Farnham’s Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein

There aren’t many better recommendations for a book than ‘Sick as a dog but couldn’t put it down’. This is one of those.

It works for survivalists, bridge players, parallel worldists, philosophers, post-catastrophists, cannibals looking for new recipes and anybody with Woody Allen’s tastes.

It’s gotta be a fav of his. Those naked young things in the bunker with the middle-aged unattractive but pizazzy leader, one his daughter. Although his daughter confesses of the three breeding partners available, he’s the only one that does it for her, he is gentlemanly enough to settle for his daughter’s friend Barbara, who has also had the hots for him since forever. Woody Allen heaven, though maybe mid-twenties is too old for him to look at.

To be frank, our intrepid leader is probably being pragmatic in going for Barbara. She plays bridge better and isn’t (quite) as irritating, whereas the daughter Karen is such a dick. This book does full on Electra AND Oedipus, so add that to the list: good for complexists.

Oh yeah. Good for linguists too. Manny is such a gentleman. To think he knew all he had to do to set me on the road to French was imprison me for a few weeks, eighteen hours of teaching a day, and a kind of taser on a low dose, a mild encouragement to get your memory working if need be. Note to self: maybe he’d forgotten that part. Make sure he doesn’t reread it.

Postscript re the bridge: I thought it read fairly convincingly, like he was either at least a low level player or got good advice, keeping in mind that it was published early sixties, so out of date now, but of the moment, for example, he refers to the Italian style of bidding. I thought that showed quite detailed knowledge or research. There is enough action at the bridge table to keep a reasonable player with an eye for science fiction entertained.

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4 thoughts on “Farnham’s Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein

  1. I see I have have been very unfair to this book… false memory syndrome strikes again. I bet it’s not racist either.

    • Without wanting to give anything away to those who haven’t read it, I thought it was a nicely thought up reverse world from that point of view.

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