3 out 5
The characters in this book are more illustrations of types than characters. They are left
stranded when a survival course goes wrong and have to build a sustainable society until they are rescued, which gives Heinlein a chance to explore and espouse social programming theories. It’s an interesting thought experiment. It feels like a computer could’ve created this as a virtual simulation and has as much emotion as one.
5 out of 5
This is my favorite Heinlein novel. Not only is the main character a conman he is
an actor who accepts commissions to impersonate people. He is not only concerned with
pulling off scams but giving the best performance possible. This is a rogue who’d be
winsome in any genre. This being scifi he has the solar system as his stage when he steps into the role of a life time.
4 out of 5
This would make a cute YA book read. In a cute twist inter-generational caretakers of an alien find out who is who’s pet when her people come back to claim her.
Some people resent the watering down of ancient myths into pop culture products. I see this as a sign of their vitality. You can read Greek Myths as a children’s book. Yet when you get older, you can find a pop culture retelling to fit your current maturity level.
My favorite pop culture version of Greek Myths is Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. He is treated like a modern superhero, but the source material defines what we deem “heroic” in the first place. Though the original myths contain elements that are deemed inappropriate by modern standards.
Scope of Journeys
Hercules performs 12 labors in the myths. The Legendary Journeys have 5 TV movies and 111 episodes worth of adventures. Greek myths are such a rich source material the writers could create a long-running series
Hercules as a Family Man
Both the myth and the series have Hercules’s first family die. The Gods are responsible in both sources. Hera sends a fireball in episode 1 of the series. She inflicts madness on Hercules in the myths, and he kills them during a fit. This is a metaphor for domestic violence the modern show wasn’t willing to use. The myths didn’t shy away from it. Mythic Hercules denied conscious responsibility for his actions. Yet still underwent the 12 labors to make amends for this deed.
Hercules Effect on the Ladies
King Thespius had 50 daughters, and he wanted Hercules to father his grandchildren. The Hercules of myth accepts the offer and fulfills it. In the Legendary Journeys’ Hercules rejects the offer and flees from them in “The Eye of The Beholder.” The Legendary Journeys sanitized Hercules for prime time but this situation still resonates. It’s little wonder there’s a steamy romance book starring Hercules.
The End of Hercules
The myths had Hercules ascend to Olympus and become an Olympian himself.
The Legendary Journey let its viewers choose two alternate endings. There is the 4th wall breaking episode, “Yes Virginia, There is a Hercules.” Hercules poses as the actor Kevin Sorbo and squabbles with his Olympian half-brother. The official ending has him outlast the Olympians as they make way for a new age. They infer he lives on into further adventures until he becomes too old for them anymore.
Hercules Stories are worth Retelling and Rereading
Most stories don’t keep up with their reader’s life stages and offer new nuances of meaning. Myths do and can, which is why they’re so resilient and inspiring. Greek myths are the most well-known myths of all. Few modern stories can stand up to re-reading and retelling . Stories that have done this for centuries are impressive.
I was inspired to put out my own interpretation of Greek myths. A “Hercules vs. the Furies” flash fiction goes live here tomorrow. You’ll see a retelling with an awareness of the unsanitized aspects of Greek myths. I have more stories available in A Heart for Hubris.