A reading club with a view to the future

585 Robert A. Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land

A human raised by Martians returns to Earth, challenging societal norms and inspiring a new spiritual movement.



A human raised by Martians returns to Earth, challenging societal norms and inspiring a new spiritual movement.


Title: Stranger in a Strange Land 

Author: Robert A. Heinlein 

Publishing Year: 1961 

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons 

Length: Approximately 16 hours and 17 minutes 

5 main ideas

  1. A Human Among Martians: Valentine Michael Smith's extraordinary upbringing by Martians gives him unique abilities and perspectives that challenge Earth's way of life.
  2. Culture Clash: The novel explores the clash of Martian values with human culture and societal norms, leading to cultural misunderstandings and profound introspection.
  3. Religious Exploration: Smith's journey prompts a deep exploration of spirituality, religion, and the creation of a new faith based on his teachings.
  4. The Power of Love: Love becomes a central theme, as characters form deep connections with Smith and grapple with the complexities of human relationships.
  5. Transformation and Revolution: The impact of Smith's presence on Earth leads to a transformation of individuals and society, inspiring a revolution in thought and belief.

5 funny quotes

  1. "Waiting is... what? It's something dogs do."
  2. "Being 'grown up' isn't half as much fun as growing up. It's like... 'what am I doing here?'"
  3. "The self-reliant man is a mighty lonely man."
  4. "The hardest thing in the world is to admit you are wrong. And nothing is more helpful in resolving a situation than its frank admission."
  5. "Never try to outstubborn a cat."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Thou art God, I am God. All that groks is God."
  2. "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."
  3. "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity."
  4. "I've found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts so much... because it's the only thing that'll make it stop hurting."
  5. "The more you love, the more you can love—and the more intensely you love."

5 dilemmas

  1. The dilemma of cultural adaptation: Smith's struggle to comprehend and integrate into human society, leading to cultural clashes and misunderstandings.
  2. The dilemma of individuality versus conformity: Characters grappling with societal norms and questioning the extent to which they should conform to the prevailing culture.
  3. The spiritual dilemma of finding meaning and purpose in life: Characters exploring the concepts of love, spirituality, and the search for transcendence.
  4. The ethical dilemma of wielding immense power responsibly: Smith's extraordinary abilities and their potential impact on humanity, raising questions of moral responsibility.
  5. The dilemma of bridging the gap between different species: Smith's unique Martian upbringing and human heritage, presenting challenges in communication and understanding.

5 examples

  1. Valentine Michael Smith - The central character of the novel, a human raised by Martians, possessing extraordinary abilities and insights.
  2. Jubal Harshaw - A prominent lawyer and author, who becomes Smith's mentor and protector on Earth.
  3. The Church of All Worlds - The spiritual movement founded by Smith's teachings, advocating love, water-sharing, and grokking.
  4. Gillian Boardman - A nurse who becomes romantically involved with Smith and plays a significant role in his journey.
  5. Mars - The Red Planet, where Smith was raised by the Martians, and a key element of his unique identity.

Referenced books

  1. "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" - A collection of Persian poetry referenced in the novel, exploring themes of mortality and existence.
  2. "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll - Referenced as a playful and surreal story, highlighting the exploration of unfamiliar worlds.
  3. "The Book of Ezekiel" (Bible) - Alluded to in the novel, echoing themes of prophecy, visions, and transformation.
  4. "Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway - Mentioned as a book read by Jubal Harshaw, showcasing themes of perseverance and the human condition.
  5. "Winnie-the-Pooh" by A.A. Milne - Alluded to in the novel, reflecting on the charm of simplicity and childlike wonder.

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"Never try to outstubborn a cat."

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