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Stranger In a Strange Land - Original Uncut Version by Robert Anson Heinlein

Stranger In a Strange Land - Original Uncut Version by Robert Anson Heinlein

Author:Robert Anson Heinlein [Heinlein, Robert Anson]
Format: epub
Tags: Science Fiction
Publisher: New Age Library
Published: 2000-10-14T07:00:00+00:00


PART THREE HIS ECCENTRIC EDUCATION

XXII

IN ONE LIMB OF A SPIRAL GALAXY, close to a star known as "Sol" to some of its dependents, another star of the same type underwent catastrophic readjustment and became nova. Its glory would be seen on Mars in another three-replenished (729) years, or 1370 Terran years. The Old Ones noted the coming event as being useful, shortly, for instruction of the young, while never ceasing the exciting and crucial discussion of esthetic problems concerning the new epic woven around the death of the Fifth Planet.

The departure of the spaceship Champion for its home planet was noted without comment and a watch was kept on the strange nestling sent back in it, but nothing more, since it would be some time yet before it would be fruitful to grok the outcome. The twenty-three humans left behind on Mars coped, successfully in most ways, with an environment lethal to naked humans but less difficult, on the whole, than that in the Free State of Antarctica. One of them discorporated through an undiagnosed illness sometimes called "heartbreak" and at other times "homesickness." The Old Ones cherished the wounded spirit and sent it back where it belonged for further healing; aside from that the Martians left the Terrans alone.

On Earth the exploding neighbor star was not noticed at all, human astronomers still being limited by speed of light. The Man from Mars, having been briefly back in the news, had dropped out of the news again. The minority leader in the Federation Senate called for "a bold, new approach" to the twin problems of population and malnutrition in southeast Asia, starting with increased emergency grants-in-aid to families with more than five children. Mrs. Percy B. S. Souchek sued the supervisors of Los Angeles City-County over the death of her pet poodle Piddle which had taken place during a five-day period of stationary inversion layer. Cynthia Duchess announced that she was going to have the Perfect Baby by a scientifically selected anonymous donor and an equally perfect host mother just as soon as a battery of experts completed calculating the exact instant for conception to insure that the wonder child would be equally a genius in music, art, and statesmanship-and that she would (with the aid of hormonal treatments) nurse her child herself. She gave out a statement to the press on the psychological benefits of natural feeding and permitted, or insisted, that the press take pictures of her to prove that she was physically endowed for this happy duty-a fact that her usual publicity pictures had never really left undecided-

Supreme Bishop Digby denounced her as the Harlot of Babylon and forbade any Fosterite to accept the commission, either as donor or hostmother. Alice Douglas was quoted as saying: "While I do not know Miss Duchess personally, one cannot help but admire her. Her brave example should be an inspiration to mothers everywhere."

By accident, Jubal Harshaw saw one of the pictures and the accompanying story in a magazine some visitor had left in his house- He chuckled over it and posted it on the bulletin board in the kitchen .



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