Stranger in a Strange Land Author:Robert A. Heinlein Stranger in a Strange Land is the story of Valentine Michael Smith, born during, and the only survivor of, the first manned mission to Mars. Michael is raised by Martians, and he arrives on Earth as a true innocent: he has never seen a woman and has no knowledge of Earth's cultures or religions. But he brings turmoil with him, as he is the legal... more » heir to an enormous financial empire, not to mention the de facto owner of the planet Mars. With the irascible popular author Jubal Harshaw to protect him, Michael explores human morality and the meanings of love. He founds his own church, teaching others an adaptation of Martian philosophy--including group marriage as a way of life and cannibalism as the highest form of respect for the deceased--and as a result, his followers begin to share his extraordinary mental abilities.
Heinlein was strongly right-wing himself, and the character of the libertarian Dr. Jubal Harshaw can be said to be his mouthpiece. However, this book most powerfully appealed to hippies, who embraced its idea of free love and Michael Smith's mantra of "Thou art God." Today, STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND is still greatly beloved by both free spirits and hardcore science fiction fans--and is notable for having brought the word "grok" (meaning to know something at its deepest level) into vernacular English.
This 1961 novel, considered to be one of Heinlein's definitive works, was the first science fiction book ever to make the bestseller lists. Heinlein won his second Hugo award in 1962 for this novel, sometimes called Heinlein's earthly "divine comedy."
From 1991, the books get longer. Virginia Heinlein explains it in the preface to later editions--what you have there is the ORIGINAL edition, as Robert intended. The difference takes it from 160,000 words to 220,000. Whether the quality improves is up to the reader.« less