|Publisher||:||New English Library Ltd Auflage New edition 1 Mai 1986|
|Number of Pages||:||176 Seiten|
|File Size||:||573 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Methuselah's Children Reviews
I read Robert A. Heinlein for years.One who is acquainted with his style, his proverbs and his philosopy will enjoy this book
Using a fiction approach, Robert A. Heinlein has provided all of us here on earth with three goals to go beyondlanding a man on the moon of the Kennedy era. Imagine if you were able to live a thousand years. Would you have been able to accomplish even half the things you thought of doing? Even if all the existing people lived this long and more children continued to be born, there is a solution. Lets get beyond Einstein and find another earth-type planet in another solar system and travel there with the technology we will develop in the next century. This would be a greater expansion than that experienced in the United States in the 1800's. Now to do all this, we need peace. By this I mean we need to have social stability without wars and a change in the way people look at their lives. Continued belief in religion if fine. For example if you are a Christian wouldn't you rather be around to see the second coming. I find it hard to believe that anyone wants to die if they have their psychological and physical health. How can we get the movers and the shakers, people in power when it comes to money, politics, ideas, etc. to take hold of these goals for the human race? The novel of Heinlein's has its approach; we living today need to take this fictionalized message and make it our goals for humanity in the 21st century.
This book was most enjoyable and having read the stories of Lazarus several times it added very well to the overall concept of longevity.
I first read this in 1960 when I was 17. It was one of the first stories I read that dealt with interstellar flight. Along with seeing Forbidden Planet in 1956, and the launch of Sputnik in 1957, I was inspired to major in the sciences, culminating in a Ph.D. in geophysics and computer science in 1971. My original paperback is long gone, but I wanted to see if the story was still interesting to me after all these years. I discovered that reading it was like seeing an old friend after many years. Too bad a film was never made. Re interstellar flight: I attend meetings of the 100 Year Starship organization, and Icarus Interstellar. For me, the dream refuses to die. Too bad I was born a few hundred years too soon. I also recommend Starship (Brian Aldis), Far Centaurus (short story by A.E.Van Vogt), Unearthly Neighbors (Chad Oliver) and The Seedling Stars (James Blish). These days, interstellar travel programs should be called "alien of the week" or "a very crowded galaxy"--too much time spent on special effects and battles, and not enough time on the technology, danger, and isolation of leaving all of mankind light years behind.
Story begins with the attack on the ‘Howard families’, people who can live for hundreds of years, simply from careful marriages. This creates the viscous reaction . . .“I believed that the great majority of our fellow citizens, reared under modern educational methods, could evaluate any data without excessive emotional disturbance. I anticipated that a few abnormal people would dislike us, even hate us; I even predicted that most people would envy us—everybody who enjoys life would like to live a long time. But I did not anticipate any serious trouble. Modern attitudes have done away with inter-racial friction; any who still harbor race prejudice are ashamed to voice it. I believed that our society was so tolerant that we could live peacefully and openly with the short-lived.’’“I was wrong.’’(Heinlein writing in 1941. Stalin’s planned starvation, eradication of millions of kulacks (small farmers) revealed. News of Hitler’s persecuting the Jews and others surfacing.)“Their envy now turns to hate, with an emotional conviction that we are depriving them of their rights . . . deliberately, maliciously.’’“That rising hate has now swelled into a flood which threatens the welfare and even the lines of all our revealed brethren . . . and which is potentially as dangerous to the rest of us. The danger is very great and very pressing.”This shocking willingness to violate all moral rules for selfish benefits compromises part one.High government official declares . . .“You don’t understand the situation at all, Mary; this isn’t any minor social offense. This is treason—treason against the whole human race. We’ll use means! Ways that the Prophets used . . . if they don’t cooperate willingly.”“Do you mean that? Why, that’s against the Covenant!”“Covenant be damned! This is a matter of life and death—do you think we’d let a scrap of paper stand in our way? You can’t bother with petty legalities in the fundamental things men live by—not something they will fight to the death for. And that is precisely what this is. These . . . these dog-in-the-manger scoundrels are trying to keep life itself from us. Do you think we’ll bow to ‘custom’ in an emergency like this?”(Hitler’s renouncing Versailles treaty, attacking Belgium, invading Poland, etc., etc..)Well. . . Heinlein presented this in 1941. What would he write now?How has the rule of law, the moral foundation of society, endured?Another theme in part two . . .“Mary Sperling put down the book she had been reading when Lazarus entered her stateroom. He picked it up.“What are you reading, Sis? ‘Ecclesiastes.’ Hmm . . . I didn’t know you were religious.”He read aloud: “ ‘Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?’“Pretty grim stuff, Mary. Can’t you find something more cheerful? Even in The Preacher?”His eyes skipped on down. “How about this one? ‘For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope—’Or . . . mmmm, not too many cheerful spots. Try this:‘Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.’ That’s more my style; I wouldn’t be young again for overtime wages.”“I would.’’(Ecclesiastes is the precise part of the Bible addressing questions about life, death and purpose. Heinlein knows his Bible.)She now distraught by thoughts of death.“Lazarus, I don’t want to die. But what is the purpose of our long lives? We don’t seem to grow wiser as we grow older.’’‘What is the purpose of life?’ Seems key question. New planet inhabited by people with a ‘group mind’. Lazarus rejects idea any human could submerge his mind into the group. . .“Lazarus was wrong. There was no faint possibility of interbreeding between Earthmen and natives but there was no barrier, if sympathy existed, to a human merging into one of their rapport groups, drowning his personality in the ego of the many.’’‘Drowning himself in the many’!“Mary Sperling, moved by conviction of her own impending death, saw in the deathless group egos a way out. Faced with the eternal problem of life and death, she had escaped the problem by choosing neither . . . selflessness. She had found a group willing to receive her, she had crossed over.’’(Well. . .at this time many were submerging into the ‘group mind’ - living/dying for it. Marxism, Nazism, Nationalism, Shinto, Statism, Facism, etc.. Heinlein does his usual marvelous job of presenting profound philosophical questions, simply and vividly!)Lazarus and the families return to earth. Want their houses and property back . . .“What has that to do with us? That is a problem for the government to settle with the persons it has allowed illegally to occupy our homes. As for myself, I shall land as soon as possible, obtain an eviction order from the nearest court, and repossess my home.”“It’s not that easy. You can make omelet from eggs, but not eggs from omelet. You have been legally dead for many years; the present occupant of your house holds a good title.”Justin Foote stood up and glared at the Federation’s envoy, looking, as Lazarus thought, “like a cornered mouse.”“Legally dead! By whose act, sir, by whose act? Mine? I was a respected solicitor, quietly and honorably pursuing my profession, harming no one, when I was arrested without cause and forced to flee for my life. Now I am blandly told that my property is confiscated and my very legal existence as a person and as a citizen has been taken from me because of that sequence of events. What manner of justice is this? Does the Covenant still stand?”“You misunderstand me. I—”“I misunderstood nothing. If justice is measured out only when it is convenient, then the Covenant is not worth the parchment it is written on.’’(Think Japanese concentration camps in California.)This work presents colorful people, dramatic story, vivid conflict.Even more, Heinlein now developing into deeper political, philosophical, social, psychological analysis.I suspect - that if reader enjoys pondering such things, will respond positively. Otherwise . . . .
It's the future. And some people have twice the normal lifespan. This carefully guarded secret becomes known to the general public who demand access to life-extending medical treatments. Unfortunately there aren't any. The longevity enjoyed by members of the "Howard Families" results from naturally-occurring genes and selective breeding. The public is disbelieving, envious, and angry. Efforts are commenced to extract the secrets of extended life through force.Most members of the Howard Families go into hiding. In the middle of this crisis Lazarus Long, the oldest living Howard, reappears. Long presumed dead*, Lazarus has mastered the skills of secrecy and survival. He leads the Families in a bold attempt to leave Earth and colonize planets around other stars. The story follows Lazarus and his co-conspirators in their quest for a new home.This is the prototypical Robert Heinlein science fiction novel. It ties together earlier works in his Future History series and links it to the following series (beginning with ) that focuses on Long and his family. Lazarus is clearly another version of the author's recurring "Grouchy Wise Old Man" character. He is quick-tempered, opinionated, and peppers his dialogue with useful nuggets of knowledge. He is also a dirty old man, which Heinlein goes to great pains to justify. How-to science is center stage as Long delivers extended descriptions of spaceship piloting, exobiology, and so on.This book may also be the best "read it first" Heinlein work. If you are a science fiction fan and haven't read it, do so. If you don't have it in your library of science fiction classics, you should. If like me, you are moving your library onto your Kindle, go ahead and buy it a second time. It shouldn't be left behind as you move into your own future history._____*Sorry about that.