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Book Note: Robert A. Heinlein, The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag

I read this book about 15-Jul-2014. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1959. This note was last modified Sunday, 03-Aug-2014 12:20:28 PDT.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


A collection of many of his stranger stories. Very much worth reading.

Jonathan Hoag is, as it turns out, an art critic. Our world is a work of art, and he's been sent here, turned into one of us, to study our world and report back on whether it's worth keeping or not. That initial idea of the Sons of the Bird is really not a very good one, and that's being taken out more carefully this time.

It's told from the point of view of a man and wife team of private investigators who Hoag hires to find out what he does with himself during the days, since he can't remember.

"The Man Who Travelled in Elephants" is a frankly sentimental story about a many dying and meeting up with his wife and dog in the afterlife. Somehow people never think about having had many dogs (and sometimes many wives).

"All You Zombies" is the ultimate solipsistic time-loop story, which brings in intesexed people (fully function ones) to make the loop complete and perfect.

"They" is another solipsistic story, about a crazy guy in an asylum. After a while we pull back to see that They are indeed running the entire world for its effect on this one patient.

"Our Fair City" involves small-town politics and a sapient whirlwind.

"And He Built a Crooked House..." was perhaps titled specifically to give bibliographers fits. The quotes are part of the title. An architect builds a house in the form of one 3D representation of a tesseract (or hypercube). It collapses into a real tesseract in an earthquake, and the people manage to escape just before it pops out of this universe entirely.


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David Dyer-Bennet