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Friday Mass Market Paperback – July 12, 1983
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Many have already commented on the various themes of the book, most of which will already be familiar to Heinlein fans. The one that was new was the bigotry against the main character, an artificial and genetically enhanced human. It seems most readers found this reaction unlikely, although this theme pervades the entire work. One reviewer asserts that it's even the primary idea of the whole book.
Another important theme is the revolt against authority which many Heinlein readers will certainly know from his other books such as The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Double Star, Citizen of the Galaxy, Stranger in a Strange Land, Sixth Column, Revolt in 2100, and others.
The theme of the competent man also takes center stage in this book, another famous and familiar Heinlein theme, although in this book it's a competent, genetically enhanced female.
However, all these interpretations, although true, miss one very important point. In Heinlein's novels, the world is often a very unstable and even dangerous place--but there is always hope, and optimism that conditions will be better in the future. Often the main characters in Heinlein's books are intimately involved in the struggle to overthrow oppressive governments--and usually succeeding--and thereby creating a better life for themselves.Read more ›
What makes Friday so alluring? It is a tale of acceptance and belonging and what is the human soul. It is a story of an "artificial person", Friday Jones, whose "mother was a test tube, and her father a knife". She is a professional courier (that is to say, she is a carrier pigeon for top-secret documents and important information), who seems to be normal and well adjusted in every way. However, underneath her cheerful and charming exterior lays a frightened little girl who seeks acceptance in the most desperate ways, but fails in her quest to find a family. During these chronicles, she discovers many things about herself. Small, personal bits of information, a strength and resourcefulness that she never knew she had. Eventually, she finds a family and as she says, she finally "belongs".
The story is quite simple, so why is this story so spellbinding?
Besides the beautiful blend of technology, history, and characterization, there is also a cohesive story line as well as a thrilling plot. Friday asks the age-old question, what is a soul? What makes a human, a person? Although she is beautiful, accomplished and talented, once she reveals that she is an AP, she is outcast and sneered at.Read more ›
The protagonist here is an Artificial Person (AP) named Friday Jones, who works as a courier for the organization headed up by Hartley 'Kettle Belly' Baldwin (last seen in the 1949 short stort 'Gulf'). Friday's very cool all around but she has a little self-esteem problem owing to the fact that much of the world thinks APs aren't genuinely human.
Well, of _course_ they are; they're genetically engineered to be able to outperform us ordinary mortals in strength, speed, and intelligence, but they're human (genetically and otherwise) all the same. (So you should ignore reviewers' comments describing Friday as a 'cyborg'. She's no such thing.) And that's really the heart of this novel -- Friday's long and sometimes excruciating journey to _belonging_. (In this respect, the novel very nicely _undoes_ all of the Uebermensch crap Heinlein wrote in the 1940s.)
That's the heart, but the novel has a couple of spots on its soul. As other readers have noted, Friday's response to her rape (and her rapist) is more than a little jarring, and I don't think it's possible to explain it away as a result of her upbringing and genetic enhancements. And I could have lived without the several pages of astrogation and starcharts (although I do enjoy Heinlein's little doodle of a centaur).
The sequence of events starts off well enough, but it sort of rambles and meanders. Oh, well; most of it is interesting, anyway, although the secret-agent intrigue peters out partway through. And there are memorable characters -- nothing quite at the level of the Long family, mind you, but still some pretty interesting people.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I LOVE this book. There are a lot truths that many people are not willing to face. Heinlein had a way of making us think about what we are reading even as we are being... Read morePublished 2 months ago by ~me
From Heinlein's idiot period; Get ready for "stranger in a strange land" which is barely science fiction, and get ready for Heinlein's interesting view on women.Published 2 months ago by Alan Cain
The books main character was well written and very sure of herself but definately female and very sure of herself. Read morePublished 5 months ago by bob
A great look at the implicit biases people hold, especially those encouraged by a prejudicial society.Published 6 months ago by Frisco
It was rather surprising to see the balkanization of America. Posing the acceptance or rejection of AP-s (artificial persons) may not be an isue in the far future. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Istvan Nemes
This was very unique read and one of the more politically interesting of Robert Heinlein's books. It delves into the basic ethical dilemmas surrounding the equality of people on a... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Leah Jimmerson