Out of Print - This Title is Unlikely to be Available.
The Number of the Beast is a mind-bending experiment by one of the greatest writers in science fiction who ever lived and the author of the classic bestseller, Starship Troopers. It is a parallel book about parallel universes.
Most readers did not realize in 1980 (when it was originally published) that the novel had a sister book, written in 1977, that was never published. That book is finally being published under the title The Pursuit of the Pankera. .
Both novels deal with parallel universes, share the same main characters and have the same first one-third of the book. However, from that point on (after they make a jump to a parallel universe) the novels diverge completely. .
And here is where the second part of the experiment comes in. While The Pursuit of the Pankera continues the adventure in a very customary Heinlein manner, reminiscent of his earlier works, The Number of the Beast becomes something very different. .
On surface, the book is about two men and two women who are attacked by aliens and then embark on roller coaster ride of an adventure through a myriad of universes. But as Jack Kirwan wrote in The National Review, "describing The Number of the Beast thus is like saying Moby Dick is about a one-legged guy trying to catch a fish."
The Number of the Beast is a homage to science fiction, to his friends and to characters used in other books, also serving as a parody and a lesson to anyone willing to listen, in a way only Robert A. Heinlein could have presented it.
About the Author
Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907 - May 8, 1988) was an American science-fiction author, aeronautical engineer, and retired Naval officer officer and the author of such classic bestsellers as Starship Troopers, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land. Sometimes called the dean of science fiction writers, he was among the first to emphasize scientific accuracy in his fiction, and was thus a pioneer of the sub-genre of hard science fiction. His published works, both fiction and non-fiction, express admiration for competence and emphasize the value of critical thinking. His work continues to have an influence on the science-fiction genre, and on modern culture more generally. Heinlein became one of the first American science-fiction writers to break into mainstream magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post in the late 1940s. He was one of the best-selling science-fiction novelists for many decades, and he, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke are often considered the Big Three of English-language science fiction authors. Notable Heinlein works include Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers (which helped mould the space marine and mecha archetypes) and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. His work sometimes had controversial aspects, such as plural marriage in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, militarism in Starship Troopers and technologically competent women characters that were strong and independent, yet often stereotypically feminine - such as Friday. Heinlein used his science fiction as a way to explore provocative social and political ideas, and to speculate how progress in science and engineering might shape the future of politics, race, religion, and sex. Within the framework of his science-fiction stories, Heinlein repeatedly addressed certain social themes: the importance of individual liberty and self-reliance, the nature of sexual relationships, the obligation individuals owe to their societies, the influence of organized religion on culture and government, and the tendency of society to repress nonconformist thought. He also speculated on the influence of space travel on human cultural practices. Heinlein was named the first Science Fiction Writers Grand Master in 1974. Four of his novels won Hugo Awards. In addition, fifty years after publication, seven of his works were awarded Retro Hugos--awards given retrospectively for works that were published before the Hugo Awards came into existence. In his fiction, Heinlein coined terms that have become part of the English language, including grok, waldo, and speculative fiction, as well as popularizing existing terms like TANSTAAFL, pay it forward, and space marine. He also anticipated mechanical computer-aided design with Drafting Dan and described a modern version of a waterbed in his novel Beyond This Horizon, though he never patented nor built one. In the first chapter of the novel Space Cadet he anticipated the cell-phone, 35 years before Motorola invented the technology. Several of Heinlein's works have been adapted for film and television. [adapted from Wikipedia]