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Publisher's Summary

The wickedest, most wonderful science-fiction story ever created in our - or any - time. Anything can begin at a party in California - and everything does in this bold masterwork by a grand master of science fiction.
When four supremely sensual and unspeakably cerebral humans - two male, two female - find themselves under attack from aliens who want their awesome quantum breakthrough, they take to the skies - and zoom into the cosmos on a rocket roller-coaster ride of adventure, danger, ecstasy, and peril.
Robert A. Heinlein (1907–1988) was the dominant science-fiction writer of the modern era, a writer whose influence on the field was immense. He won science fiction's Hugo Award for best novel four times.
©1980 Robert A. Heinlein. 2003 by the Robert A. & Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

“One of the grand masters of science fiction.” ( Wall Street Journal)
“The most influential science fiction writer of all time!” ( Locus)
“[A story] about two men and two women in a time-machine safari through this and other universes. But describing  The Number of the Beast thus is like saying  Moby-Dick is about a one-legged guy trying to catch a fish.” ( National Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Michelle on 05-30-12

I've been waiting for this book in audio format...

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would have waited even longer to have better narration. I'm two hours into the audiobook. I'm forcing myself to continue on, because I haven't experienced this story since my paperback copy went missing back in the early 90s.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I don't mind ensemble readings. The Godfather was quite enjoyable. But this... I don't know if I'll finish it. I like Bernadette Dunn, usually. I don't care much for her reading of Hilda, but in my opinion, her performance is the best of the group. Deety's narrator makes her sound utterly immature and annoying. Her intelligently-written character becomes whiny and annoying. Zeb is read like he is a doddering old man. Jake's character performance is not memorable either way.

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18 of 20 people found this review helpful


By ... on 08-12-12

One Aching Pain Short of Heaven

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I love this book - BUT I really recommend waiting until they delete the passages narrated by Emily Durante. I'm so sorry to say it - but her segments are so terribly awful that I have to skip them. It is NO FUN listening with my hand on the button to "Scram" when I hear that voice. It interrupts the flow of the book - abruptly break the mood. It distracts me with thoughts like "nepotism, training wheels" and "at my expense". There is at least one passage where she is actually inoffensive. Thank Goodness I know the book so well. So I just imagine through those parts. We who purchased it should get a credit for the corrected version with Ms. Durante excised and replaced by...Ms. Dunne for example. It pains me to say that of someone's narration - but it pains me to listen to Ms. Durante. For those who've read the other Lazarus Long novels and stories - this entire book is memorable and rather important. Like me, readers may have been waiting for its audio format. I call it Hands-Free reading. It is a torturous shame that they allowed one poor narrator to ruin the overall experience. As may be...the book and the other narrators are all such a pleasure!

What other book might you compare The Number of the Beast to and why?

I compare it to...other Heinlein books, especially the Future History works: The Cat Who Walked Through Walls...Time Enough For Love... pick one and insert title here. Why? Because they are part of a larger opus, their elements: content, tone, narration/listening experiences, make comparison to this nearly automatic for me.

Would you listen to another book narrated by the narrators?

I might listen to Mark Twain, and other books with a cool, scratchy, country/Southern US twang, by Mr. Runnette; perhaps very short children's books by Ms. Durante, after she's trained up; and Anything by the other Narrators.

Do you think The Number of the Beast needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

YES!!! A REVISED, CORRECTED VERSION as described above!!! YES!! Follow-up with an APOLOGY! And...Yes - the rest of the Future History Books - and Short Stories. Wake up RAH - rejuvenate him and give him a stiff infusion of modernity and set him back to joyful work!!

Any additional comments?

USE NARRATORS THOUGHTFULLY - Example: If Zeb is clearly described to have a deep, resonant voice - don't use the one male talent with the higher-pitched, cool, yet scratchy/twangy, elder sound to voice him. It's not fair to them or to the text. Heinlein's books are Smart - even with his certain "off" views and socio-sexual anachronisms. But they are ultimately smart as all h=ll - and that makes the not-smart choice of any narrator even more off-putting. I truly hope it will be amended.

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28 of 32 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Mrs S on 08-27-14

Very well done

Would you consider the audio edition of The Number of the Beast to be better than the print version?

Much Better

If you’ve listened to books by Robert A. Heinlein before, how does this one compare?

A bit too technical - I could have done without all the maths

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

doing this as separate narrators per person fitted the book exactly and it ran very smoothly. very well done.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

mainly irritation at all the wrangling about who was "Captain"

Any additional comments?

I have had this book in my to listen to pile for a fair while but was a bit nervous about playing it mainly because I did not want to be disappointed as I had re-read the book and found it very hard going. Not to worry ~ I thoroughly enjoyed it (mostly) but all 4 could have done with a good slap at times.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Amazon Customer on 07-08-13

One of Heinlein's most difficult reads!

Fortunately this is not typical of Heinlein's work! It is an attempt to examine fiction as history, unfortunately the plot and characters decend into gibberish, with the thread of the book disapearing. I would avoid this book and look at Time Enough for Love, I will fear no Evil, A Stranger in a Strange Land, Friday or Starship Troopers which bettyer represent this very gifted Sci-Fi author. This is definately for Fans only!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Sue on 04-08-16

A bit too clever

I found all the calculations to pilot Gaye Deceiver too distracting and the final chapter annoying.

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1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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