Farnham’s Freehold – Robert A. Heinlein

Heinlein - Farnham's Freehold
I finally read a novel by Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988). Mr. Heinlein was one of the first science fiction writers and he’s referred as the “dean of science fiction writers”. He’s a multiple winner of the Hugo award (best science fiction) He wrote sci-fi before sci-fi was about little green men and space craft. He certainly has interesting ideas and political views. I won’t get into that but it definitely plays a part in his body of work.

The first Robert Heinlein book I read is Farnham’s Freehold only because it’s the first Heinlein book I got my hands on. The book was published in 1964, during the height of the cold war to give you an idea of the setting. The back cover mentions that the main character, Hugh Farnham was a practical self-made man, and when he saw the clouds of nuclear war gathering, he built a bomb shelter under his house, hoping for peace and preparing for war. Hugh and his family survived a nuke blast, wakes up in the post-apocalyptic future where white people are the slaves of cannibalistic black rulers. As you guessed race, among other theme, is one of the main themes of the book.

This book is a favorite among the preppers. Practical man Hugh Farnham, yes he was. There’s interesting stuff in there about survivalist and preparing yourself for anything. He built a nuclear shelter, so there’s something to learn here. Now I’m sure 100% sure of this, but apparently Heinlein has built his own shelter during the cold war and has rely on his experience to write the book. There’s a lot of reference to Egyptian and Roman engineering.

It’s an interesting book to read, but not in the sense that it’s a happy fun book. Farnham’s Freehold is difficult, controversial and disgusting at parts. Some parts are hard to digest. There’s talk about incest, cannibalism, abortion, slavery, religion, killing his son, and white female are called sluts. No wonder its written “Science Fiction’s Most Controversial Novel” on the cover. That’s not a marketing trick, it really resonates once more you read the whole book.


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