"Best Known of Heinlein's SF." (Barron)

    Robert A. Heinlein. Stranger in a Strange Land. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1961.

    First edition. Code "C22" at the bottom of page 408. Octavo. 408 pages.

    Publisher's green cloth with gilt spine titles. In original pictorial dust jacket priced $4.50 at the top of the front flap. Rear panel of the dust jacket has an advertisement for Starship Troopers. Top edge stained light green. Moderate edge wear to the book and jacket. Slightly shelf-cocked and darkened spine. Minor abrasions of the cloth at the bottom edge of the boards, most likely from the dampstaining of the dust jacket. Significant dampstaining along the spine and adjacent areas of the panels of the dust jacket. Two-inch closed tear along the bottom edge of the front panel, affecting the "R" in "Robert." Tiny closed tear at the bottom edge of front flap. Panels lightly toned. All in all, a very good copy of Heinlein's great satire.

    "Valentine Michael Smith, born of human parents and raised by Martians, returns to Earth as a young man, rich and a virtual superman because of the parapsychological powers Martian education produced in him. Jubal Harshaw befriends Michael and his fortune until Michael can acculturate himself. Mike becomes wise, but keeps his virtue-becoming a Christ-figure who finally 'discorporates.' Harshaw is familiar Heinlein central character in a radicalized mood, favoring free love, ritual cannibalism, and other familiar Heinlein social propositions...Read well beyond SF fandom; used in college composition courses; directly associated with Charles Manson, murder cult leader of the Sharon Tate massacre. Best known of Heinlein's SF." (Barron: Anatomy of Wonder [1976] 198)

    Ahearn. Currey, p. 234. Moskowitz, p. 19.

    More Information:

    Sam Moskowitz, in Strange Horizons, writes that Robert A. Heinlein "created a popular success in his novel Stranger in a Strange Land (Putnam, 1961) by making religion a pivotal premise of his work. Valentine Michael Smith, an Earthman raised by Martians, returns to Earth to dispense their religious philosophy. By satiric intent and ingenious logic, murder, sexual permissiveness, and even cannibalism are permissible in this religion."

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