|Genre:||Science fiction novel|
|Preceded by:||Starship Troopers|
“Stranger in a Strange Land” is a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to Earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians. The novel explores his interaction with—and eventual transformation of—terrestrial culture. The title is an allusion to the phrase in Exodus 2:22. According to Heinlein, the novel’s working title was “The Heretic.” Several later editions of the book have promoted it as “The most famous Science Fiction Novel ever written.”
Heinlein got the idea for the novel when he and his wife Virginia were brainstorming one evening in 1948. She suggested a new version of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” but with a child raised by Martians instead of wolves. He decided to go further with the idea and worked on the story on and off for more than a decade. His editors at “Putnam” then required him to cut its 220,000‐word length down to 160,067 words before publication. In 1962, it received the “Hugo Award” for Best Novel.
In 1991, three years after Heinlein’s death, Virginia arranged to have the original uncut manuscript published. Critics disagree about which is superior. Heinlein preferred the original manuscript and described the heavily edited version as telegraphese.
In 2012, the US Library of Congress named it one of 88 “Books that Shaped America.”
The brilliant novel that grew from a cult favorite to a bestseller to a classic in a few short years. It is the story of Valentine Michael Smith, the man from Mars who taught humankind grokking and water‐sharing. And love.