I read the bowdlerized version of Stranger in a Strange Land many years ago, but thanks to my wife buying it finally discovered this reissue of the or...moreI read the bowdlerized version of Stranger in a Strange Land many years ago, but thanks to my wife buying it finally discovered this reissue of the original "uncut" version, copied from the Heinlein archive at the Univ. of California-Santa Cruz by Bob's widow Virginia following his death. The publishers of the first edition had made Bob cut scenes they feared would offend readers in 1961; today, reading the uncut version, it's well nigh impossible to see what they were so afraid of...but then, today's mores, and the far more licentious material printed in this and other literary genres elsewhere since, make its shameless hedonism seem tame and almost innocent by comparison.
Even knowing that such advanced creatures as he describes living on Mars in this book cannot possibly exist there, our various robot probes and telescopes having explored and studied the Red Planet in far more detail since it was written, does not in the slightest detract from the importance or sheer enjoyability of this novel. The major themes Stranger explores -- the moral turpitude of most major organized religions, including and especially Christianity; the bizarre schizophrenia of American society with regard to sex, marriage and procreation; the failings of mass media; and the tragic hilarity of human nature, including mob psychology -- are every bit as pertinent today as they were when Bob first sat down to write it, if not more so.
If you consider yourself a Heinlein fan -- hell, even if you don't and hated it originally -- you owe it to yourself to find a copy of this version online or in a library or used bookstore and give it a read. The story is much richer for the restoration of what pusillanimous editors ordered removed in '61 and only serves to reaffirm Robert Heinlein's well-earned status as a past, present and forever Grand Master of the genre, and that of this book as one of the seminal works of literary science fiction's Golden Age.(less)