Sunday, March 18, 2012

Book Review: Stranger in a Strange Land

 Title:       Stranger in a Strange Land
Author:   Robert A. Heinlein
Genre:      SFF
Award:    Hugo Awardee
Rating:    ★ ★ ★ ★ 


It's been a while since I had my last book review. Five months indeed of hiatus if my calculation isn’t yet failing me. I have three reasons why it took me so long: first, I became tired of reviewing and thinking what to write; second, writing a review consumes the time of my continuous reading; third, I believe my ratings are justice enough of my evaluation. And lately, I was trembling whenever I start to write a review. 

I had no idea about this book until one of my Goodreads friends, who's a solid SFF reader, rated this with five stars and recommended this to me. The book intrigued me so much that I searched for it for months. Of course, while searching I learned that this book is a Hugo Awardee, one of the SF badges on books to persuade readers. But believe me, once a Hugo Awardee book failed to make you, you'd jump into conclusion that it's not just to persuade readers but to deceive as well. 

His name is Valentine Michael Smith, a Human, but a Martian-raised one. He is rescued by a Federation Ship Champion on Mars to bring him on Earth. Without knowing of anything about humans, he tries to learn and understand people even he knows that some of human actions are too far for him to understand.
Gillian Borman is simply a nurse who works at the same building as the Man from Mars is kept. When she meets the Martian, there starts the chaos. She hasn't just helped Mike escaped from being kept but she has helped him also how to behave as human as Mike teaches her back how to grok.

Swear! The first part was quite mysterious that I believe it hooked me up to continue reading it. Heinlein really got me there, no doubt. Unfortunately, as the story went on, my interest was also losing. Figuratively and literally, the main character was harnessed over the waves of political issues and human malice. Sadly to say, Heinlein failed to play the situation and focused instead the concept of his book on being a soft science fiction. The existence of antagonist has barely surfaced up that I, as reader, find it uninteresting. The fight to learn and the urge to understand human is there but the complication of the situation is quite not felt. He never eked out the other factor such as being chased by the government and some probable complications to cause some actions, which I think would have been better if done so. 

The mixed-up of religion beliefs screwed up the concept that should have great if used well. Heinlein as if just shared his religious stand in which quietly as it seemed started to become irrelevant to his main focus of the story and thus becoming a disease inconspicuously. Contrary, I, in fact, appreciate the cult's intention in the story which is not to oppose the traditional beliefs but to emphasize how the Martian-raised human understood theology. Fortunately, that thing bought me a lot, for Heinlein made sure that despite of the amazing development of his character when it comes to adaption of humanness, the innocence that had been there since from the beginning should still retain. 

As I said, Heinlein just focused on being a Soft Science Fiction of the book. Relatively, the main characters development or progress was quite rapid that I don't reckon to be cogent since given the fact that his ancestry was human. His learning didn't undergo gradually, instead went rush that I did find way unbelievable. To support the latter, I'm totally dismayed that some of his unnatural doings didn't have scientific theories. I was digging for some scientific basis of main character’s abilities, but unfortunately, I found nothing. 

My rating may contradict my statements, but believe me, I don't want to spoil the book that I really liked how it ended. And since Heinlein is considered as one of the best sci-fi writers, this book is really worth the try.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Hi bloggers! Instead of introducing myself and my blog to you directly, I decided to do it in a question-and-answer form. Hope you enjoy.

Q: Hello there! Would you mind if we ask you to introduce yourself to us?

A: I'm Rollie, also known as Double R, living in Philippines. I've just turned 23 last month (February 2012) and I graduated last year (2011)with a Civil Engineering degree. I do the 3Rs: Read, Rate and Review.

Q: So you call it 3Rs then. Let's start with Read. What is the history of your reading obsession?

A: Well, to answer your question, I think I have a lame reading foundation. One day, I woke up and decided to borrow a chicklit novel from my friend which she was really hooked with during that time. Mind you, I didn't know what chicklit was before. Unfortunately/Fortunately, I enjoyed it a lot that the books by the same author seemed to induced me to buy them, and so I did. Well, that was the beginning of my reading hobby. Unfortunately, I consider it lame because I've just realized how inappropriate those books for me have become. Nevertheless, those books in a way helped me realize how matured I'm now in picking books. However, I wouldn't be shocked if someday I'll be reading the same genre again because I want to become a multi-genre reader which I think is still too far to happen and it includes looking back to the genre that first molded me as a reader. And FYI, the first book I've read was The Shining by Stephen King but I didn't get obsessed with it

Q: Expectacular development indeed--learning the status of your reading growth. So, if you consider chicklit books as lame and inappropriate for you, what genre are you currently into that makes us conclude as appropriate for you?

A: Oh. You're not really getting this right. I didn't mean chicklit to be lame but the books I'd read instead. Fine, in a way yes because they're chicklit. Just imagine this, a guy who got hooked on chicklit, considering the fact that this genre was his starting point, is an awkward fact. But oh, am I pertaining to myself? A perfect genre for me to start with is horror/fantasy then comes later the other genres such as chicklit, classic, etc. Unfortunately, it didn't happen to me. Wait, I'm not ashamed that I've read those.

 Anyway, I'm now into sci-fi books.

Q: Ooh! So Sci-fi is what you consider as APPROPRIATE genre for you, then? So under this genre, what books do you think are appropriate for you? I mean what books got you hooked into under this genre?

Sharing Rollie's All-time Favorite Books.
A:  Whatever! I love this genre because under it are my all-time favorite books. First on the list is Ender's Shadow; second is Speaker for the Dead, and then Dune. Main reason that I came loving those books because they have very likeable characters.

Q: I believe they're great books. Before I forget, let's come to the second R of your 3Rs--Rate. So how do you rate a book?

A: Rating a book is a decision that I'm really struggling with. However, I rate my books as how Goodreads classifies them. 1-I didn't like it; 2-It was okay; 3-I like it; 4-I really liked it; and 5-It was amazing.

Q: So let's come to the third R. How do you review?

A: I find it very hard to review a book. Swear! Why? Because right after I finish a certain book, I come to adopt the mood and tone of the book. My way of reviewing is just the same as others. Introduction, Summary, Body of review and conclusion or to whom would I recommend the book. Mostly, the body of the review answers the question why did I like it or why didn't I like it. But there's one question that I really want to try someday: why should I bash it?

Q: So there your 3Rs go. Let's move to your blog. Why Blotted Pages?

A: Okay, I'd been waiting for this question since my previous blog name was senseless. Why Blotted Pages? But I want to be asked first why Blotted. Well, simply because blot represents pen and writing. And why Pages? It's because it represents books. Summing up, it's writing about books.

Q: How did you come up with the blog title

A: Didn't I answer it already? Well, additional history of the blog name, the title wasn't supposed to be mine. First, I didn't intend to make a new blog until one day, a friend asked me a suggestion of a blog name. I came up with this. Unfortunately, he rejected it and owned it instead to make a new blog.

Q: Great! I'm really glad that you shared those information to us after concealing it for so long. I hope you and your blog will go farther ahead blotting some pages. So Rollie, Blot a Page for us!