Review: The Number of the Beast

The Number of the BeastThe Number of the Beast by Robert A. Heinlein
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Whew, what a pile of rubbish. All of the negative reviews are justified (and I even argued with some people, saying, “Gah, no way Heinlein was as bad as you claim!”).

Gah, he absolutely was with this… his first novel after an 8-year hiatus due to long term illness. Heinlein was completely off his rocker with this novel. Only got through 5% of it before I couldn’t take it any more and had to quit.

I was sad to quit on him, but someone should have rejected this manuscript. But, his name was worth millions by that date, and some editor must have assumed it was creative genius at work, rather than crackpot lunacy.

It is, sadly, an utterly unreadable slop of a story. Just so bad, so embarrassingly bad…

First, women don’t talk the way Heinlein makes them talk. Second, men do sometimes think the way he has them speak, but Heinlein’s men are still living in the 1940s, not 40 years later when this was published (now 75 years later). The dialog is stupid. It’s just as simple as that–stupid. Not worthy of the author’s name.

I wasn’t offended by anything, just surprised at how bad it was. This book should have been massively edited–but, I suspect the publisher didn’t dare. This is the first Heinlein I have abandoned, so it goes into the “could not finish” pile. Sad. Not reminiscent of the author’s writing capacity. This was a low point for him. He was not healthy and not able to self edit.

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