Of note to science fiction fans is the publication of Robert A. Heinlein's long-lost first novel, For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs. Perhaps because this was his first novel or because the ideas here prefigure much of his later work Heinlein attempted to destroy all extant copies of it before he died in 1988. Nevertheless, For Us was rediscovered, leading to the obvious question of whether it can survive the test of time, 65 years after it was written. The answer depends on the reader. This is not the book for readers new to Heinlein, a grandmaster of science fiction with such classics as Stranger in a Strange Land to his credit. The plot, such as it is, (a man from 1939 wakes up in a utopian 2086) is just a frame on which Heinlein hangs his ideas on government, finance, sexual mores, law and privacy. Perhaps this is best viewed as a book only for true fans, but what a treat it will be for them.
Gavin J. Grant is co-editor of The Year's Best Fantasy ∧ Horror, to be published this summer by St. Martin's Press.