Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein is another book from the book lists. The book comes in at #41 on the combined lists and was published originally in 1961.
This is a very unique book that ends up in some really bizarre areas by the end. Basically a team went to explore Mars and through events that are left relatively vague everyone is thought dead. It takes many years for Earth to return to Mars and when they do, they find there was actually one survivor.
Only Valentine Michael Smith was raised by Martians, and does not understand Earth culture in the least. It is a unique take on a stranger to a new culture. Instead of funny misunderstandings, although there are a few comic moments, there is a huge gap that lasts through a large portion of the book.
Once Valentine gets used to Earth he sort of becomes a cult or folk type hero, but in a mostly harmless way. He has strange mind powers that he gradually teaches his followers and it becomes more of a religion and a way of life for all of his followers. And his number of followers slowly grows and grows.
The book begins to to turn strange and is flat out bizarre by the end, but for the most part it is a fun ride. I thought some of the most interesting moments are the small details Heinlein gives out about what really happened on Mars. These sometimes seem more fascinating that what is actually happening in the stories. I have not done the research yet to see if the story of what actually happened on Mars is told in another story, but it would seem to be quite the read.
This book had a four to five star potential until about the last quarter of the book. For a book that really hadn't dragged, the ending does slow down quite a bit. Without giving too much away this book seems to veer away from the feel good ending it seemed to be heading to. This is one of those where I wish I had come up with a half star system for 3 1/2, but I think this deserves to round up to a solid 4. I think by the time I finish the entire list 41 will seem like a solid placement for this book.
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