Monday, May 3, 2010

The Hugos: Stranger in a Strange Land

Hello, and welcome to my 100th post! Aww, yeah, Titans!
Kids, you may recall that I like the novels of Robert Heinlein, and the 1961 Hugo winner is no exception. 'Stranger in a Strange Land' has the distinction of being the first Hugo winner I ever read, long before Bookmonkey inspired my Hugo-reading project.
In fact, I read it at 17, which was, roughly, 3 million years ago.
It's philosophical, innovative, disturbing, and amazing. As a seventeen year old I was only prepared to call it blasphemous, and I guess it still is. Among its ideas is that everyone and everything that exists- is God.
It's the story of Michael Smith, a man raised by Martians who more or less inspires a religious movement when he returns to Earth for the first time with his outsiders' view of humanity.
The book was beloved by hippies for its thoughts on free love, even prompting a real-world church in California. I know, I know, a new brand of sandwich spread would inspire a church in California. Just joshing, California!
Also from Heinlein, (the man who invented the waterbed) comes the term 'grok', the Martian word meaning a bunch of things, but roughly 'a complete love and understanding of something up to and including eating the item or person in question'.
In this Martian culture, there is so little to live on that the community eats their elders when they pass on, out of necessity. But the process is ritualized for added meaning. They make that person a part of themselves by understanding who he was and what he meant to them, and the dead guy expresses his love for his family and loved ones by sharing ALL that he was with them.
Maybe there's something or someone YOU love that much.
I personally will stick to chicken nuggets, myself, but I'm not the sort of person to stand in the way of true love in any form.
I grok you, humankind.
Thou art God.
And party on, dudes.

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