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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real classic
I had that book once and I had bought it from a used books dealer.Now I don't have it and I miss it so.It is a relatively short book with a few stories but the stories are among the best in their genre and they show the writer's versatility.In the story that gives its name to the book and another one called 'them!' the subject of paranoia is handled in a great way.You can...
Published on 20 Oct 2002 by Mustafa znar

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Mr Heinlein does horror?
A bit of a departure from his usual subject (sci-fi) and took some getting used to the change of style. Quite a haunting novel and not the lightest of reads
Published 2 months ago by Colin M Sanders


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real classic, 20 Oct 2002
By 
Mustafa znar (Istanbul, Turkey) - See all my reviews
I had that book once and I had bought it from a used books dealer.Now I don't have it and I miss it so.It is a relatively short book with a few stories but the stories are among the best in their genre and they show the writer's versatility.In the story that gives its name to the book and another one called 'them!' the subject of paranoia is handled in a great way.You can feel the touches of H.G.Wells and H.P.Lovecraft in 'and he built a crooked house'.All in all I absolutely recommend you to give this book a try if you are lucky enough to find it.And after you have read it I will be ready to buy it from you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early urban detective/horror story, 17 April 2013
By 
Amazon Customer (Sheffield, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag (Kindle Edition)
Heinlein wrote very little Fantasy and arguably most of what he did write is disguised Science Fiction.(Glory Road for example.) This is unquestionably fantasy,although you may consider the explanation at the end is SF.

This short novel was written for Unknown, John Campbell's short-lived fantasy magazine, and Heinlein went off to war work soon after so there was no opportunity to follow it up.

Jonathan Hoag doesn't know what he does during the day and a visit to a doctor to check what is under his dirty fingernails only gets him thrown out in disgust. The Randalls, a married couple of private investigators, are approached and paid to track his profession down. This doesn't go well and the Randalls are soon in trouble with a bunch of supernatural villains (Straight out of Neil Gaiman, fifty years before his time.) The ending sorts it all out and contains Heinlein's best ever joke - Hoag's profession.

This is a classic in a number of ways. The main plot denouement is one of the first examples of its kind. The main characters are a mature married couple and clearly have sex - something usually eliminated by Campbell so it needed to be sneaked in, and the hard-boiled prose in a contemporary setting is excellent.

I read this first about fifty years ago and didn't like the plot outcome,frankly it scared me. I missed the elegance of the writing and certainly failed to see the innovations in his plotting. It stands up as one of the best, if neglected, fantasy novels of its time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Keep with it., 11 July 2014
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This review is from: The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag (Kindle Edition)
Initially I found this difficult to get into however once I did I enjoyed it thouroughly.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mr Heinlein does horror?, 1 May 2014
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A bit of a departure from his usual subject (sci-fi) and took some getting used to the change of style. Quite a haunting novel and not the lightest of reads
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4.0 out of 5 stars A classic., 27 April 2014
This review is from: The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag (Kindle Edition)
Excellent philosophical science fiction relying on the strength of the ideas rather than the pulpy cliches of space opera. Similar in theme to the best stories of Philip K Dick, dealing with questions of reality and identity.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good story but now feeling a little dated, 15 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag (Kindle Edition)
Heinlein is a master of mood and imaginative plots. This book is no exception. In many ways it blends the world or Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett with the ingenious world of Heinlein. However the main characters in this book are somewhat one dimensional and the way they are portrayed seems to me to be a little dated. Their attitudes and behaviour reflect a world (even if only in fiction) that does not fit well in the 21st century. E
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, 16 May 2013
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Bearman (Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag (Kindle Edition)
I used to read a lot of science fiction, and Robert Heinlein was my favourite author. I loved the relationships and banter between the characters, epitomised in books such as The Cat Who Walked Through Walls, Time Enough for Love, and Friday. So while travelling abroad, I thought I would download this book on my Kindle and indulge in a little nostalgia. While there were a few glimpses of the old Heinliein that I remember, the plot and characters all seem a bit thin and lacking depth. I had not previously heard of this book, which might be explained by alack of success. Maybe I have just got older and have moved on from his style of life. I will have to go back and re-read one of the old classics and see if I still enjoy it......
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4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Heinleim, but......., 15 Feb 2013
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Ms. Elizabeth Gage "Lizgage" (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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Not in my opnion vintage Heinleim, but a good collection of short stories I've not found elsewhere - and I took a great fancy to the whirlwind with a Filing System and a Large Personality, tho Kitten was perhaps not the best name for a whirlwind!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great collection from one of the masters of SF, 4 Nov 2009
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This collection gives an insight into what made RAH one of the most significant US SF writers of the 20th century; innovative, sometimes argumentative and controversial but with a variety of things to say and often with an economy of style that others could not match. It is worth the price for the cover story alone, which is moody, vivid and striking writing, straddling the edges of SF and fantasy. There was discussion on some fan sites recently of it being made into a movie and it is fun to imagine who could capture the dramatic range of the eponymous character.

The other really note-worthy story here is '...All you zombies', one of the author's seminal time travel stories which, with his other classic 'By his bootstraps' (not in this collection but worth looking out for), set many of the basic rules for future stories of this type.

The others are still worth savouring as they give a clue to the range of which Heinlein was capable in his early writing. The spare, savagely edited prose is a hallmark of this early period before his more discursive and, some would say, self-indulgent style that can be seen in much of his later period writing.

This collection is a fitting tribute to a great writer written during what many believe to be near to his imaginative peak.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heinlein's Far Side, 14 Feb 2006
By 
Patrick Shepherd "hyperpat" (San Jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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Much of Heinlein's early writing was tied to his envisioned Future History, but he had a few stories that didn't fit into that mold, stories that frequently showed a different side of Heinlein, a more mystical, musing, fantastical side than what appeared in his standard science fiction fare. The stories here are part of this very different group.
"The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathon Hoag" first appeared in the Oct 1942 edition of Unknown magazine, as by "John Riverside" (one of about six of Heinlein's pseudonyms). Mr. Hoag has a problem: in the evenings he finds a curious reddish residue under his fingernails, and no memory of what he was doing during the day to get that residue. So he hires a husband and wife team of detectives to follow him around and find out what is really going on. The trail leads to non-existent 13th floors, some very shadowy characters who are part of the Order of the Bird, and a conclusion that reality really isn't what we think it is. Some good suspense, reasonable characterization, but the final answer that Heinlein presents may leave you feeling a little let down, and I had difficulty believing in the scenario.
"They", first printed in the April 1941 issue of Unknown, is a minor classic. Here is paranoia run rampant; the main character just knows that everything around him is just a setup meant to keep him ignorant of the true state of the world. Of course, it's only paranoia if such a belief is incorrect... One of his better early stories.
"Our Fair City" first appeared in the Jan 1949 issue of Weird Tales, and is an out-and-out fantasy, with an intelligent whirlwind used as an instrument to bring down a corrupt city government. Mildly amusing but a pretty slight effort.
"The Man Who Traveled in Elephants" was apparently written in 1948, but didn't get published till Oct 1957 in Saturn magazine. When I first read this, I thought it was a totally unremarkable, very quiet story, detailing a man and his wife who travel to all the various county/state fairs; the sights, sounds, and exhibits of such affairs. By the end of the story it is clear that this is the man's version of heaven. Reading this again, I begin to wonder if this story is actually a key to Heinlein's personal beliefs about both the hereafter and the reasons for living, and the story is actually quite charming and heart-warming.
"...And He Built a Crooked House" first appeared in Feb 1941 issue of Astounding; as such it's the earliest work in this collection. It's all about an architect who designs and builds an 'exploded' three-dimensional version of a four-dimensional tesseract, then has it collapse into a real four-dimensional house when one of California's innumerable earthquakes strikes. A minor piece, though it will warp your mind a bit, and has some historical interest as the street where this house was supposedly built is the one Heinlein was living on when this was written.
"...All You Zombies" is the newest story here, first published in the March, 1959 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction. It's also, for my money, the best and most inventive story of the bunch, and possibly the ultimate in time-travel stories. Starting from a bartender listening to one of his (male) customers complain about how tough life is in the "True Confession" writing racket, it proceeds to be the complete answer (at least for one person) to the question of the beginning of everything and to the inherent paradoxes of time travel. Warning: this is not a children's story, some of the situations described within it probably make it unsuitable for anyone younger than mid-teens.
As a group, these stories are a mixed bag. They show inventiveness in plot and theme, are all at least reasonably well written, but some cross the line of believability, others make too minor a point to be really good stories. Still, a very different set of stories from what some call the greatest science fiction writer, ever.
--- Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
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