Friday, February 23, 2007

Time Enough For Love

Time Enough for Love

Robert Heinlein

Date: 1973   —   $7.19   —   Book

product page


Fiction, Science Fiction

I need to be very clear about this:

This book is not for children.

I have sometimes heard this category of book as belonging to Heinlein's "dirty old man" phase, and that's true as far as it goes; there is a LOT of sex going on in his later books, some of it in relationships that are entirely taboo. However, from an exploratory point of view, the speculations are entirely reasonable, being as Heinlein is really trying to examine the reasons behind the taboo. But if such speculations disturb you, avoid this book (and other later Heinleins) like the plague.

Personally, I can take a lot of things in fiction that would deeply disturb me to find in the news.

This book's protagonist is Lazarus Long, the oldest man in Heinlein's stories, give or take a couple of thousand years. I think Heinlein was sick of doing variations on a character and wanted to have a little continuity, and Lazarus is the result. This entire book is a series of vignettes, all told in an entertaining fashion. Notably, there is an example of the phrase "When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout." I wonder if Heinlein came up with that phrase or if he acquired it elsewhere. These vignettes are stories from the long life of Lazarus Long, culminating in a time-traveling jaunt back to the city of his childhood.

Stories are told with the typical Heinlein flair, and it is a pity that the "dirty old man" bit are off-putting to many, since the stories are highly entertaining and fun. Without it, however, it is quite likely to have lacked the punch that makes it memorable.

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