Book: Time Enough For Love by Heinlein

Heinlein Time ENough For Love
This is the last book I finished and it took me a while. Why? Well, it’s Heinlein’s fault.

Time Enough For Love by Robert A. Heinlein is a book about Lazarus Long, a guy who is very very very old. Maybe you shouldn’t read on if you want to read the book yourself, because I’ll tell you what happens.

Lazarus is this guy born sometime around 1920. Since his family has very good genes and in their lineage they all get very old, they take part in this project where they procreate among similar families, so they reach a very old age. By rejuvenation, they get to be even older. Lazarus is the oldest person around, and pretty much everyone is a distant relative of his, most people are descendants of him.

So far so good. Interesting in this book is whenever Lazarus describes settling down on a new planet, describes some of the customs there, some of the new technology they have. That’s the strong point of the book.

The weak point of the book is that the author was evidently very fixated on the procreation part and every female character in the book is exactly alike: promiscuous, complaining about all the taboos of society and she more than anything, wants to please lazarus and have his baby. And when I say every woman, I mean every woman: the slave he buys, who he refuses on account that she’s in reality in love with her twin brother; the girl he raises from when she was three; the women in the rejuvenation clinic; the computer that has been transplanted into a female body; his clones that got an extra X-chromosome; and oh, his mother, too. And don’t be upset by him sleeping with his own mother, it’s okay, because she’s pregnant when he does, so she can’t end up with a baby with a birth defect or anything…

You know, I think I’ll leave my review at that, because having read all 589 pages of this book, him sleeping with all these mentally identical women is really the only thing this is about. Have I mentioned that they’re all nudists in the future?

If you really want to read a Heinlein book, don’t read this, read Stranger In A Strange Land! (Or better yet, read something by Kurt Vonnegut.)

5 Replies to “Book: Time Enough For Love by Heinlein”

  1. Thanks for your eye-opening comment, Rinaldo. Maybe as a guy, you don’t mind that every woman in the book is a one-dimensional stereotype whose only purpose it is to please the author. I sure did, though.

  2. Actually, like the author, Heinlein’s characters tended to surround themselves with people they liked and respected, one of the common traits of successful people. His characters, like Heinlein himself, didn’t have time for the drama queens, the self-pity types, the neurotics, the nay-sayers.

    This, “Stranger” and “I Will Fear No Evil” broke a lot of barriers in the science fiction world that allowed people like Vonnegut to get published. And, while I like Kurt (both as a fellow Hoosier writer and an author), he just isn’t in the same class as Heinlein.

    *chuckles* This book (and the two others I mentioned) was also my introduction into the poly lifestyle. It was pretty heady stuff back in 1973 when I first read it.

    Vannade, take the history into context when you read these books… try to get a perspective of what the times were like. Stranger was written in 1959 and wasn’t able to get published until 1962 because… well because sex just wasn’t DONE in science fiction! LOL… and still wasn’t to a great extent. Also, realize that Heinlein knew he was dying when he wrote the books after this one and still had a lot to say.

    One thing I always admired about Heinlein was that he let YOU decide what “Beautiful” was. Other than to say she had red hair and freckles, he never fully describes his females, other than to say they were strong, confident and intelligent. He let the reader fill in the blanks rather than pushing his own agenda of “beauty” onto someone.

    Rinaldo and Cesar, you’re both childish idiots of the middle-school variety. See how that feels? If you’re not going to discuss/debate with ideas or discussion and only provide personal attacks in a juvenile manner, you have no reason to even comment.

  3. Hello PyroJack!

    Thanks for your comment. :)
    Yes, it makes sense that Heinlein (and his character) would surround themselves with people they like and respect, you are right. I don’t mind that. That’s what happens in “Stranger in a Strange Land”, and it makes sense in that book. But in this book I feel it’s quite exaggerated. Remember, it’s not only the women he surrounds himself with voluntarily that want his babies, no, it’s also the slave girl he buys to help her out of her bad situation and the girl he saves from a house that’s on fire. It’s every woman ever who seems to have exactly the same mind set. They’re all so bleak and boring, none of them have anything special, anything really likeable about them. In my opinion anyway.

    And don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind at all that he writes about polygamy. That can be an interesting topic. And like I said, the things he writes about settling down on a new planet – very interesting. I might even go so far and say that a story about a guy who goes back in time and falls in love with his mother could be interesting. But in this book, it was just so predictable because that was all that ever happened. You knew when he was going back in time that his mother would be like all the other girls and that he would just have to sleep with her because he sleeps with any woman he meets. This is what bothered me about the book.

    I guess you are right that one should take the history into context when reading books like this, and I have to admit that I really never do that. It doesn’t particularly entertain me to read a book thinking, “Well, but it’s from 1959, so mentioning this stuff was really brave.” It entertains me more to read a book with characters I care for. My bad.

    Having said all that, I’m glad that you like the book and that you found it special. I don’t think you can really compare Heinlein and Vonnegut, since everything about them is different (writing styles, topics, structure of their books, their world view), but if Heinlein had anything to do with the fact that Vonnegut got published, I shall be forever grateful to him. ;)

    Once again, thanks for your comment. Comments like yours make me glad that I have a blog.

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