“The Number of the Beast”

Published by Heinlein in 1980 . The book is written as a series of Diary entries by the 4 main characters. The main characters are traveling ( perhaps fleeing is a better term) between universes after multiple  murder attempts on them fail in the  1st few chapters. They observe differences between the universes , some minor just as one when the letter J does not exist and others more  extreme ( i.e. the British empire and the Russian empire battling it out on Mars in steam powered ornithopters ). The eventually find a connection between novels and universes and end up in the land of oz and e.e.doc smiths lensmen universe. They eventually meet up with Lazarus Long ( yep he shows up again) and then subsequently nearly every character ever introduced in Heinlein’s novels ( at least it seems so).

The number of the beast ( 666 from the bible) is reinterpreted as 6 to the power of 6 to the power of 6. a really huge number that equates to the number of possible universes on any given axis of the multidimensional geometry that was thought up for this story).

Personally although I enjoyed the book i felt that it lost focus towards the end ( after they had joined up with Lazarus) and just dissolves into a conference of speculative fiction authors at the end.

 

 

 

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“Time Enough for Love”

I have been a slack , slack man doing this blog. I actually finished this book in November 2016 but it did take quite a while. The last 2 months of the year were quite busy.

A science fiction Novel by Robert Heinlein. 1st published in 1973 and nominated for a Nebula Award in 1974.

This book expands on the story of Lazarus Long ( introduced in “Methuselah’s Children” ). It starts with the Administrator for the Howard Families trying to find a Lazarus a reason to live ( Lazarus is now over 2000 years old and is wanting to die as he has been and done nearly everything possible) . The administrator convinces Lazarus to tell his life story while he tries to find something new for Lazarus to do. Most of the rest of the book is composed of stories from Lazarus’s life including the something new that Justin ( the administrator) finds for Lazarus to do.

This has to be my favorite Heinlein book.

My favorite quote from the book is

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

 

 

“I Will Fear No Evil”

A science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein published in hardcover in 1970. An elderly millionaire being kept alive only by being constantly connected to life support machines . He knows that the doctors will keep him alive , with no quality of life, indefinitely and decides to undergo a brain transplant as a means of suicide. However the transplant succeeds and he wakes to find himself in the body of his secretary who had been murdered.

one of the longer books so far so it took a while to read.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Will_Fear_No_Evil

“The Moon Is A Hard Mistress”

A science fiction novel published in 1966.

The story is set in the year 2075 when the moon is colonized by about 3 Million people. The moon was colonized as a penal colony and most of the residents are criminals, political dissidents or their descendants.  The story is narrated by Manny (a computer technician ) who is called in to determine why the central computer issues a massive cheque to an employee. The computer which Manny has named Mike has developed self awareness and a sense of humor ( hence the cheque). Manny goes to a meeting as a favour to Mike as all the phones there have been turned off and he can’t listen in. They subsequently get involved in a rebellion.

One of the additional characters introduced part way through the book is Hazel Mead (who later becomes Hazel Stone  see “The Rolling Stones” who also makes another appearance in a later novel.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moon_Is_a_Harsh_Mistress

“Farnham’s Freehold”

Published in 1964. Initially set during the height of the Cold War Hugh Farnham has built a bomb shelter beneath his house. During a dinner party the Russians attack and all flee to the shelter. 2 nearby strikes rock the shelter and they all resign themselves to death when a 3rd strike hits the shelter. The shelter is tipped over but all survive and the next morning escape the shelter only to find themselves in a pristine subtropical environment.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farnham%27s_Freehold

“Podkayne of Mars”

A science fiction novel by  Robert Heinlein. Originally serialized in 1962 in Worlds of If magazine and published as a hardcover in 1963.

Tells the story of a teenage girl Pockayne Fries from Mars who travels on a space liner to Earth with her brother and uncle . Told as a series of Journal entries by Podkayne (with the occasional comment from her brother).

In Heinlein’s original text Podkayne is killed at then end of the novel but the publishers made him rewrite it with her being injured but surviving. The version I had contained both endings.

Personally I felt that the dissatisfied with both endings and it felt to me like the novel should have continued for at least a few more chapters. But that’s just my view.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podkayne_of_Mars

 

“Stranger In A Strange Land”

A science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein. Originally published in 1961 and winner of a Hugo Award in 1962. Heinlein had been forced by his publishers to remove 60000 words from the manuscript. After Heinlein’s death in 1988 the novel was republished in 1991 in its original extended form .

The story starts with an expedition to Mars with a crew of 8 scientists all married couples. They arrive at Mars and then all contact is lost. 20 years later another expedition goes to Mars and finds 1 sole survivor,Valentine Michael Smith the son of two of the expedition members who was raised by Martians.

Mike is returned to earth and needs to adapt to human society. Thus the real story begins.

considered one of the 88 books “that shaped America” by the US Library of Congress in 2012.

Well worth a read .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stranger_in_a_Strange_Land