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Time Enough for Love

(The World As Myth #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  31,850 ratings  ·  841 reviews
The capstone and crowning achievement of Heinlein's famous Future History, Time Enough for Love follows Lazarus Long through a vast and magnificent timescape of centuries and worlds. Heinlein's longest and most ambitious work, it is the story of a man so in love with Life that he refused to stop living it.
Mass Market Paperback, 589 pages
Published August 15th 1988 by Ace (first published June 19th 1973)
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Hollis Frazier This was released in a different time, when science fiction NEEDED to have scantily clad women on the cover or else book sellers wouldn't carry them (…moreThis was released in a different time, when science fiction NEEDED to have scantily clad women on the cover or else book sellers wouldn't carry them (not defending it, just explaining the reasoning.) Heinlein himself, while admittedly having some of the negative attitudes that came with being born in 1907, was a very forward thinking progressive person for his time. Women held positions of power in his novels without it seeming strange or out of place (ie normal in his idea of the future.) He spoke out against racism and all sorts of injustice, but people see the things the characters in his books said and assume he was a terrible sexist pro-rape homophobe.(less)

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Average rating 3.97  · 
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Oct 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Was 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 s
- 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
Manuel Antão
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Competent Man: “Time Enough for Love” by Robert A. Heinlein

“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. Specializat
S.C. Jensen
Apr 20, 2012 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
J.L.   Sutton
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
There is plenty of Heinlein's reshaping/questioning of social mores in Time Enough for Love (much like Stranger in a Strange Land); however, without the driving force of Stranger's narrative behind it, Time Enough mostly feels disjointed and long-winded. The novel begins with a recalling of adventures from the oldest man alive. There are some interesting stories here (including one involving colonization on a more primitive planet and time travel to one's own youth); however, the more developed ...more
Till Noever
Oct 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
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)
Jun 03, 2008 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.... I
Jan 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2fiction, 1paper, scifi
This is one of his pivotal books. Until the 60s, he was quite constrained by what he could write by contracts (e.g., Scribner Juveniles) & editors. After his big hit with Stranger in a Strange Land & several others, his popularity grew & the reins slipped off. In 1970, he had a close brush with death, was desperate to publish what he wanted without restraint, & did so. The result was I Will Fear No Evil, his descent into wordiness & weird sex. This book followed a few years later. The Number of ...more
Feb 24, 2011 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
Mar 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 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 29, 2014 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
Ivis Davis
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jeff Yoak
Heinlein's rambling stories collected under auspices of memoirs of Lazarus Long remains one of my favorite bits of literary comfort food. Except for once, all "readings" were listenings to the narration by Lloyd James who does an amazing job personifying these characters. He adds tremendously to the book.

In 2015, I tried this with the kids. It took a very long time in small bites, and their reaction was luke warm, but overall, not a bad experiment.
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 11, 2009 rated it did not like it
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.
Aug 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 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
Nov 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Steven Wilson
Dec 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Kat  Hooper
May 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobook
Chad Bearden
Jun 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
"Time Enough for Love follows Lazarus Long through a vast and magnificent timescape of centuries and worlds. Heinlein's longest and most ambitious work, it is the story of a man so in love with Life that he refused to stop living it."

I know that a lot of people love Heinlein and I have enjoyed a number of his novels too. This one, however, suffered from the need of editing--it was much too long and repetitious, especially if you have already read Stranger in a Strange Land or Friday. These books
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
David Joseph  Mikels
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Time enough for Love book review

This book was very deep, very long, and greatly offensive to anyone with any morals what so ever. That being said I believe Robert's goal was to get the reader to free their mind of social taboos incest. I found the book interesting only because I find Robert interesting forces me to wonder how he lived his privet life. Was he a free thinker on paper only or a real life social degenerate. Either way I wish I'd been this authors friend something tells me he would h
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
Before everyone rants on me, yes, I know there are many problems with this book. but I read it long before recognized or understood (as in understood on a gut level) about things like sexism, incest, etc, and this book hit home with me. I haven't read it in decades and now I am almost afraid to. I want to keep the feeling in my heart that I have when I just think about Lazarus Long, and other characters, of course.

My memory sings five stars to me and that's where it stays.
Dec 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, humorous
This was the only Heinlein book we were banned from reading when we were kids because it made such a convincing argument for sex outside of marriage or any other social construct.

This is also one of the best love stories of all time. Go Dora!
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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the worse of two evils: virtue signalers, or giving attention to incest 2 18 Dec 19, 2018 02:06AM  
Heinlein's abbreviations, et al 2 26 Oct 26, 2015 10:59PM  

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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

Other books in the series

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