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Job

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message 1: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan (jsharbour) I've been reading Job: A Comedy of Justice for the past two days. It really surprised me! On the one hand, I have disliked all of Heinlein's "Laz Long" stories. Detest them, to be candid. The alpha douchebag sleeping with every woman he looks at and belittling or sidelining all the other men, while miraculously fighting off the government with his 6-shooter. (I exaggerate...). By various names, this same character is repeated often, and I *think* it all started with Jubal Harshaw in Stranger. Unless Farnham pre-dates it.

But, I digress... Job is a fascinating story and "real" sci-fi without annoying a**holes mucking up the dialog.

I was expecting a sort of a rant against religion, given the title. Instead, the protag is a hypocritical fundamentalist minister who is sent on an adventure. There's a lot of "real" fundamentalist doctrine in here, with which I'm intimately familiar due to being raised in that environment (as was Heinlein).

The title is unfortunate. It certainly threw me off or I would have read it sooner, since I now consider it one of Heinlein's top 10 (or possibly top 5) best novels (sharing shelf space with Mistress, Stranger, Friday, Troopers, Citizen, Between Planets--those being my faves).

Job is a Sliders-style story about a married couple who shift from one universe to another and observe the changes which wreak havoc on their lives. Every time they shift, they lose most of their possessions (anything they aren't touching), so they have to start over just to earn hand-to-mouth money to eat and sleep, washing dishes, waitressing, often every day--even more than once per day, having to start over. Old money is useless in each new world. (Which I suspect might be satire for "Treasury Notes", since the couple find that gold/silver coins are welcome in any universe, while cash paper is worthless.

So as to avoid spoilers, I won't review the whole book here, just wanted to share how much this novel surprised me, being a "late Heinlein". Having read most of his library now, Friday was the only 80s novel of his that I enjoyed.

It seems like it would be fun to categorize Heinlein's "sci-fi" separately from some of his other stuff. Like, the infamously bad Time Enough for Love and its sequels. That's not sci-fi. I don't know what they are but I refuse to group them with the aforementioned favorites. :) It seems to me, and this is JMO (FWIW) (so don't troll me pls), that Heinlein wrote the Long stories as satire. I might even go as far as to suggest he was being misandrist. Farnham/Harshaw/Long is the same character, and he's an unapologetic bastard of the first order. He belongs in Congress.

Which is exactly my point. Look at the time period when these characters were written: Korea, Vietnam, Nixon, Johnson. These are first-rate bastards.

I came upon this...theory...when the protag couple in Job encounters a world that is even more advanced than ours today (circa 2016) with freeways full of electric self-driving cars and trucks going immensely fast. And in that world, there's a colony on Luna *BECAUSE* JFK was not assassinated in that universe.

(I was tempted to throw in a political rant but caught myself...:))

Has anyone else read this surprisingly awesome novel? As a late Heinlein, it was a pleasant surprise. Get the master away from thinking about the sons of bitches he satirizes in Long, and he goes back to writing astounding tales.


message 2: by Clyde (new)

Clyde (wishamc) | 11 comments Jonathan wrote: "I've been reading Job: A Comedy of Justice for the past two days. It really surprised me! On the one hand, I have disliked all of Heinlein's "Laz Long" stories. Detest them, to be candid..."

You encourage me to give Job another try.


message 3: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan (jsharbour) Just be prepared for quite a religious rant too! It's not recommended for anyone with Christian sensitivities.


message 4: by Clyde (new)

Clyde (wishamc) | 11 comments Jonathan wrote: "Just be prepared for quite a religious rant too! It's not recommended for anyone with Christian sensitivities."

I am pretty much anti-religious, so that won't bother me.


message 5: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 7 comments Hey, I'm a Christian, and I thought this was a terrific book - well written and thought provoking! Not all of us are narrow-minded fundamentalists. :)


message 6: by Brent (new)

Brent Butler | 14 comments I think I only read Job once, upon its publication. It seems I've forgotten much about it, which means it would be like reading a new Heinlein! I'll have to give it a shot again one day soon.


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