Thursday, July 09, 2020


Yup, reviewing STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND is about as obvious a deed as reviewing either THE BIBLE or THE NAMBLA GUIDE TO THE CARE AND KEEPING OF FIVE-YEAR-OLD BOYS WHO ASK TOO MANY QUESTIONS, but you haven't heard about it from me!

I've got to say that it wasn't the alleged Charles Manson connection that made me wanna read it, but Fredric Wertham's condemnation regarding both the Manson angle and the violent climax (which I won't give think this is some late-seventies TIME magazine moom pitcher review?) sure did. And hey, although there wasn't enough blood spilled here to get me all excited I still gotta say that STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND is worthy of a whole lotta hails and hosannas and not because of its influence on the late-sixties hippoid generation of truth seekers who turned 180-degrees after it was revealed, but in a way that it, like the best Sci-Fi on the boards, has a whole lot to say in the here and now.

Ya remember my praise of Heinlein's short story "The Year of the Jackpot" from a few years back? Y'know, the one that starts off with some pretty lass taking off all her clothes on a Los Angeles street corner and the arresting cop being hassled by a transvestite couple for his efforts to drag her to jail? That 'un was written in 1953 but it sure seemed to mirror the Ameriga of the past quarter century (and its logical conclusion TODAY). However, as far as gleaming a death mirror glimpse at today's multi-miasma even STRANGER than that 'un beat all hollow!

Fifties-era Sci-Fi taken to its pre-hippie enlightenment outer-reaches. In a future that has strikingly similar overtones of the great post-World War II/pre-hippie era of head-on fun, earth man and Martian resident Valentine Michael Smith arrives on his ancestral planet a mystical vegetable with massive powers and a new philosophical bent that he learned from the natives as an orphan. After being holed up in a govt. hospital slowly gaining a strange vocabulary that seems like a mix of Martian and Tarzan, "Mike" is kidnapped and taken to the palatial digs of Jubal Harshaw, an old grizzled writer/physician/lawyer who, while remaining a staunch agnostic sideline viewer, evidently shapes and influences Smith turning him away from his turdler-like naivete into a more adolescent gee-gosh even if the guy has the power to turn the entire world into a flaming hemmorhoid. And yes, some of his powers have been revealed even at this early stage of his Terran life.

It goes on the way you would expect, what with Smith gobbling up just about every aspect of civilization he can "grok" at local libraries while absorbing the sights and sounds around him in his rather unique vision. Along with way a whole load of "influences" turn him into a star figure with everything from free love to new religious heresies creating a being that is bound to set the entire planet on a new course in thought and eventual destruction.

The climax was not as bloody as Wertham hinted at while the free love portion did seem rather blah (translation---no rock getting off time here!), but the correlations between this Jetsons-era fantasy taken to NC-17 levels and today's strange socio/moral dichotomy leaves me totally awed. As if Heinlein himself could see 2020 from that far back and somehow was warning us. But eh, most Sci-Fi writers from Phil Dick on down knew the score and that the die was being cast even that early inna game! Maybe I should quit acting surprised, but not disgusted.

Of course STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND has portions telegraphed way in advance (such as the very final scene which I just knew was gonna happen once I read about the Martians and discorporation), but it's getting to those points that's the fun part. Heck, I didn't care as long as I got a good read outta it while absorbing a tale whose moral must really have gone by the throngs of hippoids who picked the thing up inna first place.


(((fartie stumblebum))) said...

Dr Wertham was a fascist.

New York 'Dolf said...

Dr Wertham did nothing wrong.

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Wertham was a pissant.

Heinlein was a great writer. Chris, do Time Enough For Love next. It might put hair on your chest. It might even be your own hair.

Christopher Stigliano said...

MLJ---Werthan was a Marxist (lite---but Marxist through and through). I thought you'd like him for that.

And---WHAT HAIR?????

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

I'm not a fan of Marxists.

You neo-Confederates see Marxists where they don't exist.

Christopher Stigliano said...

Uh, Marxists and Communists don't KNOW that they are Marxists and COmmunists even if it is pointed out to them. At least those on the other side of the spectrum have a good handle on where they stand.

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Being a Marxist actually requires some tedious study. It’s not like being a Nazi where you just have to hate everyone but exceptionally uninformed white people.

Like most sane adults, I favor a capitalist society with a strong and generous social safety net. It’s called civilization. Deal with it. Even St. Ayn accepted public assistance when cancer was eating her tits.

Christopher Stigliano said...

Uh...St. Ayn no. St. Murray Rothbard SI!

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Rothbard was an underemployed serial crackpot who at various times was a fan of Joe McCarthy, David Duke, Pat Buchanan, and Dobby the Elf... oops, I mean Ross Perot. You might as well say you used to go to circle jerks with Lyndon LaRouche.

Christopher Stigliano said...

He was also a good friend of Tuli Kupferberg. And he also said that throughout his years in the political realm the only group of people who backstabbed him were the radical leftists he was in tough with during the late-sixties, which is something I get the feeling you would cherish greatly.

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Too bad he never saw the obituary William Fuckkkstain Buckkkley wrote for him. Buckley stabbed him in the back, cut his dick off, and waved it like he'd won the lottery.

Few pundits have supported a collection of useless assholes grosser than the crowd Rothbard pimped for. Maybe he was just easy to fool, like every other libertarian other than Radley Balko.

Fugs-related, there's a newish Ed Sanders 10" called Yiddish-Speaking Socialists Of The Lower East Side which is well worth a listen. Warning: You might learn something.

Christopher Stigliano said...

Gee, the Buckleyites and the libertarians didn't get along. Got any news on the Titanic?

And that Sanders recording is at least thirty years old (Bomp! mailorder was selling the original cassette ages ago). And what would I learn from it, that Yiddish speaking people can be way off the mark regarding politics just like many other people who don't speak it?

Sheesh, will you CEASE with these run around in circle back and forths that really do not produce ANYTHING productive?

MoeLarryAndJesus said...


Jeezus Christ, we're RECORD COLLECTORS.

New York 'Dolf said...

Someone who'd been on the "scene" at that time told me that (((Tuli Kupferberg))) had a thing for underage males.