Friend's Email: Subject:I have found a book that I think you would enjoy
Stranger in a Strange Land (Turtleback hardcover)
Stranger in a Strange Land - Turtleback hardcover Author:Robert 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 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, preaching free love and disseminating the psychic talents taught him by the Martians. Ultimately, he confronts the fate reserved for all messiahs.
This 1961 novel, considered to be one of Heinlein's definitive works, was the first science fiction book ever to make the bestseller lists. Valentine Michael Smith, a human child raised on Mars, returns to Earth with psychic powers and a strongly alien outlook. After some difficulties in understanding and acclimating to society, he teaches 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. Having founded a church in order to disseminate his teachings more freely, Mike Smith becomes its Messiah-figure, with all of the divine and dangerous consequences that entails. 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." Somewhat more unfortunately, Charles Manson claimed the book as one of his inspirations. 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.
Heinlein won his second Hugo award in 1962 for this novel, sometimes called Heinlein's earthly "divine comedy."« less