Job: A Comedy of Justice MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio
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A great cosmic guffaw of a masterpiece --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
After he firewalked in Polynesia, the world wasn't the same for Alexander Hergensheimer, now called Alec Graham. As natural accidents occurred without cease, Alex knew Armageddon and the Day of Judgement were near. Somehow he had to bring his beloved heathen, Margrethe, to a state of grace, and, while he was at it, save the rest of the world .... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
The plot is comparatively simple: Alex Hergensheimer, fundamentalist priest, finds himself shunted from alternate reality to alternate reality, with his only constant his new-found love-at-first-sight Margrethe as his traveling companion and the clothes on his back. Such changes impose severe hardships, as again and again he finds himself without spendable money or records of who he is, and must survive by taking any jobs he finds available, chiefly dish-washing. Culture shock is also heavily prevalent, as his own ideas of what is proper in terms of women's dress, public displays of affection, acceptable language, and what should be (in his mind) the one and only acceptable religion are continuously rubbed headlong into the facts and customs of totally different cultures. Alex is quite a bit of a prig, whose ideas on papists, Jews, and blackamoors are horrendously prejudicial, and finds these changes very difficult to take. His take on the entire experience is that either he is totally paranoid, that these shifts are directed solely at him, or that these are signs and portents of the coming Armageddon. That his paranoia is justified and Armageddon really is just around the corner is the logical conclusion to this, but what he finds and does in both Heaven and Hell may not be at all what the reader is expecting.
Alex is a fully developed character, in some ways a typical Heinlein ubermensch, as he concentrates on surviving in each new world and showing great practicality and intelligence in doing so, and at the same time violently different from just about every other character Heinlein ever created, with his closed mind and highly religious outlook.
But despite his continuous pig-headedness and "I know I'm right" attitude, there is a certain nobleness and steadfastness of character that shines through, that in the end fully justifies his selection as a modern day Job. There is a very large amount of very biting satire and humor prevalent throughout this book ("Is this Hell? Or is this Texas? Both."), and those with fundamentalist Christian beliefs may find this book extremely upsetting as Heinlein takes the exact words of the Bible and shows just what they would really be like. In fact, it has been denounced as blasphemous by Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, a reaction Heinlein was probably trying to provoke.
The book is also quite inventive, showing off Heinlein's masterful world-building skills as he details not just one but several alternate worlds and technologies, and he even takes a crack at detailing a scientifically plausible Hell-world and the infrastructure of a Heaven with plumbing and public transportation. But the basic idea behind all the world-shifting and religious trappings is an idea that he first tackled in "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathon Hoag" and "They", which he wrote very early in his career, an idea which runs throughout his late period books, that the world we see is an artifact, a stage setting, created by some fabulist for his own purposes. This book also clearly shows some of the literary influences on Heinlein, mainly James Branch Cabell and Mark Twain, along with highlighting the fact that Heinlein was brought up in the heart of the Bible-belt, and had an extensive knowledge of the Bible.
Some have complained that the book's ending has too much of a deus-ex-machina feel to it, but this is one case where the `God' is quite literal, and I found the ending quite fitting. But a warning: the last two chapters must be read very carefully, especially in terms of what characters are present (names are quite important), as there are a lot of hidden statements and meanings hiding behind the bare happenstances that are detailed.
I did not think this was one his great books when I first read it, but every time I give it a re-read, it impresses me more and more as quintessential Heinlein at the peak of his form, a joy to read and an illuminating volume of ideas and thoughts that require some serious contemplation.
---Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
Many situations in the book are very amusing and the whole idea is irreverent but never intended in my view to insult any religion.
It is very different and is not what I'd describe as SF exactly although there are some elements there.
Heinlein's later work seems to deal with love and affection between people, decency, fairness and indeed Justice as in the title. From my point of view he deals with these subjects well and in a natural, untwisted way.
Some of thw worlds visited are very funny, especially those most like ours. One constant is that whilst the powerful and almighty appear bent on being as unhelpful as possible, there is a willingness running through the whole story of the ordinary person to offer nothing but help and decency.
It is outrageous and funny and not one to miss.
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