Originally Posted by fantasyfan
I very much enjoy the early Heinlein novels. Double Star and The Door Into Summer are both vdry fine. The group of YA novels are quite enjoyable and of them, Starman Jones, The Star Beast, Time for the Stars, Citizen of the Galaxy, and Have Spacesuit--Will Travel are rightly considered by the Science Fiction Encyclopedia as "arguably his finest works". The same article makes the point that middle and late Heinlein shows a "sad decline" in his powers of dramatisation. I would agree that his female characters are unbelievable and silly altogether too often in his later work. I started The Cat Who Walks Through Walls hoping for something interesting and IMHO it was a complete flop.
As to why Stranger in a Strange Land is seen as a major science-fiction work--well it's a complete mystery to me.
I still have Double Star
to read for my Hugo challenge, and I'm not nearly as worried about that one, going in. I've read his other Hugo and Retro Hugo winners. Starship Troopers
and Farmer in the Sky
I enjoyed. Moon is a Harsh Mistress
I read many years ago and don't remember feeling particularly strongly about it either way.
Of course, it's MIAHM
and Stranger in a Strange Land
that were voted 11th and 12th best SF novels of the 20th Century in the recent Locus poll.
But even with Starship Troopers
, my enjoyment was kind of that the balance of things I liked vs things I hated was in favour of the things I liked, not that I liked all of it. There has always been something about Heinlein that rubs me up the wrong way. A modern equivalent might be Peter F Hamilton, whose books I generally enjoy, but who manages to throw in something that annoys me with some regularity. I certainly didn't go into Stranger
without some negative preconceptions, but I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised, as I have been by some of the other Hugo winners. I had taken a bit of a dislike to China Mieville until I read The City and the City
I guess, as DiapDealer says, people are just different.
Anyway, I fancied some dragons as a palate-cleanser, so I have started The Adamantine Palace
by Stephen Deas, which I am really enjoying so far. I won the second and third books in the series from the author, who often gives away books through his website, but I still had to buy the first one, and I only got around to it in December.