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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
In the early 1940's, Robert A. Heinlein began writing a series of stories in a scenario called "The Future History" series.* He developed a historical timeline of this alternate history, along with description of future events, characters, historical trends, and stories yet to be published. By about 1950, Heinlein had pretty much completed the Future History project. But late in his career, Heinlein wrote a _coda_ of sorts to his Future History tales, _Time Enough for Love_ (1973). It featured his near-immortal hero from _Methuselah's Children_ (1958), Lazarus Long, as the central character. The novel was nominated for the Hugo and the Nebula, but the big winner for both awards that year was Arthur C. Clarke's _Rendezvous with Rama_. _Time enough for Love_ is a bit too preachy, solipsistic, and disjointed to be a major work. But it is not without some virtues as well.

The "frame story" of the plot reminds me a bit of Heinlein's earlier anti-utopian novel, _Beyond This Horizon_ (1948). Lazarus Long, oldest of the "immortals," feels that he has seen it all and done it all. He is cranky and tired and wants to end his life. In the future time in which Long is now living, "the right to suicide" is considered a basic, inalienable right. Socially and legally, he ought to be able to die. But (for somewhat complicated reasons), the descendents of Lazarus Long are determined to keep him alive. They flout the law by kidnapping Lazarus, disconnecting his suicide switch, and hatching a plan intended to rekindle a love of live in their ancestor.

What follows is a somewhat loosely structured potpourri of historical and autobiographical tales, musical excerpts, sections from the notebooks of Lazarus Long, numerous sex scenes (often incestuous in nature), and details of a project intended to develop time travel. The end result of this herculean project is to send Lazarus back in time so that he can become his own ancestor. I trust that I am not giving away too much when I say that Lazarus returns to his old zesty self. But I must say that using time travel as therapy seems a bit on the extreme side.

Some of the individual sections are entertaining enough when read in isolation. Let us start with the two chapters comprising the "Notebooks of Lazarus Long". They are mostly aphorisms, some of which strike me as questionable.:

"A democracy is based on the assumption that a million men are wiser than one man" (246).

"A zygote is a gamete's way of producing more gametes. This may be the purpose of the universe" (245).

Other aphorisms are witty:

"Cheops' law: Nothing gets built on schedule or within budget" (242).

"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh" (243).

"Don't try to get the last word. You might get it" (353).

Still others have the ring of simple truth:

"Small change can often be found under seat cusions' (241).

"Courage is the compliment of fear. A man who is fearless cannot be courageous. (He is also a fool.)" (241)

Some of the individual tales that stood out were "The Tale of the Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail," "The Tale of the Twins Who Weren't'" and "The Tale of the Adopted daughter". The first is a story about how a hillbilly in the early twentieth century eventually rises to the rank of admiral in the U.S. Navy because of his keen desire to avoid work. The second is about how Lazarus buys two slaves on a distant planet-- and what became of them. The third is about an orphan girl who is first adopted by Lazarus and later becomes his wife.

We see references to other characters from _Methuselah's Children_ like Andrew Jackson Libby, Clayton Ford, and Mary Sperling. But they are more talked about than dramatized in flashback. Most of the characters in _Time Enough for Love_ are members of a single Family-- of which Lazarus is the head. It is a family that maintains itself by a lot of (admittedly ingenious) insestual sexual relationships and seems to value an I-am the-center-of-the-universe philosophy as their central belief system. In the earlier Future History novels, Heinlein played with bold scientific and social ideas and employed a wide cast of characters. _Time Enough for Love_ is not in the same league as _The Man Who Sold the Moon (1950), _The Green Hills of Earth_ (1951), _Revolt in 2100_ (1953), _Methuselah's Children_ (1958), or _Orphans of the Sky_ (!963).

_Time Enough for Love_ is readable and passably entertaining. The characters are well-drawn, and the dialogue is generally crisp and snappy. It is certainly better than _I Will Fear No Evil_ (1970), which preceeded it and _The Number of the Beast_ (!980), which followed it. But, when all is said and done, it is an overlong and somewhat narcissistic book.

*Most of Heinlein's Future History tales have been reprinted in the omnibus _The Past Through Tomorrow_ (1967). I highly recommend this volume.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
This unusual, lengthy and somewhat disjointed novel is primarily a vehicle for Heinlein to present his views on marriage, incest, child raising, feminism, intelligence and migration. It gives the reminiscences of a two thousand year old man, and it reads like that - very old and dated. Imagine an atheistic, lascivious, space traveling John Wayne. The story has several quite distinct sections, and some parts are pleasant - like the section with Buck the talking mule. But ultimately, Heinlein’s views are rationalist in a very reductive manner: he sees everything as flowing from a simplistic evolutionary imperative. No doubt, the book was intended to be very radical, breaking with irrational prejudices. But instead it comes across as rather perverse. In particular, the incestuous aspects of the story are odious and ill-conceived. In any case, a lot of the book is just tedious.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nicola hearn
One of the best novels I've ever read. I've perused some of the other reviews and am amused by the outrage expressed by some regarding the familial incest in the later part of the book. Remember, the main character is 2300 years old and science has progressed to such a degree that it's possible to turn a computer into a flesh and blood woman. Since incest was a taboo only to prevent peeing into the gene pool, science in the future has taken care of that also. If the outraged would read real earth's history, there were cases of the ruling classes mating with their own siblings, e.g. the Ptolemys in Egypt and the ruling family in Hawaii prior to "civilization" showing up (along with the bible thumping Calvinists ... sorry, Puritans.) If you can only look at this book as a spectacular work of fiction and accept the future painted by a visionary along with it's advances in genetics, and medicine and science in general, you're in for a spectacular ride. I read this in my 30s when it first came out and I'm now in my 70s am looking forward to reading it again. Get into it. You're gonna love it.
Methuselah's Children :: Double Star :: Friday :: Podkayne of Mars :: Space Cadet
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
vlm 1124
Great novel about the legendary Lazarus Long. I am 47 and just completed this by Heinlein. I loved The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Have Spacesuit Will Travel and Stranger In A Strange Land. Most of his later non juvenile books have sexuality in the plot, whether its matriarchal driven female led families with multiple husbands wec to individual wives, as on the penal colony of the Moon in The Moon is a harsh Mistress or free and open sexuality in Stranger In a Strange Land. Time Enough For Love is the ultimate taboo breaker though. It is a well told novel about a man who about 2,000 years old who is long lived & whom is even longer lived through rejuvenation processes that has just given up on living. The Howard family and direct decedents, try to get him to tell of his life, his secrets to staying alive (not getting killed) etc, and try to keep him around out of love, genetic quality (his offspring have never had any defects) and because he is the oldest known human. It's a fascinating and manipulative story with some twist and turns and his complicated family tree has led to known and unknown sexual encounters and marriages with cousins and such. He knowingly crosses the ultimate taboos here in terms of familial relations (man & woman wise). It's a creepy, weird strange trip but well done.
It weirds me out even though we breed horses damned close, even though Egyptian brothers & sisters of royalty married and had offspring, and even though the bible speaks in a rather benign manner about close creepy relations such as in Genesis 19:23-25, 30-36, NKJV involving two daughters getting their father (Lot) drunk, to make sure the family had male offspring to keep the family line going (and of course to probably make sure they stayed princesses).
This novel sticks with you but in its last 1/3 I gotta admit that it gets uncomfortable and some who have not read his prior works need to steel themselves as he goes much further here.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
louise lopez
Time Enough for Love is sort of Heinlein's Magnum Opus. It picks back up on the story of Lazarus Long and his associates, first introduced in one of Heinlein's less remembered works, Methuselah's Children. TEFL is more of a set of novellas, as Long remembers episodes from his remarkably long span of life. It is also controversial in the extreme, due to the results of a time traveling relationship. But you'll never forget the meaning of the acronym BAWYLOAIWYITBW! LOL It's much more provocative than the better know TANSTAFL.

Just read along in fascination, and sometimes shock, as this epic story unfolds.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
bhagirath ramawat
From my blog:

I've been meaning to write on a Heinlein book for a while, and I'm still delaying on my favorite one, but I think it is time for my favorite author to get some attention. Yes, I'll admit it: I'm a Heinlein junkie. This is not, however, the book that I would recommend reading for your first Heinlein (Cat Who Walks Through Walls would be better for that). If you've read some Heinlein already, though, this is a good book to continue with.

Title: Time Enough for Love
Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Pages: 589 (paperback)
Premise: Lazarus Long has lived a very crazy and very long life, and one of his ancestors (yes, he's that old) asks him to record his autobiography, and this is it.
Setting: Everywhere from the rural US in the early 20th century to space age adventures among the stars. It is also an alternate timeline, so some of their history isn't the same as ours.


Really really awesome characters (I love you Dora!)
Crazy plots, I have no idea how the man thought of these things
Heinlein has his own fairly unique ideas about time travel and really demonstrates that, and the purpose behind the Howard Foundation in this book
This book is a great family reunion of Heinlein characters, so if you've read any other of his books, they'll probably show up or be referenced in this book
It is one of those books that as I page through it to remember what the write I just want to read it all over again


The start is a bit slow, but hang in there!
I don't know what kind of complex Heinlein had, but wow there is a lot of incest in his books (all generally in very not abusive contexts though)
On that note, there is just a lot of sex in general, so be warned
Because it is an autobiography as it is being written, all of the subplots end up making the book feel a bit jumpy

Summary: This is not an easy airplane read, but it really is a satisfying book if you like Heinlein. There is a lot of sex, incest and weird reinterpretations of marriage, but all of this is generally accompanied by so much love and honor between the characters. There are parts of this book that made me cry, and parts that made me tremendously happy. If you are okay with some fairly liberal views on a lot of societal norms, then this is really an excellent book.

More reviews at [...]
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
What would you do if you could live 4,000 years? Try out every profession at least once? Make enough babies to populate a planet? Travel as far as the galaxy goes? Lazarus Long has done all that and more. He's about to die peacefully when he's kidnapped and rejuvenated and coerced to tell his memoirs. I could read stories about Lazarus' life for months, but unfortunately this book only contains two. The rest is action in the `present' (4272 Gregorian), and at the end, an account of Lazarus' trip back in time to visit his "first family" (parents, brothers and sisters, grandfather).
This is the first of the last four books Heinlein wrote, and it was clear he was nearing the end of his life, looking mortality straight in the face and writing his fantasy of living forever. Lazarus shares his collected wealth of knowledge and wisdom, although he'd insist he's got nothing to say of any worth, and much of it is the best advice I've ever heard.
Those not familiar with Heinlein might find his morals a little depraved, especially the more sexually straight-laced, although science fiction often contains stories of societies whose taboos are not our own, and would be scandalized by ours. The only complaint I have about the book is how annoying that is that certain parts are (omitted), then return to the story in the middle of the sentence. It's not smooth, and although the omissions are mostly for brevity's sake, I felt like I missed something important. I wish I had access to the complete memoirs of Lazarus Long, but unfortunately they won't be available for a couple thousand years, and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to live that long.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sam brown
Not only is "Time Enough for Love" a continuation of Heinlein's Future History, it is a special book in that it contains three novels in a rather thick-ish single book.

The first novel is the story of Lazarus Long, aka Woodrow Wilson Smith, the oldest member of the human race and the "senior" of the Howard Families, a group of people bred for longevity. Lazarus Long shows up in earlier stories about the Howards and their flight to freedom from jealous "short-lifers." (Methuselah's Children.) The second story is that of Dora, a short-lifer and ward of Lazarus, who pioneer a valley on a new planet via Conestoga wagon and not much more than grit, and then the third novel is the tale of Lazarus and his time travel back to his original family in Kansas City. (Which sets up "To Sail the Sunset"--a much inferior novel, in my opinion.)

The thread holding this book together is a sort of reverse Shaherazade device; Lazarus, tired of living, is threatening suicide, the prerogative of the long-lived. He is kept alive by the pleadings of Ira, the chairman pr-tem of the Howard Families. Ira believes Lazarus' wisdom contains help for the stagnation the family is experiencing on Secundus, where the families set up a new Earth after the Diaspora. So long as Lazarus is amused at telling his memoirs, aphorisms, and outright whoppers to Ira, he promises to stay alive and transmit his wisdom. Thus the tales within tales (and there are "short stories" as well as novels in this book.) A clever device.

The story thread also has characters who become Lazarus' new family and are interesting in themselves: Hamadryad (Ira's daughter), Ishtar, Galahad (rejuvenation technicians), Tamara (a "hetaira" or courtesan) and Minerva the computer.

This is a rich novel that bears re-reading, even in sections as these sections stand alone as well as hang together with the entire book. This is one of my favorites. Though not as elegant a novel as "Starship Troopers", "Moon is a Harsh Mistress" or others, it is so rich in stories it has become a real favorite of mine. Like visiting old friends when you re-read it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kristen gagnon
I have always loved Heinlein since I read "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" when it was first published and I was nine years old.

That being said this book is uneven, much of it is very interesting and entertaining. But as an older man myself I felt part of it was an old man's sexual fantasy where age, societal morals, female agressiveness and healthcare have all progressed to optimize a curmudgeon's sexual experiences including incest (female clones?) and oedipal experiences (time travel back to mother's time). Lazurus's own position in future society is unique and privileged!

While this is not intellectually challenging and didn't present any new ideas I mostly enjoyed the simple plots and human interactions, perhaps spiced by a little nostalgia for me as you won't find this style of writing in a current author. Probably never read this because I had moved on to other authors before it came out.

I really need to look up Heinlein's timeline!

I have to comment that I love reading books on my phone, otherwise I would find it difficult to make the time to read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
john simmons
Heinlein went through a series of literary phases during his lifetime, partly due to his desire to get published. Most beginners understand him through one of his earliest phases.... Space Cowboy. Starship Troopers, Tunnel in the Sky, StarBeast, Red Planet, the usual suspects. Later in life, he took an interest in the question "What does it mean to be human?" (The same question asked in Blade Runner) Does a sterile female human construct have a soul? Is she human? ("Friday") Among these later titles are TEFL and The Cat who Walked through Walls. These leave behind the cartoonish efforts like Space Cadet, and draw on the more philosophical works like Stranger in a Strange Land. The questions posed are, without doubt, disturbing. If you want kiddie SF, do not buy this book. Lazarus Long, the protagonist, is a man who has lived beyond his time, by a couple of millenia. Where he expected the upward progress of man, he has not found it.... finding instead the same idiocies of his birth period. Mankind does not learn, therefore mankind is pointless. In this novel, Heinlein tries to reinstill hope in humanity, although one must put aside one's most sacred shibboleths and see humanity for what it *might* be, in order to do so. One example: is it incest to have sex with a female cloned from your X chromosomes? The clone herself suggests that "it's more like masturbation".
This is for adults, period. Yet arguably it is also his deepest and most penetrating work. 5 Gold Stars!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jack metier
This is not a normal novel; not in structure nor in any other way. I read this book at a formative point in my childhood and have reread it many times since.

It wasn't until just recently, over 35 years later, that I've realized this one book provided most of the foundation for what became my moral compass in life. I could have done a lot worse; anyone could have. That part of this book has NOT become dated and much of it, especially the views on sexual mores, is nearly as daring today as it was then.

The notebooks are especially fascinating and worth the price of admission by themselves.

TANSTAAFL! Specialization is for insects (other than conn a spaceship and die valiantly I think I completely -- and deliberately -- covered this one).

Warning: on first glance they may not all seem PC (Lazarus would laugh at the concept that they should be) but, pragmatic as he is, Lazarus is also something of an idealist (although it would horrify him to be so labelled) and probably the ultimate believer in equal opportunity.

I am a live lion.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
risa amaya
Lazarus Long, a/k/a a very long list of aliases was born Woodrow Wilson Smith in 1912 in southwest Missouri. Several thousand years later, thanks to a particular genetic mutation, he's still going strong. Well -- he has thought about allowing himself to die a natural death. It's hard to keep up enthusiasm for life after all those centuries, probably a score of wives, and maybe a couple hundred children. This fat novel picks up the events, themes, and some characters of _Methuselah's Children_, one of Heinlein's most popular earlier books (it was serialized in the early `40s), about the Howard families, a vast experiment in selective breeding for longevity. There's not really a plot here, as such, just a narrative thread upon which the author can hang a number of side-stories about how families ought to function, how pioneering works, and why so many 20th century American mores (especially those relating to sex -- and especially consensual incest) are nonsense. The thread consists of Lazarus's memoirs, or at least those possibly true memories he's willing to share. It's all pure Heinlein and should be read with that in mind. I.e., younger readers weaned on endless (and generally mindless) fantasy series probably aren't going to get it. For the thoughtful reader, however, there's a lot here to enjoy. After this one, read _To Sail Beyond the Sunset_ (1987) for another view of some of the same story.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jessica braun
Remember Mel Brooks' 2,000-year-old man schtick? He complained once that he had 42,000 children--and no one came to visit. Such is not the case with Robert Heinlein's 2,000-year-old man, Lazarus Long. Almost everyone he meets is descended from him--and many of them care for him very deeply indeed. When Long checks into a flophouse on the planet Tellus Secundus under an assumed name, wishing to die at last, his children find and sequester him in an attempt to persuade him to keep on living. It is this search for something to live for that occupies humanity's oldest representative throughout the rest of Time Enough for Love.
Lazarus Long is perhaps Heinlein's most popular character with fans. He made his first literary appearance in the 1940s, in the novella Methuselah's Children, which told the tale of the founding, persecution and diaspora of the Howard Families--a group of people artificially selected for their gene! tic tendency to long life. (Long, at the age of 300-plus years, is their senior member, and it is he who saves the Howards from genocide.) In Time Enough for Love, Long reappears some 1,700 years later, long after humanity has spread out among the stars, and long after the Howard Families' safety has been assured. Ancient and weary, Lazarus Long is intent on dying, and even his descendants' persuasion fails to move him.
At least at first. Ensconced among his geneticist descendants, Long agrees to a Shahrzadelike scheme of storytelling to fend off death--only it is he who tells the tales to his family--while they (especially the courtesan, Tamara) heal him and help him search for a truly novel adventure. As a result, Time Enough for Love takes the form of the classic frame story; an account of Long's rejuvenation and formation of a new extended family constitutes the framework in which his tales of remembrance are told. T! he tales themselves are of novella length ("The Tale o! f the Adopted Daughter" may well be the most moving of Heinlein's works), and all of the stories in this lengthy masterpiece center around themes of love, happiness and childrearing--in essence, those things which sustain a fruitful, satisfying life. And who better than a man with two millenias' worth of lifetimes to hold forth on what comprises a good life?
It turns out that Long still has one more adventure in store for him, as he embarks on a journey through space and time to the where/when of his youth: the Kansas City of the early Pendergast days. Set down by his space yacht in the middle of a southern Missouri cow pasture in 1916, Long begins a journey into his own past that leads him to the ultimate love--and the ultimate sacrifice.
This latter section of Time Enough for Love reads as if it were a love letter from Heinlein to the innocent America in which he grew up; it leaves one wishing that Heinle! in had written steampunk or alternate histories, so evocative are his depictions of bygone days. On the other hand, Time Enough for Love is in a sense the vanguard of Heinlein's experiments with alternate realities, as evidenced by the sequels The Number of the Beast, The Cat who Walks through Walls and To Sail Beyond the Sunset. Time Enough for Love might well be the "capstone of Heinlein's Future History stories," but it is the keystone of Heinlein's multiverse.
Preceding Time Enough for Love in the Future History continuum are Methuselah's Children and the collected short stories found in The Past Through Tomorrow. In addition, the sections of aphorisms in Time Enough. . . have been illuminated by Vassallo and published separately as a gift book: The Notebooks of Lazarus Long.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
emily rae
if you are not capable of overcoming your own personal immaturities, and deeply ingrained cultural ideas of right and wrong, put this book back, it is not for you.
if you are open minded to ideas, not neccessarily the applications of them, but the ability for ideas to exist, then read on.
this is a remarkable and innovative book, which views the history of man, through glimpses of the history of one man: lazarus long.
this book travels through different worlds and lifes of this man, as detailed in a memoir style. heinlein jumps fluidly through different narrators, changing between first and third person with ease.
the chapters are not overly lengthy, and breaks occur frequently enough for a casual reader, although, i personally had trouble putting the book down.
if you are put off by some of the ideas presented in the book, you should take a look at john m. woolsey's decision regarding joyce's ulysses, where he presents the idea that when items or ideas of an obscene nature are presented purely for the reason of being obscene, that is obscenity, and when an author uses these obscene things as part of a building of a character, and part of a flowing narrative, the intent is not to be obscene. i would garner that this is the case with heinlein.
some of the ideas do not conform with our culture. they are not meant to, they are used to show the possibilities of a future timeline.
this is a wonderfully well written book, full of little twists and well reasoned logic. it is also quite humorous in places. especially in some of the notebook sections which serve as intermissions.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
erin pope
Time Enough for Love came out when I was just starting my freshman year at a local community college. If you had told me back then that I'd have a higher opinion of this novel when I was 59 years old than I did back then I would have had reason to doubt you. Heinlein was my favorite author back then. I read just about all the Heinlein juveniles, plus most of his adult novels. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was (and remains) my favorite.

Then he started writing stuff like Stranger In A Strange Land, I Will Fear No Evil, and this. It seemed like a big change in direction for him. You need to understand that in 1973 S.F. didn't really have much to say about sex, or even gender. When I got my seventh grade library card several years earlier and was allowed into the upstairs library for grown-ups I was allowed to read non fiction, fiction in the "Young Moderns" section, and any science fiction. (Non fiction books about sex were kept in a locked case with glass doors. You not only had to be old enough to read them, you had to ask the librarian to get them out of the case for you. They were pretty tame books, too).

So for most of my life to that point there was no sex to speak of in science fiction, and then out of nowhere it seems like Heinlein can't write about anything else.

I enjoyed I Will Fear No Evil, but this one tested my patience. Heinlein seemed to have an unhealthy interest in incest in this one. (As opposed to a normal, healthy interest in it). He seemed to believe that any brother and sister, given any opportunity at all, would do the nasty together. I don't have any sisters myself but I was pretty sure at the time that this wasn't true.

His character Lazarus Long is a dirty old man, a 2,000 year old dirty old man. Any resemblance to a similar creation by Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks is hard to find.

What I didn't appreciate when I first read the book was that Lazarus Long was actually a well thought out character. In the story a wealthy man who dies young founds an organization that identifies people who are likely to have a long life, based on their family history, and pays them to marry each other and have children. These families are called the Howard families after the wealthy donor. Lazarus was born in 1912, has been married many times (lifetime monogamy being unrealistic for people who stay alive for centuries) but only to long-lifers like himself (except once). This makes it more or less inevitable that he will marry and have children by one of his own descendants. The Howard families have to be inbred, and this has consequences.

Heinlein gave a lot of thought to what it would be like to live for hundreds of years (more than Mel Brooks did, at least) and the aphorisms collected in the book are what you might expect a man born in 1912 and still alive centuries later might come up with. ("Keep your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark" being one example. His aphorism describing what a human being should be able to do is one of my favorite quotes of any author).

I won't say this is his masterpiece, because it isn't. Still, there are some good yarns in here, and it is worth reading. Just bear in mind that you might appreciate Lazarus Long more when you're a grumpy old man yourself!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lindsey black
This single book has almost totally defined my personal attitudes about life, politics, family, and the relative importance of mules.

My introduction to the book (and Heinlein) came when Analog magazine ran an excerpt from the "Notebooks." I found the paperback at an airport news stand some time later. I remember that at the end of the summer my brother wandered through the house and found me reading the book for the Nth time. I've always been a bit hard on books (food stains, broken spines, etc), and I was carefully holding the loose pages together while intently following the lives of 'Llita and Joe, Buck and Beulah, Laz and Lor, Ira and Justin and Galahad, and the various members of the Senior's harem. My brother is one of those people who cannot fathom rereading a novel, and demonstrated his displeasure by snatching the book, running to the end of the street, and scattering the pages off a high bank into the Hiawassee River. I had another copy by the end of the day, and I estimate that I've read the book at least once a year for the last twenty-one years.

"Troopers" is more direct in its message, and "Stranger" more uplifting, and a rereading of "Glory Road" causes you to select a likely blade and stay in practice (just in case), but Woodrow Wilson Smith's biography is Heinlein's most prescriptive and all-encompassing book, and to my tastes his best.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Big fan of Heinlein here. Stranger in a Strange Land is a top-ten book for me. I'm exactly halfway through the book (audiobook, not this particular edition), and to be honest I'm waiting for it to get good.
Sure, anyone who has read Heinlein knows he takes a very open stance on women, sexuality, and taboo. I'm cool with that. But this book seems to be written *specifically* to illustrate a universe where these taboos don't exist, and where everyone wants to have no-strings sex with Lazarus and/or his lovechild (again, no strings attached). I get that the underlying theme is a guy that learns to love life again. But that's not really what comes to the front, and is more of a background idea.
Sci-fi-wise, very thin and quite honestly uninteresting. Sure, there's space travel, otherworld colonization, monsters ('lopers'), interplanetary slavers, etc., but it all comes across as just a framework for him to tell a story of strong women who want nothing more than Lazarus and/or his babies. I'm not even a sci-fi freak. I love it, but don't need 'hard' sci-fi - I just enjoy entertaining stories.
I very, very rarely stop reading a book before the end, even dry content, but I think I'm done with this one. Even putting down the book right this second, I can only think of *one* question I'm interested in getting the answer to, and I honestly don't even care about the answer that much.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Heinlein's "Methuselah's Children" and Asminov's "Foundation" both hit me like a brick, because they are Science Fiction in their purist form, Humanistic, and liberal in their use of interaction.
Much to my surprise, both continued their saga's in various forms and displayed the powers of continuity to the 10th power. "Time Enough for Love" is the Epic of Laz Long and his pilgramage through time. It deals with his triumphs and failures, and frankly details the times, the customs, the societies he encounters, and the people in great detail. Its like Mark Twain in a future society, and you can almost here a southern twang as you read this book. This novel will touch your imagination with detailed genetics, framework of futuristic societies, the nature of old age, computers long before they were popular, "smart" ships with personalities, it goes on and on! Whatn happens if a person can live forever? WHY does he live forever? Can one marry a clone?
This is is not a "Star War's" or "Star Trek" type type novel, (read STARSHIP TROOPERS or the LENSMAN series for that), but a major work of fiction set in a futuristic time. Joseph Campbell, the famed science fiction writer and world reknowned expert in Mythology of all forms, considered Heinlein one of the worlds greatest writers.
There is a great reason why the author is considered the best not only by fans, but by his own peers. Its because he is true to himself and his great talent continues to shine today over 45 years after his first works. Movie Studios are taking notice, (Red Planet, Puppet Masters, Starship Troopers, etc).
"Time Enough for Love" ranks with "Stranger in a Strange Land" and "I Will Fear No Evil" as some of the best Science Fiction in existance today.
New readers going on vacation-take this with you! Its a great value for the buck. and you'll hope you won't land for a couple more hours!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
leslie c
SPECIAL NOTE: This review encompasses the entire body of Robert Anson Heinlein's work, not just `Time Enough For Love'.

I was first introduced to the writings of Robert Heinlein at age eleven. The book was `Red Planet'. I thought it was the greatest story ever written. I still enjoy re-reading it, deep into middle-age.

As I got older, I continued to buy every book Heinlein published, enjoying and devouring them all, right up to and including `To Sail Beyond The Sunset'.

Within the past couple of years I have revisited a good many of his works, after leaving them alone for quite a while, as they collected dust on my bookshelves.

Several observations, for better and for worse, come to mind. Here they are:

-No doubt about it, Heinlein was a sharp, incisive storyteller. He brought smarts, life experiences, and a good quality classical education with its attendant strong insights into the human condition, to the table, every time he produced a work.

-Try as he might to downplay or even ridicule organized religion, it is clear that many of his best stories, best characters, and best ideas are drawn from deep within the wellspring of traditional nineteenth and early twentieth century Anglo-American civilization. In spirit he is right there with Victorian-era worthies such as Theodore Roosevelt, Rudyard Kipling, and Robert Baden-Powell, all of whom were quite laudable and smart fellows indeed, and each of whom strove mightily in their own way to live their lives in accordance with `The Code'.

In other words, Heinlein's True North was a muscular, masculine, hard-but-good-guy ethic inextricably linked to an earlier, more vigorous and self-confident white protestant Christianity. The story about the transient staying with the lady wedged into the railroad tracks all the way to the bitter end encapsulates that world-view. This is where he shows at his very best.

-Heinlein was also a man of many faults, which have become much more obvious to me now that I approach the age he was during the latter half of his writing career, When I try to imagine myself putting into final publication some of the things he wrote for his audience, it makes me cringe- to wit:

-If he had any friends, he must have been a terrible trial and embarrassment to them at times.

-His wives must have been veritable studies in the archaic art of long-suffering.

-Heinlein's editor probably committed suicide at some point in the middle of Robert's career, and his publishers, happy enough with his name-recognition-generated income stream, left old Lazarus Long unsupervised in his lecherous dotage, thereby subjecting us, his loyal readership, to endless retellings of his favorite sexual fantasies, which tended to become more extreme, ludicrous, and at odds with human nature in each new tome.

What in the world could he have been thinking?

Time Enough For Love is an interesting compendium. It comprises many distinct mini-stories woven together.

Some of these stories possess sparks of the earlier, better Heinlein genius, albeit mixed together with his darkest obsession (Reference `The Tale of The Twins Who Weren't' and `The Tale of The Adopted Daughter'), while other elements of the story seem to exist solely for the purpose of relieving the author's apparent need for wallowing in the very strangest and unfortunate of self indulgences (Reference `Narcissus' and the entire ending of the book, beginning with `The Green Hills of Earth').

How best to judge this talented, strange man and his corpus of uniquely good, uniquely bad writings?

Something the late gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson once wrote comes to mind.

Thompson, writing about Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and his many internal contradictions, summarized the puzzling yin-and-yang of Teddy this way:

`He could soar with the condors, or crawl with the wildest of swine.'

I think that statement also fits our man Heinlein rather well.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
anna king
I thought this book was great, but held back from being one of the best books I've read because of it's long-windedness. The plot plays out more like a drama than the more action-oriented Starship Troopers. The dialog is good, but not good enough to keep you fully engrossed in the characters and their lives. Occasionally, the book comes across as preachy.

If you are worried about the preoccupation with deviant sex, don't be. It's handled well and always put into a context that makes it seem natural and not perverted.

The main strength of this book for me lies in how much intellectual energy the Heinlein put into it. You really get a feel for how Heinlein wants you to view life and, while disturbing at times, it is usually refreshing and challenging. His search for what is meaningful in life and the frustrations surrounding that endless task really come out in the various stories and reflections of the extraordinarily long-lived Lazarus Long.

Sometimes the book feels bitter, sometimes angry, sometimes self-conscious, sometimes bored, sometimes touching. It's worth picking through the bad, endless dialog to find the scenes that touch and challenge you.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
yousra gawad hegazy
"Time Enough for Love" by Robert Heinlein contains a series of science fiction stories about (surprise!) love. I enjoyed every bit of it. However, this book is not for everyone. I had read a large number of Heinlein books before I got to this one. Heinlein is an author who 'grows on' readers who like to think. He, also, is an entertaining author. This book has a great deal of serious 'hard' science fiction in it. I recommend that you read it.

However, some folks get bored or offended when Heinlein digs deep at the question of "What is important?". Also, each of Heinlein's works contains something that someone finds objectionable. I take such writing as a challenge to try to understand what Heinlein is getting at. There are plenty of reviews here that will tell you some of what Heinlein wrote in these stories. I am trying to tell you to really look behind the surface of the stories and think about what is written. Really think about it! I hope you get hooked on Heinlein.

On the other hand, perhaps you should start reading Heinlein with some of his juveniles. This book is a little more for 'advanced' Heinlein fans.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dave o leary
I'm half way through this book for the second time, the last time being over 5 years ago. The first time I read it, it was full of wise words, now they are words with meaning in my life.
Lazerus' "wisdom" he does not want to share, but so redily does has meaning to anyone willing to think about it, and aply it in thier lives.
I will admit, it is not an action packed adventure, and one must have the patience of Job to read it. :) If you like action and adventure, try Starship Troopers, The Rolling Stones, or Glory Road. Even I have said to myself, "I need a book with some ACTION!" and read one of those.
Time Enough for Love is a quiet book, for thinking. If you don't want to think, don't read it.
"Sheffield had decided, centuries back, that the saddest thing about ephemerals was that thier little lives rarely held time enough for love." - Heinlien, from Time Enough for Love
Lazerus Long, the oldest man alive wishes to die. But some well meaning far distant relatives "rescue" him from his dignified death, and keep him alive, against his will, at first.
As Lazerus undergoes treatment, he is urged to share what the leader of the planet (and Howard Families) calls wisdom, but that Lazerus calls nonsense and false memories. He agrees to share his stories, only if something new is found for him to do, 'cause he's done it all.
Lazerus tells some winding stories, and then we emerge three years later, on a new planet. I won't go any further, I don't want to spoil what "new things" were found for Lazerus.
Lazerus Long, scurge of the universe, rouge of the ages has a tender side. And his stories about the people he loved will touch your heart. Give this book a chance, and stop waiting for the action to kick in, you'll just disapoint yourself.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
andriy rushchak
On the surface, 'Time Enough for Love' is the story of one man's life, including his loves, hardships, employment, family and friends. But this is no ordinary man, he is over two thousand years old and has helped to father most of the human race. He has faced death a hundred times and caused it almost as often. He is Woodrow Wilson Smith otherwise known as Lazarus Long or simply The Senior.

This is one of Heinlein's longest works and is reputed to have been published unedited. For me the novel has an autobiographic feel to it. Almost as if Heinlein had to dredge the depths of himself to fill it. There are so many anecdotes, tales, characters, wisdoms and ideas in this book that you are in danger of choking. Or maybe it's just the speed with which I usually read it that sets me to gasping.

The story starts on Lazarus' death bed. Or at least that is what it seems. One of his long distant descendants is deliberately forcing him to remain alive in order to record the Senior's life wisdom. And what a life it has been. Born in the early years of the twentieth century, our hero takes us on a fast paced ride on the leading edge of man's expansion into the universe. Sometimes a man of importance, sometimes a slave, he is always entertaining and usually educational. In the end we are taken so far into his tale that it leads us back into the past. Lazarus takes a ground breaking trip into his own origins and meets his Parents again for the first time in two millennia.

It would be impossible to do this book justice in any form of synopsis. However, you don't really need one because if you are at all human, then you will have time enough for love.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Time Enough for Love is, like many of Heinleinn's works, hard to put into a category. He was an author whose works spanned from the golden age of science fiction to well into the modern age. And during that time, especially in the 1950's, he had to bow to the pressures of his publishers with many of his books. And while that resulted in books that seemed quite childish compared to other of his works, they still held the theme that a man or a woman who had confidence in themselves and their abilities can accomplish anything they set out to do.
As for Time Enough for Love, Heinleinn wrote what I feel to be a near Master's Thesis regarding the hows and whys of love. Lazarus Long is rejuvinated by those who feel they love him and he, in return, challenges them with the question, "What is Love?"
It jumps about in fits and starts; and I freely admit that it took me two attempts to read it through before successfully doing so. It challengs the reader to question his or her own views on issues; especially love.
It does not matter if you love it or if you hate it. If the story makes you think even for just a bit; the story is successfully told.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
guillaume pelletier
I have read and enjoyed science fiction since I was 12 years old. While I enjoy many authors, it was Robert Heinlein who got me hooked. I am now middle-aged and Heinlein is still my favorite author in the genre. He tells a good yarn and his central characters are likeable. I've just finished reading Time Enough for Love (TEFL) for probably the fourth or fifth time in the thirty something years since it was published-my first reading was in 1973.
Heinlein seems to take on three major tasks in this book.
First, like any good hard science fiction writer, he identifies two basic technological developments-interstellar space travel and rejuvenation through cloning and related biotechnology-and then imagines what impact these technologies might have on life over the next two thousand years.. He does this by focusing not on major battles and dramatic action but by focusing on his characters as they eat, bathe, tell stories, cuddle, cross the plains, build houses, and travel interstellar space. This is played out in the context of the shell story and the short stories that are nested within the shell.
The "sexual liberation" that is often made much of by reviewers is simply a logical playing out of culture mores impacted by the basic technological changes given as a premise in the story. Compared to how sex is handled in the media today, Heinlein's presentation is relatively innocent.
Second, he explores the nature of love. What is it when two beings love each other? Heinlein provides a broad canvas with so long a book and explores many types of relationship. The common characteristic is that each relationship expresses a different variety of love-marital love, love of a parent for one's children, friendship among "peers", of a child for one's parent, of a sentient computer for a human, of humans for a sentient computer. While there is some preaching on the topic, the exploration is played out in the various stories of the book as we see the relationships unfold.
Heinlein seems to have written in the context of several parallel universes (as is made clear in his book "Number of the Beast"). His best developed universe is his "Future History" which underlies many of his earlier short stories and a few of his novels. Heinlein's third major task in this book appears to be a further fleshing out of his future history, which was developed in any detail only as far as the persecution of the Howard Family and their flight from Earth (Methuselah's Children). In TEFL he carries the tale forward 2000 years and fills in some of the gaps. The majority of his works from this book forward build on this foundation and continue to play with the concepts he highlights in TEFL.
Of course, there is an ample dose of Heinlein's political theories and his fetish with cleanliness, which make an appearance in almost all of his longer works. One commentator noted an oedipal theme running through many of Heinlein's works. Here Heinlein's oedipal complex bursts forth in full glory for no one to miss or mistake.
Heinlein's works can be grouped into four broad categories: early short stories, juvenile novels (Have Spaceship, Will Travel, etc.), adult adventure novels (Puppet Masters, Starship Troopers, etc.), and adult speculative novels (TEFL, etc.). The adult adventure novels are largely hormone driven space operas. They are fun to read and easily converted into movies. My favorite books however are his speculative novels. There is relatively little outright adventure common to the earlier works but they are highly imaginative and do a wonderful job of playing around with ideas. He makes the most fanciful ideas almost believable. He gives us the opportunity to stand apart from our cultural assumptions and see what they look like from the outside.
TEFL is among my all time favorite Heinlein books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
One of Heinlein's best. The life of Lazarus Long with many a story on what love looks like to a two thousand year old man. Some are amusing, some are achingly touching, and others even shocking, but if you are a Heinlein fan, this is in your collection. Well worth reading and discussing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
s robinson
Heinlein, in his philosophy and approach to life, reminds one of the late American writer, Vardis Fisher. Both were self-made men, both very private, both happily married and both dealt with subjects regarded as (even today) taboo. Both men sensed that the underlying foundation of modern culture were edifices rising from our evolutionary psychology - love, death, sex, religion, power, dreams...the things that make us human.
The two were quintessentially Americans, optimistic, willing to tackle difficult and uncomfortable subjects. They recognized the power of the spirit and its overwhelming influence on our very being. Vardis's Testament of Man purposely flows along a Judeo-Christian path. Heinlein alludes both directly ("Stranger in a Strange Land", "Job") and indirectly ("I will fear no evil", "Number of the Beast") to the world of the spirit.
This is yet another of the Lazurus Long series, each quirky and totally unique. We are provided a brilliant soliloquy of eternal life, an old man remembering (and enjoying) his youth. It is almost as if Heinlein had projected himself into the role of Lazurus. He touches on such subjects as religion, incest, love,
politics, metaphysics and the joy of being human. The humanity of his writing explains its success and approachability. Read this along with the others in the series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
... to me personally, along with a few of his other books. I read it over and over in high school and college. I majored in mathematics and computer science (a woman in 1975) and tried my best to join the air force - the easiest way to enter the space programs. Heinlein - and my mother - told me that I could do almost anything I wanted to do if I wanted it badly enough and didn't give up. Along the way, he also broadened my mind and helped me to be more tolerant of people with different ideas, appearances and mores. Yeah, he had a few strange ideas about sex. They did not ruin the books.

I also highly recommend Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, one of his young adult novels.

To this day, my standard of truth is based on his Fair Witnesses. If you ask a fair witness what color a house is, he or she will tell you the color of the portion of the house that is visible to them. No assumptions!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
james w powell
Since I came to the conclusion that this was the weirdest book I've ever read (and I've read quite a lot) before I was even half way through it, I decided to come on here and see what other people thought about it. It seems that the reviewers are split into two camps: those who give it a 1-star rating because of it's weirdness and controversial morals, and those who give it 5-star ratings out of blind worship of Heinlein while ignoring it's weaknesses. I waded through about 60 reviews, and there didn't appear to be very many subjective ones, so I'll attempt to provide one here.
First off, the strengths. As always with Heinlein, my favorite part about the book is the witty dialogue. Just reading the conversation between the characters, even when it does little to advance the plot, is immensely entertaining to me. I realize that there's probably not any "real" people who talk like this... but that doesn't make it any less entertaining. Other strengths include the many entertaining individual adventures, topped with the icing on the cake, Lazarus Long's delicious banter on all things Heinlein (Long's alter-ego) cared to comment on. These comments come to a headway on the two-part Notebooks of Lazarus Long. Some of these quotations, while not the revelatory statements some reviewers have claimed, are nonetheless both witty and worthwhile, and many hit home. Heinlein does tend to preach quite a bit, bordering on too much at times; such as the page-spanning sermons on how to raise children, this coming from a man who himself was childless. But please remember, this IS a work of FICTION. The book is broken up into many individual segments and stories, and because of this you will probably enjoy it more if you read the novel in bits and pieces, rather than large portions at once. My favorite part is the latter section of the book where Lazarus embarks on time travel, it could've easily been a book in itself; and a damn good one too.
Now to the weaknesses. Heinlein's controversial views on sex and moral values, while not as disturbing to me (having read many a Heinlein) as others, are nonetheless unsettling in places, and occasionally detract from the book. I don't have a problem with Lazarus Long knocking up just about every female character he comes into contact with, but I can't say I was indifferent to the book's excessive amounts of incest. Heinlein goes to pains (and I mean pains; chapter-length dialogue segments on the improbability of defects through screened and tested incestous relationships) to seemingly shed a positive light on what many consider the very blackest of sins. I don't know exactly how Heinlein came to take this controversial stance, some of his previous novels (Farnham's Freehold, for instance) hinted at it, but it never came out into the open like this. However he came upon it he stuck with it, as the issue clouds subsequent novels like The Number of the Beast and To Sail Beyond The Sunset. It crops up often in this book; not that unsettling, just a little immature. That's really the only thing in this book you could call a weakness, other than it's tendency to go on a little too long at points (kinda like this review, eh?), many of the individual stories are novella-length. The Tale of the Man Who Was Too Lazy To Fail should've been left out, it's completely useless to the story and boring. The lengthy Tale of the Twins Who Weren't is long, but entertaining in it's sheer strangeness. The 140+ page Tale of the Adopted Daughter is a very sentimental piece that has undoubtedly brought some to tears.
All in all, an excellent (and weird, in the best sense of the word) book that you should enjoy unless you are put off by the controversial sex/incest issues. But then, if that were the case, you probably wouldn't be looking at reviews of post-Stranger RAH would you? Read and enjoy.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
sharon lee
As a reviewer further down the list has already noted, the reviewers of this book either love it and wish the world would become Heinlein's vision or hate it and pray daily that publishers will stop printing such blasphemy. I distrust both groups and seek to offer a more unbiased view here.
Heinlein is a man of incredible vision and creative "outside the box" type thinking. His ability to rise above the mores of our culture, creating a world where Earth's moral code seems absurd and the absurd code of his world seems normal is to be commended. It is hard to tell if he does this through skill or sheer repitition and inculcation. The odd ideas that many other reviewers object to, primarily about sexuality and incest in particular, do command a large proportion of the book's lengthy pages. However, that very foundation of ideas is what this book is about. What many either ignore, find insignificant or completely miss about the Future Histories series is an underlying structure built on progeny. Heinlein predates the current scientific pundits who now look to evolutionary biology to explain why we behave the way we do...genetic necessity.
Heinlein's main characters in this book are aware of the genetic responsibility they carry. They accept as their personal mission locating the best possible genes and creating life from it. Somehow in this socio-biological construct a new culture is born. This culture is founded on "love" which is strengthened by communities whose only true purpose is to protect and raise children. The rest is just details. All of Heinlein's Twainesque advice on practical living, individual responsibility and all things pragmatic boils down to the basics: don't be stupid or you might die. If you die, how are you ever going to have more babies?
Taking Heinlein's perspective on his own world (that is to say looking from outside as he does on our society), it is largely an empty place, bereft of cosmological significance. It is a place consumed by genetic computation whose main goal is to find superb DNA matches that will create more beings who can have more babies and on and on...and oh yeah there is always time enough for love(sex) because that is all that really matters.
In short, it is a LENGTHY and long winded treatise against illogical social mores with pacing that matches an encyclopedia. The only redeeming portion is the last 100 pages where Lazarus Long travels back in time to make love to his mother. The narrative here is the only point where RAH abandons his pulpit to actually tell a story and proves that he is in fact a talented and worthy writer.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
diego garc a campos
Time Enough for Love is basically an oral memoir of Lazarus Long, a man who has lived some 2,500 years. Ready to die, his decendants coax stories out of him about his life, both for their historical value and as a means of trying to get him to find a reason to keep on living.
As a friendly warning to people not familiar with Heinleins works from the early 60's onward - he weaves a strange, incestuous, extended family dynamic into the characters that can be a little jolting if you're not expecting it!
Heinlein creates a strong character in Lazarus Long. He's an opinionated, strong willed, pragmatic man who doesn't suffer fools gladly. He is a character who would be completely overbearing to be around in real life (unless you were submissive to his Alpha male posturing) - but is entertaining in the extreme when confined to the pages of a book.
As most Heinlein readers know, his books are Science fiction in name and setting only. Technology, gizmos, and creatures, when present, serve only as a colorful backdrop for the real story. Heinlein writes about human nature very well, and the numerous collected vignettes that surround the main storyline illustrate this nicely.
This book serves as a fine introduction to the Heinlein of the 60's and 70's.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book gives some autobiographical tidbits from the viewpoint of Heinlein's beloved rogue, Lazarus Long. When the phrase "Curl up with a good book" comes to my mind, this is the book I picture. Like many of Heinlein's other works, it seeks to educate the reader as it entertains.
The book is a string of stories narrated by Long, and Heinlein unabashedly uses Long to give the reader his personal views on life, government and politics, relationships, and many other subjects. Over four hundred pages of that, and I found nothing I opposed. However, that is not to say that they are all traditional views. It just means I am as wise - or as crazy - as Lazarus.
I recommend this fantastic piece of literature to anyone. My only complaint is the use of time travel, a plot device I personally despise. But I believe it was necessary for Heinlein to illustrate some of the taboos he wanted Long to overcome. Even with that drawback, I still rate the book good enough to deserve five stars.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
rebecca young
Why on Earth is this so expensive? Nearly $9 for a Kindle edition of a book that has been out for many years is just gouging from the publisher using their monopoly position. Stupid because it is so much cheaper to buy a second-hand copy that will pay them nothing.

Then there is the insane fact that I cannot even buy it - because I am British and this is not available on the! Since I now live

People like Sarah Hoyt are right (great Sci-fi writer BTW). Publishers are utter incompetents. They are completely redundant with the advent of cheap self-publishing, and are too ignorant and self-absorbed for the most part (like Mrs Hoyt I would except Baen, who seem sane) to give any value. Instead they just make things worse and more difficult, removing value, in exchange for money.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
christopher monsour
In Time Enough for Love Heinlein reintroduces a character and concepts he's written about before. As the novel opens, Lazarus Long, oldest living human, is near death, sick and dispirited. Considering that he is 2356 years old, this may not be surprising. However, in the society Lazarus lives in, death does not have to be the solution. In an effort to convince Lazarus, also known as "The Senior," to undergo rejuvenation (again), the head of the government strikes a bargain. The Senior's wisdom and experiences are too important to be lost if he chooses to die. The Chairman, Ira Weatheral, agrees to visit Lazarus every day to record his knowledge for posterity. In exchange, Lazarus agrees not to use the suicide switch in his room. The first time Ira fails to appear, the agreement is off. In the meantime, other staff members are working furiously to discover something new and unique to pique The Senior's interest and give him further incentive to live. Thus begins a long, wandering tale of the various events in Lazarus' life.

The details of Lazarus' long and illustrious life are discussed in a meandering, flashback fashion, while the current ongoing efforts to save his life are interwoven throughout. At some point midway through, it appears as though Heinlein tires of this style and fastforwards to a future time. Lazarus has evidently chosen to live and the book now centers on several of the inducements developed as encouragement during his darker days, including time travel.

Heinlein's character development is always interesting and this book is no exception. He introduces a variety of unique individuals with strong personalities, both women and men. Unfortunately, some people may be put off by the way this book wanders from topic to topic. At times it seems contrived and Heinlein introduces several concepts that may offend some readers. If you've never read anything by Heinlein, this may not be the book to start with. In my experience, readers either really like this book or really hate it. Personally, I've read it so many times and have found something new to enjoy and think about each time. I'd recommend it for mature readers, but it's not for the fainthearted.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Yes, it's probably the best book I've read too. It shows you a way of looking at life that makes a lot of sense and yet is so different from the current culture. I do believe many of these ideas will eventually become mainstream. So this is a useful book too, for it is full of good ideas and concepts for your own life.
However, I do see the point of view of people who dislike it and would like to point out what they may be missing, IMHO.
There are basically two groups, the ones who think Heinlein takes sex for love and the ones that think the book glorifies selfishness.
For the "sex" group, I would say that he is not saying love and sex are the same, but rather sex is a bridge for very deep love. How can one deny that when facing the fact that most people's most intimate relationships are with people they have sex with?
For the "selfishness" group, I would advise being careful, that's a very tricky point. What he is saying, I think, is that genuine love has to come from one's considering his or her own feelings first, *very* seriously. Most people are afraid of that idea, thinking that it will make them monsters or something, but everything turns out fine after some redefinitions :). RAH is talking about *true* love, but going a little deeper in its origins!
In the end, those two points about sex and selfishness boil down to the same: it is about the fact that *true* love for others *has* to be based on our own pleasures and desires -- and that that's ok!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
it will haunt you and follow you for years to come. If you are unwilling to question the way you look at yourself and your society do not read this book.

This is the further adventures of Lazarus Long, AKA Woodrow Smith, Aaron Sheffield etc. who has figured in other Heinlein stories. He is a member of the Howard families, a group of people who have been selectively bred for longevity. The story picks up long after humanity had traveled to the stars (long after many of Heinlein's previous works). Lazarus has returned home to die, he is tired and convinced that in his 2000+ years of life has 'done it all'. His decendants are not ready to see him go and try to convince him to rejuvenate again. He relates stories of his past and comments on what he has learned along the way.

The novel switches among various stories from Lazarus' past and the 'present', punctuated with his observations on life in general.

If you are a Heinlein fan this may be the best book you have ever read. If you are unfamiliar with Heinlein you might enjoy this more if you start with some of his earlier works. This one can stand alone but would make more sense if you have read some of the Future History stories.

As with almost all of Heinlein's work this one shifts gears along the way, starting as one story and ending as another. Also Heinlein has a tendency to go off on tangents. If you are a fan this is delightful, if not you may find yourself wondering how this author managed to avoid an editor.

This book will force you to think. Think about yourself, your society, your morals and all those things that you know are true. It should be added to Lazarus Long's list of things that everyone should do before they die.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
taylor scott
Robert A. Heinlein is unquestionably the greatest Science Fiction writer of all time. For anyone who doubts that this statement is true then you haven't read 'Time Enough For Love.' 'Time' is the story of Lazarus Long, a human being who was born in the early twentieth century but simply doesn't die. By the 42nd century, however, Lazarus has had enough. Having been 'rescued' from an attempted suicide Lazarus tells his story to one of his many decendants and finally embarks upon a quest of staggering dimensions all to keep from simply being bored. Throughout this novel the voice of the author is heard. From his sage wisdom to matters of simple common sense, Heinlein speaks through his creation with honesty, sentiment, and of course his trademark wit. The many other characters that populate this work are no less interesting. From a spaceship that longs to be human to Lazarus' own geneticly cloned sisters, these are characters in the rich Heinlein tradition. Heinlein also provides us with pages all dedicated to favorite sayings of his protagonist. These 'Notebooks of Lazarus Long,' of which another, beautifully illustrated book was created, make this novel worth reading alone. 'Time Enough For Love,' is one of those rare works of fiction that makes you laugh, cry, and most important of all, think. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys good Science Fiction or lovers of imagination in general.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
armand victor
When I was in high school, 25 years ago, I remember a friend praising "Time Enough for Love" to the rafters. So I read it, and could not understand the praise. I found it just okay. I remember thinking Lazarus Long, Heinlein's protagonist seemed kind of interesting--like a wanna-be Clint Eastwood--yet less cool and more...well...creepy.

But, I loved the Notebooks. And I won my freshman dorm-floor motto contest by stealing Lazarus' line, "Moderation is for monks."

Recently, I finally read Heinlein's earlier Future History volumes from the 40's and 50's, and reread the excellent "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" twice. So I opened "Time Enough for Love" in anticipation.

Boy, was I let down.

The novel is essentially a collection of short stories. There is an overarching structure, however. These tales are the alleged reminiscences of "the Senior," Lazarus Long, who is the oldest man in the universe who has given up on life. And, after he is done reminiscing, we follow him through some of his wanderings as his vigor renews itself.

The idea is thought-provoking. However, the execution rang flat for this reviewer.

A lot of people who wrote negative reviews here seem to object to the sexual content. I don't object. Instead, I felt embarrassed for Heinlein.

Overall, the sexual content reads like softcore porn--ergo, not very sophisticated or real. But "Time" contains some genuinely creepy sex as well. To begin with, Lazarus defends the incestuous marriage of a brother and sister. And then, he has himself cloned into two women. And then spends a few pages shagging them, as they beg him for babies. And, if this narcissism isn't unsettling enough, the Senior decides to go back in time to sleep with his mother.

Truly creepifying.

Thus, Heinlein collapses the universe into one huge, solipsistic morass. Which, it appears, that we are supposed to chuckle about.

This humor lands flat.

Another gripe: The dialog, especially from the women, seems cartoonish. Ishtar, Long's adopted daughter, etc. all throw themselves at the cynical old coot's feet, wanting to "have babies" with "the Senior," who is the jaded, oldest man alive. This does not sound like any conversation I have ever heard between a man and a woman.

Some other things bothered me as well. His view of genetics and "survival of the fittest" seem a little simplistic. For instance, sickle cell anemia is highly advantageous in malaria stricken areas. It is thus selected for. Thus, through pure luck, the progeny with misshapen red blood cells will be more successful than others.

Move that person to North America, though, and the mutation causes massive health issues. This sort of real understanding of genetics--that environments often select for traits which may be maladaptive in another environment, shed huge swaths of doubt on Heinlein's (at least Lazarus'--cannot be sure where the author's voice begins and his character's ends) near doctrinaire eugenics-tinged social Darwinian libretatianism.

However, since it is Heinlein, there is some pretty good story telling. Still, this book is a lot weaker than Heinlein at his best: Notably "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress", "Starship Troopers", "Past Through Tomorrow", and "Orphans of the Sky."
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This was my first Heilein book, but by no means my last. It was an extremely fun book, in which moments of out loud laughter, extreme sadness, wells of love, and worlds of anger occurred in me. I would encourage anyone who beleives he/she is open minded to read this book. You'll fall in love with his characters and learn to except his concepts. You may actually find yourself living by some of his philosophies because they make so damned much sense.
Particular to this book, Heinlein ports the view of one of his most widely appearing characters, Lazarus, and gives you enough reference to his other stories to make reading this book enjoyable. At the same time it gives you a good introduction to RAH and makes you want to read more of his books through the mentioning of other charaters (and a chance to grok them in fullness). The book has several story sections concerning different worlds and different characters (save Lazarus) so the reader never gets bored. This is definetaly one of the best books I've ever read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
arminda lindsay
We would all like to live for a couple of thousand years, but it's not going to happen. But Heinlein has crafted a picture of a world where it COULD happen (the original science is basic) and would'nt we love to be there!
His views on sexuality were outspoken for his time but are in mostly irrelevant as they contribute only a small part to the old fashioned story - rare enough these days - he has produced, of a real hero, the tough man with a soft centre.
The science fiction should be accepted, who knows, the science may not be so far away, and enjoy a story about a man who has enjoyed his life, something we all admire and envy him for. But, despite his good fortune relative to most of us, you cannot begrudge him anything, because you wish you were in his shoes!
A truly superb read, and a great opportunity to throw away our normal cynicism!
A lot of his work was very technical, but this is simply a great story, if you let yourself believe.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amr elbagoury
The excellent review by hyperpat describes Time Enough For Love far better than I could but to me Time Enough For Love IS Robert Heinlein. The main character, Lazarus Long, is a recurring auto-biographical character that Heinlein has used by different names in many books: Stranger In A Strange Land (Jubal Harshaw), Farnhams Freehold and The Puppet Masters to name just a few.
Lazarus Long (and Robert Heinlein) is the supremely competent (and sometimes obnoxious and overbearings) man, master of his own destiny and willing to risk all when the odds are right. After living more than 2000 years Lazarus is getting a bit tired of life (he can and HAS done everything) and needs something new to re-awaken his interest. Time Enough For Love is the story of his life and the efforts to give him a reason for living.
Like The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, two of the main characters are sentient computers. Just about everyone else in the book is a descendant of Lazarus because 2000 years of rampant sex tends to leave a lot of children behind!
Like most of his later works, Time Enough For Love spends much of its time on sexuality and alternative lifestyles. But at 600+ pages there's plenty of room for some prime Heinlein story telling. A MUST for all Science Fiction fans!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
tom cowdery
Time Enough For Love is one Heinlein's most famous books and is representative of his writing style, pacing and world view. He touches upon many sociological subjects and tackles a number of interesting subjects and taboo mostly related to sex, incest the meaning of love. That being said, after having his "big three" (Stranger In A Strange Land, The Moon is A Harsh Mistress and TEFL) I personally don't enjoy his work, I can understand why I'm in the minority.

TEFL follows the eternal Lazarus Long through his numerous adventures as he recounts his life while looking for reason to continue living. The novel is divided up into four main sections uneven in length in quality. There are times when Heinlein is right on target, examining social constructs, where they came from and how we deal with them. Then there are times when there isn't much going on.

I think my two biggest problems with the novel were its structure and main character. The makeup of the novel didn't lead to enough events happening nor did it produce any type of conflict normally needed to produce tension. The novel is extensively dialogue driven and Shakespeare this is not. Asimov got it right by mixing dialogue driven characters with at least some action but there is really very little going on in TEFL. The one story that has some semblance of dramatic events (The Adopted Child) is clearly everyone's favorite.

As the main character Lazarus Long is lacking. I kept drawing parallels between him and another famous fictional character: Lestat de Lioncourt from Rice's Vampire novels. Both obviously share the immortal parallel but Lestat's personality and flaws made him much more interesting as a character. Perhaps Long is a characterization of Heinlein himself and as we all know fiction is better then reality.

This book was nominated for the Hugo and Nebula in 1974. A particularly amazing year with Clark's Rendezvous With Rama and Niven's Protector also in the mix. Rendezvous is in a whole different playing field then the rest and won both awards hands down and deservedly so.

Bottom Line: Maybe a must read for Heinlein aficionados and readers of classic sci-fi but this just doesn't work as social sci-fi for me. Also the book is just too long.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
rizwana khan
Perhaps it was Heinlein's hormones; if the sex were removed, this book would be half as long. So first, let's consider the bones of this work.
It is a collection of writings- stories of the Howard families, bits of doggerel, and prescriptions for living- such as:
' This sad little lizard told me that he was a brontosaurus on his mother's side. I did not laugh; people who boast of ancestry often have little else to sustain them. Humoring them costs nothing and adds to happiness in a world in which happiness is always in short supply.'
-and- 'Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny.' (pp. 348-9)
But in the main, this is a saga of long life. Through a secret program, some gain longer lives- and rejuvenation adds to that. In combination with human colonization of the galaxy, this results in more successful colonies. To start, settlers are older, more experienced. They raise large families. The senior family members stay productive longer. Their finances are properly managed, soon initiating trade and accepting additional homesteaders- in some cases, mass migration of Howard families when in danger of persecution. Those chapters are imaginative.
It is narrated by Lazarus Long, who is witness to hard work, strange societies, and sweet sorrows- see 'The Tale of The Adopted Daughter', starting on p. 252. I stayed up until 2am to finish that and later it kept me awake thinking. That is powerful writing. (Four stars)
Having grown up on Heinlein's other works, which concern man's struggles against a hostile universe or making a success of himself, I feel this plot wanders. Worse, TEfL demotes women to objects of men's desire. Those who join themselves to a man keep home and family while he labors, then ardently warm his bed. (Minus one star)
On consideration, this hedonistic chronicle is short on science of space-travel, delegates civil administration to self-aware computers, but expounds (at length) on genetics. -and guiltless procreation.
For a stronger female lead, see Glory Road.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
TEfL is a very good book written by a great author. I debated giving it 5 stars because I have read other books (Stranger in a Strange Land, Atlas Shrugged, and a few others) which I consider a head above this book. Perhaps if the scale were to 100 I'd give this a 90 and the other two I mentioned a 100. I say this only because I found the book JUST A TOUCH boring at times (and highly enticing the rest of the time). As to the ideas he discusses (sex, society, love, life), I'd say Heinlein is dead on in just about all cases. If anyone would like to discuss any of these issues further, feel free to e-mail me. I would treat any discussion of these ideas with great vigor and dedication. I am a philosophy major (the rigorous analytic kind, not the poetic, fluty language continental kind)at Western Washington University, and I am interested in knowing the right answers, not sticking to societal dogmas (although perhaps some of those dogmas possess good content and so should be adhered to). So, write me if you want to discuss and argue.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
magdalen dale
I REALLY wanted to like this, and parts of it were quite good. I enjoyed the stories of old Laz, running around and all that. The setup felt awkward and needlessly complex, but I followed it well enough to get the rest of the story / stories. There was a general arc to the entire book, but much of it felt more like a series of novellas, loosely connected by the main character

That said, too much of this had the felling of talking / preaching at the reader - ME! I dont like being preached to, even when I generally agree with most of the sermon. I know a story always has the beliefs of the author in it, but in this book, it really had a "HAMMER YOU ON THE HEAD" feel to it. From such a well respected author who had so many years and books under his belt to hone his craft, I wouldnnt expect the delivery to be so amateurish.

I love the work of Robert Heinlein, I just hope a newcomer to his books wont judge the rest of his body of work based on this, because I didnt find it very good.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
paul samael
This book was just too grandiose. Heinlein could have cut in half and made a better novel.
I must say, though, that the most touching, poignant, and just darned greatest piece of writing in all of his library that I've read (3/4 of his novels) is here. That is in his serenading his one true love to sleep for the last time.
There are two or three songs that just might cause a tear to spring up under the right circumstances. George Bailey's friends made me sniffle just a bit this December. But the only time that a piece of writing ever affected me such was in the case of this one.
The ending was predictable, the (everpresent in his later stuff) group marriage thing was tiresome, there was too much fill. But this one golden moment is worth taking a look at the package.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
The description of this book is total crap. This is a great book that drew me in and I loved it. I read it so I have no idea what the audiobook narrator is like. But the store should have a description of the book as the description of the book! Not a review as the description. Don't let that review turn you off. This book got me more interested in sci-fi. Give it a chance. And the store, change the description to something objective not subjective please!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
sara samiee
Story of Lazarus Long, the mutant member of the Howard Families, the longest-lived man ever, the opener of the universe to mankind. Really about three or four plots in one novel (Heinlein was never loath to add a few thousand words to his tales); the outer plot is ~ nearly ~ just a convention to give shape to a series of short stories. Several of those short stories could easily have stood on their own ~ The Man Who Was Too Lazy To Fail, The Story Of 'Dorable Dora, for example ~ in fact, might have been better that way. The characters are both likeable and obnoxious; the views of Long are very closely those of Heinlein, as far as can be told, and are, as Heinlein's, not especially attractive to me. Nevertheless, he's an amusing rascal inhabiting a fun book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
While the rating of 4 stars is for the the book written by Heinlein, I have to put down my thoughts on the treatment of the store's ebook.

The are too many spelling mistakes and punctuation errors to ignore. Why are there so many mistakes in the ebook the store/publisher? Why are you selling faulty editions? It is speculated that some book publishers are adding a few mistakes as a means of low-tech "copy protection," but the total number of mistakes is horrible.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book is so ambitious and large in scope it is difficult to review. Just the science is breathtaking and the science is not even the main thrust of the story. Heinlein anticipates immortality due to advances in medicine. Sentient computers, faster than light space travel and time travel among other things. But this is just the back drop. The central theme of this book is love, in all its many forms. This story is told mostly from the perspective of Lazarus Long, the only human to manage to live to be over 2000 years old, and who remembers more of the history of the human race than any other man because he has lived it. As I read of his adventures, his triumphs, his failure and his loves I could almost imagine it was told by a man of that many years. This novel was put together as well as a Swiss watch and if you have any interest in Science fiction at all it is a must read. Heinlein was a master and it shows in this, his greatest work.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This was probably one of the best Heinlein books I have ever read... If you are interested in the ramblings of a 2000 year old man who had many adventures and exciting tales to convey than this is the book to read.. At first I was skeptical to pick it up because it is such a copious book... I thought it should have been titled "time enough to read" but after catching a cold and missing several days of work I finally relented and gave it a shot.. And all I can say is that was the best thing I could have ever done.. Lazarus Long is a very interesting and unique individual... On the outside he appears rude, obnoxious, cantankerous, disrespectful and arrogant.. But as you read on and learn more about the enigmatic Lazarus Long you start to see that he is much more... He is warm, loving, compassionate and zestful with a propensity for living life to the fullest.. This book although it isn't hard core science fiction it does however catch the heart of the reader... It explores the human spirit and gives a good hypothetical look as to the way Heinlein sees humanity today and in the future... Another important lesson which Heinlein incorporates in a subtle way is that elderly people should be honored and revered..This is something we don't do in our society since Americans are so apt about sending our old people into nursing homes...
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
L. Long is a hero's hero, and as his book chronicles his history, Heinlein is able to comment on a vast array of subjects that affect society, all centered around the loves and life of the hero Lazarus. It takes a few pages as Heinlein sets up the story, but once the book starts rolling it is a nonstop page turner even though it is actually many stories wrapped in a story that spaces many many decades and cultures.
Something of a futurist, Heinlein never loses sight of the fact that man is still man. Whether during world war two or in the future when he can fly to other worlds, man has to live, love, eat and work. This brillant work is my favorite Heinlein book and I while I highly recommend it, I'd perhaps recommend a reader that is new to Heinlein to start with "Stranger', 'Moon..' or even 'Friday' first, then come to this work with a little of his style under your skin.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
t kay chingona
This is definitely one of the best books I ever read. (That applies to most of Heinlein books, from my point of view). I have heard all kind of comments about his universe and people - from accusing him of fascistic ideas to being unpolitical about women and etc ad nauseam. Well, I am a woman and admit I would absolutely love to be like most of Heinlein's heroines and to be treated the same way. I suppose, one needs to know the difference between true respect and admiration (that's Heinlein position) and formal political correctness. As for fascism, nothing could be farther from that than Heinlein's arrogant individualism. Honestly, I am a bit sorry for those who do not understand and enjoy this novel - and other Heinlein books as well. They miss a lot!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
seda arar
I read this first in high school and twice over the last two decades. I'm listening to the audio version right now. The narration by Tom Weiner is what moved me to write this review. It's a mark of great skill when the audio version sparks tremendous emotion. I laughed and cried while listening.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
wendy harrison
I read this book a number of years ago, and recently reread it, and decided to post this review since I have decidedly mixed feelings about the book. It's really a series of novellas in the form of personal anecdotes told by the main character, Lazarus Long, who is about three thousand years old (thanks to a combination of natural longevity and periodic rejuvenation made available by advanced medical technology). The only thing that seems to tie them all together is the theme of love, and more particularly, certain forms of sexual love and the taboos that are associated with them. In this book, Heinlein focuses most clearly on incest, and his main point seems to be that so long as incestuous unions produce no defective children, there isn't a thing in the world wrong with them. Perhaps that is so, perhaps not, but I am not so convinced as Heinlein that people can freely engage in sex of any sort, and simply bypass all the emotional pitfalls and hang ups that trip us mere mortals, but never seem to trip up the characters in his books.

I give this book two stars because there are parts of it I enjoyed tremendously, and which show Heinlein at his best as the great storyteller he was. "The Tale of the Adopted Daughter" is the best story of the book, and the end is particularly heart wrenching. I also liked aphorisms, some of which are collected in the "Notebooks of Lazarus Long" and some of which are peppered throughout the narrative, which display Heinlein's wit and wisdom to great effect. That's the good.

The bad is the frankly unbelievable characterization of the women in this book. I remember attending a sci fi convention in Dublin, Ireland in the early `90s, at which novelist Anne McCaffrey was a guest. In a question and answer session at the con, somebody brought up Heinlein, and she expressed her great admiration for him as a writer, but opined that his greatest weakness was an inability to write believable female characters. This reiterated a complaint about Heinlein that I have heard many times before and since: his female characters just don't ring true. I agree. Yes, yes, I know they are all largely based on his wife, Virginia, and perhaps she really was much like the women he wrote. But that's the problem: it all female characters shouldn't be based on a single exemplar. Heinlein's wife may have been like that, but most women, in my experience, are most definitely not.

The biggest problem I have with the women in this book is how they are OBSESSED with procreation. Not just interested in having children or willing to have children, but single-mindedly fixated on having children, and on having Lazarus Long's children in particular. ALL the women in the book are like this. Every one, with the single exception of his mother, whom he travels back in time to meet (but she still wants to have sex with him). Not only do these women all want to have his children, they take it as a grave personal insult when Lazarus shows any reluctance to give them one. The slave girl he buys along with her brother to rescue them from mistreatment; the girl he raises as his adopted daughter, whom he saves from a house fire at the age of three; the women who work at the rejuvenation clinic where his youth is restored for the umpteenth time; the woman who is actually a sentient computer's consciousness downloaded into a clone body, and even his own genetic "twin sisters" (who are actually cloned female replicants of him, with their Y chromosomes being replaced by an identical copy of the X chromosomes) - they ALL want to have his children, are offended when he demurs, and some of them even go off and cry when he refuses to give them what they want. What women behave like this? I understand that Heinlein was writing about a future society more sexually liberated than ours. Mores and attitudes about sex would be different there, again, I understand. But basic human nature doesn't change that much. What would make any man so overwhelmingly desirable to ALL women? Especially a man like Lazarus Long, who is described as not very attractive, rather surly, acerbic, sarcastic, domineering, bullheaded, and highly opinionated. Why aren't there ANY women he just rubs the wrong way and who thus aren't attracted to him? Not only are there not, but every woman seems eager to jump in the sack and make a baby with him within days or even hours of meeting him. This is simply not believable.

Another gripe I have about this is the idea that these women all have legitimate grounds to be very offended and emotionally hurt when Lazarus objects to giving them a baby. Excuse me, but in my book (and most other people's, I suspect) fatherhood carries with it some pretty heavy responsibilities. Kids aren't something to be handed out like party favors. Raising a child is a lot of work, and so a father ought to stick around and help raise a child he sires. And even if a woman were quite willing, and indeed would prefer to do the job of child rearing all by herself, and would not want to tie herself to the man in a permanent relationship, the man himself, I think, would have quite legitimate grounds for not agreeing to be party to any such arrangement. He might very well object to fathering a child and then having no part of raising it. It might clash very strongly with his sense of duty to give a woman a baby and not stay around to be father to it. And since he might not want to settle down to any such role at the present time, he might have very legitimate grounds to refuse to impregnate a woman just because she asks him. So I find this idea that these women are, and ought to be, offended just because Lazarus won't instantly agree to make a baby with them, a rather strange one.

So all in all, while I enjoyed this book, it definitely has its bad points, and they hurt the overall quality, as far as I am concerned. Unlike some of Heinlein's other books, such as "Starship Troopers" which I like almost unreservedly, this one is definitely a mixed bag. It will appeal to Heinlein fans, but if you have never read any of RAH's work, I'd recommend starting with another one of his books before picking up this one.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
gabriella gabriel
Time Enough for Love is one of the most famous books from one of the "Big Three" in Science Fiction: Robert Heinlein (the others being Clarke and Asimov). To know my context: many of my favorite books are in science fiction (even though most sf is really bad) because of their vision of the future in all sciences: technological, philosophical, political, etc and at the same time the reflection of our own current day society in hindsight of that possible future world. I already read quite some books from the Big Three, so I did not hesitate to pick this one up.

The book structure is that we get to know Lazarus Long, aka Woodrow Wilson Smith, aka some other aliases. Lazarus was born around 1912 (a few years later than Heinlein himself). Lazarus' family was member of a foundation that tried to breed humans with a longer lifespan. Apparently it worked because we meet Lazarus when he is some thousands of years old (because of his genes in combination with rejuvenation techniques), being the oldest human alive. In the meantime spaceflight has been invented and because of being one of the first pioneers in inhabiting other planets and because of constant 'reproduction' most people in the universe are descendant from Lazarus in some way or another.

Lazarus is asked to share his wisdom he got through his unique experiences by one of his descendants who rules one of the most important planet nowadays: Secundus. Lazarus does this by telling some of the tales of his life. The book contains four of these tales, which all are self-contained in their own right.

The Good:
Heinlein explores many of his interesting ideas. He has ideas on politics (e.g. democracy doesn't work), lifestyles (e.g. being a workaholic brings nothing), war (futile, not good for your life expectancy), biology (e.g. rejuvenation), time travel (no paradox), A.I. (living entities, pretty spectacular given the book's date), marriage (is a contract for raising children: it doesn't need to be permanent, it doesn't need to include exactly two people) but most dominantly given the title of the book: love.

Predominant is actually forbidden love: incest. Heinlein's observation is that incest is currently a taboo because of the biological consequences: unhealthy children. But what if biologists are able to determine as a certainty that an incestial relationships will result in a healthy baby? Would it then still be wrong? Heinlein's conclusion is no. Given the date of the book, this was probably a very provocative idea. Personally I do not find it provocative and I agree with him, why not?

A big plus that should be mentioned are the notebooks, a collection of one-liners, bundled as intermission between some chapters of the book. They are great, witty and insightful.

The Bad:
I have no real moral objection against incest given that if babies are produces they are healthy (which generally is not the case). However, almost every sub-story goes into a big deal of trouble of finding different kind of incestial relationships. About half way through the book I really got sick and tired of it and wished he would change subject, but I already felt he wouldn't. Note that it is not all about sex, also other kinds of love, but it still is the same to me.

Another major problem are the females. They don't behave as the females I know. They all want to have "kinky" sex all day long the second they are no longer a minor (no explicit sex until a little at the very end however). They all choose mates based on genetic patterns. They all think long life is the one characteristic that outweighs all others. They all want to have babies constantly. And they all want Lazarus, especially a baby by him. He is described as being unattractive. He is grumpy, usually not immediately willing and they usually know him for just a few days without him doing something extraordinary. Sometimes even without knowing who or what he is and the females might being married, have eight children, etc (i.e. his mother). Sometimes the female is even just a 'female computer'. Still immediately they love him and want his baby. Totally unbelievable.

Also, if you look for hard science fiction then you should stay away from this one. There are not a lot of really scientific ideas (no focus on it anyway). Space travel is actually just a given, similar as in many space operas. Well known problems like time-dilution simply seem not to exist. A big portion of the story plays in a 1900-setting anyway. Too bad (if that was what you were looking for).

There are quite some great, sometimes provocative, ideas in the book. However one of them, the least interesting in my eyes, is very dominant. While you really have to search to find the others. This gives me some mixed feelings about this work. I love Heinlein's great ideas, I love the dialogue that make things come to life. Though, I wish he would have made it a little more exciting and mixed story and dialogue and mix the ideas to narrate about. Instead of focusing on the family-relations all of the time as he did now.

So, is it worth reading? Yes. Is it among his (or SF's) best? No.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Life is short as the bloom of a flower. Yet what if life is unlimited? Will time still have meaning? What will human relationships become, if one lives forever? Robert A. Heinlein in his Time Enough For Love explores the possibility of a virtually eternal life through the perspectives of a 2300 year old Senior and his many descendants.But the story is more than a sentimental or a sensational recounting of adventures, and that is what makes the novel a food for thought. Time Enough for Love is a hammer to the sexual and social taboo in today's society. Homophobia is destroyed from the first chapter, and incest is the next issue to be explored. The author treats incest as a scientific rather than a moral issue, thus offered alternatives to human relations. It would be absurd, however, if one is to suggest that the author is peddling incest, for this is not his intent. The novel merely poses the question: Will incest be wrong if it can bring no harm to any party involved? The possibilities of polygamy and monogamy are being given full chance to demonstrate their pros and cons. Prostitution becomes a redeemed occupation, being in the realm of art, and love is all that counts. Though any reader may accuse the author of being an idealist, the book nonetheless provides an opportunity to reflect upon the validity of some accusations toward several social phenomenon in the present age.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
janette mckinnon
This book is weird! When i first read it, i didnt really like it, and would've given one or two stars probably. Upon re-reading it however, i was finally able to see it for what it is. It is NOT your usual shoot-em-up sci-fi book, like say Heinleins Puppet Masters and the Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Rather it is more of a philosophical look into the nature of love itself. The main character Lazarus Long is a very interisting man who has lived to be more than two thousand years old and the book mainly tries to show what "wisdom" he has gained in his extraordinary life. A very good book, though you may have to read it more than once to appreciate it. The notebook of Lazarus Long's sayings in the Intermission alone is worth the price of this book. Buy it!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
melissa somerton
I read this book when I was about 12 and fell in love with the characters, I reread it as an adult and realized I was still in love with them, but I discovered a book much more complex that I remembered. A book like this doesn't come along very often, it can be enjoyed on so many levels that I never tire of it. It is one of those rare books that is at once comfortable and unsettling. I have recommended this book often and found that, while some of the ideas and situations can be difficult to reconcille with today's accepted mores and values, a reader with an open mind invariably enjoys it and goes on to read more of the Grand Master's work.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
abhishek shandilya
Time Enough For Love is science fiction of the old school -- sci fi as an exploration and extrapolation of ideas, rather than a western with space ships and ray guns.
Almost every review of this book gives it either 5 stars or 1, so be aware that you'll either love this book or you'll hate it. If you understand what Heinlein is doing, you'll give it 5 stars, and if you don't you'll get caught up in the incest, prostitution, group marriage, etc. and give it 1.
Heinlein takes a 4000 year old man who has done EVERYTHING that there is to do in this world -- the challenge is to find something that will make him want to keep living. In the end, the thing that keeps him alive is the same thing that has kept him going for 40 centuries: love. Heinlein's examination of love in all of its forms and the return of Lazarus Long's desire to live are the backbones of the story.
Many reviewers have exposed their own hangups by focusing on the sex in the book. Yes, there is sex, including prostitution and incest, but these reviewers aren't seeing the forest for the trees. Sex is examined as one component of love, but Heinlein makes very clear early in the book that sex and love aren't at all the same thing. He also makes it clear that he wants to discuss love, not sex.
Along the way Heinlein discusses maternal love, paternal love, love of self, love among groups (no, *not* group sex -- group love), intellectual/spiritual love (Minerva and Ira), platonic love...I could go on, but you get the idea. Heinlein even gives Lazarus a female clone so that love of self/narcissism/solipsism can get a real philosophical workout! These aren't excuses for sexual hijinks, as some libido-obsessed reviewers seem to believe; there's something going on here besides titillation folks, if you pay attention.
Some warnings: this is not sci-fi adventure in the laser gun/warp drive vein, nor is it alien contact a la Arthur C. Clarke. This is sci fi used to examine the most important of human emotions -- it could be mainstream literature except that some of Heinlein's ideas require super-longevity, time travel, etc. to be fully presented. If you're looking for a plot driven book where Event 1 leads to Event 2 leads to Event 3, all coming to a head when Hero 1 defeats Villian 1 at the end, look elsewhere.
Second warning: Heinlein is very didactic in this book. If you don't want to put on your thinking cap, or if you want a fast-moving, action-packed plot, may I suggest the Star Wars books?
Enjoy. It's one of the best books, science fiction or otherwise, ever written.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
pablo laurito
Way back at the beginning of Heinlein's writing career his editor at Astounding, John W. Campbell, published the 'Future History', a two page listing of Heinlein's projection of the significant individuals and scientific, economic, and political events of the next 700+ years, along with a list of story titles that brought each of these events to life. At that time, most of those stories hadn't been written, and from some of the notes and statements in interviews that Heinlein made in the fifties and sixties, it looked like some of those originally projected stories would never be written, most significantly the final entry, "Da Capo". Finally, in 1973, when everyone had given up hope, this book appeared, a book that put the finishing touches on the Future History, a book that closes with that final story.

But before reaching that final story, we are given a cornucopia of other stories, as Lazarus Long, now some 2300 years old, is induced to reminisce about his life as part of a complex deal to preserve the 'wisdom' of the oldest man alive. Each of the stories that Lazarus relates are fairly complete by themselves, and many authors would have chosen to publish each of them separately, but Heinlein chose to keep them all as one piece, as each story helps to illuminate his overriding theme, on just what is love in all of its myriad aspects and why it is so important to man's survival as a species.

The first of the tales, "The Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail", may be the weakest of any of the stories, but for those who know something about Heinlein's life, this story is very clearly autobiographical in nature, with some changes in names and places to protect the innocent.

"The Tale of the Twins Who Weren't" brings to light the ease with which Heinlein could switch between first and third person along with some detailed commentary on genetics and the reasons incest is normally consider taboo, all neatly folded into a story of individual growth from illiterate slave to successful entrepreneur.

But the next tale, "The Tale of the Adopted Daughter", is worth the price of this book all by itself. A very quiet, simple tale of pioneering that would not be out of place sitting on the Westerns shelf, though it has a unique science fictional aspect - but by the end of the story tears are definitely in order. The excellence of this story can be judged by the fact that its emotional impact is not lessened even on second, third, and fourth readings, when you know exactly how it ends. This story does much to illustrate that love is far more than just sex, although there is certainly a lively interest in that oldest sport displayed by all participants here.

The outer story in which these stories are embedded like sparkling diamonds evolves from a pretty standard plot device for presenting back stories to an intriguing story of its own, as we follow the attempts of various and sundry to give Lazarus a reason for living again, to find some new experiences that are not just a rehash of things he has done a thousand times before.

But it is also this 'present' time story that leads to the objections that many people have with this book: its apparent near-obsession with sex between close relatives. In one case it is more than close, it is narcissistic, dealing with Lazarus' relations with twin female clones of himself. It seems that many see only the sex, and don't look beyond it to the larger picture that Heinlein is presenting of all forms of love, including some essentially platonic forms, and that all of them can provide a means for 'growing closer' with another and enriching the lives of all involved.
In-between these stories are the 'Notebooks', a collection of aphorisms and other 'pearls of wisdom' that Lazarus has supposedly collected during his long life. Many are humorous; just about all of them have a spike of truth curling through them. My favorite of this group is probably "A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain" or possibly "An elephant: a mouse built to government specifications" but everyone will probably find something here that is appealing.

The Notebooks are some succinct examples of something that Heinlein scatters throughout this book, his opinions on government, slavery, marriage, politics, revolutions, prisons, family organizations, the value of money, 'consciousness' both organic and computer based, betting, Darwinian selection, true 'intelligence', conscription, advertising, religion, the purpose of war, and just about every other subject you can imagine. While you may not agree with many of these opinions, Heinlein presents his views in such a way that you will be forced to at least examine why you believe your own opinions are correct.

And finally we come to the last section of the book, where Lazarus time-travels back to meet his parents in the Kansas City of 1916. Heinlein manages to create a beautiful image of that time and place, its moral codes, its hypocrisies, its charms, of an entire way of life that has just about totally vanished from the American scene. Few fictional histories approach this section for being able to put the reader into their chosen time frame.

This book is the capstone to the Future History, apparently planned at least in part when the History was first conceived, a remarkable achievement in scope, theme, and sheer story telling. It was nominated for the 1974 Hugo Award, and fully deserved that honor.

Edited July 2014: While reading William H. Patterson's Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better, (highly recommended reading for any Heinlein fan, along with the first volume of the biography, Learning Curve ), I came across the statement that "The Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail" episode was not based directly on Heinlein's own experiences but rather on those of an Annapolis classmate, Delos Wait. As Patterson has been extremely meticulous in his research on Heinlein's writings, I will go with his version for the source of this story. Regardless, the story does have points of intersection with Heinlein's own experiences, some of which ended up of the pages of many of his other books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is a great book. How about releasing it for kindle? Give it this same 7.99 price, and I'll buy it right now. While you're at it, publish all of Heinlein's other great books on Kindle and I'll buy those too.

You publishers have nothing to lose by publishing to Kindle. Consider: Under no circumstances will I buy another Heinlein paperback. For one thing, I already have most of Heinlein's stuff in paperback. For another, I'm done with paper books. Finally, as I said before, I'd love to give you my money for these books AGAIN, if only you'd make it available on Kindle for a reasonable price (i.e. same as paper back or less.)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
TEFL--Time Enough For Love--is an amazing novel in that it challenges society's moral notions and shows that all things are relative and right and wrong is merely what you are trained to believe. Many reveiwers point to the incest and other sexual themes of the book in their objections to it, but they fail to see that incest is being used as a tool to get them to respond in the way they do. Heinlein uses a taboo subject to get an emotional response. By this method he attacks all morality. If you were to live for over two thousand years, your morals might change, just as society and everything else has changed. Lazarus Long is as much a metaphor for Western Society as he is for the Church, the family, and fiction itself. No subject is too sacred for Heinlein's pen. There is no sacred cow in this book that has not been attacked elsewhere, but this is probably the most enjoyable attack on social conventions that I've ever read. Science fiction is probably the only genre where such an attack can be disguised as entertainment. The only other book that that comes close is Stranger in a Strange Land, also by Heinlein, but I found Lazarus Long is a much more enjoyable character because of all of his faults than is Micheal Valentine Smith, who is too nice. TEFL's quality is marred by two things, Heinlein's sexism and hypocritical assertions that women are equal (if they were, he'd write them that way), and the episodic nature of the book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tom lawton
One of my favorite by Heinlein, it's a nice long book, his others always leave me wanting more, but this one is fully satisfying. People who haven't read Methusaleh's Children will be completely clueless about some of the characters contained in this novel, so read that before you even consider tackling this novel. I see that many have complained about the sex contained in this work, but I feel they've missed one of Heinlein's strongest points in the book, that "morals" are something inflicted upon us as children, and that those who are truly "moral" develop their own code of honor based on their life experiences.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
naomi cohen
Time Enough For Love is the story of Lazarus Long, an immortal man, who to
combat boredom in the future does such things as clone twin girls from
himself and travel back in time to meet his mother. This is Heinlein at
his adult best, no more children's stories, and the book probably should
carry an R rating for some of the kinkiness it explores. Totally loved the
book when I first read it, and it sparked an interest in Heinlein which I
have to this day.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jane ward
In my unqualified opinion, this novel is not science fiction per se but really a biography of Lazaurus Long. This novel tells of the many lives Long lived in his 2000 year long space faring career as well as the life he would live thereafter. In some ways, I am tempted to think that Heinlein wanted to publish old Lazaurus Long stories, but at the same time these stories that he presents in the book do have one theme in common: what does it take for a human to live? Is it merely to survive? Is it family?

Here Heinlein takes us on a journey to not only answer that main question of why to live but also to know Lazaurus Long better as a person, as a human being.

Although I throughly enjoyed this book, why I took off one star is merely because this book is not for readers who want to read Heinlein for the first time. You're better off reading his earlier 'Future History' stories before tackling this one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I don't remember when I first read "Time Enough for Love", but suffice it to say I wore out 2 (and almost 3 now) paperbacks over the years rereading it at least a few times per year. It ties together all of his "Future History" stories, but it is far more than that. It is by far my favorite novel. Heinlein creates real characters with believable strengths and weaknesses, and his writing will make you think, make you laugh and make you cry. Lazarus Long is a loveable scoundrel with a heart of gold, and you fall in love with the other members of his family. I've been waiting for 2 years for it to be available in the Kindle version, so now I don't have to worry about the pages falling out as I read! "The Tale of the Adopted Daughter" could stand alone as a masterpiece, and it's just one part of the marvelous mosaic Heinlein has created.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
When polling Heinlein fans, a number of books come up over and over again at the top of the favourites list. Time Enough for Love is one of those books. It covers some of the lives of Lazurus Long, eldest known member of the "Howard Families" - a group of humans specifically bred for long life, due to a genetic mutation. The story starts in the year 4000 and something, and works its way forwards and backwards in time, mostly using reminiscences of Lazurus while he's undergoing "rejuvenation" - a process whereby the mind is transferred into a cloned body (I think ... it's deliberately vague). As usual, the plot is simply a ploy to allow Heinlein to muse philosophic on the usual range of his favourite topics - government, religion, and sex.

Heinlein is notorious for revisiting the same themes over and over again in his books. It's to his credit that he doesn't always reach the same conclusions. Unfortunately, I found myself growing impatient numerous times when reading TEfL. Parts of the plot are basically stolen directly from "I Will Fear No Evil" and others from "Farnham's Freehold." True: the plotlines are better in this book than in its predecessors, but it still makes it seem repetitive. More damaging is the fact that Heinlein's "never rewrite" rule is on glorious display here: a date with a red pen could have eliminated 100 pages and created a book with much better flow.

Time Enough for Love is at its best when Heinlein is not beating us over the head with his (Lazurus's?) philosophies - i.e. when Lazurus is retelling his stories. The best is the tale of Lazurus's wedding to his adopted daughter, and their adventures as pioneers on a lawless and unforgiving planet. The other main problem with Heinlein's philosophising is his deliberate attempt to be provocative, regardless of logic or scientific merit. For example, he repeatedly asserts that incest is an invention of religion with no scientific basis. While it's true that writers of religious texts did not have a knowledge of genetics, it's also true that most incest taboos ARE designed for the purpose of preventing destructive genetic traits from propagating. Even if the priests didn't understand why the taboo needed to exist, it was clear what the effects of inbreeding were.

Part of the problem with this book, for me, is that I despise provocation for provocation's sake. Without logic or a convincing argument to back it up, I grow impatient, especially when such things are repeated over and over. (Considering that Lazurus has sex with 2 sisters, his mother, and his adopted daughter, you see how often the incest issue has the opportunity to come up!) It's a shame, because some genuine thoughtful insights end up getting buried by the sensationalism - one that is particularly relevant today (with the George W. Bush doctrine of bringing/forcing democracy onto middle-eastern countries) is the observation that democracies often start out life as small elites forcing democracy on the majority (e.g. the U.S. and French Revolutions, the English Civil War, etc.).

There is a good book buried in Time Enough for Love. Certainly, I recommend it over earlier (and even less polished) works like "I Will Fear No Evil." In fact, I recommend it unreservedly for its attempt to shake the status quo (and yes, it's provocative even today). Unlike a lot of Heinlein books, there is a satisfying ending (there's even a little surprise twist at the end, but it's set up over the course of the entire book, so the surprise is earned). However, be prepared for repetition and stretches of irritation when Heinlein just doesn't seem willing to get on with it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jennifer hackett
I 1st read this book as a teen in a constuction camp outside Mt Isa in Queensland Australia. The year was 1974 and I was about to turn 18. I am now 53 and the book I am currently reading is one and the same. A bit dog eared but not too bad for my 3rd copy of this book.
I am an unashamed Heinlein fan with a copy of every one of his books but this is by far my favourite . . .
But if you buy and read this, then I suggest you get Methuselah's Children, Revolt in 2100, The number of the beast, The Cat who walked through walls and my 2nd favourite read of all time To sail beyond this sunset . . .
And remember . . .
Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavour of life, take big bites.
Moderation is for monks.
Excerpt from the notebooks of Lazarus Long
From the novel
`Time Enough for Love'
By Robert A Heinlein
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
twila bennett
My very first introduction to Heinlein was 1967, I was fourteen years old. I was spending the summer with my aunt as my family went back to Illinois to make our move to North Carolina. My aunt lived in a very small town, but the library, while small, was jammed with books in every possible corner. I found books not through the card index, but walking up and down the aisles of books reading the titles of each. When I came upon Space Suit, I immediately wanted to read that book, and it fit that I would as I was a youth reading a youth title. Since that time I have probably read that story 90 to 100 times. It still grabs my imagination and runs with it. From that book, I began a search for every other Heinlein title and read almost everything he wrote. He had many "youth" titles I felt, but finally I moved into the adult fiction and continued my quest to read them all.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Read this book in the 1970's, took me 3 starts, but when I finished it I said it was one of the best books I every read. My old paperback is old and sticky so I got it on my Kindle so I can re-read it next year when I retire. I so look forward to reading it again!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
valerie dawson
"Time enough..." was my "entry" book to Heinlein, and my "turn on switch" to Sci-Fi. Before it, all I had read was Isaac Asimow (and still love the good doctor...), and my interest for the matter was quite superficial. But when I started this one, and could never put it down, I discovered Sci-Fi could be much more than good story-telling! Heinlein has a way of making his stories double-meaning: you can read them as nice Sci-Fi tales, or you can think better, and find new ways to see Life, Mankind, and even God! Here is an excellent example of this: it goes from morals to adventure, from sex to family, from war to peace, and it never stops making full sense! You can disagree with Heinlein's ideas, but I strongly recommend that you don't miss knowing them!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Time Enough for Love I found out to be an excellent sci-fi book about a man(named Lazarus) who has lived for well over 2,000 years and is tired of life. The government on the planet Secundus is trying to find this unique man in order to learn from what he has learned and try to figure out how he has survived for over 2 millenia before he dies. When they do find him they half way rejuvinate him and they try to convince him to complete the full rejuvination process and continue to live. Lazarus eventually decides to live on, only if they find him something new to do in life and the story launches from there. This story takes place in the year 4272 and it is interesting to see Heinleins view of the distant future and this book is very well put together from the different tales in the book to the notebooks of Lazarus which are life rules one must abide by in order to survive. If you are looking for one book to read by Heinlein I would suggest you read this one I promise you won't regret reading this one!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kelly schroeter
If you make a decision to look outside of the box that is latter-day doctorine and dogma, you will find that this book contains nothing but sense and genuine good ideas. Don't allow what you have been taught is right to influence what you feel is right. If you care that's all you need.
This is a superb piece of work which I would encourage everyone to read. I belive it must come close to answering the question posed at the start of the book, 'What is love?' If you've ever wondered or questioned your own feelings, READ THIS!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
david antrobus
What can I say about this books? Heinlien never quite managed the masterpiece he was attempting, he did however come very close to providing the biting intellegent commentary on "Egoism" that he seemed to be aiming for. Time enough for love combined the best of his ideas with the worst of his plot devices. What do I mean by that? Well, what, for instance was the need for the last few chapters? Was there really any reason to progress so far and then to run back to attempting to shock the readers (us) into rejecting, out of hand, all possibility of associating with Lazarus? Ok, I can take any of the incestous, homosexual, polyandry, monogamy(spit, to stay with the ideals) but Oedipian Love? Was it nessecary? I don't mean to be a prig but..... ... man, you'd done enough already! .....
I suppose I can stop ranting now. Don't get me wrong, I loved the book. I love the way he shows the computers and I agree with his attitude to life. That's why I'll not take a mark off my rating. Any book which makes you associate with the main character is good and this one really made you associate. A bit like Stranger In A Strange Land, in that it makes you feel like a 2300 year old cynic... Anyone who's bothering to read this might note also that I highly recommend reading this book to anyone who wants to see what classic SF *should* be like. - Oh yeah - and anyone else too. END
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
tayllor wright
Yes, this book has some issues, and could defintley have been whittled down some, HOWEVER, and this is a big however, there are moments in this book where fabulous and creative scifi is seamlessly blended with epic romance on a scale and to a depth that few writer ever achieve, and for Heinlein fans, a level he never achieves again. One thing I would have to say - this is all Heinlein - so yes, if you don't like this, you won't like his other work.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
katherine kirzinger
It's not Heinlein's best, which is like saying "an inferior grade of diamond," apologies to Spider Robinson. It's still better than 99% of the SF ever written. Although a lot of people complain that there is too much sex in this book, Heinlein mainly treats sex in a logical, scientific manner, often going into great detail about the genetics involved. The one fault of this story is that it is actually not a story but several rolled up into one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
laura wilson
I've read this book and lent it out to friends so many times that I am now on my third copy. Heinlein's "Time Enough For Love" is a personal favorite of mine for a number of reasons:
Firstly, his stories and writing style are my cup of tea, with interesting plotlines and unequalled depth of character. The whole Lazarus Long saga is so epic in its proportions, and is so well plotted, that it is difficult to believe RAH didn't plan it all out when he started writing back in 1939. The way in which he is able to bring together various and sundry characters from stories he wrote decades ago is truly a wonder to behold. "The Tale of the Adopted Daughter" is a 150-page testament to love. It never fails to bring me to tears.
I also happen to agree with most (but not all) of Heinlein's philosophies of personal responsibility, independence, competence, and self-reliance.
"The Notebooks of Lazarus Long" sections strewn throughout the novel are themselves worth the price of the book. There is so much good old-fashioned horse sense in those sections, you could drive a Conestoga wagon with it.
Read and enjoy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Awesome novel about a man whos had 1000s of hot women. This freaks out the married people and haters. A man who is so vastly wealthy he has done it all. Ancestor to many currently alive people. An awesome expose of egoism. Capitalism is the only moral system. his only fault si when the ancestor suggest you should not kill off the equalitarians aka democrats. If he had said do it, then ti would have been a much greater novel. Fun and don't listen to the whiners.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
maggie mae
Was one of my favorite books when I first read it years ago. It still is, although my insights as I read were different now. Occasionally the book seems to drag, but then I realize why I needed to know that info to understand things later. Although the book is many pages, I sometimes felt that there was more that could have been said about certain events and situations. I would love to have more and more about the life of Lazarus's like listening to that old uncle who had such a fascinating life. And then you realize that you have also been given the opportunity to look at your own life and examine ideas and beliefs you took for granted. Multi-level, well-written and a fun read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I am flabbergasted about the amount of people that believe that this book is about incest. It's not, plain and simple. While it does contain incest the theme of the book does not center around it. It's a story of a man who has lived over 2000 years and how his attitudes and beliefs have changed. Including his beliefs about incest. "The Tale of the Adopted Daughter" is one of the best stories by far. Even though I have read it countless times, it still makes me cry.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I found this book to be Heinlein's most enjoyable read for me. Though it wasn't the highest in terms of quality it was the highest in my opinion in terms of enjoyability. STARSHIP TROOPERS and STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND dealt more with serious topics. I enjoyed seeing the different adventures that Lazarus Long had. I especially liked the tale of the adopted daughter. This book mainly dealt with the human condtion of love and its many forms. It is a very light read but also very enjoyable if you allow yourself to plunge through the first 20 to 30 pages whihc may seem a little boring to some people.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
karen merullo
I recall hearing somewhere that the "golden age" of science fiction wasn't during some decade in the middle of the 20th Century. The "golden age" is more like about 12. Science fiction is generally written for an immature, mostly male readership, and Heinlein's novels provide the best illustration of this fact.
While other reviewers draw attention to the allegedly sexually radical aspects of _Time Enough for Love_ (which seem pretty tame in the age of Jerry Springer, Internet porn and "Girls Gone Wild" videos advertised on television), I'm struck by just how little verisimilitude this novel displays. Heinlein made most of it out of his own imagination, and it amuses me that people who seem to lack a sense of irony read all sorts of "wisdom" into Heinlein's sex- and Social-Darwinist power fantasies.
I'm not holding it against Heinlein that he didn't live for centuries, fly on spaceships, break the sod on other planets or travel backwards in time. How could he have? That's why it's called "science fiction."
But I do find it odd that Heinlein set himself up as an authority about all sorts of things he knew nothing about from his own experience. Keep in mind that he had to take up writing as a career because his chronic ill health kept him from pursuing the active life he would have preferred. (Contrast Heinlein with his contemporary Ernest Hemingway, who did engage in the kinds of dangerous physical experiences he was able to incorporate into his fiction.) To the best of my knowledge, Heinlein never killed anyone, had children, fought in a war or lived in a group marriage. That didn't stop him from writing about such activities as if he had actually done them, but these aspects of his novels seem to me like the fantasies of a physically frustrated man. Heinlein's emphasis on the importance of baby-making seems especially curious in light of his simultaneous belief in Malthusian catastrophes.
Reading a Heinlein novel is usually a better way to pass your time than watching television, but I wouldn't confuse his characters' curmudgeonly philosophies with advice that could work in the real world.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
darlene c
This was loaned to me by a friend because I'd never read anything but Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein. The book is a good read, very tedious at times, and I didn't enjoy a lot of the "present day" portions of it. However, the "stories" that Lazarus Long was telling about his past life were quite interesting. My favorite is probably the original "Dora" tale of the homesteading life. There was something rather sweetly tragic about that one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
deb odland
Time enough for love is a loose memoir of one of Heinlein's most memorable characters. The story covers highlights of Lazarus Long's 2200 year life. The story telling and characterizations make this novel a brilliant tour de force. You find yourself rejoicing for the triumphs of his life, while at the same time sharing the pain of a man who is doomed to live while those he loves die. For any fan of Heinlien;s this is a must read. For any fan of science fiction in general I highly recommend this novel.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
This was one of Heinlen's more fun books. It really fills out the character established in Methusalah's Children. It reflects many of Heinlein's opinions on sociology and human interaction. For a man of his day, he had remarkably radical ideas about how society could, should and does work. Reflects ideas of many "Utopian" authors. I especeally enjoy the "notebooks of Lazarus Long".
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I would consider this book primarily interesting for Heinlein's controversial ideas on sexuality. Although I am not squemish, I was certainly shocked by the progression of this book. Heinlein shows true courage by raising issues of incest in a positive light in mainstream print. Apart from this the book is quite good. The characters are interesting in and of themselves and Heinlein paints most of them with depth and compassion. The science fiction aspects of the story are rather pedestrian, but they serve to advance the plot nicely. A good read if you have some time on your hands.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is really a fantastic book. It's not so much a novel but a collection of short stories that have an over-riding theme, that theme being love. The characters are vivid and alive, and the writing is fun, so reading it was never a chore. I read this book over a period of several months, taking it out every 2 weeks at the laundromat. Because of the short story progression of the novel, this worked great.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
cooper o riley
This book was not about incest or prositution or war or this or that. This book was about love. Get beyond the sin and see the story, about a long lived man going through life looking for love. He doesn't settle for the mundane definition that our preachers teach. What Heinlein does is push the boundries and explore possibilies. Its time we all wake up and open our minds. Read this book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
eric greenwood
This book remains remarkably applicable regardless of it's copyright date.
That's an indication of great science fiction. No matter how old
it is it seems up to date. Heinlein makes you want to meet Lazarus Long,
or think you may already have! Great character development (2000 years worth!)
keeps you turning pages. It's one of his best.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I would so marry Woodrow Wilson Smith, aka Lazarus Long, if I got the chance. (Or at least invite him mattress-dancing.) Love, adventure, sex, time-travel, talking space-yachts and computers with personalities. Heinlein's I Will Fear No Evil is a close second.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
eleanor jane
First, I must say that even though this book has many flaws, I still reccomend it very highly. It explores some concepts that are very potent, even today; polyamory, gender, incest, assisted suicide, the nature of government, artificial intelligence, space exploration, life extension, the human condition and more. And, essentially, it appears that Heinlein is able to crack the egg of social conventions and look at the nature of being human from thousands of years in the future, through the eyes of the main character, Lazarus Long.
It is very artfully written.
The only major flaw I can find in it, is that the perspective is quite male.
Over all, a wonderful read, and one of the few books that can be read more than once.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
suzanne olsson
This was a fine novel about the life of a grouchy, lecherous old man named Lazarus Long (at least, that's the name he is going by in the year 4272). Lazarus has lived for over two thousand years and has quite literally done everything possible for a human being to do. Because of this, he is tired of living. He sees nothing left to live for and wants to die. While he is dying, his descendants find him and rejuvenate him. Despite Lazarus's anger, he listens to the deal they offer him. They want Lazarus to tell the tale of his long life, to record into the memory banks of the sultry computer Minerva the wisdom and lessons he has learned over the centuries. After he is finished, if he wants to die, then they will not question him. In return, they offer to come up an adventure that he has never experienced. Impossible, he thinks, so he agrees. In the process, his ancestors have tricked him. In telling the story of his life, Lazarus realizes that he loves life and wishes to go on living, even if he has already done it all. And his ancestors make good on their word: they do find something for him to do that he has never done.
People have said this novel is a story about incest and sex and nothing more than Heinlein's secret desire to screw his mother. This is a story about love, both of life and of others. Yes, there are a lack of sexual taboos that we tend to embrace in this culture (including myself, I must admit, at least to a certain extent). Readers must remember what kind of sexual taboos we had a hundred years ago (God help a woman who's ankles were showing). Imagine what those same taboos will be 2,000 years from now. And no, Heinlein is not a sexist. People who say that have never tried to understand Heinlein. Every woman in this novel is a genius, and a far better human being than most men I know (myself included). Heck, in some ways I aspire to be like some of Heinlein's female protagonists (that's in some ways mind you :). I fail to see how writing women characters who enjoy sex and want to have babies is sexist. Who wouldn't want someone to love and have a good family? By the way, the latter requires sex and babies, I shouldn't have to tell you (though love and sex are a great combination too :).
I strongly urge you to read this novel. Not for the sex or the politics (which is in there, so I hope your not squeamish about ideas that differ from your own, perrish the thought!), and not because it written by one of the founders of science fiction (Heinlein is in the same generation as Asimov and Clarke). Read it because it is a story about life and love. A quote from the novel can some it up the best: "Although long life maybe a burden, mostly it is a blessing. It gives time enough to think, time enough to learn, time enough not to hurry, time enough for love."
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Many people dislike this book. Heinlein rambles, he tells a series of stories with an overarching story tying them together and the book has several hundred pages of conversation between characters that love to use pet names for each other. The book ask that you come to love the main characters despite (perhaps even because of) their willingness to violate the most basic taboos known to man and well suffice it to say that this book contains a lot of things people hate to see in a book. None of that matters. If you are the sort of person that doesn't mind reading a long book, believes that social conventions are not laws of nature, and is empathetic, you will be deeply moved by Time Enough for Love.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
helen laycock
Time Enough For Love is the best science fiction novel that I have read in many years. It is one of the few novels that I read over and over, again and again. It is SF, psychology, phylosophy, love, sex and adventure all rolled up into a saga of one person's life. Even though this novel is all of the above it is more for it takes hold of all of the sacred cows and shows them in lights that most of us have never looked at before. I was overwhelmed by the way that sex was treated by Bob Heinlein. He has sex flowing throughout the novel, not done in a pornagraphic manner but in a tasteful way that I think would uopset very few people.
I am a writer myself, using several nom de plumes, and I heartily recommend that everyone read this book. I think that Robert A. Heinlein was the king of SF writers and love all of his works, but I think that Time Enough For Love is the best that he ever wrote and recommend it highly to everyone.
Ilan Lamb
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ben benson
I would have preferred more than just two vignettes of the various lives of Woodrow Wilson Smith, aka Lazarus Long. "Time Enough for Love" was premised on his reminiscing about his two-plus millenia of existence, but Mr. Heinlein never fully followed through with it, abandoning the effort in favor of Long being finally roped into a '60s-style free-love commune and culminating his life with an incestuous encounter with his mother. Much of Mr. Heinlein's anti-religious prejudices also came through, to the extent that one might suppose Lazarus was his alter-ego.
However, the actual memoir portions are compelling. And if you can skip over the aforementioned nettlesome passages, "Time Enough for Love" is still worth the price and the read.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Time Enough for Love, the capstone of Heinlein's future histories, is a frustrating work. Buried in this book are a couple of the better bits of short fiction Heinlein ever produced, such as "The Tale of the Adopted Daughter." But the novel as a whole is far too long. Like most Heinlein books after 1960, it is drastically in need of an editor.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
romina lopez
The kindle version of this book is a bad OCR job followed by no editing. I can't imagine a publisher with so little pride in their product. Two hours of editing could have cleaned up all the egregious, nonsensical errors.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
If you like Heinlein's style you will like this book. If the notion of a writer promoting his crotchety, cranky, yet wise ideas in his work bothers you, you won't like it. But for those of us who love this man's work, this book is a treasure. I would rank this his third best work, with Stranger in a Strange Land being #1, and To Sail Beyond the Sunset as #2. Lazarus and Maureen Long are old friends of mine. Every once in a while I pick up these books just to see how they are doing. And they are always just fine.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Time Enough for Love was an addicting read. I found myself unable to put it down; I neglected my studies and took it to work to read at lunchtime. Time travel, immortality, free love... what more could you want? Lazarus Long is by far the most intriguing and engaging character I've come across in... well, I can't remember how long. We simulaneously know his life history and his most intimate relationships, and yet we feel that we have only began to understand him. This may not be the book for those sci-fi readers who like Star-Trek looking creatures, or lots of carnage caused by large technologically advanced weapons; however, if you're looking for a novel that has real character, this is it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The continuing and most in depth story of the longest lived man in the history of ...everything. Lazarus Long is probably one of the best and most memorable characters I have ever come across. after reading one of the Grand Masters(Heinlein) books years ago, I was hooked by his prose. Never have I found another writer who could put so much technical detail into a story and still have it be readable. And the characters... well, are there any better? Once I found my first glimpse of Lazarus, I had to find ALL of the books about him or with him in it! Readthem all again and again! Even named my cat after "The cat that walks through walls". Deffinate "GOOD READ!" in Time Enough for Love, or for that matter, any of the other books by Heinlein!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
bill eger
I rather wish that, like Mr. Scott, I had read this novel when I was ten! My life might have been more interesting. Suffice it to say that the moral structure (or lack thereof?) Lazarus Long operates in has contributed to my outlook on life a great deal. I found the book altogether liberating for reasons I won't give away here. My only criticism is that the overly egregious sexuality of the later chapters seems like a self-indulgence on the author's part. But maybe I'm just being a prude. Clear away some free time, read this book, and decide for yourself. The between-chapter sayings alone are worth the price of admission.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Back in the infamous 60's Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein was part of the moment for my friends and I......he introduced us to some of our first metaphysical concepts . Time enough for Love is a classic too. I love the philosophy of Lazarus the main character. I find myself in agreement all the time. This book seems equally profound and perfect for me at this point in time. I find myself underlining quotes and emailing them to friends.I love this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Lazarus Long was a rogue,a warrior,father,lover,mentor,judge,jury and executioner if the need arose. In short the type of man every adventurous boy wishes to grow up be! Excellent reading,captivating,humourous,and at times deeply touching.Recomended for any lover of good science fiction!!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
michael haspil
I can't call this a great book at all - it does capture, pretty well, the variety of life that a man 2000 yrs old must have had and it raises interesting social questions (AI, suicide, homosexuality, prostitution, incest) in typical Heinlein fashion - as part of an ongoing book.
But the society of the future is not clear and compelling - the characters are not particularly different from each other - the issues are not particularly explored. There are elements of Heinlein's genius here, but it is fading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book was on my nightstand in 1974 (when it was first published in paperback), and it's still there now. (Same copy, too; the old dollar-ninety-five Putnam edition has held up amazingly well. Different nightstand, though.)

I was born in 1963 and learned to read very early. Like Spider Robinson, I lost my literary virginity to Heinlein (in my case, to _Stranger in a Strange Land_ and _The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_). To this day I think that _Mistress_ is one of his three absolutely magisterial novels (the other two being _Double Star_ and _The Door into Summer_).

Heinlein also wrote a number of novels that were _very close_ to magisterial, and some of them have been (in my case, at least) more profoundly influential than his Three Greatest. _Stranger_ is one of these, and so is _Time Enough for Love_.

Heinlein published this one after bouncing back from major surgery (having been somewhat incapacitated while writing _I Will Fear No Evil_, which his wife Virginia helped to edit). The old master had his off days, but he's at the top of his form here.

As you're probably aware, this lengthy work is a future history of Lazarus Long (born Woodrow Wilson Smith), the Senior of the Howard Families and the oldest human being alive (well over two thousand years old at the time of this tale). Lazarus is one of Heinlein's best realized characters; I'd recognize his red hair, bulbous nose, disarming grin, and wild grey-green eyes if I passed him on the street.

And I'd immediately put my hand over my wallet. Lazarus is an unsavory character -- a raconteur, swindler, adventurer, sybarite, pragmatist . . . and, above all, _survivor_. He exemplifies everything Heinlein thought it would take for humanity to spread to the stars (besides the Libby-Sheffield Para-Drive, of course), and his amoral self-interested practicality is what's kept him from _getting_ killed even if (as is suggested in this book) he got an initial boost from a mutation in his twelfth chromosome pair.

But boy, you're going to want to haul off and whack him, because he's an ornery, slippery old scoundrel.

He's a helluva lot more colorful than Valentine Michael Smith (Heinlein's other attempt to create an character who could comment on human culture from the outside and let Heinlein indulge in some fictional iconoclasm). And he's a helluva lot more fun.

Plus you'll get to meet the rest of the Long family (including two or three -- depending how you count -- sentient computers).

And Lazarus's reminiscences include several marvelous tales that could have stood as novels in their own right: the Tale of the Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail, the Tale of the Adopted Daughter (a glorious story that also features the Montgomerys, the most chillingly realistic 'bad guys' anywhere in Heinlein's entire oeuvre), and the Tale of the Twins who Weren't. (And there are two sets of Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long -- collections of aphoristic musings that Heinlein readers liked so well that they've actually _been_ published separately.)

The result is a long (no pun intended) meditation on what it takes to survive -- and why anyone would want to.

I read this book when I was ten, and I'm afraid it wasn't altogether a 'good influence' on me. (If you want to know, ask me privately sometime -- and I don't promise to answer truthfully.) If you're tired of 'good influences', try reading it. I've got my issues with Heinlein, but he's one of the great iconoclasts of the twentieth century.

For that very reason, some readers should _avoid_ this book; it's guaranteed (and indeed designed) to offend you by rubbing your nose in the fact that your mores are _not_ 'natural laws'. But if you're the sort of person who will enjoy Heinlein, you'll dive right into this one and never come out.

Lazarus had previously appeared in _Methusaleh's Children_ and reappears in three further late-period Heinlein novels (_The Number of the Beast_, _The Cat Who Walked Through Walls_, and _To Sail Beyond the Sunset_). But if you want to meet him, I'd recommend starting here: the later ones won't make sense without this one, and I don't think _Methusaleh's Children_ represents Heinlein's best writing.

This does. The whole thing is wonderfully staged; the narrative switches back and forth between voices, the dialogue just crackles, and the action (when there is any) will make you jump off your seat once in a while.

This is Heinlein in control of his craft. If that interests you, don't miss it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
...This is a classic! The novel deals with one of Heinlein'sbest loved characters, Lazarus Long. Long is the oldest living memberof the human race. This novel deals with the stories and wisdom of Lazarus Long's very long life. It's a great read. If you want to read some pithy comments on life read The Notebooks of Lazarus Long which are in the novel (or you can get them separately).
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I could not put this book down! It has everything: suspense, comedy, romance, fantasy, etc. I would recommend it to anyone. It left me amazed at the shear power of Heinlein's writing. I couldn't wait to get my hands on another book about Lazarus Long
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Simply put, this is the greatest book ever written. When I first read this book, it was a follow up to both Stranger in a Strange Land and Number of the Beast, two more great books. Needless to say, I thought I had read the best of Heinlein. I was wrong. When first introduced to Lazarus Long in number of the beast, I disliked the character, after reading Time enough for love, he not only became my favorite literary character of all time, but also my namesake (e-mail). As always, his character development is astounding as well as the content. This is a great chapter in the future history series and gives an almost autobiographical feel to it. I must say that this is my favorite book of all time, because of it's uniqueness. It attacks just about every taboo known to man and introduces a fresh and unconventional hero. If you read this and like it, I also recomend To Sail Beyon The Sunset, the story of Lazarus Long's Mother
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Beyond a superficial glance this book was not about an author obsessed with making love to his family,it was a book about a man that rather than seeing it all in a sapien lifetime had the chance to gain knowledge thru a miriad of lifetimes. If you really think about it are'nt we all related in some distant past? Besides i think you missed the point,and that being that the book is a wonderful collection of science and pure love without the "superstitions" that come and go with every generation. This was one of the best books i have ever read as a child and will continue to be my favorite.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
pedro javier
Other reviewers provide deeper analysis, but I'd just like to say that this book is probably my favorite novel of all time. I believe the ideas laid out in this book probably changed my life. And I'm proud to boast that I now own the painting by Carl Lundgren that was used as the cover art to the Berkley and Ace editions from the 1980s. Yes, I was so obsessed by this book that I eventually tracked down the artist and bought the cover art!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
annie myers
Like a favorite sweatshirt or couch or hat or . . . I re-read portions of this book whenever I get a chance. The philosophy on everything from aging to relationships to government is controversial and extremely thought-provoking. The dialogue is exquisite - a Heinlein standard.
I have a recurring fantasy about producing a cable mini-series based on TEFL. Who is with me? My advice is read it, think about it, read it again . . .
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
angela stringer
A great book in fact my favourite yet only gets 4 stars for a simple reason:
Many people would find it rather hard to follow as to what is being said especially trying tofind the subtle differences between the characters which is actually what happens in real life. people aret completly different only subtly different. On another note youll find this book filled with taboos being broken which again most people simple dont want to read or even hear about and keep an open mind to it.

Now if your actually an open minded adult who can read effectively rather than just having to read whats in front if you and not think about the characters and what is being said then I recomend this book to you. In my opinion every libary should have at least one copy. Yet if you cant form your own opinions, nor able to read an adult book with things subtley portrayed; put this book down, turn right and go to the childrens section and get yourself a Thomas the Tank Engine book instead.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
koray atlay
Time Enough for Love is Science Fiction. But it is also adventure, romance and, above all, a way to show a philosophy of living. Lazarus Long is not only a character, he is the way the author found to express his beliefs about countless aspects of life: sex, marriage, politics, money, adventure, security, even practical (and often funny) advice. A book to be read many times. You may aggre with the author's point of view or not. But he will certainly make you think about the way you live.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
daniel mongeluzi
I'd say you have to be familiar with Robert Heinlan before reading this. He's got some pretty strarnge ideas, that I can't say I neccessarily agreed with. Untill I read this book. It all makes sense now. I thought Lazarus Long was fairly annoying. Until I read this book. But seriously, if you are willing to go along with a couple of hundreds of pages of a old man giving you his take on life, you will see that with age comes wizdom. The plot here is secondary to the point, but its worth every scandalous and insestuous page.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This book is an old favourite - classic Heinlein. I bought the Kindle version most recently, warily because of the review comments about it being riddled with OCR errors. Happily, I didn't find them to be much of a problem. I found maybe one per page, on average? Certainly not good, and it's a pity the publisher didn't treat this book with the respect I think it deserves. Still easy enough to read, though.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Time Enough For Love was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Yes, it was a little preachy, and yes, the propensity of the people in the book to make babies with everyone else was a little unbelievable. Nevertheless, the stories were great reads, and Lazarus Long, playing the part of "old scoundrel with a heart of gold," is quite a fun character to follow. Nearly 600 pages but kept me reading all the way through.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
This is simply the worst book I ever read. In fact, I didn't even bother to finish it. I grew tired of waiting for an interesting plot to develop and threw the book into the trash after 250 pages.
The other negative reviews nicely sum up why this book is so bad. To me, reading this book is as painful as listening to a bad stand-up comic for 4,000 years.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jonathan perry
I have always considered myself a sci-fi fanatic, but this book turned me inside out. The life and times of Woody Smith takes twists and turns that special interest groups would scream about. The books intro by one of Long's nephews seems to drag at the beginning, but after that, you can't put it down. And then, when you finish, you will start over, so you can understand what was said in the beginning. If you get tired of Dean Koontz's dog stories, pick this up.
Not a quick read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Don't attempt to read this one until you have read as many of his other Lazarus Long books as possible. This his most in depth examination of the Howard Families and of the 2000 year old man. In short, it is Lazarus's life story... if you don't understand my review, then read a few other Heinlein books first. However, this is one of my favorites along with Stranger in a Strange Land (Unabridged) and is a must for any Heinlein fan.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ben salah
This book teaches you how to value the time you have in your life. I have read it more than five times, and savor it each time. The stories of Dora and Maureen are the best. The best time travel book ever written to date. Written by the master of the future history genre!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
margo hamann
The title of my review is a quote from Harlan Ellison, but I think that it applies extremely well to this piece of trash. I gave it one star because that is the least that the system allows.
The Greeks had three words which are translated as "love" in English. The first is "philia" -- a rather abstract kind of love. The second is "agape" -- an unselfish love. The best illustration of agape is from the New Testament ("No greater love has any man, but that he lay down his life for his friend.") The third is "eros" -- sexual love.
Heinlein essentially ignores philia, spends exactly two paragraphs on agape (which he dismisses) and over 400 pages on eros. EVERY significant female character wants to have intercourse with Lazarus Long, and all except one of them do.
I am also not particularly enamoured of Libertarianism, which is trumpeted throughout the book. Using the terminology of horse breeders, I would describe Time Enough For Love as being by Hugh Hefner out of Ayn Rand.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I have to say, I picked this up and just couldn't slog through it. I'm a huge Heinlein fan, but I really don't think this is up there with his best work. Too often it sounds like the ramblings of an old man. Maybe I just didn't have the stamina and it improves after the first few hundred pages. But there was nothing I read that heinlein didn't tackle in more interesting and coherent ways in his other books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lisa carter
I was intorduced to Time Enough for Love by the man I would marry. I had never read science fiction before and I had been saying I would never read something like that. He said read this, then tell me you hate science fiction. I read it and loved it. I have since read all of Heinlein's books, but Time Enough for Love is still my favorite.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
brenda noor
Huge sections of the story have been intentionally left out. This incomplete product should never have been sold to the public. After getting to the third missing section I deleted the book in frustration. I read the book in paperback years ago and enjoyed it very much.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Lazarus Long is one of the Howards, a group of people that have extremely long life, basically due to genetics and being mutants, etc.

Lazarus Long is well into this third millenium, and is looking back on his life to that some of the information and insights he has can be used. Long himself is most definitely a dodgy bloke, and a 'villain' in the pommie sense.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anne wrobel
This is a great Heinlein read. No matter what you think living forever would be, this will add another perspective. Outlive your wives and families -- that is sad. But adventure on top of adventure - that is great. Go read it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
phil chang
I've read most of Heinlein's novels and so far this is my favorite. Lazarus Long is Heinlein's best character and this book demonstrates that over and over again. If you read one book by RAH, read Time Enough For Love.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
A wonderful book by a great author. The editor for the kindle version, if there even was one, is obviously a middle school dropout or dead. There are tons of spelling mistakes and incorrect formatting issues. It seems impossible that somebody read the conversion before posting this for sale. I am beginning to think that publishers are so lazy and greedy that they don't even bother to proofread kindle versions of books. For shame. Otherwise a great read.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
I've read books that were boring. I've read books that were badly written. I've read books that were shocking.
But this is the only book I actually hate.
It isn't boring and it is well written but it is horrible. And a large part of that is the feeling the author isn't aware of how horrible it is.

So I have read quite a bit of Heinlein before. I have read Starship Troopers, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land. And I was starting to doubt whether the fascist and misogynistic messages that pop up in his writings, are well disguised critiques or twisted confessions, Time Enough pretty much cemented my opinion on the matter. It is a sickening journey through the mind of a man too infatuated with himself to recognize his own faults. Or a brilliant satire doing too good of a job masquerading as the real thing.

So what is Time Enough about? Basically, masturbation.
Lazarus Long is a transparent representation of the author himself. A man 3000 years old man, rejuvenated from the brink of death by his distant decedents who built a civilization around his ideology and personality. For the fist part of the book he is recuperating from a medical treatment that makes him young again while regaling his adoring caretakers with anecdotes from his long life. All the while lashing in a passive-aggressive manner at people who basically worship him and seek his approval and guidance. He is depicted as an individual rogue and rebel who breaks tradition and fights for freedom. His only flaw that gets any acknowledgement is his tendency to lie and exaggerate. But even that is used mostly to give the character an air of credibility each time some outlandish element in his tales receives independent conformation.

His anecdotes are perfect example of a person who thinks he is a hero while being a villain. Though the book doesn't acknowledge this aspect, since I suspect the author isn't aware of it at all.
For example, Lazarus talks at length about his progressive attitude towards women. He believes that while there are biological differences between the sexes, they are each just as capable and intelligent. The character talks at length about how a good marriage is one where neither is dominant and both husband and wife work together. But the story revolving around his marriage depicts him raising a child as a father figure from her childhood to her adulthood, marrying this person, then taking her away from civilization in a "wild west" "journey to the frontier"-like scenario during which he makes her swear to obey his every command (because he has more experience and it is too dangerous to risk discussions). And she pretty much looses agency from that point in the story.
Similarly there's an anecdote where he frees two slaves and teaches them about freedom and self sufficiency. And he does that by manipulating their every move and decision from the shadows. He lets them think they have agency while he pretty much sets them up with a business and house with the rationalization that he is protecting them from failure. And all this time, while he uses his vast resources and connections to basically herd them into the life he planed for them, Lazaros preaches about freedom. He never asks the slaves what they want since he thinks they don't know what's good for them. But acts indignant and horrifies whenever a governmental body tries to limit his freedom in any way. How dare anyone decide what's good for him? The author seems unaware of these hypocrisies.

The second part of the book describes how Lazarus helps rejuvenate the society of his decedent by taking an expedition of their best and youngest to the frontiers of the galaxy. Since basically the problem is that their lives were too easy and comfortable. Here, he is again swooned over by every female he encounters. A polyamorous family springs around him, with his two former female caretakers insisting of impregnating themselves with his seed. Lazarus is also raising two female clones of himself and the author seems to slyly imply they too have sexual relations with Lazarus. Again this echos one of the previous stories where he is basically grooming his children to be his devoted lovers. It is really not the incest aspect that should alarm you, rather this horrible power dynamic and borderline pedophilia.

The last part of the book depicts Lazarus traveling back in time to World War I, and ending up having an affair with his mother. Compared to the horrible sexual dynamics of the first two parts, this was relatively normative. And then it is over with the implication that Lazarus died in the war, after impregnating his mother - who will give birth to him in a temporal loopy paradox kind of way.

And that's it.

Heinlein tries to be deep. And his writing is usually good enough to mask how candid and uncomplicated his messages really are. He reads like a misogynist who is utterly convinced he is a feminist. An authoritarian conservative convinced he is a libertarian liberal. A man utterly blind to injustice and prejudice unless they impact him personally. Who thinks his liberty is sacred while denying anyone else deserves the same. An author who preaches about the dangerous and poisonous disdain of those in power towards his individualism, intellect and his rights, while spitting bile at others who he thinks are not intelligent and competent enough to govern themselves.
Lazaros long embodies these attitudes. He is a champion of personal freedom who acts as tyrant in any scenario where he has any power over another human being. Who packs his bags and leaves the moment any government asks him for a modicum of civil accountability. He clearly seeks the freedom to bully and domineer others, while resenting even the most benign interference in his own life.

Again, if it is not a brilliant parody, it is just vile,
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
maggie loftis
I've read most everything Heinlein wrote, and of what I remember well, I've liked most of it. Time Enough for Love though is boring and for me, was unfinishable. The back cover of the edition I have states it is his "longest and most ambitious." Well, in this case, length isn't a strength. In fact, even in Stranger in a Strange Land (Heinlein's greatest story and arguably the best SciFi story ever), the story loses its way 1/2 way through. Shorter would have been better in both cases.

True scifi and Heinlein fans will need to read this anyway. I'd suggest a steady diet of caffeine to make your way through it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
matt chatelain
Robert Heinlein has a way of drawing you in. You will find yourself identifying with one or more of the characters. I found myself re-evaluating my own life and choices I've made. He makes you realize that life is worth living, and enjoying. There are so many quotes in there that you will want to take with you. Lazarus.... Well, you could go on and on.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
megan scheminske
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

You’d think I’d learn, but no, I just keep torturing myself with Heinlein’s adult novels. That’s because when I was a kid, Heinlein was one of my favorite authors, so I still think of him that way. I know it’s not that my tastes have changed because I still love those books I read as a kid. The problem is that many of the books he wrote for his adult audiences, especially those he wrote in his later years, are just horrid. And Time Enough for Love (1973), even though it’s a classic, is one of these. It’s everything I hate about Heinlein’s later novels. In fact, if I had to sum it up in one word, I’d say “YUCK!”

Time Enough for Love is the last of Heinlein’s novels about Lazarus Long. In fact, the full title is Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus Long. Lazarus is 2000 years old. He feels like he’s done it all and he’s refusing new rejuvenation treatments because he’s ready to die (and oh how I wish he would!). But the leader of his vast array of descendants wants to keep Lazarus around because he has so much wisdom (**snort!**) to impart. So, the entire long book (589 pages MMPB, 24 hours on audio) consists of Lazarus imparting this wisdom in a series of lectures, parables, and proverbs interspersed with interludes of weird alien sex.

For anyone who’s read any Heinlein, you’ve heard all this wisdom before. I’m sure you can guess what it is. It’s all about how government sucks, taxes suck, surveillance sucks, public education sucks, lawyers suck, farm subsidies suck, compounding interest sucks, politicians suck, slavery sucks, chastity girdles suck (yes, these show up more than once). Granted, most of these things DO suck, but when my favorite record starts skipping, well that sucks, too!

Some of Lazarus’s wisdom is just strings of proverbs: Never trust that the gun isn’t loaded, live each day for itself, don’t argue with the weather, always cut the deck yourself, don’t make your lies to complicated, etc. Some are full-blown lectures. (Heinlein loves to lecture!) There are long lessons in genetics (a bunch of blather), economics, how to deal with women, the importance of education and cleanliness, the importance of proper arch supports for pregnant women, how to properly deliver a baby, how to run a gourmet restaurant while still having time for sex three times a day, how to properly behead a robber, how to load a wagon train for survival… it goes on and on in the most mind-numbing fashion.

And then there are all of Heinlein’s weird fetishes. These show up in many of his adult novels. Nudity, incest, spanking adult women, polygamy, incest, ménage a’ trois, incest, wife sharing, masturbation, incest, Oedipus complex, groups of adults bathing and massaging each other. Time Enough for Love has some really bizarre touches such as a horny computer, a man offering to pluck a woman’s gray pubic hair, another man who samples his wife’s breast milk, a few gynecological examinations (including by fathers), and several mentions of the “family sport” and “Uncle Cuddly.” EW!!!!!

The worst thing about Time Enough For Love, however, is simply that it’s boring. Really boring! I suffered during the 24 hour audiobook produced by Blackstone Audio. I had to increase the playback speed to get through it faster. I kept thinking about poor Tom Weiner, the narrator. He did a superb job, as he always does, but the poor man! Well, at least he got paid. As for me, I wish I had those hours back.

Time Enough For Love is recommended for masochists only.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
mandy stigant
I was just beginning to really enjoy this book when I came upon a line that said 12,000 words omitted. This continues throughout this book. Not knowing who made this decision I don't know who to blame but if they felt it was to large to publish in paperback then it shouldnt have been done. I don't want any books that I buy being censored, or picked apart. I am sure it isn't what Robert Heinlein intended to happen. I was very disappointed. This happened to be my boyfriends favorite book and he wanted me to read it and to my dismay I was unable to enjoy it due to the cencoring not the author writing.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
kristine wilson
I read most of Heinleins books before reaching this one and was really looking forward to learning the life of a character i grew to love. Unfortunately, like some of his other books, such as, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and The Number of the Beast, this too got logged down in useless prattle that Heinlein occasionally drones on about. Some day i will pick it up and finish it. this book was definitely not worthy of Lazarus Long,
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
stephanie mittendorf
The story is mostly (but not all) about beautiful women who want to be screwed (to have a baby) by a 2,500 year old man. He screws his sisters, his mother, and just about everybody. In his day and age, this is O.K. Most of the story is to justify this.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
I read this book on the recommendation of a friend. I would have titled it "Time Enough to Tell You About All of the Incestuous Relationships I've Been Involved In" because that's basically all it is. It may be entirely possible that the only thing Lazarus Long never tried was some restraint. Truly a one-dimensional character without charm or dignity.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
june shi
Just not time enough to write a decent novel. I am a big Heinlein fan, but this is one of the novels I wished I had skipped.

Heinlein seemed to be more interested in shocking his readers than he was in crafting a decent novel.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
This novel represents all Heinlein's worst traits with few of his virtues to compensate. Heinlein's crackpot ideas are paraded as the wisdom of an immortal with centuries of experience and, of course, nobody ever disagrees with him. Example: to "prove" eugenics, Heinlein makes up a story about a planet wiped out by disease, then blames it on the inhabitants' failure to breed for disease resistance. Have you heard of any planets wiped out by disease? Neither have I. But in the book Lazarus Long cites it as "historical proof" of his (Heinlein's) political views. It's so convenient when you can make up your data.

There are a number of stories nested inside the big one. One is about two teenage slaves who are more obsessed with having sex than getting away. After all, they're genetically superior, so it's important for them to reproduce, I suppose.

Oh, and there's the bright idea of probating wills before the writer dies. Gee, why don't we do that in 21st century America? Having been an executor of a will, I understand why: you need to know the final amount of the assets in order to distribute them properly. Of course, nobody in the novel thinks of that. Listening to Lazarus doesn't give them time to think.

Some of Heinlein's earlier novels were science-fiction masterpieces. This is just one long, very long egotistical monologue.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
gregory davis
The book is gr8 fun, of a guy in year 4 thousand and sth, trying to give a description of our world today, sarcastic, hilarious, but also kiind of tragic. Wil surely read more of this author, for example "Stranger in a Strange Land".
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
stephanie a
Boring, repetitive, and clunky. Reading it felt like eavesdropping on the Smalltalk of foreign strangers while studying an obscure and highly technical science manual. Heinlein manages to get around anything like a plot by simply skipping forward in time and picking up the narrative after any major event. In fact, this felt like an anti-story because the entire book was made up of all the boring crap that happens between the chapters of the real tale. And I can't figure why this book is considered controversial because of its sexual content. There is no sex. It's the almost exclusive topic of conversation throughout the entire book but not one passage describes an actual performance. And then the book just ends. The main character has been fatally wounded doing something completely against his nature and the story ends with his family trying to save his life. I give it a star only because at least one is required.

I also feel the need to say that I suspect every one of the five star reviews was written by someone tied to the publisher. I bought this stinkfest based on those reviews and can state without hesitation that they're all horribly deceptive. There is NOTHING about science, society, relationships, love, family, human nature, human condition, or the human spirit discussed in any meaningful or even slightly interesting way. I feel like I've been the victim of a cheap con job.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
josh morris
Of all the science fiction novels I've read, this one was the worst by every measure. The plot was slow-moving, predictable and boring. The characters were uninteresting and the `moral of the story' was immoral. This is the first and last book I'll read by this author. If I didn't buy this book, I don't think I would have finished it.

The author of this book is very narrow-minded in his beliefs which make the book rather tedious since he hits you over the head with the same point over and over again. Even if I agreed with the author's social Darwinism, I would have wanted him to stop hammering home the same point. Basically, the core message of the story is that sex is never wrong, except if you create a `defective' child. All the taboos about sex are stupid. People should have as much sexual fun as they can. The main character violates many human taboos concerning sexual relations. Note that I say `human,' not `cultural.' He does things that ought not be done, and which if the author was more complex would illustrate the ill effects of. Religion is perceived as an irrational roadblock to sexual pleasure. Social Darwinism is the only real moral obligation. Creating children with good genes and weeding out those with bad genes are what colonization of other planets is all about. The main character at one point in his life even advocated killing off `defective' people at birth since it would help the clean up the genetic pool in the long run. Eugenics anyone?

I could have gone on about the other perversities in this book which are gross and I will not mention.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
marilee cornelius
This is a book with some interesting ideas, but it is so poorly executed that I found it annoying.

Heinlein apparently wants to take issue with some of society's attitudes towards various sexual taboos. This is a good idea, and a lot could be written about it. But he hammers his points home over and over again. What makes this worse is the weird macho/libertine feeling that goes along with all of this. He is clearly very proud of himself. He also has some very dated ideas about sexuality. For example, that all men would be happily bisexual if they would simply free their minds. Very 60's-70's. (However, no male character in the book actually has homosexual relations - Heinlein wimps out.)

All this would be bearable if the writing was up to par. Unfortunately, the book consists of long conversations between multiple people where it's often difficult to tell who is speaking, and many of the conversations are repetitive and pointless. Every character is simply a mouthpiece for Heinlein, with no actual personality.

And what's with all the advice on how to defeat enemies in a gunfight? And how to travel in the wilderness? I get the feeling that Heinlein is desperately trying to prove what a tough guy he is.

Finally, the "excerpts from the notebooks of Lazarus Long" are simply embarrassing.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
taylor webb
I read this book because it was supposed to be one of Heinlein's classics. I liked several of Heinlein's early works and thought I'd try this one, although I heard it was controversial. After reading it, I can see why. I cannot recommend this book. It is not a classic, and if it wasn't written by Heinlein it probably wouldn't have been published, and if it was published, would have been forgotten long ago. Other reviewers state that this is a book that questions social customs. I'm sorry, but stories about time travel in which the protagonist meets and beds his mother as a young woman are not questioning social norms, they are the rantings of a dirty old man. `To Kill a Mockingbird' this is not. The Notebooks of Lazarus Long are entertaining, but they don't make up for the poor quality of the rest of the text. I regret spending money on this book, and I really regret losing the time I wasted reading it.

7MAY06 - I've added to this review after receiving a few not helpful votes, because, in part, I was concerned that my original review was too terse. My opinion about this novel has not changed. This is a series of stories about the life and adventures of Lazarus Long, a man who has lived thousands of years and experienced, effectively, multiple lives. That is, he has loved, married, and 'built a life' several times. He has now grown weary of the tedium of life and is contemplating suicide. The novel consists of dialogue with some of his living decendants as he tells the story of his life. Stories, really. Each major section in the book is a vignette in LLs life.

In theory, this was a very good idea for a sci-fi novel, but in practice, this novel is simply tripe. There are several things that I really dislike about this novel and would not recommend it to anyone. Like much of Heinlein's later writings, this novel explores alternate family relationship (i.e. a code for incest). As I mentioned above, one of the vignettes involves LL travelling back in time to bed his mother. Another relates a `complex' (i.e. sexual) relationship between brother and sister. Additionally, most of the novel is dialogue between the characters, there isn't much action. I generally view this as a strength, not a weakness, but in this case the dialogue can be classified only as mindless banter loaded with sexual inuendo and overtone. The characters on Beverly Hills 90210 had better lines.

If you are looking for a good science fiction novel, this is NOT IT. This is really a novel about alternate family relationships with some sci-fi elements (e.g. longevity and time travel) in the plot. There are some who may find this type of novel compelling, but from my perspective, the author of `Starship Troopers' and `The Puppet Masters' fell a long way when he published this novel. The Notebooks of Lazarus Long, a collection of witty saying interspersed throughout the book are great. Judging from the other reviews, there are many who find this novel appealling. Just be warned that this novel is very different than Heinlein's earlier classics. There may be Time Enough for Love, but most people don't have enough time in their life to waste on this silliness.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
lori saporito
Had this book been the work of a novice Sci-Fi author it would have never seen print.

The story follows the life of one Lazarus Long, a character who is easy to see is only a thinly veiled cover for the author himself. Lazarus is a character who is so convinced of his own personal superiority that late in his very long life he travels back in time so that he can father himself. As further example of his self superiority he had himself cloned into twins of the opposite sex. Twins that he later has sexual relations with. Even the conscience mind of the artificially intelligent computer that controlled his space craft transferred itself into the engineered body of a woman so that it too could have sexual relations with Lazarus. To make it further insulting the sexual advances of those characters is not of Lazarus' choosing but rather of their free will. Indeed Lazarus fends off the sexual advances of his cloned twins until they reach the age of consent. This reveals how shallow the author feels the drives and motives of others to be.

The story follows the life of Lazarus Long through a series of 'flashbacks' as the character struggles to find a reason to continue his existence. Most of the flashbacks deal with how the character traveled about the Universe starting colonies on untamed worlds. Each of these mini-stories is an equally self aggrandizing yarn about how Lazarus fathered virtually every child on the planet while single handedly delivering the worlds he founded from lawlessness, ignorance, and barbarism. Among these 'gems' are such classic lines as 'there is only one way to comfort a widow' implying that the answer was sex. Yes, among these stories there are a few meaningful bits of wisdom such as Heinlein's list of what things a man should be able to do. To save you the grief of reading the book just to get to it I'll quote it for you below. . .

"A Man should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

- Robert A. Heinlein

Certainly I can agree with that. These are abilities that every man should endevour to have to make himself complete. But they are not the exclusive domain of men. Unfortunately this bit of wisdom is so embedded in mounds of garbage that reveal Heinlein's low esteem for women it is not otherwise worth excavating. One comes away from this book knowing that the Author felt that women are worth nothing beyond serving as receptacles for a man's sexual needs. Throughout the book examples are given of how a man should be able to do all of the above while women, conversely, are scarcely credited with the ability to do any of those things. That this book was ever nominated for an award is a blemish on human history.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Succinctly put, this is probably the worst science fiction book I've read, and I've read a lot of them. I'll go point by point:

1: The idea. Some may call this novel "innovative," but that is most certainly a misuse of the word. The main idea of this book is that "incest" as we now use this word is ok as long as it either 1) genetically harmless; 2) failing the first condition, does not produce babies. Incest and other such "alternative family relationships," as another reviewer so mildly put it, is not a new idea at all. Now, I am not close minded to anything, but the sort of self-serving and constant glorification of what is ultimately a bad idea even biologically speaking that Heinlein subjects his readers too is boring, unimaginative, uninformative, and frankly morbid.

2: The plot. Nonexistent. There is no dynamic to the story. Heinlen meanders from one time-frame to another with no logic to tie them all up. There is an interesting story here and there, but they serve no meaningful purpose, except to, again, glorify (and not simply justify) "alternative family relationships."

3: The characters. I haven't found any. At least none that were really interesting. There is Lazarus, who is basically a sleazeball who is rules by his two cardinal instincts entirely: survival and reproduction. There are women, who are uniformely and without exception ruled by only one of those two instincts: reproduction. Others in the book are basically filler material.

4: The writing. Atrocious. Heinlein puts too much faith in dialogue. I say too much because he can't write it. All dialogues are protracted and artificial, they are never to a point, and they all sound alike. The last point bears repeating: you can almost never tell whose speech you are reading, except when 1) someone says they want Lazarus' baby (this happens often and it's a clue that a female character must be speaking) or 2) someone reminisces about the days of yore (that's a clue to Lazarus). But the style of the speech is the same for everyone.

5. The science fiction. Nonexistent. There are references to "rejuvenation," "time travel," and space colonization. But that's about as far as we get. There is absolutely no elaboration on how, for instance, a ten-fold increase in lifespan would have affected the reproductive choices of humanity. This is particulaly puzzling since all characters in the story are of such extraordinary verility. Put two and two together: if all women have babies every year or so, and all of those babies live for a thousand years each, how long will it take you to overpopulate a planet? The answer is: hardly any time at all. Yet Heinlein never pauses to explain how the economies of his worlds continue to function and never stops to elaborate on the causes of social collapses that do happen from time to time.

Last thing. Why did I spend all this time writing a review. Because I find it troubling that so many give this book 5-stars. This is not a worthwile read. If you are interested in romance novels, go to a different section: Heinlein is probably not the best in that genre. If you are interested in science fiction with well-developed ideas and good fiction, pick up Asimov, Greg Bear, Stephen Baxter (bad writing but great science), John C. Wright, Will McCarthy, or Vernor Vinge.
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