3 March 2012

Contact: A Review of Stranger in a Strange Land

As I am embark of my first ever read of a Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein I am struck by the similarities this book has to other books sitting in my bookcase. The first three pages are reminiscent to Blindsight by Peter Watts and Titan by John Varley.  I like how I casually threw in two major works of fiction with one having a vampiric crew member and the other introducing you to a sentient god-like celestial body.  Hey, I never claimed I was going to take things slowly.  If you are going to explore sci-fi you kind of have to go for it.   


Like any genre, Science Fiction is multi-faceted. There are major themes and archetypes that make it quite easy for a reader to find his or her's niche.  While convenient it does tend to keep people from really exploring new authors.  Then again, this might be my problem not yours.  I know what I like but more importantly I know what I think I don't like.  Over this year of reader exploration I am going to look deeper into those themes and document what type of a reader I truly am.  

But back to the books.  All three fall under the "First Contact" theme.  Man builds space ship, man finds a suitable crew, man has first contact with new species, man's life becomes a living nightmare with the author successfully (or not) slipping in some type of lesson amidst all of the weirdness.  For some reason this theme is right up my alley.  I love the idea of being locked in a ship for possible decades  with a group of people I quickly will loathe to then end up somewhere that I did not expect and have to adapt or die.  What the hell is wrong with me?

Take my husband for example, this theme is not something he would gravitate to. When you are married to a man who discusses aliens in the same vein as other's discuss the war on terror, you know you really do not want to feed this person's anxiety.    One of the first things he had to tell me this morning was that there is documented proof of two Russian fighter jets following a U.F.O .   This was conveyed not in a gleeful, "can you believe that" tone but from a dead pan, "it's time to buy the generator and move to Newfoundland seriousness".  While some families have a house fire exist strategy in play we have an Armageddon strategy.  Basically it is high tail it to The Rock.  We (husband) haven't thought further than that. The sad thing is you think I am joking.  

So, yes if you would like go out and acquire Stranger in a Strange Land, let's  read it together and discuss.  And this current stage I am somewhat intrigued but somewhat annoyed.