|Stranger in a Strange Land|
Hardcover, showing Rodin's sculpture,
Fallen Caryatid Carrying her Stone, which Heinlein translates as "Caryatid Fallen Under her Stone". Auguste Rodin (born François-Auguste-René Rodin; November 12 1840–November 17 1917 was a French artist most famous as a sculptor.
|Author||Robert A. Heinlein|
|Genre(s)||Science fiction novel|
|Publisher||Putnam Publishing Group|
|Publication date||June 1, 1961|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
Stranger in a Strange Land is a best-selling 1961 Hugo Award-winning science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7 1907 – May 8 1988 was an American Novelist and Science fiction Writer. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States Publishing is the process of production and dissemination of Literature or Information &ndash the activity of making information available for public view G P Putnam's Sons was a major United States Book publisher based in New York City, New York. Events 193 - Roman Emperor Didius Julianus is Assassinated 987 - Hugh Capet is elected Year 1961 ( MCMLXI) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) is a Book bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with Cloth Paperback, softback, or softcover describe and refer to a Book by the nature of its binding. The year 1961 in literature involved some significant events and new books The Hugo Awards are given every year for the best Science fiction or Fantasy works and achievements of the previous year A novel (from Italian novella, Spanish novela, French nouvelle for "new" "news" or "short story Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7 1907 – May 8 1988 was an American Novelist and Science fiction Writer. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human raised by Martians on the planet Mars, upon his return to Earth in early adulthood. As an adjective the term "martian" is used to describe anything pertaining to the Planet Mars. EARTH was a short-lived Japanese vocal trio which released 6 singles and 1 album between 2000 and 2001 The novel explores his interaction with — and eventual transformation of — Earth culture. The novel's title refers to the Biblical Book of Exodus. Exodus ( Greek: έξοδος eksodos = "departure" is the second book of the Jewish Torah and of the Christian Old Testament.  According to Heinlein in Grumbles from the Grave, the novel's working title was The Heretic. Grumbles from the Grave is as close as Robert A Heinlein, ex-naval officer and prominent Science fiction writer came to writing an autobiography Several later editions of the book have promoted it as "The most famous Science Fiction Novel ever written. "
When Heinlein first wrote Stranger, his editors at Putnam required him to drastically cut its original 220,000-word length, and to remove some scenes that might have been considered too shocking at the time. The resulting edited version was about 160,000 words when first published in 1961. In 1962 this version received the Hugo Award for the Best Science Fiction Novel of the Year. After Heinlein's death in 1988, his wife Virginia arranged to have the original uncut version of the manuscript published in 1991 by Ace/Putnam. Critics disagree over whether Heinlein's preferred original manuscript is in fact better than the heavily-edited version originally published. There is similar contention over the two versions of Heinlein's Podkayne of Mars. Podkayne of Mars is a Science fiction novel by Robert A Heinlein, originally serialised in Worlds of If (November 1962 January
While initially a success among science fiction readers, over the next six years word-of-mouth recommendation caused sales to continue to build, requiring numerous subsequent printings of the first Putnam edition. The novel has never been out of print since it was released in 1961. Eventually Stranger in a Strange Land became a cult classic, attracting many readers who would not ordinarily have read a work of science fiction. A cult film is a Film that has acquired a highly devoted but relatively small group of fans. The late-1960s counterculture, popularized by the hippie movement, was influenced by its themes of individual liberty, self-responsibility, sexual freedom and the influence of organized religion on human culture and government, and adopted the book as something of a manifesto. The Counterculture of the 1960s and early 1970s refers to a period between 1960 and 1973 that began in the United States as a reaction against The Hippie Subculture was originally a Youth movement that began in the United States during the early 1960s and spread around the world
In 1962 Tim Zell (now Oberon Zell-Ravenheart) and others formed a neopagan religious organization called the Church of All Worlds, modeled after the religion founded by the primary characters in the novel, but Heinlein had no other connection to the project. Oberon Zell-Ravenheart ( b Timothy Zell, also formerly known as Otter G'Zell) ( b Neopaganism or Neo-Paganism is an Umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements particularly those influenced by historical The Church of All Worlds (CAW is a neopagan religious group whose stated mission is to evolve a network of information mythology and experience that provides a context and . (see under Literary significance and criticism)
Valentine Michael Smith is the son of two of the eight astronauts of an ill-fated first human expedition to the planet Mars. Orphaned when the crew died (the full story of how this happened is not portrayed, but his parents were unambiguously murdered by his mother's husband, who later committed suicide), Smith is raised in the culture of the native inhabitants of the planet, beings whose minds live in another world (compare Waldo). Waldo ( 1942) is a Short story by Robert A Heinlein originally published in Astounding Magazine in August 1942 using the The story portrays Valentine Michael Smith's adaptation to, and understanding of, humans and their culture, which is portrayed as an amplified version of consumerist and media-driven 20th-century America. Consumerism is the equation of personal Happiness with the purchase of material possessions and consumption. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the
After the arrival of a second expedition to the planet some twenty years later in the space ship Champion, Smith is taken "home" to Earth, where he is consigned to (some futuristic evolution of) the Bethesda Naval Hospital by the orders of the Champion's ship physician Sven Nelson. The National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda Maryland, United States, also known as the Bethesda Naval Hospital, is considered the flagship of the However, he is effectively imprisoned in a hospital by the current world government, a successor to the United Nations styled the "Federation of Free States," which wishes Smith to transfer to itself any rights by discovery, under Human law, that he may have to ownership of Mars. The United Nations ( UN) is an International organization whose stated aims are to facilitate cooperation in International law, International security Smith is also something of a political pawn in factional struggles within the Federation, and to make matters worse he is heir to the fortunes of the entire exploration party, not just his parents, including several valuable inventions which were not developed commercially until after their deaths. In short, he is a man besieged on all sides by those who wish to use him to further their own ends.
Nurse Gillian Boardman, who regards men as secondary to her work, works at Bethesda. Since Smith is physically weak and oppressed by the comparatively heavy atmosphere and gravity of Earth, he is confined to a "hydraulic bed", and further, since Smith has not yet ever seen a female human (all the crew members of the Champion were male), Nelson has ordered that Smith be attended by male staff only, including nurses. Regarding this as a challenge, Gillian slips past the guards to get a peek at Smith, and in doing so inadvertently becomes his first female "water brother" by sharing a glass of water with him. To him this is a holy relationship based on the customs of arid Mars. Later on when a doctor meets him and attempts to converse, strange effects of custom and mistranslation ensue, including apparently catalepsy. This page is about the medical condition for the deathcore band see Catalepsy (band Catalepsy is a nervous condition characterized by muscular Obviously Smith is not ready for mainstream attention quite yet.
After her watch, Gillian prepares for a date with her boyfriend, investigative journalist Ben Caxton. He sends a robocab to take her to another place, where they catch a second cab and eventually go to his place. Ben informs her that the cloak-and-dagger act is necessary because being associated with him is dangerous.
However, Jill tells Ben about her strange and wonderful experience, and Ben explains to her some of the bizarre interplanetary politics swirling around Smith, and finally she agrees to place a bug to monitor Smith. Later, when she and Ben watch a "stereovision" telecast of the "Man from Mars", she knows instantly that he is a fraud (since the real Smith doesn't really understand English or even more basic human customs). Ben sees the substitution as political and not scientific: he wonders if the real Smith will ever be allowed out into the world. Ben attempts to see and unmask the phony Smith, but disappears. Meanwhile, Gillian tries to persuade Smith to leave the hospital with her. He is willing to go anywhere with a water brother, but they only get as far as Ben's apartment before agents attempt to kidnap them. Smith causes the agents to disappear, and he is so shocked by Gillian's terrified reaction that he enters what seems to be a catatonic state. Catatonic is a syndrome of psychic and motoric-disturbances In the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association She has to carry him away in a large trunk.
They reach the enclave owned by Ben's friend and fellow gadfly, Jubal Harshaw, an eccentric millionaire writer of fiction, TV scripts, and other kinds of mass-market pablum, who also happens to be a qualified medical doctor, a lawyer, and an advisor to certain public figures. Jubal Harshaw is a fictional character featured in Stranger in a Strange Land, a Novel by Robert A Harshaw's five employees include three beautiful women who act as secretaries, walking dictation machines and cooks, as well as restraints on his excesses, along with technical helpers Duke and Larry. With Gillian, they teach Smith human customs and behavior, including sexual behavior.
Smith demonstrates psychic abilities and superhuman intelligence, which are coupled with a childlike naïveté. The word psychic (ˈsaɪkɨk from the Greek psychikos—"of the soul mental" refers to the claimed ability to perceive things hidden from the normal senses When Jubal is trying to explain religion to him, Smith understands the concept of God only as "one who groks", which includes every living person, plant, and animal. God is the principal or sole Deity in Religions and other belief systems that worship one deity. This leads him to express the Martian concept of the oneness of Life as the phrase "Thou art God". Due to his education on a different planet, many human concepts—such as war, clothing, and jealousy—are strange to him, while the idea of an afterlife is something he takes as a given because the government on Mars is composed of "Old Ones", the spirits of Martians who have died. It is also customary for loved ones and friends to eat the bodies of the dead, in a spirit of Holy Communion. The Eucharist, also called Holy Communion or Lord's Supper and other names is a Christian Sacrament by which in a common interpretation those
Harshaw realizes he cannot keep the young man concealed forever, and after an attempt by government forces to reclaim Smith is frustrated by the young man's Martian-taught abilities, Harshaw brokers a deal under which the Secretary-General, in his individual capacity, will act as trustee for Smith's immense wealth. In law individual capacity is a term of art referring to one's status as a Natural person, distinct from any other role Harshaw is able to make his implication stick that human law, which would have granted ownership of Mars to Smith, has no applicability to a planet already inhabited by intelligent aliens who do not have the concept of ownership.
Writing in the early 1960s, Heinlein accurately predicted the existence of enormous Evangelical/Fundamentalist megachurches as corporate entities controlling their own television networks and other businesses, similar to the Moral Majority, the Christian Coalition, and other historical entities. Evangelicalism is a theological movement tradition and system of beliefs most closely associated with Protestant Christianity, which identifies with the Gospel Fundamentalism refers to a "deep and totalistic commitment" to a belief in and strict adherence to a set of basic principles (often Religious in nature a reaction A megachurch is a church having around 2000 attendants for a typical weekly service The Moral Majority was a political organization of the United States which had an Agenda of evangelical Christian -oriented political Lobbying The Fosterites train squadrons of teenagers and young adults, the Spirit-in-Action League, to physically attack other religions, newspapers, etc. , who fail to respect their version of the truth. Ironically, the Fosterites, along with all other religions, turn out to be true agents of divine forces. During his stay with Harshaw, Smith is taken to a Fosterite service and introduced to Bishop Digby, whom Smith apparently kills for reasons never fully explained (although it is known that Digby rejected Smith's assertion that "Thou art God"). Subsequent to this incident, Smith realizes that he himself is responsible for his own choices, and begins to behave in a more Earthly "humanistic" manner.
Once accustomed to the human race, Smith moves out with Gillian and joins a traveling circus as a magician. Although his "magic" is real—levitation and teleportation—he is a failure as an entertainer, because of his inability to understand people's need to be deceived. He eventually learns to understand humanity ("Jill, I grok people!") when he comprehends how painful and unjust life is by watching monkeys mistreat each other in a zoo. He also realizes that most humor is based on laughing at distress or indignities suffered by others.
Smith realizes there's no need for so much misery, and asks Jill what he needs to do to be ordained. He then starts a Martian-influenced "Church of All Worlds," which teaches its members how to rise above suffering, such as "pain and sickness and hunger and fighting. " However, parts of the religion, such as group sex, communal living, and ritual cannibalism (again, akin to Catholic Communion), make Smith's church a target for enemies following more conventional religions.
Smith's church combines elements of the Fosterite service with the ambience of mystery religions and initiation, similar to the Ordo Templi Orientis. Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO ( Order of the Temple of the East, or the Order of Oriental Templars) is an international fraternal and Religious Members learn the Martian language, and consequently acquire psychic abilities like Smith's: they become virtually superhuman. The church is eventually besieged by Fosterites for practicing "blasphemy," and the physical building is destroyed. However, at the moment of destruction, Smith teleports the members of the Church and all important materials to a resort hotel he owns in the same city. As this hotel was previously bought through a series of dummy corporations, there is no direct association with Smith for Fosterites to immediately follow.
In a last conversation with Harshaw, Smith fears that people will not accept a nonviolent path because humanity must have violence for "weeding out" the unfit; Harshaw tells him that if he has faith in the movement he has started and their ability to show people what is possible through self-discipline, then in all likelihood Smith's following will eventually dominate the world religiously and politically (it appears that they are already well on their way to doing so). A mob gathers while they talk; Smith goes out to address them and is brutally killed, his final words spoken to a grasshopper: "I love you" and "You are God". It is obvious that he is letting himself be sacrificed. Harshaw is shocked at how blasé the others are at Mike's death and attempts suicide by swallowing three unidentified pills; Mike returns as a voice in Jubal's head and both helps Harshaw vomit the pills and causes him to realize that Mike's sacrifice was only of the body, not of the soul. Smith is explicitly portrayed as a modern Prometheus, and implicitly as a messianic figure; in the ending of the book, one interpretation is that he is in reality the archangel Michael, who has assumed human form. In Greek mythology, Prometheus (Προμηθεύς "forethought" is a Titan known for his wily intelligence who stole Fire from Zeus This article is about the concept of a Messiah in religion notably in the Christian Islamic and Jewish traditions Archangels are superior or higher-ranking Angels Archangels are found in a number of religious traditions including Islam, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism Michael (מִיכָאֵל Micha'el or Mîkhā'ēl; Μιχαήλ Mikhaíl; Michael or Míchaël; ميخائيل Mikhā'īl) is an The book ends with Mike promoted to another plane of existence, similar to Heaven, but a place where work is to be done. The original Rev. Foster appoints Rev. Digby as Mike's assistant.
In the preface for the re-issued book, Virginia Heinlein writes
Fair Witness is a fictional profession invented for the novel. A Fair Witness is an individual trained to observe events and report exactly what he or she sees and hears, making no extrapolations or assumptions. An eidetic memory is a prerequisite for the job, although this may be attainable with suitable training. Eidetic memory, photographic memory, or total recall is the ability to recall Images Sounds, or objects in Memory
In Heinlein's society, a Fair Witness is a highly reputable source of information. By custom, a Fair Witness acting professionally, generally wearing distinctive robes, is never addressed directly, and all present are supposed to avoid acknowledging the presence of the Witness in any way.
The character Jubal Harshaw employs a Fair Witness, Anne, as one of his secretaries. Jubal Harshaw is a fictional character featured in Stranger in a Strange Land, a Novel by Robert A Unlike the other secretaries, she does not use dictation equipment when Jubal speaks. She can even keep track of several works at once, despite Harshaw's frequent switching among them.
Unlike the superficially similar profession of Mentat in Frank Herbert's Dune, Fair Witnesses are prohibited from drawing conclusions about what they observe. A Mentat is a profession or discipline in Frank Herbert 's Fictional ''Dune'' universe. Franklin Patrick Herbert Jr ( October 8 1920 &ndash February 11 1986) was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American Dune is a Science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert and published in 1965. As a demonstration, Harshaw asks Anne to describe the color of a house in the distance. She responds, "It's white on this side," indicating that she would not assume what the color of any other part of the house is without actually being able to see it.
When Ben Caxton decides to do something that might result in litigation, he hires a highly respected Witness, James Oliver Cavendish, to ensure he isn't accused of slander. In law a lawsuit is a civil action brought before a Court in which the party commencing the action the Plaintiff, seeks a legal or equitable remedy
Like many influential works of literature, Stranger made a contribution to the language: specifically, the word "grok. To grok (ˈgrɒk is to share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity " In Heinlein's invented Martian language, "grok" literally means "to drink" and figuratively means "to understand," "to love," and "to be one with. ". One dictionary description was "To understand thoroughly through having empathy with". This word rapidly became common parlance among science fiction fans, hippies, and computer hackers, and has since entered the Oxford English Dictionary among others. The Oxford English Dictionary ( OED) published by the Oxford University Press (OUP is a comprehensive Dictionary of the English Heinlein wrote most of the novel completely in dialogue, containing often long monologues, and only has a few pages of narration that depict the state of the world during the ensuing plot.
A central element of the second half of the novel is the religious movement founded by Smith, the "Church of All Worlds. " This church is an initiatory mystery religion, blending elements of paganism and revivalism with psychic training and instruction in the Martian language. Mystery Religions, Sacred Mysteries or simply Mysteries, were "religious cults of the Graeco-Roman In 1962, Oberon Zell-Ravenheart (then merely Tim Zell) founded the Church of All Worlds, a Neopagan religious organization modeled in many ways after the fictional organization in the novel Stranger in a Strange Land. Oberon Zell-Ravenheart ( b Timothy Zell, also formerly known as Otter G'Zell) ( b The Church of All Worlds (CAW is a neopagan religious group whose stated mission is to evolve a network of information mythology and experience that provides a context and Neopaganism or Neo-Paganism is an Umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements particularly those influenced by historical This spiritual path included several ideas from the book, including polyamory, non-mainstream family structures, social libertarianism, water-sharing rituals, an acceptance of all religious paths by a single tradition, and the use of several terms such as "grok", "Thou art God", and "Never Thirst". Polyamory (from Greek el πολυ meaning many or several and Latin la amor “love” is the desire practice or acceptance of having more than one Though Heinlein was neither a member nor a promoter of the Church, it was done with frequent correspondence between Zell and Heinlein, and he was a paid subscriber to their magazine Green Egg. Green Egg is an Neopagan magazine published by the Church of All Worlds from 1967 through 1976 and 1988 through 2000 and restarted in 2007 This Church still exists as a 501(c)3 recognized religious organization incorporated in California, with membership worldwide, and it remains an active part of the neopagan community today. 501(c is a provision of the United States Internal Revenue Code ( listing 28 types of Non-profit organizations exempt from some federal California ( is a US state on the West Coast of the United States, along the Pacific Ocean. 
Stranger was written in part as a deliberate attempt to challenge social mores. In the course of the story, Heinlein uses Smith's open-mindedness to reevaluate such institutions as religion, money, monogamy, and the fear of death. Heinlein completed writing it ten years after he had (uncharacteristically) plotted it out in detail. He later wrote, "I had been in no hurry to finish it, as that story could not be published commercially until the public mores changed. I could see them changing and it turned out that I had timed it right. "
Stranger contains an early description of the waterbed, an invention which made its real-world debut a few years later in 1968. A waterbed or water mattress is a bed or Mattress filled with water Charles Hall, who brought a waterbed design to the United States Patent Office, was refused a patent on the grounds that Heinlein's descriptions in Stranger and another novel, Double Star, constituted prior art. Charles Hall may refer to Charles Francis Hall (1821-1871 American explorer Charles Henry Hall (1820-1877 British religious leader The United States of America —commonly referred to as the A patent is a set of Exclusive rights granted by a State to an inventor or his assignee for a fixed period of time in exchange for a disclosure of an Double Star is a Science fiction Novel by Robert A Heinlein, first serialized in Astounding Science Fiction Prior art (also known as or State of the art, which also has other meanings in most systems of Patent law constitutes all Information that 
Heinlein reportedly named his main character "Smith" because of a speech he made at a science fiction convention regarding the unpronounceable names assigned to extraterrestrials. After describing the importance of establishing a dramatic difference between humans and aliens, Heinlein concluded, "Besides, whoever heard of a Martian named Smith?" ("A Martian Named Smith" was both Heinlein's working title for the book and the name of the screenplay being started by Harshaw at the end. )
Two related criticisms that have been made are that the book steps outside the bounds of psychological realism, and that it advocates a utopia which cannot actually be achieved without knowledge of the fictitious Martian language or similarly fanciful supernatural powers. However, some critics, including Patterson and Thornton, argue that the story is to be understood not as a psychologically realistic novel but as a qualitatively different form, the narrative satire. Heinlein described the story, in a letter to his agent, as "a Cabellesque satire of sex and religion," suggesting that it be evaluated on the same terms as such intentionally unrealistic stories as Cabell's Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice. James Branch Cabell ( April 14, 1879 - May 5, 1958) was an American Author of Fantasy fiction and Belles The expectation, then, is that when the scene shifts to a discussion between a dead person's soul and an archangel, the reader doesn't even need to suspend his sense of disbelief, because the story has never invited belief in its realism in the first place. Similarly, if there is no expectation that the book should be taken as a realistic prescription for a utopia, then the utopia's impracticability is not a defect in the story. In a passage from his book of collected letters, Heinlein claims that the purpose of the novel was to ask important questions, not hand out convenient answers.
Jubal Harshaw notes, in the book, that Smith's 'system' is fine 'for angels. Jubal Harshaw is a fictional character featured in Stranger in a Strange Land, a Novel by Robert A '
To some readers, several statements in the book convey a sense of religious bigotry, misogyny, and homophobia. A bigot is a person who is intolerant of opinions lifestyles or identities differing from his or her own and bigotry is the corresponding state of mind Misogyny (mɪˈsɒdʒɪni is hatred (or contemptof women Misogyny is parallel to Misandry — the hatred of men BenPhelpsJPG|thumb|right|Westboro Baptist Church picket signs with Ben Phelps grandson of Fred Phelps For example:
Another passage concerns the mail that the man from Mars receives:
One critic writes:
However, these passages both convey the attitudes of the prudish character Jill, who is used as a dramatic foil for Mike and Jubal's less parochial views.  A major thread of the story is Smith's gradual persuasion of Jill to grow beyond her inhibitions, embrace her previously suppressed exhibitionist nature, and learn to understand other people's sexuality (e. g. , Duke's interest in pornography). The passage about the letter deals with Jill's inclination to shield Mike from it, and she is overruled by the wiser Jubal. The quote concerning "wrongness" in the "poor in-betweeners" likewise portrays Jill's speculation about what Mike would think of homosexuality, not Mike's actual attitudes.
Furthermore, just prior to the dénouement, the story arc is revealed: that one major difference between humans and Martian species is that humans require two genders to reproduce (and to "grow-closer"), while Martians do not: the young "egg" Martians are female and the adults are male. In the final chapter, Mike comes to understand (through a conversation with Jubal) that this is the root of competition on Earth, in order to concede to the "survival of the fittest" concept. In this capacity, the story of a stranger in a strange land becomes a metaphor for the interactions between males and females.
On the other hand, just because some of these negative views of homosexuality occur in the thoughts and words of the characters, rather than coming from the authorial voice, doesn't mean that they were not intended to express Heinlein's views. As Brooks Peck put it, "Heinlein loved to pontificate through the mouths of his characters," and Jubal is clearly often acting as a mouthpiece for Heinlein's own views. Heinlein's own commentary in essays warns against taking this presumption too far, as he indicates that he sometimes throws out outrageous ideas just to see who will take them seriously. It should also be noted that Heinlein, in the 1930s or 1940s, experimented with some "Free Love" societies of that time.
Later chapters in the novel, depicting the workings of the Church of All Worlds, in fact have a number of references, some more obvious than others, that the sexual bonding that occurs between water-brothers is not limited to male/female. Ben, who has become a water brother but who has not received the training that normal church members receive, comments at one point that two men are kissing, but nothing about the act seems out of place or unmasculine. By the novel's end, it seems to promote a kind of general bisexuality, implying that sexual bonding can occur between any water-brothers, regardless of gender. Unlike many other Heinlein novels, this standpoint is never directly stated but only strongly implied, so other interpretations are possible.
Smith determines that the greatest gift that the Martians lack is the "gift" of gender. The asexual Martians have no concept of gender and it is this balance and duality that Smith finds to be the most amazing difference between the two species.
A more general discussion of Heinlein's attitudes on sexuality, homosexuality, gender roles, and sexual freedom is given in the article on Heinlein himself. Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7 1907 – May 8 1988 was an American Novelist and Science fiction Writer.
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