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Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

I listened to this book as an audiobook.

Published in 1961, Stranger in a Strange land is one of science fiction’s most influential stories. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith born during the first manned mission to Mars and the only survivor. He grows up on Mars where he is learns to be a Martian and does not learn how to be an earthling.

Over the length of the story Michael learns what it means to be an earthling and what it means to human. It is such a great story of growth and change.

There are a lot of elements in this story that have shaped the science fiction we know today. From terminology like “grokking” to ideas like “sharing water” this story is one of the most important science fiction stories ever written.

Instead of including something from the publisher I am going to include the text from the beginning of the Wikipeidia article located at

Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who has come to Earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians. The novel explores his interaction with—and the eventual transformation of—Earth culture. The title seems to be an allusion to the phrase in Exodus 2:22 (in the Biblical Book of Exodus). According to Heinlein, the novel’s working title was The Heretic. Several later editions of the book have promoted it as “The most famous Science Fiction Novel ever written.”

I rate this book a 10 out of 10. Not so much because it is masterfully written or a story that I want to re-read but because of the influence it has had on science fiction and our culture.

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