ways.
Ivis Davis
Jan 16, 2013 Ivis Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Robert Heinlein was a brilliant author and an observer of the strength and frailties of man. He develops all of his stories around the relationships of the characters, and allow them to reveal the story and all its diversities in a natural flow and rhythm. Were he a musician, he would be a maestro.
Lazarus Long is old and tired, and has come home to one of his favorite planets to die quietly among strangers. After 2400 years of life, and out lived many families, he has run out of reasons to li
Aug 21, 2009 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Valerie by: Mom, Uncle Rick
Shelves: math, fantasy-sf, heinlein
I wanted a paperback to read on the plane recently, and this one was right on top of a stack of books, so I reread it. I've reread a few Heinlein books recently, and I realize as I have with so many other books that I read when I was young, (believe it or not, I think I might have been 10 the first time I read this, I was certainly no more than 12) how much they shaped my sense of myself. For instance, every Heinlein book has pages and pages devoted to math, and not glossed over math, real math. ...more
Mar 06, 2013 Smokey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Presented primarily as the musings, ramblings, and experiences of one Woodrow Wilson Smith, aka. Lazarus Long, et. al., this book has enough proverbs, pithy sayings, thou-shalt-nots, and who-begat-whom's to qualify as a potential "Hedonists' Bible." Unlike some of Heinlein's other works, the gratuitous sex is kept to something of a minimum (not ignored!), and he instead focuses on the attitudes and platitudes that have allegedly kept his main charater alive for 2500+ years in an exciting and dan ...more
Jun 13, 2015 Peter rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A Review

-----The Players-----

Terence Ash – publisher and editor
Robert Ash – younger brother, sub editor
Chartwell - Office assistant and explorer of the darker corners of staples
Edgar – warehouseman and dogsbody
Heinry Lein - writer


Heinry Lein - Hello I wonder if you would be so kind as to look at

Robert Ash - What is it?

Heinry Lein - A manuscript.

Robert Ash - A manuscript?

Heinry Lein - You Know Ink on paper ....Words.

Robert Ash - Oh! Mmmmm. What is it about?

Heinry Lein - W
Felix Dance
I'd been looking out for this one ever since I saw it new in the KL super-bookshop several months back. A few days ago I got it in exchange for AK from the American girl in my Kathmandu hotel. Unfortunately, as I read the first few pages I realised I’d made a terrible mistake. Lazarus Long, the main character from Methuselah's Children, is, inexplicably, 2000 years old and living on a distant planet. The leader of this planet has foolishly asked the rambling old man to tell him random and stupid ...more
Jan 12, 2009 Javier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A number of fellow poly-folk and friends whom I respect highly had mentioned this book when discussing their awakening to their polyamourous natures, and so I decided to pick it up a while back. I'm normally a fairly fast reader, but this took me months to slog thru (with lots of breaks for other books). Heinlein's writing is difficult for me to read because I feel it's a bit convoluted and sometimes poorly executed, but he is a great storyteller, and while I can't say that I agree with all the ...more
Aug 18, 2015 Monica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi

Chad Bearden
Jun 24, 2009 Chad Bearden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
Any complaints about Heinlein's "Time Enough For Love" that are centered around the absurdity and perversity of a two thousand year old man having sex with every single woman he ever meets, most of whom are descended from him or raised from childhood by him or gave birth to him (!!), are completely valid complaints. As much as I enjoyed this read, Heinlein's obsession with knocking down every possible sexual barrier got a little hard to swallow after a while and kept me from rating this a five-s ...more
***Dave Hill
Nov 09, 2011 ***Dave Hill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: text
TEfL is one of those Heinlein books I have a love/hate relationship with. There are tales within the tale that move me, interest me, and that I get a lot of enjoyment from. On the other hand, all of the "contemporary" framing action tends to bore the snot out of me.

Or, to put it another way, when Heinlein is telling a story here, it's good stuff. "The Tale of the Adopted Daughter," "The Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail," etc. -- the more Lazarus is relating the stories of his past, the better. Even
Aug 12, 2007 L S rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All right, another rating biased by the age at which I read this book. I read Time Enough for Love in what was then the Soviet Union over the course of a white night. I'm not kidding.

At any rate, Time Enough for Love is a decent enough story and entertaining. Par for the course with Heinlein, though, is negotiating his complicated relationship to gender and his often overblown moralising. This is not to say that these issues are wholly negative; Heinlein's relationship to gender and morality is
Buck Ward
This book is very long; too long. It is a collection of anecdotes and tales linked together by a meandering conversation with much pontification. There are two 'intermissions' containing lists of Heinlein aphorisms and even a spate of doggerel. There is no real plot except for the ones in the individual stories. The predominant theme is incest. In the end, our protagonist, Lazarus Long, proves himself to be, literally, a motherf***er.

Wikipedia says: "Three novels from (Heinlein's middle) period,
Jarad Bernotavicz
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. "

"Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor. "

Steven Wilson
Dec 03, 2010 Steven Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite book of all time. So many stories, so much wisdom, and a cast of characters I love spending time with. I can't give it an objective review. I'm just too much in love with it.

This is the story of the lives of Lazarus Long, oldest member of the human race. He's been alive for thousands of years, and saw humanity go from the idyll of pre-World War I to the conquest of space and beyond. He's practiced nearly every profession, sired hundreds of children, and now he's bored with life and
Apr 29, 2009 Rob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, sci-fi
I'm not suggesting this is Heinlein's greatest book, his best writing, his most daring exploration, perhaps not even his most penetrating observation on the human condition, although I do think it has something to say about that. I suspect what I enjoy is listening to Heinlein, using his creation Woodrow Wilson Smith, now the oldest known man in the universe, as a mouthpiece, give me his personal views on life and humanity, without any agenda other than that.
Sep 05, 2008 Mel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 19, 2007 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Interesting ideas, but it's a little to arrogantly preachy even for Heinlein. Interesting concepts, but he's so wrong on some things that it doesn't help his well-made points. Honestly, I gave up on it before he does the time travel thing where (I read on wikipedia) he has an affair with his mom. I don't care if you're 3 millenia old, Oedipus, that's weird.
Feb 18, 2016 Curtis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, novel
It’s been almost a year since I reviewed the first volume of the Virgina Edition, I Will Fear No Evil . I didn’t intend for there to be such a long hiatus, but things got in the way. Also, there is the absurdity of having two of Heinlein’s longest novels at the front end of the series, which makes no sense so far as I can tell.

I liked the story of Time Enough For Love very much. It is the story of Lazarus Long, the oldest human in the galaxy. Introduced in Heinlein’s Future History tales, Long
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Heinlein's abbreviations, et al 2 17 Oct 26, 2015 10:59PM  
  • Gray Lensman (Lensman, #4)
  • Earth Is Room Enough
  • The Dosadi Experiment (ConSentiency Universe, #2)
  • Callahan's Key (The Place, #1) (Callahan's Series, #8)
  • Oath of Fealty
  • The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat (Stainless Steel Rat, #4-6)
  • Little Fuzzy (Fuzzy Sapiens, #1)
  • The Computer Connection
  • Tactics of Mistake (Childe Cycle, #4)
  • Steel Beach
  • Up the Line
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 about Robert A. Heinlein...

Other Books in the Series

The World As Myth (4 books)
  • The Number of the Beast (The World As Myth)
  • The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (The World As Myth)
  • To Sail Beyond the Sunset

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