368 Following


You kids get off my lawn. 

Stranger In A Strange Land - Robert A. Heinlein This book has the dubious distinction of being the only book I threw against a wall and never finished. There have been a few that have taken air after I finished reading them, but there hasn't been another mid-book reading-ending chuck. Some of this is historical: both obligatory book finishing and doing violence to books are things that I'm trying to leave in my past. Heinlein taught me that sometimes I need to put the book down, before I continue the cycle of violence. Thanks Heinlein! Look at how incredibly mature I've become!

Every era has its popular classics, the books that we all go out and buy in droves because they scratch some sort of weird cultural itch we didn't know we all had. “Oh God, right there,” we're all saying to Stephanie Meyer as she weaves sexless tales of yearning in which men are monsters and women are cyphers. Do it to me again, Da Vinci Code, with your sense of hidden history and the corruption of faith by religions themselves. But then we crawl into the tub and cry while the water runs and mixes with our pooling tears. I was saving myself for Updike; what have I done?

This book is an itch-scratcher for a bunch of cultural stuff that I simply don't get. Heinlein lumbered out of the science fiction ghetto with a tale about sexy, messianic aliens who teach all to really think about each other, man, and also give really good BJs. My violent frustrations with it may be historical in another way: I was born in the 70s; I didn't live through them. I wonder, if in 30 years our kids be chucking Harry Potter, Book 7 against the wall in a fit a disgust. “Mum, how could you stand this? Bad guys love their children too? Seriously?” And we'll smile a wistful smile and think about all the dirty satisfaction Harry gave us, and say, “Honey, you had to be there.”