Stranger in a Strange Land Review

In my last review I brought up a book that was an educational tool, now I will bring up a science fiction book, whose primary purpose was to entertain. First let me bring up some background about the writer. During the fourties fifties and sixties Science fiction had three greats they consisted of the following, the Russian b0rn Isaac Asimov, the British Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert Heinlein. While Isaac Asimov and Arthur Clarke focused more on hard science, Heinlein focused on the social sciences. His most famous were Starship Troopers (which is nothing like the movie) Stranger in a Strange Land, and The moon is A Harsh Mistress.

I read the original uncut Stranger In a Strange Land, it has 60,000 more words. I read the majority of the cut version and found it not much more different. The original was much more clumsy so I would only recommend it to anyone who has read the edited version.

Anyway, The story is about the recovery of a man, from Mars. Even though his body is human he is Martian, he thinks like a Martian and practices Martian Religion, his name is Michael Valentine Smith. At the end of part one he is involved in a conspiracy, snuck out under guard, was chased by the mob and was revealed to have psionic powers. Also during the first book it is revealed that if a martian shares water, it means that there is complete trust among them. So in other words anyone who gives water to Michael has his complete and total trust.

Part two explores how he thinks and introduces the most interesting character Jubal Harshaw. Often said to be the alter Ego of the writer, Heinlein. Jubal is a doctor/lawyer who lives with three women.  This shows how much a product of its time this book was in exploring concepts like free love. Under Jubal Michael learns about the world and understands how man lives.

In part 3 Michael and a friend of his, Jill.  Try to understand the world by moving from place to place. he begins to recruit people into his religion when he travels with a circus. He then goes off and starts proselytizing everyone. People, especially followers of a religion called Fosterism eventually murder him, in the end it is revealed that Michael planned to die for his religion and to attain a higher form of being.

All in all this was an interesting story. It is definitely a product of its time. At first it has fascinating descriptions of the world and is really fun to read. The end is kind of preachy. This is Heinlein giving his own views on religion, not to mention some of his own ideas on practices of the sixties like free love,which were kind of disturbing.

In the past I have called this book the anti “Brave New World” but both are disturbing in their own ways. Brave New World is more a warning about the future, while Stranger In A Strange Land is more hopeful. While BNW is more a preaching against the future SIASL is more a lesson on how to view the universe and a presentation on one mans view of it. Considering the fact that the year is now 2011 that makes this book almost fifty years old.  There are some things that everyone will take offense to in it. However I also think that this is a hidden jewel when it comes to the sixties and is often overlooked by historians or writers who reminisce about the 1960’s it has been required reading among college dorms and hippies alike. Some have considered this one of the greatest science ficiton stories of all time. I would not go that far, I would just recommend it to anyone who is curious about the sixties, Robert Heinlein, religion or anyone who just hated Brave New World.

 

May you never thirst.

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Pedagogy of the Oppressed Review

It has been a while since  I read it so I am sorry if you think I have missed anything important.

Let me say that this was a good book, but it took a while to read. The message was difficult to read at first because of the words and deep thoughts. To me the beginning was a bit difficult because Freire seemed to have a hatred for religion. However when i set it aside and tried to ignore his rant, I found his teaching interesting. I know realize why this has been heavily recommended by Anthropology as well as Education professors. I am inspired by his declaration of what a true teacher will do to a student.

I have had good teachers and bad teachers, I have felt that bad teachers just gave me the material, or intimidated me before class started. However good teachers urge you to think and challenge your perceptions. They do not present the curriculum as perfect, just as something that they believe will help. When you get rid of the idea of trying to shove the material down their throats and make it feel more like an investigation, they will be more interested in it.

I especially like the idea of having a student who learned the material to be able to teach the material. I remember a friend of mine who graduated Valedictorian, told me that if I want to learn  5% of a subject listen, if I wanted to learn 15% read and write it, but if I wanted to learn 90% of it I should teach it. My mother also told me that she did not understand much educational material until she taught. That I could not agree with more.

The only part I found that contradicted itself was when Freire sort of praised the work of Castro and Guevara.  I felt that was a contradiction because Friere looked down on superstition and I have read that Castro exploited superstition to help him rise to power, during speeches he would have trained doves land on him to give him the illusion of being a coming savior. Now this could be just a urban legend, but I think it was a weakness in the book. I feel that the section was a product of its time (More of that in the next reveiw) However if you pay attention to the main message of the book you should be able to decide what is and what isn’t helpful to you. I recommend it.

 

Next review: Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in A Strange Land.

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Was she discriminating

I have recently heard that there was a young woman near Grand Rapids Michigan, was being charged with discrimination when she posted a sign that said “Seeking Christian Roomate.” Many people in the Christian Community are very insulted. Many are taking this event as a sign that it is not okay to be a Christian.
From what I have collected from reading posts on Google and seen on Youtube, it is Fair Housing that said it was discrimination against many things, including religion that was controversial.
My personal ideas are as follows. This woman believed that just because she posted in a church, she thought she was in the company of people who thought just like her. This is a fallacy that I find rampant among church goers. They look for people who agree with them rather than a place to worship and learn.

The person who reported this young woman must have assumed just because she was “seeking Christian Roomate” the person assumed the woman said “I want a Christian and nobody else!” I am sure this was not the woman’s intention.
All in all I think the woman should have been more careful about what she posted, where she posted and maybe the person who blew the whistle would have not have reported her. I hope she will not be punished outside of the shock she must have already had.

I would like your feedback. Maybe you have something that I missed.

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