I recently finished “Time Enough for Love” by Robert A. Heinlen. It was the last book in this round of book club books. We decided on it when one of our members described it as his “favorite book”. I was intrigued. A book called “Time Enough for Love” that is loved by a dude? I’m in. We pick the book and move on. 8 or so months later, it is time to read it. The first copy I see, has this cover:
I’m thinking, oh my. What am I in for? I know you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but come on. It looks like some dude in a hospital gown in front of a time machine with two naked chicks. I saw this cover and cracked up laughing. This is his favorite book? I’ve got to know more.
About a week later, I pick the book up. The cover of mine wasn’t quite so… interesting.
Anyways, I have to say that I loved this book. I couldn’t believe it, but I do. Completely. I absolutely judged it wrong by its cover. (although the cover designers could have done a better job. I mean, come on.)
The book is about Lazarus Long, longest living human being at over 2,000 years old. The book takes place far in the future, after humans have colonized hundreds of other planets. Lazarus was born in 1916 and lived through the exodus of Earth and has lived many lives. He claims there isn’t a profession or an experience that he hasn’t had. When the book begins, he is tired of life and has decided that it is time to die. But he then meets some people who try and interest him in life again and end up succeeding.
Throughout the book, he tells many stories of his life and people he has known along the way. He tells of loves and losses and common errors of humanity. The title of the book first comes up in the story where Lazarus was talking about regular people with short lifespans (like people today). He says that the saddest thing about them is that “their little lives rarely held time enough for love”.
The book feels fresh and new even though it was apparently written in 1973. The vision of the future is exciting and feels plausible. The views on relationships are interesting. There are far less taboos in this future. Polyamy and nudity are common and natural. The family structures are more fluid, with the only concern in mating being gene compatibility instead of the taboos of incest or promiscuity being important.
The thing I like most about science fiction, is the capacity of authors to come up with these amazing views of the future. Sometimes the future is bleak, sometimes it is hopeful, other times it is amazing. The capacity for variation is so interesting to me because often the visions all seem so plausible! It just seems to depend on which part of our humanity we let rule. No one knows what the future holds, but if there are any clues, they might be found in the Sci-fi section of the bookstore.
This book had interesting characters, tons of anecdotes, fun stories, love stories, lessons on life, and a vision of the future that was really entertaining. I would recommend it completely.