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Valentine Michael Smith

It’s two o’clock in the morning and I am not in bed, I am in the future, conversing with a Mars-born human, learning how to control my body temperature and float objects with my mind. It’s not entirely a dream, it’s the novel Stranger in a Strange Land, and for me nothing exists until the last page, and the impression left on my mind will last forever.
After I finished Heinlein’s novel, I actually had to cease reading for several days. The book had so affected me that I just needed to think, and I reread the book a few days after I finished it. There is something different about my experience with this book compared to any other book I read.

By reading this book, my view of my whole world shifted. I regularly went to church, but after Jubal explained religion to the Martian, Valentine Michael Smith, I realized that organized religion never quite fit my personality. I needed to commune with nature, not sit in a church and sing. So I went outside and listened to the world. I am still trying to hear what nature has to say to me.
Heinlein has such radical concepts in his novel. He introduces the idea that sex is a way of understanding people; a beautiful, most thorough act of communication. I began to ponder this, and I realized that our society is so concerned with propriety and social standings that we really can’t be ourselves, and we definitely can’t get to know one another. I know that I won’t convince the world that sex is not just for procreating, but I will be able to better explore myself and others through my realizations brought on by this novel.

I have always thought capitalism a rather disgusting institution. But how can the world change? Heinlein’s Martian changes his community so that the only time they use money is when they leave the “nest”. There are places within the “nest” which would traditionally use money, but it is unnecessary. The monetary system hurts our relationships with people. I am very money conscious, but I am now trying to gain happiness through other means that don’t require money, such as conversations and relationships and writing and thinking. If I hadn’t read Stranger in a Strange Land I might still be concerned about my job not paying enough. I had forgotten how much I love working in a bookstore because I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to buy enough stuff for me to fit in society.
Stranger in a Strange Land changed my life. I am learning so many things about myself, and I am teaching myself to become conscious about nature, relationships and societal issues. I am rereading books so I can have new realizations with my new sense of self. Stranger in a Strange Land raised my self-awareness and will leave an imprint on my forever.

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