Monday, August 16, 2004

Heinlein Society: Stranger vs Stranger

Here's an interesting short article comparing the cut (1961) and uncut (1991) versions of Stranger in a Strange Land. Author G. E. Rule (who apparently wrote this piece ten years ago) has a strong preference for the uncut, going so far as to say “ I never particularly liked [the original, cut version of] STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND. For many years I didn't know why. I just knew that it didn't ‘taste’ right to me.” He goes on to compare several passages, showing where Heinlein's distinctive voice was toned down considerably.

In my humble opinion, I prefer the uncut version for the same reason Rule does: It presents Heinlein's voice more clearly. However, it isn't night-and-day for me: I picked the cut Stranger in a Strange Land as one of the Five Best SF Books Ever, years before the uncut version was available. Also, I was mildly surprised that Rule didn't mention the first major change on the first page: when the uncut version was first available, and I was skimming it (in Howard's bookstore, if I recall correctly), that change jumped out at me. I was pleasantly surprised, because (a) it seemed truer to Heinlein's style, and (b) amused me to realize how well I knew the text of Stranger. I knew then and there that I needed to buy the Uncut Stranger.


Post a Comment

<< Home