Michael Valentine Smith, a human raised by martians, comes to Earth for the first time and decides to spread what he's learned on Mars. Michael Smith was born to two explorers during humanities first expedition to Mars. The expedition crew is never heard from again, so when the second crew arrives they are surprised to find Mike in the presence of Martians. They have raised him as their own and taught him their ways. The crew asks if he would like to return to Earth and the martian old ones urge him to go.
When he arrives on Earth he is immediately hospitalized as his body cannot stand the stress of Earth's environment. He is under armed guard and forbidden to leave. A newspaper reporter named Ben Caxton realizes that he is under guard because under Earth's laws, he is the sole owner of mars and heir to billions from his parents. He shares this information with a nurse named Jill and they hatch a plan to rescue the Man from Mars. Jill sneaks Mike out of the hospital, but Ben is abducted by government agents. With nowhere else to go, Jill takes him to see Jubal Hershaw, a famed doctor and lawyer.
During this trip they are attacked by government agents and it is revealed that Mike has the power to make people disappear from existence. When he arrives at Jubal's home, the group slowly realize the full extent of his powers. He can levitate, read minds, and strengthen his muscles using his thoughts alone. The people at Jubal's home all partake in a water-sharing ceremony, an important ritual on Mars that bonds people together.
Jubal manages to free Ben from the government and goes to speak with the leader of the United Federation at a conference. Here Mike agrees to give the leader full control of his funds as long as he will provide for him. The leader agrees and Mike is relieved of the burden of his fortune. Free to pursue knowledge, he and Jill go out into the world to learn.
Mike and Jill take all manner of jobs, from Carny to exotic dancer. Mike finally understands humanity when he realizes that we laugh to keep from despair. Inspired, Mike starts a school for people to learn the martian ways. The small group of followers Mike gathers grow in strength and learn to levitate things as well as control their bodies. Mike is pleased that he can teach so many the way of his birth planet, but in attempting to gain more followers is labeled a religious extremist and the group falls under attack. When the group is attacked, Mike is contacted by the Old Ones from Mars and they admit he was their spy to determine when to destroy the Earth. They then sever contact with him.
Mike can easily destroy any forces mounted against him, but he doesn't want to fight them. He confesses to Jubal that he is nothing but a spy to the martians and that they plan to destroy the Earth in five thousand years. Jubal tells him that by then, the humans will be powerful enough to defend themselves. He and Mike continue to discuss the martian way, and Mike realizes that the only way to spread his message is to go out and face the rioting public. He goes amongst a large group of protestors and lectures them on his beliefs. While he is speaking, people begin throwing stones and shooting at him. Someone douses him in gasoline and he burns alive with a smile on his face.
Best part of story, including ending:
The first half of the story is an interesting breakdown of the politics of a human from an alien world returning to Earth. Seeing how Jubal works the law to get Mike what he deserves is intriguing and an enjoyable logic puzzle. However, the second half of the piece devolves into a breakdown of world religion that goes on far too long. The book would have benefited from cutting out some of these parts in favor of more action scenes to move the story along.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene is actually one of the few scenes that take place on mars. The first glimpse we get into the Old Ones' thoughts is presented through a work of art they've been pondering for thousands of years. This work of art details the destruction of the fifth planet, which was located between Mars and Jupiter. This is now an asteroid belt. I thought it was a great way to explain the structure of our solar system.
Opinion about the main character:
Mike is a superhuman, but one devoid of original thought. He just regurgitates things he has been taught for the first two thirds of the novel. He should be an interesting character as he is unique from any other character in the book, but for the most part he is too flat.
Michael Smith is he only survivor of the first manned mission to Mars - and yet, he is a native-born Martian. In fact, he is the son of two of the crew, and when all the crew died, Michael was reared by the Martian race - super-intelligent and humane, but utterly alien. No further missions to Mars were attempted for many years.
The story begins with the return of the now-adult Michael to earth - physically a human being, but culturally, emotionally and mentally an alien.
Michael's view of Earth society (this novel is the source of the verb 'to grok') makes the reader look again at all the things usually taken for granted.
The review of this Book prepared by Melody Crookes
Stranger in a strange land is a book about a boy (Mike) born and raised on Mars, but brought to Earth in his 20s. He is rescued from a hospital by Gillian Boardman, a nurse and is meant to be taught by her and all of the other people in the house where they stayed, to be human.Yet,in the end, Mike starts his own nudist, canibalistic church and instead of learning from them he teaches everyone else to be martians. Not everyone agrees with this way of thinking.
The review of this Book prepared by Tabitha
A young man had been brought up by Martians and brought back to Earth. He posses powers that no other human has and he starts to teach humans the ways of Martians.
The review of this Book prepared by irina
A young man reared by aliens from Mars, tries to understand his new world. Finding the people around him unfocused in respect to their true potential, he tries to teach what he was taught on Mars. Gaining a core of followers he starts a religious movement based on love and Martian ethics. He is rejected by the powers of the establishment, and soon is destroyed in body, but not spirit. He lives on within each member of his 'core'.
The review of this Book prepared by Don McDaniel
This is a story of a boy raised on Mars by Martians who returns to Earth.
The boy, Michael, has unusual powers and is hunted by the authorities
who want to use him for their own ends. Michael reaches an
accomodation with authorities and starts his own religion,
which dictates that everyone hops into bed with everyone else,
and that dead people should be eaten in stew.
The review of this Book prepared by Steve