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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Help with Heinlein book choice

   
Author Topic: Help with Heinlein book choice
Itsame
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I just got an audible subscription (well renewed my canceled one) and want to get some Heinlein.

What should I get first? I liked Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land.


Thanks.

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Dan_raven
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The Cat Who Walked Through Walls, mainly because if I remember right, the main character shares my name.
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landybraine
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WOO HOO! Heinlein!

I really liked Farnham's Freehold. His entire Future series was great, and if you've read Stranger in a Strange Land, then you will be familiar with some of the characters. I think they are The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Number of the Beast, Time Enough For Love and, To Sail Beyond the Sunset (my favorite). I Will Fear No Evil is also really good.

If you can't tell, I like Heinlein. Probably my favorite author.

Hope this helps, Jon.

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Itsame
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Is "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" worth it? I would get Time Enough for Love but it is divided into two parts on audible and I already used one of my credits. If I bought one part now then I would die waiting for the next part in a month.
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tern
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I rather liked Puppet Masters and Double Star. Although nothing lives up to Starship Troopers.
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King of Men
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I felt TMIAHM was one of his best; the Future series gets a little mish-mashy at times. It quite literally does have kitchen sinks.
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katdog42
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My favorite has always been "The Door into Summer."
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kmbboots
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TMIAHM is good - pssibly the best place to start. I wouldn't get TCWWTW or NOTB or TSBTS without reading the rest of the Future History that comes before. TEFL is the first one I read and my sentimental favourite.

Glory Road and Job are both good stand alones and would, I think, make great audiobooks.

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Chris Bridges
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The books up to Stranger in a Strange Land are largely juveniles, written for a boy scout audience. Which is not to say they're bad at all - these are some of the books that helped shape science fiction. But there aren't many adult themes and not a lot of social commentary.

After he started writing more adult-themed books, we got these:

Stranger in a Strange Land - A book with a lot of excellent themes, wonderfully written characters, a quick discourse on just about every aspect of political, religious, and philosophical life, and a barely-hidden diatribe on free love. I loved this as a teen, I reread it occasionally now.
Glory Road - the ultimate quest novel. Travel to another world, save the princess (who can handle herself quite nicely, thank you), and do it with style.
Farnham's Freehold - Another occasional reread. Thanks to the father's forethought in making a safe bomb shelter, a family is catapaulted through time to a place where white people are enslaved.
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress - My favorite Heinlein book, hands down. The prisoners on the moon stage a revolution.
I Will Fear No Evil - An impossibly rich, dying old man pays to have his brain transplanted into a young body. Problem: it's female. Other problem: it's his beloved assistant. Other, other problem: her mind is (maybe) still in there. Lots of internal discussion of sex and the different genders.
Time Enough for Love - parts of this are some of his best work. The oldest man in the universe is cajoled into holding off his suicide for just a little longer while he dictates his memoirs. Peppered with aphorisms and other words to live by, this gives you action, romance, adventure, instructions on building a homestead, and lessons in trajectories and physics. Also, sex.

His later novels got even more adult in nature.

The Number of the Beast - 4 brilliant scientists - a pair of married couples - travel through the universes. Adventure, social commentary, and sex.
Friday - Friday is an artificial person, engineered to be stronger and faster than human but looked down upon by everyone who knows her secret. The book looks at racial prejudice, a collapsing society, more sex, and a fairly accurate prediction of the Internet.
Job: A Comedy of Justice - Heinlein takes on religion and finds it wanting. Also rich in lessons, mythology, poetry, instruction, but a little lacking in deific responsibility. A man is bounced around between universes without warning and he and his new girlfriend fight to stay together and fidn out what's going on.
The Cat Who Walks Through Walls - A continuation of his future history series and a sequel to Time Enough for Love, this is about a retired military man - now a writer - who is caught up in intrique and adventure with his new wife.
To Sail Beyond the Sunset - The story of Lazurus Long's mother's life. A little disconcerting, listening to someone who sounds like my mother discuss orgies, but also a wonderful look at growing up in the first part of the twentieth century.

There's also Variable Star, a book of his post-humously completed by Spider Robinson, which combines the best of both authors (or the worst, depending on your opinion of their writing). A man tricked into a relationship escapes on a colony ship and starts a new life.

A longish answer, but I'd say go for "Moon is a Harsh Mistress" first.

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Itsame
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Wow, thank you. That was probably the most helpful post that I have ever seen on this forum...

One more question, since you seem in a very helpful mood. Is Atlas Shrugged worth the read? I know it is a good novel but it is a long commitment, considering its length. This is based on the assumption that you derived my taste in novels from me saying that I loved Stranger and Starship Troopers, which I suppose isn't a lot to go on (I preferred Stranger, though I loved the monologues from History and Moral Philosophy).

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Raventhief
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Gah, leaving out the entire future history before Time Enough for Love.

The compilation The Past Through Tomorrow is the most complete I've seen, including a dozen short stories which fill in the time between 1930ish and 2200ish. Only the last of them Methuseleh's Children is about the same characters, but they all tell the same story.

Oh, and it's excellent. I also thoroughly enjoyed The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

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Chris Bridges
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I stuck with the novels because he was talking about Audible.com and I didn't know if they had his short stories. I'd be happy to talk about all of Heinlein's work but it might take me a while [Smile]

If you like Heinlein I also highly recommend John Varley (especially Red Thunder and Red Lightning, which are deliberate Heinlein pastiches) and Allen M. Steele.

Can't help with Atlas Shrugged, not my style of preferred reading. I've tried a few times but could never get into it; I don't think I want to live in a world where everyone speaks Polemic.

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Raventhief
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quote:
Originally posted by Chris Bridges:
I stuck with the novels because he was talking about Audible.com and I didn't know if they had his short stories. I'd be happy to talk about all of Heinlein's work but it might take me a while [Smile]


Oh. Yeah. Sorry.
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GaalDornick
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I've only read Citizen of the Galaxy from Heinlein, but I loved it. It was a fun read and when I finished it it was all I could think about for the next couple of days. I recommend that one.
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Morbo
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That is an excellent summary of Heinlein's novels Chris! [Smile] I thought Variable Star was all Heinlein but never read it. I'll have to check it out as I love both authors.

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and Time Enough for Love are Heinlein's 2 best novels, IMO. I learned a lot from both novels.

Moon is most like Starship Troopers-- another war story, but revolution instead of Us vs The Bugs. It's almost a recipe for insurrection. But the characters are vivid and the storytelling really flows.

Time Enough for Love is more about relationships, love and loss. It's hard for me to summarize it. I found it to be a very moving story and always cry at several points when I reread it. The aphorisms Chris mentioned are oft-quoted bread-and-butter for sci-fi fans, witty, sly, memorable, and often insightful. They're also collected in a separate volume, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long (Long is the main character.) One of my favorites is "One man's religion is another man's belly laugh." Very true.

In both of these novels, Heinlein continues with similar commentary on society and philosophy like the monologues in Starship Troopers but Heinlein blended them in with the narrative much more smoothly and skillfully. Lots of the lectures in Troopers, though very interesting, are also very dry and tend to stop the flow of the story.

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