Summary

July 12, 1939: Perry Nelson is driving along the palisades when another vehicle swerves into his lane, a tire blows out, and his car careens off the road and over a bluff. The last thing he sees before his head connects with the boulders below is a girl in a green bathing suit, prancing along the shore.
When he wakes, the girl in green is a woman dressed in furs, and the sun-drenched shore has been replaced by snowcapped mountains. The woman, Diana, rescues Perry from the bitter cold and takes him to her home to rest and recuperate. Later they debate the cause of the accident, for Diana is unfamiliar with the concept of a tire blowout and Perry cannot comprehend snowfall in mid-July. Then Diana shares with him a vital piece of information: the date is now January 7, the year 2086.
When his shock subsides, Perry begins an exhaustive study of global evolution over the past 150 years. He learns, among other things, that a United Europe was formed; the military draft was completely reconceived; banks became publicly owned and operated; and in the year 2003, two helicopters destroyed Manhattan in a galvanizing act of war.
But education brings with it inescapable truths—the economic and legal systems, the government, and even the dynamic between men and women remain alien to Perry, the customs of the new day continually testing his mental and emotional resolve. Yet it is precisely his knowledge of a bygone era that will serve Perry best, as the man from 1939 seems destined to lead his newfound peers even further into the future than they could have imagined.
A classic example of the future history that Robert Heinlein popularized during his career, For Us, the Living marks both the beginning and the end of an extraordinary arc comprising the political, social, and literary crusading that is his legacy.
©2004 Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Trust (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic reviews

“A major contribution to the history of the genre.” (New York Times Book Review)
“There’s something eerie about this novel…Never mind science fiction; this is prescience fiction.” (Kansas City Star)
“A neat discovery for Heinlein and utopia fans.” (Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Christopher on 09-02-11

Fascinating and a riveting listen!!

This book appears to be one not published in the author's lifetime but I am very glad to have the opportunity to listen to it, it is thought provoking and fits in with many things in his other novels.

There's no point in repeating the story, in many ways the plot is secondary. A man appears to die yet lands in the future, it it heaven? Perhaps. Its not really explained how, nor does it matter particularly how he got there.

It gives the author the opportunity to express views of politics, economics and relationships. His recurring theme of being able to love more than one person is vivid and comes across naturally in this setting. It is interesting to examine a world from the view of a stranger but one who has sufficient intellect to appreciate it, that there is continuity in it and can contribute to it from his own knowledge and abilities rather than being obsolete.

Although we are a long way from the 2080s it is disturbing how little the present society has advanced in terms of human relationships, general wisdom, etc. We do not seem on course to meet the vision in this book of greater freedom and an environment run more in line with people's needs.

I found most fascinating the description of economic theory based on equivalent production and purchasing power. There are some tremendously long conversations between characters here, probably making it less saleable as a title at time of production but actually much more interesting.

Finally, Heinlein describes women very well. He shows grace, manners and the feelings they create in others and does not need to describe how they look in detail to show their beauty.

Much more to this than just a Sci-fi story, highly recommended. Perhaps an antidote to George Orwell in some regards. Enjoy!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Tony Lane on 19-02-18

I enjoyed reading this book very much

it made rethink our economy and how we live our lives. Science Fiction definitely but could we live like that for real

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Randall on 07-07-11

The only Heinlein I didn't enjoy

This is the only of the Heinlein books that I have listened to that I didn't enjoy. About a third of the way through the story, there is a 30 minute diatribe, in which we hear Heinlein's views on the failure of capatalism in the western world. We also get to hear some of his views on morals. I think this added nothing to this book. Then the book gets back to the storyline for a couple hours , but then Heinlein feels the need to further bore us with another 30 - 40 minutes of the exact same stuff. Then at the end of the book we are offered more pap under " authors notes" repeating some of the same junk. I finish every book I start, but when it came to these "authors notes" I turned it off

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15 of 21 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By gobyucougars on 25-07-17

Heinlein fan, but not for an unfinished work.

What would have made For Us, the Living better?

As you can read in the introduction, he simply never finished it. Don't believe me? Then look at how short the final chapters are. The plot is vintage Heinlein, but there were reasons he started it in 1939 and never came back to it. It may be that WWII changed some of his social theories in the plot.

What could Robert A. Heinlein have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

It may be that this was a story that got pulled apart and later used in "A Stranger in a Strange Land" and "Starship Troops" Therefore finishing it later may have been redundant to him.

Have you listened to any of Malcolm Hillgartner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

n/a

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

It should never have been re;eased without clear indicator that it is a short story.

Any additional comments?

I "Grok." If you don't understand, read more Heinlein

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8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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