Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hello, Stranger?

It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

Robert Heinlein's 1961 Stranger in a Strange Land is on tap to be adopted for television by the SyFy Network -- not as a movie, but as a series. This will be, as they say, a challenge. The book represented a significant swerve for Heinlein, who had ridden to success on short stories and several novels for young readers referred to as his "juveniles." It played with narrative styles and was much more "adult" than just about anything Heinlein had written before. It played fast and loose with the ideas of free love, concepts of religion and a whole lot else.

Today it's probably his best-known work, and the pasting it took at the hands of critics on publication hasn't prevented it from becoming a cult novel -- in at least one case, literally. Basic cable has loosened its prohibitions considerably, but there is an awful lot of HBO-level stuff in Stranger. Plus, it's complex to say the least (obtuse if you follow the lead of its contemporary reviewers) and may take more effort to follow than a modern TV audience likes to grant.

So we'll just have to wait and see, I guess, if TV can grok science fiction's first Grandmaster and his most famous novel.

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