- Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Ace (June 1, 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0441094996
- ISBN-13: 978-0441094998
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 130 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Cat Who Walks through Walls Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1988
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“Dialogue as witty as Oscar Wilde’s, action as rollicking as Edgar Rice Burrough’s, and satire as spicy as Jonathan Swift’s.”—The New York Times
“Entertaining...plenty of fast action...vivid and believable.”—Chicago Sun
“Irresistible...The Cat Who Walks through Walls has a force that cannot be denied.”—Locus
About the Author
Robert Anson Heinlein was born in Missouri in 1907, and was raised there. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1929, but was forced by illness to retire from the Navy in 1934. He settled in California and over the next five years held a variety of jobs while doing post-graduate work in mathematics and physics at the University of California. In 1939 he sold his first science fiction story to Astounding magazine and soon devoted himself to the genre.
He was a four-time winner of the Hugo Award for his novels Stranger in a Strange Land (1961), Starship Troopers (1959), Double Star (1956), and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966). His Future History series, incorporating both short stories and novels, was first mapped out in 1941. The series charts the social, political, and technological changes shaping human society from the present through several centuries into the future.
Robert A. Heinlein’s books were among the first works of science fiction to reach bestseller status in both hardcover and paperback. he continued to work into his eighties, and his work never ceased to amaze, to entertain, and to generate controversy. By the time he died, in 1988, it was evident that he was one of the formative talents of science fiction: a writer whose unique vision, unflagging energy, and persistence, over the course of five decades, made a great impact on the American mind.
Top customer reviews
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I fell in love with the characters... I love this story. What a movie it would make.
The beginning 3rd of the book is very good despite some back and forth dialog that gets a bit too snarky too often. Then comes a scene of intense peril which is ruined entirely. Heinlein is so hellbent on proving his scientific knowledge to the reader that the scene is barely readable much less enjoyable. All sense of atmosphere disappears in a cloud of thick explanations about physics and ballistics. I only bring up this scene because it seems to be the turning point where a good whodunnit turns into a tiresome misdirected mess.
From here on out you suffer through ~250 pages of overly verbose dialog that's supposed to be clever. All people, especially women, are sex fixated and everyone is vowing to marry and sleep with everyone else in group marriages. Even more unfortunate is that it all just comes through as being awkward. I don't mean awkward because it assets cultural norms that defy my upbringing. I mean awkward because like most sci-fi authors, Heinlein has no inkling of how to write effective sex or romance. It's the kind of awkward reminiscent of when early adolescents fool around - all the while blushing, giggling, and not being able to unhook a bra. All hormones and no grace. Just plain awkward.
Next flaw: Heinlein has fallen so in love with his worlds that he forgets there's supposed to be forward momentum. In one scene about 3/4ths of the way through the book, an event of tremendous importance occurs. In the middle of it, he muddles everything up by introducing new minor/meaningless characters and taking time to describe their ancestry and last names. Hello! Can we get back to the plot point? (Especially since it's the first plot point we've seen in over 50 pages!) We aren't even learning anything interesting about the characters themselves. Only how they fit into the world he spent so much effort detailing.
Next: the computers. Yes, I'm a computer geek. (Big shocker: a computer geek reading Heinlein...) but this is not a rant about how he messed up a computer detail or how the computers of the future ought to contain X or Y feature. This is much more fundamental: sassy self-aware computers. All the self-aware computers are just as sassy, opinionated, prone to verbally-sparing, and sex-obsessed as the humans are. Worse: the personalities aren't original. These computers, as well as all of the females in the book, except for the main 1 or 2, are carbon-copies of the personalities of the girls in "Stranger in a Strange Land."
Next: Everyone's favorite character: Robert A. Heinlein. This is one of the few gripes I have about ALL Heinlein books: there's always 1 or 2 characters (or 3 or 4 in Starship Troopers) who are always right, who's opinions are beyond reproach, and who deliver exhaustive monologues about unconventional theories which are clearly nothing more than Heinlein expressing his own views. These are your "Heinlein" characters. They are him and they are never anything less than victorious. In this book there are some particularly silly and over the top instances of these speeches, opinions, and characters.
Plot: yes, there was a plot - albeit neglected for most of the book in favor of aforementioned snappy dialog (mostly about sex) and in favor of discovering the world he invented. The main plot is something that happens in the first chapter and is resolved in the last chapter. Sadly, it has little to do with anything in the rest of the chapters. The mystery would be entirely obvious with about 80 pages remaining until climax except that since the rest of the book has nothing to do with the beginning/ending plot, you forget about it altogether. In fact, you're kinda surprised when it gets resolved at all.
If you are a fan of good sci-fi, I highly recommend Heinlein - except for The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. I've only once EVER read a book where I'd gotten more than half way through and stopped. This was going to be #2 except that the next book I wanted to read hadn't yet reached me by mail.
However, this book doesn't actually have a story. It's one long chase scene with lots of boring derring-do. Also pages and pages and pages of Nick and Nora Charles style conversations with no content, just quip quip quip. And they talk about sex and have sex constantly, but still it's boring. The guy can't write about love and sex with any conviction. Makes you wonder if he ever actually had sex himself.
And the final disappointment - almost no explanation of Mike the computer except to mention his name as the reason for all the derring-do.