Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
This my favorite story opening of all time. Do you grok this? I mean, do you really grok this? Valentine Michael Smith is the first Martian to return to Earth and discovers a civilization and culture he does not understand, and vice versa. The first ten pages are really strong in the Heilein tradition before going off the rails the second half. To me, the dark ending and overall message doesn’t detract on wonderful storytelling and powerful ideas he was trying to convey.
The story itself is almost a story of what if your religion’s prophet returned. Would you recognize him? Would he be warmly accepted and embraced, or would the religious powers that be wage a campaign against him (as far as I know, most major religions somehow only expect it to be a man for some reason).
I mean, cult-like figures always meet a tragic end, right?
On a side note, if you are ever out on a blind date, and think you are being clever by asking your date if she groks you, believe me, this is a poor move. This can only be a punchline at the nerdiest of nerdy events, say ComiCon or WorldCon, and your odds then are maybe only 20% at most. Bonus points if you drop the line in a swimming pool, if so, please email or tweet me and tell me your story.
Book Rating: First Half 10/10, Second Half 5/10