Simon Mcleish's Reviews > Time Enough for Love

Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein
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Mar 06, 2012

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Read in June, 1998

Originally published on my blog here in June 1998.

Throughout his career, Heinlein kept on returning to the character of Lazarus Long, the man who lived for thousands of years. Time Enough for Love is the most extended work with Long as a central character.

The book is structured in two main parts. The first contains a series of (self-contained) anecdotes as told by Long during a rejuvenation session. These are of varying interest, and are designed to demonstrate Long's (and hence Heinlein's) philosophy of life. This philosophy is an old-fashioned libertarian one; everyone should be able to do all they need for themselves except women, who are to be protected at all costs. (All the women in the book are described as beautiful.)

The second part is the story of Long's return in a time machine to the period of his childhood, and tells how he falls in love with his mother and gets involved in the First World War. The incestuous elements here can be quite unpleasant if you think about it, but the fact that Long's apparent age is similar to that of his mother means that the feeling of repugnance is kept quite far in the background.

Like many of Heinlein's later books, the adolescent philosophy is a major stumbling block. Here, that is combined with an inflated length (600+ pages). Nevertheless, it is an easy read, while distinctly unchallenging.

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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Matthew (new)

Matthew "This philosophy is an old-fashioned libertarian one; everyone should be able to do all they need for themselves except women"

That's not quite the libertarian position.

Simon Mcleish That's why I used "an" rather than "the"! I meant libertarian in flavour rather than following any specific libertarian ideology.

message 3: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Fair enough. Nice reviews on Heinlein, by the way.

Simon Mcleish Thanks. (I don't mind if you disagree with anything I said, by the way.)

message 5: by Matthew (new)

Matthew I didn't figure. Take care!

message 6: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim Smcleish said: All the women in the book are described as beautiful

One of Long's (and hence Heinlein's) aphorisms in TEFL was:

Always tell a woman she is beautiful, especially if she is not

Telling a woman is not the same as describing, but maybe ol' LL has got something there.

I've noticed that my definition of feminine beauty is much much inclusive now that I'm in my fifties - much more so than when I was twenty.

Imagine how inclusive LL's definition of feminine beauty must be after 2000 years!

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