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message 1: by Nick, Founder (In Absentia) (new)

Nick (nickqueen) | 311 comments Mod
Here's the full results:

And our selections:

Theme Book:

A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny

Main Selection:

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

We'll need discussion leaders!

message 2: by Kait (last edited Sep 23, 2008 03:42PM) (new)

Kait (Katiebear) Can I ask a possibly stupid question? From the copy I have of Stranger in a Strange Land, it seems like there are two versions of it. Are most people reading the more recent (and longer) version, or should I be looking for the original?


(ps. I wasn't sure where to put this, so I hope that this is ok, if not, I apologize profusely!)

message 3: by Angie (new)

Angie | 342 comments I also saw there were two versions... so I got the most recent one. I thought they were the same though just republished. I didn't know that there was a longer/shorter version. I guess we should read the same one the discussion leader is reading?

message 4: by Vorlady (new)

Vorlady | 15 comments I was in another reading group that read this book not long ago. Some of us were reading the "new" one (actually this is the original story I guess, but the publishers wouldn't publish it unless it was drastically cut) and some the "old" one (shorter originally published version). We didn't realize that the versions were so different, but in fact came away with two very different impressions of the novel!! It wasn't until we realized that we were reading different versions and did a little research and compared notes that we realized what was going on....

message 5: by Angie (new)

Angie | 342 comments That is really interesting! We will have to see if the same thing happens to this group!

message 6: by Brooke (new)

Brooke Vorlady, was there a consensus in your reading group about whether one version was better than the other? I'm trying to determine which version to read -- although I haven't even checked my library's catalog to see if it has both to choose between.

message 7: by Vorlady (new)

Vorlady | 15 comments Our group didn't talk about which was better. Mostly we were initially confused because of the vast difference in interpretation and then we grokked. I know that for several of us the most fascinating thing was the vast difference in our impressions based on the version we read. It was supposed to be the same story after all.

the Heinlein society has an article called Stranger vs. Stranger which compares passages between the two versions and gives a little history.

Here is another article entitled Stranger Compared. In particular the censorship cuts section (I don't want to give anything away) points to one scene that we noted a particular difference in and therefore colored our entire interpretation of the "nest" culture.

Heinlein was forced to cut about 60,000 words it in order to get it published. You can imagine the impact.

message 8: by Kait (new)

Kait (Katiebear) "Heinlein was forced to cut about 60,000 words it in order to get it published. You can imagine the impact."

This is why I brought it up. Perhaps during the discussion it would be a good idea to identify which version we are reading?

message 9: by Angie (new)

Angie | 342 comments Thanks for the links!

message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) Can we get a list of the versions? I read the originally published one, I believe. I looked up the unabridged one & found it had 30,000 more words. I didn't see Kait's one with double that, though. Typo or more than 2 versions? The book's been republished enough that anything is possible.

message 11: by Vorlady (new)

Vorlady | 15 comments From wikipedia ( ) :
Two major versions of this book exist:

* The 1961 version, which was cut about 25% from Heinlein's original manuscript. The publisher disliked the original length and wanted to excise some objectionable material.

* The 1991 version, which reproduces the original manuscript and restores all cuts. Heinlein's widow retrieved the manuscript from Heinlein's archives at the University of California, Santa Cruz and published it after his death. Both Heinlein's agent and his publisher, which had new senior editors, agreed that the original version was better. (What was objectionable in 1961 was no longer so thirty years later.)

they then go on to list the publication information for various iterations of the two versions

message 12: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 894 comments Thanks for the Wikipedia link to the different versions of Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. I wish we'd brought this up a week ago! I'm reading one published by Ace with an ISBN of 0441790348, in 1995, but I don't believe it's the uncut version.

Oh, well. :)

message 13: by Angie (new)

Angie | 342 comments I am excited to find out what was so controversial that they edited it out of the book!

message 14: by Kait (last edited Sep 25, 2008 08:33PM) (new)

Kait (Katiebear) Angie - me too! I'm nearly half way there, and can't seem to see anything so far! :)

Jon - according to the wiki article, your ISBN is a cut version.

message 15: by Vorlady (new)

Vorlady | 15 comments Ironically our group seemed to find the cut version much more risque than the original version! *laughs*

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