Monday, December 18, 2006

All of My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers

I was tempted to read Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land by this illustration, featured on the cover of the 1968 paperback edition:

But unfortunately the book could not live up to this paisley image of man and woman merging in grok. In fact I did not grok the novel whatsoever. I expected it to be a time capsule of Summer of Love hedonism and hippie mysticism, part Harrod Experiment, part Chariot of the Gods, part Transcendental Meditation. Maybe I could learn something about student utopianism from that last real flowering of revolutionary spirit among privileged bourgeois youth, get some insight into what motivated and sustained them. But after suffering through nearly 200 tedious pages, I finally had to admit to myself that the bunch of stock characters spouting exposition and clumsy, smirky neologisms weren't the unfortunately necessary prelude to something awesome but were in fact all the book consisted of.

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