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Time Enough for Love

(Part of the The World As Myth (#1) Series and Lazarus Long Series)

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. The capstone and crowning achievement of the Future History series, from the New York Times bestselling Grand Master of Science Fiction... Time Enough for Love follows Lazarus Long through a vast and...

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

Still on my nightstand

This book was on my nightstand in 1974 (when it was first published in paperback), and it's still there now. (Same copy, too; the old dollar-ninety-five Putnam edition has held up amazingly well. Different nightstand, though.) I was born in 1963 and learned to read very early. Like Spider Robinson, I lost my literary virginity to Heinlein (in my case, to _Stranger in a Strange Land_ and _The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_). To this day I think that _Mistress_ is one of his three absolutely magisterial novels (the other two being _Double Star_ and _The Door into Summer_). Heinlein also wrote a number of novels that were _very close_ to magisterial, and some of them have been (in my case, at least) more profoundly influential than his Three Greatest. _Stranger_ is one of these, and so is _Time Enough for Love_. Heinlein published this one after bouncing back from major surgery (having been somewhat incapacitated while writing _I Will Fear No Evil_, which his wife Virginia helped to edit). The old master had his off days, but he's at the top of his form here. As you're probably aware, this lengthy work is a future history of Lazarus Long (born Woodrow Wilson Smith), the Senior of the Howard Families and the oldest human being alive (well over two thousand years old at the time of this tale). Lazarus is one of Heinlein's best realized characters; I'd recognize his red hair, bulbous nose, disarming grin, and wild grey-green eyes if I passed him on the street. And I'd immediately put my hand over my wallet. Lazarus is an unsavory character -- a raconteur, swindler, adventurer, sybarite, pragmatist . . . and, above all, _survivor_. He exemplifies everything Heinlein thought it would take for humanity to spread to the stars (besides the Libby-Sheffield Para-Drive, of course), and his amoral self-interested practicality is what's kept him from _getting_ killed even if (as is suggested in this book) he got an initial boost from a mutation in his twelfth chromosome pair. But boy, you're going to want to haul off and whack him, because he's an ornery, slippery old scoundrel. He's a helluva lot more colorful than Valentine Michael Smith (Heinlein's other attempt to create an character who could comment on human culture from the outside and let Heinlein indulge in some fictional iconoclasm). And he's a helluva lot more fun. Plus you'll get to meet the rest of the Long family (including two or three -- depending how you count -- sentient computers). And Lazarus's reminiscences include several marvelous tales that could have stood as novels in their own right: the Tale of the Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail, the Tale of the Adopted Daughter (a glorious story that also features the Montgomerys, the most chillingly realistic 'bad guys' anywhere in Heinlein's entire oeuvre), and the Tale of the Twins who Weren't. (And there are two sets of Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long -- collections of aphoristic musings that Heinlein readers liked so well that they

A Reason for Living

Way back at the beginning of Heinlein's writing career his editor at Astounding, John W. Campbell, published the 'Future History', a two page listing of Heinlein's projection of the significant individuals and scientific, economic, and political events of the next 700+ years, along with a list of story titles that brought each of these events to life. At that time, most of those stories hadn't been written, and from some of the notes and statements in interviews that Heinlein made in the fifties and sixties, it looked like some of those originally projected stories would never be written, most significantly the final entry, "Da Capo". Finally, in 1973, when everyone had given up hope, this book appeared, a book that put the finishing touches on the Future History, a book that closes with that final story.But before reaching that final story, we are given a cornucopia of other stories, as Lazarus Long, now some 2300 years old, is induced to reminisce about his life as part of a complex deal to preserve the 'wisdom' of the oldest man alive. Each of the stories that Lazarus relates are fairly complete by themselves, and many authors would have chosen to publish each of them separately, but Heinlein chose to keep them all as one piece, as each story helps to illuminate his overriding theme, on just what is love in all of its myriad aspects and why it is so important to man's survival as a species.The first of the tales, "The Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail", may be the weakest of any of the stories, but for those who know something about Heinlein's life, this story is very clearly autobiographical in nature, with some changes in names and places to protect the innocent. "The Tale of the Twins Who Weren't" brings to light the ease with which Heinlein could switch between first and third person along with some detailed commentary on genetics and the reasons incest is normally consider taboo, all neatly folded into a story of individual growth from illiterate slave to successful entrepreneur. But the next tale, "The Tale of the Adopted Daughter", is worth the price of this book all by itself. A very quiet, simple tale of pioneering that would not be out of place sitting on the Westerns shelf, though it has a unique science fictional aspect - but by the end of the story tears are definitely in order. The excellence of this story can be judged by the fact that its emotional impact is not lessened even on second, third, and fourth readings, even when you know exactly how it ends. This story does much to illustrate that love is far more than just sex, although there is certainly a lively interest in that oldest sport displayed by all participants here.The outer story in which these stories are embedded like sparkling diamonds evolves from a pretty standard plot device for presenting back stories to an intriguing story of its own, as we follow the attempts of various and sundry to give Lazarus a reason for living again, to find some new experiences that are n

A favorite book from a favorite author

I have read and enjoyed science fiction since I was 12 years old. While I enjoy many authors, it was Robert Heinlein who got me hooked. I am now middle-aged and Heinlein is still my favorite author in the genre. He tells a good yarn and his central characters are likeable. I've just finished reading Time Enough for Love (TEFL) for probably the fourth or fifth time in the thirty something years since it was published-my first reading was in 1973.Heinlein seems to take on three major tasks in this book. First, like any good hard science fiction writer, he identifies two basic technological developments-interstellar space travel and rejuvenation through cloning and related biotechnology-and then imagines what impact these technologies might have on life over the next two thousand years.. He does this by focusing not on major battles and dramatic action but by focusing on his characters as they eat, bathe, tell stories, cuddle, cross the plains, build houses, and travel interstellar space. This is played out in the context of the shell story and the short stories that are nested within the shell.The "sexual liberation" that is often made much of by reviewers is simply a logical playing out of culture mores impacted by the basic technological changes given as a premise in the story. Compared to how sex is handled in the media today, Heinlein's presentation is relatively innocent.Second, he explores the nature of love. What is it when two beings love each other? Heinlein provides a broad canvas with so long a book and explores many types of relationship. The common characteristic is that each relationship expresses a different variety of love-marital love, love of a parent for one's children, friendship among "peers", of a child for one's parent, of a sentient computer for a human, of humans for a sentient computer. While there is some preaching on the topic, the exploration is played out in the various stories of the book as we see the relationships unfold. Heinlein seems to have written in the context of several parallel universes (as is made clear in his book "Number of the Beast"). His best developed universe is his "Future History" which underlies many of his earlier short stories and a few of his novels. Heinlein's third major task in this book appears to be a further fleshing out of his future history, which was developed in any detail only as far as the persecution of the Howard Family and their flight from Earth (Methuselah's Children). In TEFL he carries the tale forward 2000 years and fills in some of the gaps. The majority of his works from this book forward build on this foundation and continue to play with the concepts he highlights in TEFL.Of course, there is an ample dose of Heinlein's political theories and his fetish with cleanliness, which make an appearance in almost all of his longer works. One commentator noted an oedipal theme running through many of Heinlein's works. Here Heinlein's oedipal complex bursts forth in ful

Time Enough for Love Mentions in Our Blog

Time Enough for Love in Herbert & Heinlein
Herbert & Heinlein
Published by William Shelton • March 12, 2021

The genre of science fiction writing has two great pillars representing the wonder and promise of future worlds, and the intricate technology as yet unimagined, except by their questing minds. Frank Herbert and Robert Heinlein were contemporaries who saw sci-fi through these different lenses.

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