Author: Robert A Heinlein

People make reference to this book all the time, without even knowing it I think. People know the title though a lot I’m sure haven’t read it. But it seems so omnipresent that I wanted to read it and find out what it’s about. I was expecting some fantastic science fiction but instead just found myself annoyed at everything it had to offer. Especially the annoying use of… punctuation—Every mark possible! in every other sentence too; it gets irritating after a while.


I admit, I marked many points as interesting so that I could go back to them. But having finished reading and looking back now, I can’t figured out why I might have done it, other than looking up a definition for a word or to see what a particular Rodin sculpture looked like. There are a few offensive passages, which don’t really destroy the book if you just gloss over them, but by the end of the book they were just about the only passages I was bothering to mark.

“But it pleased him very much that these women did not chatter, did not intrude themselves into the sober talk of men, but were very quick with food and drink in warm hospitality. He had been shocked at Miriam’s casual disrespect toward her master—then recognized it for what it was: liberty permitted cats and favorite children in the privacy of the home.”

“…he wanted to touch and be touched only by water brothers (Jill wasn’t sure just how far this included male water brothers in Mike’s mind; she had explained homosexuality to him, after he had read about it and failed to grok it—and had given him practical rules for avoiding even the appearance thereof and how to keep such passes from being made at him, since she assumed correctly that Mike, pretty as he was, would attract such passes. He had followed her advice and had set about making his face more masculine, instead of the androgynous beauty he had first had. Nevertheless Jill was not sure that Mike would refuse such an invitation from, say, Duke—but fortunately Mike’s male water brothers were all decidedly masculine men, just as his others were very female women. Jill hope that it would stay that way; she suspected that Mike would grok a “wrongness” in the poor in-betweeners anyhow—they would never be offered water.)”

“Nine times out of ten, if a girl gets raped, it’s at least partly her own fault. That tenth time—well, all right. Give him your best heave-ho to the bottomless pit. But you aren’t going to find it necessary.”

Oh, and there was one unexpected allusion to T.S. Elliot… or am I imagining it?

“There was a cat who lived on the place (not as a pet, but as a co-owner); on rare occasions it came to the house and deigned to accept a handout. The cat and Mike had grokked each other at once, and Mike had found its carniverous thoughts most pleasing and quite Martian. He had discovered, too, that the cat’s name (Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche) was not that cat’s name at all, but he had not told anyone this because he could not pronounce the cat’s real name; he could only hear it in his head.”

By the end I felt like it wasn’t much more than scientology propaganda. I felt like I was being preached to about what I should believe, and that somehow I would gain powers of telekinesis if I gave up psychiatry forever. No thank you.

At least I learned that Laputa is from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and not just from the Miyazaki anime. Maybe I’ll read that next.

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