Avast! Thar be spoilers ahead!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Stranger in a Strange Land

I am getting around to this book review a little late. This is actually the book that kicked off my summer of sci-fi. I grabbed this book from the library bookshelves on a whim because the title came from Moses in the Book of Exodus.

The book follows Valintine Michael Smith, a human alien who was born and raised on Mars and travels to Earth. To survive in the harsh Martian environment, Smith learns the mind and body control techniques of the locals. He can also control the material being of others through levitation, psychic control and the ability to un-make anything or anyone who is hostile. A person who is unmade is not completely destroyed; his soul is just recycled into a new body, kind of like reincarnation on the journey to nirvana. He builds a religion which includes orgies, ritual cannibalism and water rituals. This religion challenges social mores, traditional marriage, traditional family structures and churches. Curiously, an actual religion was formed based upon the invented religion of the book.

I did get tired by the ravenous sex the characters seem to have. I understand that the book was written at a different time when sex was repressed. Strike that, it still seems silly and boring. Sex is everywhere, in magazines and tv shows. And it is so cheap and lame. I am bored by publicized sex.

I enjoyed this book for most of the way through but once the Church of All Worlds was built, I was put of by the hedonism it promoted.

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