Like many Heinlein novels, this one is pretty weird in spots. It also challenges a lot of religious beliefs, and also atheists…. I also think that this book was fairly run of the mill until the very very end and I’m sad that Heinlein waited until the end to make the book so awesome. However, if you are a person who liked the place His Dark Materials ended up, you will probably like the end of Job as well and I would recommend reading it just for the fun thought experiment.
Title: Job: A Comedy of Justice
Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Pages: 439 paperback
Setting: There is a lot of universe hopping here, but for the most part they are the typical alternate history universes that look fairly normal except for all the blimps in the air or the wrong president. Oh and the multi-verse ends at one point and the traditional afterworld locations show up.
Premise: Alexander was silly and firewalked in Polynesia and found himself in a different world, where he had accidentally taken the place of his alternate self Alec. The good little fundamentalist minister finds his world shifting around him just as soon as he gets used to things and through a couple of accidents finds himself in an affair with Margrethe. Anything that he touches tends to shift with him (thankfully including Margrethe) though he forgets to keep his wallet on him a few times which leads to some difficult positions. A few things are for sure though: Armageddon is coming, Heaven isn’t as nice as it’s cracked up to be and Hell isn’t what you’d expect (the fire and brimstone thing is just an act to keep the boring people out really).
- Margrethe is freaking awesome for a heathen!
- Alex handles some very strange situations with grace and wit
- You will never see the end coming, seriously, it’s awesome
- Some very interesting questions arise in this situation: is it cheating if your wife doesn’t exist in this world?
- A seriously awesome interpretation of Hell (but it’s way at the end, ya gotta push through!)
- Why must the awesomest part wait until so far to the end??
- There is a tipping point for character misery where it’s just too stressful for me, and that point is reached a few times, but thankfully not for too long
- Alex isn’t my favorite of Heinlein’s characters, but Margrethe makes up for it
- Despite how much I love the pairing of these characters, affairs make me sad
- If you aren’t okay with God being kind of an ass, then you might not like the ending as much as I do…. That also goes for Heaven not being perfect.
Summary: I quite enjoyed this book on the whole, even though it got a bit slow/repetitive in the middle. I know I’ve said this twenty times already, but the ending made it a complete and awesome package. I do accept that the lead up was necessary to make the title justified (it is actually related to the story of Job from the Bible). For the most part it’s a chill enough read, but make sure you’ve got your reading shoes on for the end :D!