Glory Road

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Glory Road

Review #1

Glory Road audiobook free

EC Gordon has just been discharged from the Army and is France before heading back to the US. He meets a mysterious woman and his life turns upside down. The first part of the book is classic sword and sorcery with a SF twist. You will have to read the book to find out what happens next. Heinlein is truly the grandmaster of SF.

Review #2

Glory Road audiobook

Glory Road is, in my never humble opinion, one of the finest books ever written. It has long been my own personal favorite and the older I get the more I find to love. However, you cannot judge a great author merely on the surface of his text. The power of Glory Road, like many great works before it, lies in the undercurrents running silently between the lines.

This book was originally written in the midst of the Vietnam War. America was in constant social turmoil with “youth power” attempting to overthrow the “wisdom” of the elderly. Russia had signed SALT 1, then turned around and deployed hundreds of SS-22 intercontinental ballistic missiles. Our world was a bloody mess. Although it is hard to believe now, in many ways things were far worse at the time this book was written.

The first time I read Glory Road, it was a swash-buckling high adventure with a surprising, almost depressing ending. Now I pick it up and begin turning the pages to find insightful social commentary, scathing criticism of both those in power and their critics, and an ironic chuckle at the total foolishness of the human animal.

Star, for example, is every man’s dream woman. Blonde, buxom, and unreachable. When she finally falls, she reverts to a half-witted emotional dependent leaning on her hero’s strong arm.

Then twenty pages later she turns out to be a galatic empress commanding more worlds that most people ever dream of.

The convoluted nature of her character is completely intentional. At first Star embodies all the traits of a fictional heroine in a genre that has a powerful inclination to objectify women. Then, when she is suddenly unveiled as a nearly omnipotent galatic ruler, the dichotomy tears aside the traditional depiction of women and reminds us that these “frail” creatures carry an inner strength and unshakable sense of self which humiliates and humbles anyone foolish enough to challenge them directly. Women, we are reminded, are just as human as the men. The strong hero is suddenly in the role of dependent and discovers he hasn’t got what it takes to fulfill the role he’d been more than willing to assign to her.

Glory Road is, on the surface, a semi-serious story of high-adventure with a quirky ending. Underneath that shallow surface, however, lies an ironic coming of age story in the life of a man who suddenly finds himself outside the bounds of normal reality. “Scar” Gordon starts out a slave to fate, but winds up the master of his own destiny.

Glory Road is not about dragonslaying at all. Glory Road is about breaking free of the assumptions that chain each of us into predefined social templates that are so completely engrossing we cannot see how insane our society has become until we step outside it.

Review #3

Audiobook Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein

I first read this shortly after its release. I’ve read it four or five times, but the latest was probably thirty years ago. I decided to read it again. Like most of his books, this was half science fiction (now it would be called fantasy) and half commentary on American culture. Unbelievably, it holds up quite well over time. The fantasy part is all action, but underneath the story are sticky barbs about our culture. This has always been one of my favorite books of his, and if you can get over the fact that the hero business in which Oscar partakes is only half of the book, you will really enjoy the story.

Review #4

Audio Glory Road narrated by Bronson Pinchot

Glory Road is one of my least favorite Heinlein novels, because I just don’t like fantasy, not the sword & sorcery type, with rare exceptions (I love science fiction, especially about space exploration, which is why Heinlein is my favorite author). However, Glory Road is still good enough for 4 / 5 stars, better than some science fiction novels I like. And I can see arguments that it is technically science fiction due to lip-service technical explanations (higher geometry, not magic) – but they’re not strong enough for me.
I’ve always thought the first few chapters of Glory Road – before the fantasy-adventure (/dream?) – contained some of Heinlein’s best writing, entertaining and thought-provoking. On this third reading I liked the second, fantasy section, that constitutes two thirds of the work, more than I did the first time I read it, even more than the second time, mainly due to the humorous tone, comparable to what I’ve read of Terry Pratchett’s work.
[Spoilers below here]
The third part – most of the last 80 pages – I still found somewhat drawn out, meandering – for Heinlein. Here Heinlein demonstrates exactly how boring life is for a retired hero, what “happily ever after” might really mean. I think I would have liked this better if it were cut down by about 40-5o pages, though it might not have made the point as effectively.
Overall I guess you could say Heinlein has succeeded in writing a “realistic” fantasy, almost a paradox or oxymoron, and in making it entertaining (up to that last part, for me).

Review #5

Free audio Glory Road – in the audio player below

I must have read this 50 years ago and then I thought it was a good book. Now I think it’s a load of outdated, sexist tosh with far too much pontificating about American society, taxes and attitudes towards sex and nudity. The heroine is a powerful Amazon who dissolves into a simpering ninny with dimples at the merest touch of male dominance. It’s a male fantasy novel. Despite all that, I liked the old paperback cover in garish colours, with Star standing proud and half naked in front of a dead dragon. It really showed you what the book was about. Now we have a dreary mediaeval castle that bears absolutely no relation to the story. However, I needed an easy read while stuck at home with Covid and it filled that need, so it’s worth two stars.

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