To paraphrase a freind of mine, this was yet *another* "...alcoholic detective sticking their nose where it's likely to get cut off." Two books that ITo paraphrase a freind of mine, this was yet *another* "...alcoholic detective sticking their nose where it's likely to get cut off." Two books that I've read recently come to mind: Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith and When Gravity Fails by George Alex Effinger. Same plot, same characters, different setting.
The alternative history is pretty minor to the overall story. I really feel that you could cut and paste the characters and plot and plunk them in NYC and the story wouldn't miss a beat. I think this my main contention. Yeah, it's kinda cool to have a bunch of Jews living in Alaska, but does that make it "award worthy?" Not really, IMO.
The author is really, really flowery in his language. I recall one bit I read over my moring cereal that was something like "the cows were angels scattered on the green heavens of the field". This particular sentence was just kinda stuck in between two other sentences that basically said the cows were out standing in their field. He had a lot of this throughout the book and after a while it was like, Oy vey indeed.
Still, I enjoyed this book. Meyer Landsman wasn't as morose or depressing as Arkady Renko but I think that was due to Meyer's comic sidekick - Barko. In some ways it was kinda like watching the old TV series Northern Exposure, where being off your rocker is the norm. I would read another book by Michael Chabon....more
I read this one for an on-line scifi book group through Goodreads.com and because it was on my Hugo Winner list as one of the last four I need to readI read this one for an on-line scifi book group through Goodreads.com and because it was on my Hugo Winner list as one of the last four I need to read.
Now, this is not my first time reading Stranger, but it's been over 25 years since I last picked it up. I'm fairly certain that I read this in JR High if not High School so I could have made the argument that yes, I already read this and don't need to read it again (same goes for The Moon is a Harsh Mistress). But, my attitudes, opinions and experiences are not the same as they were when I was a scrawny, knockkneed geek of a girl.
Valentine Michael Smith was found on Mars by a second expedition to the Red Planet and brought back to be with his "own kind". But Michael - aka Mike - is not entirely human even though he wears the skin of humankind. Jill and Ben realize that the government is keeping Mike hidden, and after Ben disappears, Jill sneaks Mike out of the hospital and makes her way to Jubal Hershaw's domain. It is here that Mike gets his education concerning humanity - covering everything from how humans think, act, religion, sexual morals, the whole kaboodle. Mike voraciously reads several everything in Jubal's house, including the law books and encyclopedias.
But Mike is also teaching Jubal and his merry band of Amazonian women (that's a whole 'nother aspect of Heinlein which I won't get into here) what it means to be a "water brother" and "grokking". And while Michael is very naive in many ways, he's far older than those around him.
I know there are two versions of Stranger floating around: one is the uncut version which Heinlein's widow had published after his passing. I'm not sure if mine is the uncut or first edition. It doesn't matter - the uncut version has more of Heinlein's pontificating about societies ills and where we went wrong and what he felt we should do about it.
There isn't enough space on this posting to really get into everything Heinlein espoused or slammed here. Or whether or not he made women into strong characters or smart Barbie's. Or whether he uses the same 5 characters (but with different names) over and over and over in his books. I think stranger is becoming dated to some degree, but I find that is part of the charm. Was it worth re-reading? Definitely. I'm looking forward to re-reading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress now. ...more
**spoiler alert** I've read Wilsons's books previous to this, and by far, this was his strongest book. The idea that Earth was put in a "shell" to pre**spoiler alert** I've read Wilsons's books previous to this, and by far, this was his strongest book. The idea that Earth was put in a "shell" to preserve it and then released far, far into the future was well executed. Not without it's flaws, but worth the Hugo Nomination. ...more