Saturday, February 23, 2008

Book Review: Time Enough for Love

I recently completed Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein. Time Enough for Love tells the furthering stories of Lazarus Long aka Woodrow Wilson Smith and his continuing life. At this point in the story (4700 AD), Lazarus has been alive 2700 years and done just about everything. As such he wants to end it gracefully in a run down hotel across town. Things don't go so well as the Howard families refuse to let their key piece of genetics and information die and have resolved to try and find things in life to get Lazarus interested again in living, but the real underlying theme is around love is what makes life worth living.

This book is broken into 4 sections that have their own distinctive feel. Part 1 seems to be a lot of pontification by Heinlein as the members of the Howard families attempt to get something new for Lazarus. Here you are introduced to a planet leader who can be as manipulative as they come, a computer in love with said leader, as well as a couple of lonely rejuvenators. They worry about Lazarus. They talk of manipulating him. They speak with him, trying to get him to share many of his stories from his long life.

Part 2 has involves Lazarus telling two stories to the computer, Minerva, about his past loves and trying to explain what love is. I found these sections to be much more enjoyable than his random pontifications. Heinlein is able to create interesting characters in very interesting scenes when he actually sits to tell a story.

Part 3 suddenly appears and takes you forward 5 or 10 years. Here again we find ourselves subject to Heinlein's discussions of group marriages and love again. We hear his ideas on raising children and creating happy healthy family units.

Finally in Part 4, we take a look at Lazarus' past through the eyes of an aged Lazarus and how he gets to meet his first family again but as another person via ways of time travel. This he is able to paint another good story of a person really looking out for his skin so much that he again forgets that life is about living and loving and that he has to rediscover that through his family and the ones he cares about most.

Overall a good book, but dreadfully long and over tedious in places. Recommended to the die hard RAH fan. Everyone else need not apply.

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