Stranger in a Strange Land

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9780441790340: Stranger in a Strange Land

The Hugo Award-winning and controversial science fiction masterpiece from Robert A. Heinlein, the New York Times bestselling author of Starship Troopers

Valentine Michael Smith is a human being raised on Mars, newly returned to Earth. Among his people for the first time, he struggles to understand the social mores and prejudices of human nature that are so alien to him, while teaching them his own fundamental beliefs in grokking, watersharing, and love. 

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L'autore:

Robert Anson Heinlein was born in Missouri in 1907, and was raised there. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1929, but was forced by illness to retire from the Navy in 1934. He settled in California and over the next five years held a variety of jobs while doing post-graduate work in mathematics and physics at the University of California. In 1939 he sold his first science fiction story to Astounding magazine and soon devoted himself to the genre.

He was a four-time winner of the Hugo Award for his novels Stranger in a Strange Land (1961), Starship Troopers (1959), Double Star (1956), and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966). His Future History series, incorporating both short stories and novels, was first mapped out in 1941. The series charts the social, political, and technological changes shaping human society from the present through several centuries into the future.

Robert A. Heinlein's books were among the first works of science fiction to reach bestseller status in both hardcover and paperback. He continued to work into his eighties, and his work never ceased to amaze, to entertain, and to generate controversy. By the time he died, in 1988, it was evident that he was one of the formative talents of science fiction: a writer whose unique vision, unflagging energy, and persistence, over the course of five decades, made a great impact on the American mind.

 

Estratto. © Riproduzione autorizzata. Diritti riservati.:

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

 

Part One - HIS MACULATE ORIGIN

I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

 

Part Two - HIS PREPOSTEROUS HERITAGE

IX.

X.

XI.

XII.

XIII.

XIV.

XV.

XVI.

XVII.

XVIII.

XIX.

XX.

XXI.

 

Part Three - HIS ECCENTRIC EDUCATION

XXII.

XXIII.

XXIV.

XXV.

XXVI.

XXVII.

XXVIII.

XXIX.

 

Part Four - HIS SCANDALOUS CAREER

XXX.

XXXI.

XXXII.

XXXIII.

 

Part Five - HIS HAPPY DESTINY

XXXIV.

XXXV.

XXXVI.

XXXVII.

XXXVIII.

XXXIX.

 

ANCESTRY—HUMAN; ORIGIN—???

Captain van Tromp decided that it was time to throw a tantrum. “This man Smith—This ‘man!’ Can’t you see that he is not? ”

 

“Eh?”

 

“Smith . . . is . . . not . . . a . . . man.”

 

“Huh? Explain yourself, Captain.”

 

“Smith is an intelligent creature with the ancestry of a man, but he is more Martian than man. Until we came along he had never laid eyes on a man. He thinks like a Martian, feels like a Martian. He’s been brought up by a race which has nothing in common with us—they don’t even have sex. He’s a man by ancestry, a Martian by environment . . .”

Books by Robert A. Heinlein

ASSIGNMENT IN ETERNITY

THE BEST OF ROBERT HEINLEIN

BETWEEN PLANETS

THE CAT WHO WALKS THROUGH WALLS

CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY

DESTINATION MOON

THE DOOR INTO SUMMER

DOUBLE STAR

EXPANDED UNIVERSE: MORE WORLDS OF ROBERT A. HEINLEIN

FARMER IN THE SKY

FARNHAM’S FREEHOLD

FRIDAY

GLORY ROAD

THE GREEN HILLS OF EARTH

HAVE SPACE SUIT—WILL TRAVEL

I WILL FEAR NO EVIL

JOB: A COMEDY OF JUSTICE

THE MAN WHO SOLD THE MOON

THE MENACE FROM EARTH

METHUSELAH’S CHILDREN

THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS

THE NOTEBOOKS OF LAZARUS LONG

THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST

ORPHANS OF THE SKY

THE PAST THROUGH TOMORROW: “FUTURE HISTORY” STORIES

PODKAYNE OF MARS

THE PUPPET MASTERS

RED PLANET

REVOLT IN 2100

ROCKET SHIP GALILEO

THE ROLLING STONES

SIXTH COLUMN

SPACE CADET

THE STAR BEAST

STARMAN JONES

STARSHIP TROOPERS

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND

THREE BY HEINLEIN

TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE

TIME FOR THE STARS

TOMORROW THE STARS (Ed.)

TO SAIL BEYOND THE SUNSET

TRAMP ROYALE

TUNNEL IN THE SKY

THE UNPLEASANT PROFESSION OF JONATHAN HOAG

WALDO & MAGIC, INC.

THE WORLDS OF ROBERT A. HEINLEIN

NOTICE:

All men, gods, and planets in this story are imaginary.
Any coincidence of names is regretted.

—R. A. H.

 

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

A STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND

 

An Ace Book / published by arrangement with

G. P. Putnam’s Sons

 

PRINTING HISTORY

G. P. Putnam’s Sons edition published 1961

Berkley edition / March 1968

Ace edition / April 1987

 

All rights reserved.

Copyright © 1961 by Robert Heinlein.

This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

For information address:

G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Putnam Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

 

Visit our website at

www.penguinputnam.com

 

eISBN : 978-1-101-20896-0

 

ACE®

Ace Books are published by

The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Putnam Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ACE and the “A” design are trademarks belonging to Penguin Putnam Inc.

 

 

For
Robert Cornog
Fredric Brown
Phillip José Farmer

Part One

HIS MACULATE ORIGIN

I.

ONCE UPON a time there was a Martian named Valentine Michael Smith.

The first human expedition to Mars was selected on the theory that the greatest danger to man was man himself. At that time, eight Terran years after the founding of the first human colony on Luna, an interplanetary trip made by humans had to be made in free-fall orbits—from Terra to Mars, two hundred-fifty-eight Terran days, the same for return, plus four hundred fifty-five days waiting at Mars while the planets crawled back into positions for the return orbit.

Only by refueling at a space station could the Envoy make the trip. Once at Mars she might return—if she did not crash, if water could be found to fill her reaction tanks, if a thousand things did not go wrong.

Eight humans, crowded together for almost three Terran years, had better get along much better than humans usually did. An all-male crew was vetoed as unhealthy and unstable. Four married couples was considered optimum, if necessary specialties could be found in such combination.

The University of Edinburgh, prime contractor, sub-contracted crew selection to the Institute for Social Studies. After discarding volunteers useless through age, health, mentality, training, or temperament, the Institute had nine thousand likely candidates. The skills needed were astrogator, medical doctor, cook, machinist, ship’s commander, semantician, chemical engineer, electronics engineer, physicist, geologist, biochemist, biologist, atomics engineer, photographer, hydroponicist, rocketry engineer. There were hundreds of combinations of eight volunteers possessing these skills; there turned up three such combinations of married couples—but in all three cases the psycho-dynamicists who evaluated factors for compatibility threw up their hands in horror. The prime contractor suggested lowering the compatibility figure-of-merit; the Institute offered to return its one dollar fee.

The machines continued to review data changing through deaths, withdrawals, new volunteers. Captain Michael Brant, M.S., Cmdr. D. F. Reserve, pilot and veteran at thirty of the Moon run, had an inside track at the Institute, someone who looked up for him names of single female volunteers who might (with him) complete a crew, then paired his name with these to run problems through the machines to determine whether a combination would be acceptable. This resulted in his jetting to Australia and proposing marriage to Doctor Winifred Coburn, a spinster nine years his senior.

Lights blinked, cards popped out, a crew had been found:

Captain Michael Brant, commanding—pilot, astrogator, relief cook, relief photographer, rocketry engineer;

Dr. Winifred Coburn Brant, forty-one, semantician, practical nurse, stores officer, historian;

Mr. Francis X. Seeney, twenty-eight, executive officer, second pilot, astrogator, astrophysicist, photographer;

Dr. Olga Kovalic Seeney, twenty-nine, cook, biochemist, hydroponicist;

Dr. Ward Smith, forty-five, physician and surgeon, biologist;

Dr. Mary Jane Lyle Smith, twenty-six, atomics engineer, electronics and power technician;

Mr. Sergei Rimsky, thirty-five, electronics engineer, chemical engineer, practical machinist and instrumentation man, cryologist;

Mrs. Eleanora Alvarez Rimsky, thirty-two, geologist and selenologist, hydroponicist.

The crew had all needed skills, some having been acquired by intensive coaching during the weeks before blast-off. More important, they were mutually compatible.

The Envoy departed. During the first weeks her reports were picked up by private listeners. As signals became fainter, they were relayed by Earth’s radio satellites. The crew seemed healthy and happy. Ringworm was the worst that Dr. Smith had to cope with—the crew adapted to free fall, and anti-nausea drugs were not needed after the first week. If Captain Brant had disciplinary problems, he did not report them.

The Envoy achieved a parking orbit inside the orbit of Phobos and spent two weeks in photographic survey. Then Captain Brant radioed: “We will land at 1200 tomorrow GST just south of Lacus Soli.”

No further message was received.

II.

A QUARTER of an Earth century passed before Mars was again visited by humans. Six years after the Envoy went silent, the drone probe Zombie, sponsored by La Société Astronautique Internationale, bridged the void and took up an orbit for the waiting period, then returned. Photographs by the robot vehicle showed a land unattractive by human standards; her instruments confirmed the thinness and unsuitability of Arean atmosphere to human life.

But the Zombie’s pictures showed that the “canals” were engineering works and other details were interpreted as ruins of cities. A manned expedition would have been mounted had not World War III intervened.

But war and delay resulted in a stronger expedition than that of the lost Envoy. Federation Ship Champion, with an all-male crew of eighteen spacemen and carrying twenty-three male pioneers, made the crossing under Lyle Drive in nineteen days. The Champion landed south of Lacus Soli, as Captain van Tromp intended to search for the Envoy. The second expedition reported daily; three despatches were of special interest. The first was:

“Rocket Ship Envoy located. No survivors.”

The second was: “Mars is inhabited.”

The third: “Correction to despatch 23-105: One survivor of Envoy located.”

III.

CAPTAIN WILLEM VAN TROMP was a man of humanity. He radioed ahead: “My passenger must not be subjected to a public reception. Provide low-gee shuttle, stretcher and ambulance, and armed guard.”

He sent his ship’s surgeon to make sure that Valentine Michael Smith was installed in a suite in Bethesda Medical Center, transferred into a hydraulic bed, and protected from outside contact. Van Tromp went to an extraordinary session of the Federation High Council.

As Smith was being lifted into bed, the High Minister for Science was saying testily, “Granted, Captain, that your authority as commander of what was nevertheless a scientific expedition gives you the right to order medical service to protect a person temporarily in your charge, I do not see why you now presume to interfere with my department. Why, Smith is a treasure trove of scientific information!”

“I suppose he is, sir.”

“Then why—” The science minister turned to the High Minister for Peace and Security. “David? Will you issue instructions to your people? After all, one can’t keep Professor Tiergarten and Doctor Okajima, to mention just two, cooling their heels.”

The peace minister glanced at Captain van Tromp. The captain shook his head.

“Why?” demanded the science minister. “You admit that he isn’t sick.”

“Give the Captain a chance, Pierre,” the peace minister advised. “Well, Captain?”

“Smith isn’t sick, sir,” Captain van Tromp said, “but he isn’t well. He has never before been in a one-gravity field. He weighs two and a half times what he is used to and his muscles aren’t up to it. He’s not used to Earth-normal pressure. He’s not used to anything and the strain is too much. Hell’s bells, gentleman, I’m dog-tired myself—and I was born on this planet.”

The science minister looked contemptuous. “If acceleration fatigue is worrying you, let me assure you, my dear Captain, that we anticipated that. After all, I’ve been out myself. I know how it feels. This man Smith must—”

Captain van Tromp decided that it was time to throw a tantrum. He could excuse it by his own very real fatigue, he felt as if he had just landed on Jupiter. So he interrupted. “Hnh! ‘This man Smith—’ This ‘man!’ Can’t you see that he is not?”

“Eh?”

“Smith . . . is . . . not . . . a . . . man.”

“Huh? Explain yourself, Captain.”

“Smith is an intelligent creature with the ancestry of a man, but he is more Martian than man. Until we came along he had never laid eyes on a man. He thinks like a Martian, feels like a Martian. He’s been brought up by a race which has nothing in common with us—they don’t even have sex. He’s a man by ancestry, a Martian by environment. If you want to drive him crazy and waste that ‘treasure trove,’ call in your fat-headed professors. Don’t give him a chance to get used to this madhouse planet. It’s no skin off me; I’ve done my job!”

The silence was broken by Secretary General Douglas. “And a good job, Captain. If this man, or man-Martian, needs a few days to get adjusted, I’m sure science can wait—so take it easy, Pete. Captain van Tromp is tired.”

“One thing won’t wait,” said the Minister for Public Information.

“Eh, Jock?”

“If we don’t show the Man from Mars in the stereo tanks pretty shortly, you’ll have riots, Mr. Secretary.”

“Hmm—You exaggerate, Jock. Mars stuff in the news, of course. Me decorating the Captain and his crew—tomorrow, I think. Captain van Tromp telling his experiences—after a night’s rest, Captain.”

The minister shook his head.

“No good, Jock?”

“The public expected them to bring back a real live Martian. Since they didn’t, we need Smith and need him badly.”

“Live Martians?” Secretary General Douglas turned to Captain van Tromp. “You have movies of Martians?”

“Thousands of feet.”

“There’s your answer, Jock. When the live stuff gets thin, trot on the movies. Now, Captain, about extraterritoriality: you say the Martians were not opposed?”

“Well, no, sir—but they were not for it, either.”

“I don’t follow you.”

Captain van Tromp chewed his lip. “Sir, talking with a Martian is like talking with an echo. You don’t get argument but you don’t get results.”

“Perhaps you should have brought what’s-his-name, your semantician. Or is he waiting outside?”

“Mahmoud, sir. Doctor Mahmoud is not well. A—A slight nervous breakdown, sir.” Van Tromp reflected that dead drunk was the moral equivalent.

“Space happy?”

“A little, perhaps.” These damned groundhogs!

“Well, fetch him around when he’s feeling himself. I imagine this young man Smith will be of help, too.”

“Perhaps,” van Tromp said doubtfully.

 

This young man Smith was busy staying alive. His body, unbearably compressed and weakened by the strange shape of space in this unbelievable place, was at last relieved by the softness of the nest in which ...

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Descrizione libro Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 1995. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. 214 x 149 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Hugo Award-winning and controversial science fiction masterpiece from Robert A. Heinlein, the New York Times bestselling author of Starship Troopers. Valentine Michael Smith is a man raised by Martians. Sent to Earth, he must learn what it is to be human. But his beliefs and his powers far exceed the limits of man, and his arrival leads to a transformation that will alter Earth s inhabitants forever. Codice libro della libreria KNV9780441790340

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Descrizione libro Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 1995. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. 214 x 149 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Hugo Award-winning and controversial science fiction masterpiece from Robert A. Heinlein, the New York Times bestselling author of Starship Troopers. Valentine Michael Smith is a man raised by Martians. Sent to Earth, he must learn what it is to be human. But his beliefs and his powers far exceed the limits of man, and his arrival leads to a transformation that will alter Earth s inhabitants forever. Codice libro della libreria KNV9780441790340

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