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173 Robert Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land

A Martian-raised human shakes up Earth’s society with his unorthodox views and abilities.

Robert Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land


"Stranger in a Strange Land" follows the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who was born and raised on Mars by Martians and later brought back to Earth. The novel explores his struggles to understand and integrate into human society, as well as his abilities to manipulate reality and his unorthodox views on love, sex, and religion.


Title: Stranger in a Strange Land

Author: Robert Heinlein

Publishing Year: 1999

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons

Length in hours: 16 hours and 17 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. The clash between the values and beliefs of different societies.
  2. The power of language and its role in shaping our perceptions and beliefs.
  3. The limitations of human communication and understanding.
  4. The exploration of alternative forms of government and social structures.
  5. The role of love and human connection in shaping our identities and sense of purpose.
Robert Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land

5 funny quotes

  1. “Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”
  2. “When in doubt, read Rudyard Kipling. That's my motto, you know.”
  3. “A poet who reads his verse in public may have other nasty habits.”
  4. “Happiness consists in getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more.”
  5. “Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.”

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. “The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all of history.”
  2. “The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else do it wrong, without comment.”
  3. “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
  4. “A desire not to butt into other people’s business is at least eighty percent of all human ‘wisdom’...and the other twenty percent isn’t very important.”
  5. “You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.”

5 dilemmas

  1. The struggle of Valentine Michael Smith to find his place in human society after being raised by Martians.
  2. The clash between the traditional conservative values of Jubal Harshaw and the radical ideas of Valentine Michael Smith.
  3. The tension between the desire for individual freedom and the need for social responsibility.
  4. The question of whether it is ethical to interfere in other cultures and impose one's own values and beliefs on them.
  5. The dilemma of whether it is better to live a short but meaningful life or a long but dull one.

5 examples

  1. Jubal Harshaw - A lawyer, writer, doctor, and the wise old man of the novel who becomes the mentor to the protagonist, Valentine Michael Smith.
  2. Valentine Michael Smith - A human raised by Martians who comes to Earth and struggles to understand the ways of humans.
  3. Ben Caxton - A journalist who becomes fascinated with Valentine Michael Smith and his story.
  4. Gillian Boardman - A nurse who falls in love with Valentine Michael Smith and becomes his lover.
  5. Mahmoud - A Middle Eastern diplomat who has conversations with Jubal Harshaw about politics and religion.

Referenced books

  1. "The Bible" - Quoted and referenced throughout the book, particularly in relation to the protagonist's messianic journey and the exploration of religious and philosophical themes.
  2. "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran 
  3. "Time Enough for Love" by Robert A. Heinlein 
  4. "The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin
  5. "Ulysses" by James Joyce 

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“Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.”

Robert Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land
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