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In this future pictured by RAH, men carry guns in holsters, just like in the old west. Dueling is legal. Most of us are a product of carefully planned out genetics. This takes planned parenthood to a whole new level.
If Heinlein would have stuck to genetics or westerns this might have been an ok book. The story has almost no flow, it is full of lots of stutters and starts. It is like Heinlein could not figure out what he wanted to write about. He had several issues, but never stuck to any. The book has almost no plot. Chapter three sounds almost exactly like a two hour lecture I had in college biology. It talks about sperm and eggs and how they form babies.
There is a character who jumped to this time in a time machine from 1926. Everyone seems to know about it, but nothing is done to figure out how to build a time machine. Towards the end a kid develops telepathy, but little is done with it. There is some talk on reincarnation.
Heinlein can give you something to think about even when he is just throwing thoughts together. One statement he makes that I really liked was, "Women will forgive anything, otherwise the human race would have died out long ago." He also explains why we have not discovered life in space and why aliens have not discovered us. He says that it took man four centuries to cross the America's, and given the size of space, it just has not happened yet.
If you have never read RH, please don't start with this book. Heinlein has written some really good stuff, may I suggest you start with "The Green Hills of Earth" or "Starship Trooper" or "Starman Jones.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful
This is a Heinlein classic from 1942. It dares to ask big questions that we are still wondering about all these years later. Sure, some of the attitudes regarding interpersonal relations are sexist ( a trait in much of Heinlein's writing) but overall, the book holds up very nicely. Memorable characters like Felix and Cliff may be successful, but they each have a great deal to figure out about living a fulfilled life. Watching them take that journey is fun. Along the way, the book invites the reader to consider some pretty big philosophical questions. If you are looking for something to make you think while you read, this one is excellent. Peter Ganim's performance on the audio is good, if a bit slow in places. I found myself wanting him to quicken his reading pace. Still, the book has more than enough merit to recommend it.