Robert Heinlein: Still Crap

It’s not often that a book is so bad that I feel the need to write about it as a warning to others, but this is one of those times.

That was the opening line of my review of Stranger in a Strange Land two years ago. This month, writer Ian Sales had a similar reaction to another Heinlein “classic”:

I’m starting to wonder what I’ve done that you should all hate me so much you’d make me read Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress…

It’s good to know I’m not the only one. His rant is more knowledgeable than mine, but it hits a lot of the same points: Heinlein’s sexism, pedantry, clumsy writing and utterly hateful politics make it impossible to understand why he’s still considered such a titan of science fiction, or why he ever was.

…as the story progressed, and Heinlein spouted his bullshit through his various characters and manipulated situations to make points with all the subtlety of Arnold Schwarzenegger, so I grew to really dislike the book … And I will cheerfully mock anyone who claims it as a classic of the genre. It is didactic in the worst possible sense, its politics are risible, its moral landscape is hopelessly confused, and it reads like the wet dream of the dirty old uncle everyone ignores at the family barbecue.

Go read the whole thing, and then check out Sales’ excellent review site Mistressworks to find some better choices.

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