This is the epic saga of an earthling, Valentine Michael Smith, born and educated on Mars, who arrives on our planet with "psi" powers--telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis, and the ability to take control of the minds of others--and yet with complete innocence regarding the mores of man.
slooo1, July 28, 2006 (view all comments by slooo1)
This is the definative book by a major author of science fiction in the 20th Century. Robert A. Heinlein (RAH) who was a wily intellect, rogue, and self-styled autocrat. Though wildly influential at the time of its publication, and for decades later, it has many of the strengths of RAH, and some of his failings.
Warning - mild spoilers.
The book, read here by Christopher Hurt, is less a modern novel, and more a highly sucessful piece of pulp fiction. The characters are not as well developed as later SciFi would create. And the inclusion of 'observers' throws the reader completely out of any sustained suspension of disbelief.
This is, according to RAH's own words, more of a social commentary than strictly a novel. Many of the major plot points rest on utopian ideals that are in many cases mearly soapboxes for RAH to stand on. This doesn't make the book bad, just simply different from some of its later bretheren.
The voice talent is, by and large, very convincing. Switching seemlessly between characters and dialects with ease. The women, who start of sounding drag queenish, seem to hit stride as the book progresses, even if there is little attempt on the author's part to make them into decernable characters.
Many of the changes the characters undergo are underwritten to the point of distraction. Jill especially seems to shift from one extreme to the other with little or no grounding. Valentine Michael Smith, the man from mars, is likewise a bit too abrupt in his transformation from child-like innocent to Messiah.
But for what it was, I grok that it is full of goodness.
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