I am a member of several groups on Facebook where people share their experiences reading books like Frank Herbert’s “Dune” – Someone suggested that Frank Herbert was inspired by Robert Heinlein’s ‘Stranger In A Strange Land” also a funnily enough coincidental reference in Disneys (Star Wars) “Book of Boba Fett” the first episode was called “Stranger in A Strange Land”.
Having this book on my shelf, and not having read this, but having read several other Robert Heinlein books in the past… I decided to give “Stranger In A Strange Land” a read.
I must say I don’t read anywhere as much as I used to, but over the last year I have started reading again.. And happily have found I can focus for intense reading sessions, being able to read a book in 1-2 days of solid reading.
I liked the philosophical musings in the 1st half… societal conditioning, the nature of humanity, politics etc. the second half was more the “story as such” dealing with identity, sex, transformation and religion. I liked it.. especially the 1st half was impressed by the author and the introduction of intellectual content in an easier to follow format (fiction) – as opposed to reading Bertrand Russel, Friedrich Nietzsche (that i encountered in university).
The book was great, although some the 60’s type hippie counterculture in Sci fi that i encountered in other books… by John Boyd and others, the dated role of women (sexually and their limited roles in society) – i think perhaps these books pushed feminist progress 60’s to 90’s to the levels of equalilty and equity we are starting to have now.
The book felt a little dated, but the authors main point about changing the way we think as a society is still very valid today… perhaps of instead of learning to think in martian (Not necessarily Martian… but the “other”) as in the book to stimulate progress…. The idea that linguistics and the language we learn to think in develops societal norms and ethics….
Having spoken to several members of the group who had read the book, they suggested that we are already changing language in terms of identity and inclusion for the younger generations, perhaps over the next century we can redefine language to offset the need for material gain, jealousy and other mitigating reasons for injustice and inequality globally. I’m not suggesting something as drastic as Orwell’s “New Speak” but I am fairly sure 1984 would have been an inspiration for “Stranger in A Strange Land”
I have now slept on the book, I am not sure to what level I interpreted the book in my sleep but in the spirit of ‘Stranger in A Strange Land”, i must still fully grok it. (think on and assimilate the data).
A truly wonderful book, well worth reading.. as with other Robert Heinlein books, there is a lot of food for thought, so many concepts to consider, I feel I may understand a little more about our world after reading it.