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Reviews and Commentary for Robert A.Heinlein's books

Reviews are downloaded from Amazon.com online bookshop

Comments: "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls : A Comedy of Manners"

A reader from Denver, CO , 04/08/98, rating=1:
Hated it.
I was loaned this book by a friend who raved about it. I read it while sick and bed and ended up preferring to stare at a wall. "This is not a book to be put down lightly, but to be thrown with great force..." RAH's vision of the future is fascinating, but for that I would rather read William Gibson. From the implausible plot to the unnatural (read silly) dialog, I was irratated from the 5th page. As highly as RAH is praised as a writer one would think his characters would be more believable. His female character (whatever her name was) is completely false, obviously written by a man. The dialog between the two main characters is completely fatuous. I wouldn't even recommend this book to a 13 year old boy (the only audience who may find this poorly-conceived, horribly-written waste of trees entertaining).

A reader from Mexico City, Mexico , 03/16/98, rating=9:
Good "Future-History" wrap-up
If you enjoyed "Methusalah's Children," "Time Enough for Love," "The Number of The Beast," "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress," the "Expanded Universe" collection, "The Rolling Stones" and you're begging for a wrap-up, you'll love this book. *Don't* read it if you *only* want fast-paced action and interesting plot twists: the book has them in good quantities, but you'll be disappointed with the ending. I was at first, but later on I've re-read it several times just to re-live good yarns with Heinlein's great characters. The good part is that the ending leaves you rarin' for more :-).

gupp@mindless.com from Rochester, NY, USA , 03/03/98, rating=8:
not absolutely the best, but...
Not bad. I think the ending was okay, it leaves you in the dark- just like Schrodinger's Cat does... until you open the box.

Theo@microsoft.com from Theron T Ozark,Alabama , 02/07/98, rating=7:
It was a good book from the begining but not to end
Im now a new fan of RBH,The cat who walked through walls was one of the first book of his iv'e read. It was great all the way through except for the ending.I think he should have Re written the ending which had many loose ends and leave you wondering what happened to richard and gwen

bobcham@eedesigncon.com from Grove, OK , 01/04/98, rating=2:
Not one of Heinlein's best
I am a fan of Heinlein's books and normally have nothing but praise for his writing as well as his expressed philosophy. "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" and "Starship Troopers" are perfect examples of what I mean, both in style as well as philosophy. "Cat" starts out well enough, promising to be a sequel to "Moon" in style and storyline. But then Heinlein goes astray. His dialog tends to get lost in meaningless, erudite chatter that does nothing but camouflage the action. The plot has many loose ends that are never explained or tied into the story. The motivation of his characters is weak or non-existent and he gets lost in his late-years philosophy of "free sex with everyone and shame for none". By the end of the book, I was asking myself why I had read it - or at least finished it. I was very disappointed.

adman@kdi.com from Austin, TX , 01/03/98, rating=6:
Falls off at the end
First two-thirds a 9, last third a 3, average out to a six...this book is similar to the series "Twin Peaks" (first season), with a beautiful, stylistic set-up, and then a completely unfulfilling ending. It is fun, especially the beginning, but leaves you feeling cheated. Not a good beginning book for RAH novices...at least read The Moon is Harsh Mistress, first.

ejh@idcomm.com from Boulder, Colorado , 12/19/97, rating=1:
From a RAH fan: This book SUCKS
I'm a big fan of RAH, but this book just sucks. I would rather cut off my own head with a spoon than read this book again. It's a great book though if you want to read about an old man's fantasies of having sex with teenage girls.

A reader from San Francisco, CA , 11/25/97, rating=4:
Avoid this one.. the first 200 pages are great; page turner, lots of suspense & fun. After that, Heinlein starts trotting out popular characters from his more successful books (& they have no place in this novel!!) The last section of the novel is one giant committee meeting, essentially. And committtee meetings are boring enough in real life, do we really need to read about them in a sci-fi book? For over 100 pages? Finally, the last section & ending do absolutely NOTHING to resolve the set up of the first 200 pages. Yuck. I felt cheated after (struggling) to finnish this.

mike2400@series2000.com from USA , 09/27/97, rating=10:
A must Read!!!
This is one of the best R.A.H. Books I have read.

A reader, 08/13/97, rating=9:
Funny, and original
I think this is one of RAH's finest books. Unlike many people who condem it for a lack luster ending, I think the beginning and middle make up for it. This was the first real Science fiction book I've ever read, and is still in my top five favorites. This is a must read for someone who loves science fiction.

Robert A. Jung (rjung@netcom.com) , 07/29/97, rating=6:
No wonder I was disappointed
I finished "Cat" (my third Heinlein novel, after "Job" and "Stranger in a Strange Land") with a vague feeling of unease. Why did I lose that sense of excitement and fun near the end? Why doid I end the book, not with a feeling of pleasure and delight, but with a sense of pointless futility. Thanks to the other reviews at Amazon, I understand -- "Cat" is fun for the first half, but then it putters out of gas and rolls to an anticlimactic (and disappointingly arbitrary) ending. Perhaps Heinlein purists will devour this book, but for a less evangelitical fan like myself, it's fairly forgettable. I'm glad to hear that not all of Heinlein's titles are of this level, though -- it gives me hope for the next RAH book I'll tackle.

lbrisken@activision.com , 05/09/97, rating=10:
Wonderful introduction to the world of Robert A Heinlein
"We need you to kill a man..." If you've never read a Heinlein novel, this would be an outstanding place to introduce yourself to one of Sci-Fi's greatest authors. Heinlein wrote about the human condition and how extraordinary people reacted to their ever changing environment. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls brings us one of his most dynamic protagonists. Gwen is strong, resourceful and brilliant. Everything Heinlein cherished in the human spirit. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

arianya3@HoTmail.com , 04/16/97, rating=7:
A WONDERFUL addition to the future-history series
While I haven't read many of Heinlein's books, but I did find myself taken with the series. His wonderful interweaving of events provided a real life-like setting into which I was happy to escape. I do recommend reading "The Moon is A Harsh Nistress" before undertaking this book, and if interested in the series, begin again with "Methusalah's Children". OVERALL I found this book to be intriging and exciting, a must read for any lover of sci-fi!

sabre@awenet.com , 03/20/97, rating=6:
A book of potential unrealized - a rare Heinlein stumble
No one is a big a Robert Heinlein completist as I am. I even own the hardcover of "Tramp Royale." I've read and reread my Heinleins happily for years. Including "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls."

Sadly, it is a completist who will get the most enjoyment out of this book.

The first half of the book is a true adventure, and is very well told and paced. It features the tight characterization and dialogue that made Heinlein's reputation, along with the hard science fiction that Heinlein championed and told so well. After the first half... it slips. Badly. It slows to a crawl, it becomes nearly opaque, and the heart of the book -- Richard's banter with his wife -- is almost completely missing.

There are many cries about Heinlein's physical condition at the time he wrote "Cat." His latter years were in poor health, to be certain. But this health did not affect his writing (save for a condition he underwent around the time he wrote "I Will Fear No Evil," which precluded his editing the novel, which suffered for it). Indeed, two of his more successful later books -- Job: A Comedy of Justice, and Friday -- were both worked on and written in the neighborhood of this one. "To Sail Beyond the Sunset," Heinlein's last (and much much better) novel that was a sequel to this shows his acuity as a writer continued. My assumption is that Heinlein had certain events he wanted to set up for "To Sail..." and therefore wrote this book.

Nevertheless, I have read it several times, and do enjoy it. Fans of "Time Enough for Love," "The Rolling Stones," "The Number of the Beast," and "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" will want to read this. Fans of "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" will likely want to give it a look. But newcomers to the Grand Master should go elsewhere -- "Starship Troopers," "Double Star," "Stranger in a Strange Land," or "Citizen of the Galaxy," to name some -- to cut their teeth on this seminal Science Fiction author's work.

rreynold@thiel.edu or rizzyd@hotmail.com , 01/29/97, rating=10:
The one that hooked Dean
Everyone should have a book they read over and over again, and this is mine. Cat was given to me a few years back by a dear friend who said "try it, you'll love it!". After over 20 readings I still find something new and exciting and the adventure still sweeps me away to the far away lands. The plot grabs you and holds you to the very end. Well worth the time to read!

zarina@altered.com , 12/11/96, rating=10:
This book is a must read for any sci-fi fan.
I am new reader of Heinlein's works. But, after reading this book, I am now an avid fan. Unlike some of the other reveiwers, I was not at all bothered by the plot. I found the plot to be exciting and funny. But, I would recommend "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" before picking up this one. This book will not disappoint you in it's entertainmant value. A must for any sci-fi fan.

atchiem@uci.edu , 08/22/96, rating=8:
What's there to expect??!!
Unlike the previous two reviewers, I have not read any of Heinlein's other works. I can tell, though, that he (the author) is a very inventive sort. In fact, my one line summary of this book should read: "VERY, VERY ORIGINAL." Conceptually speaking, Star Trek has nothing on this book. I also loved the very witty prose- it's what kept me reading on and on. Not a novel enthusiast, yet very much a reader, I have never seen such dialogue as charming and sexually tense as Heinlein's. This also kept me reading on and on. One thing that didn't was the plot. Like Mercutio, I thought the plot was very swift and tight the first half, then dragged and DRAGGED the remaining half. The finale was especially horrible. I had come to expect a very original ending and instead, I got the (snap) and it's over effect. Now, Heinlein kept on bringing up (like a pessimistic critic, I might add) the idea that no piece of fiction could be wholly original anymore, so I guess he thought that he was sealed to his fate as an "impersonal writer of one [big, collective] story," as a Walt Whitman (?) might have said. Still, I wish he could have taken some time to change the finale, maybe even rework the plot (I know how hard that is) to make the latter half as refreshing and exciting as the first.

mouse@nai.net , 05/19/96, rating=9:
"The thinking man's Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy"
-San Francisco Chronicle An abosolutely mindnumbing adventure through space and time, "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls" is quite possibly the best book Heinlein has written since "Stranger in a Strange Land". This time creating the compelling character of Dr. Richard Ames, part-time writer, full-time cynic, and unfortunate victim of mistaken identity. Ames is thrust headlong into a daring plot to rescue a sentient computer called mike, dragged through different dimensions where Lazarous Long and Jubal Harshaw still thrive, and becomes caretaker of a small kitten called Pixel. All this, in the name of Love. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

carter@e-tex.com (Carter Bennett) , 02/14/96, rating=9:
I certainly disagree with Mercutio's review!
One of the later books including the Long characters. An absolute delight and a top-notch adventure. For best continuity, read after "Time Enough for Love" and "The Number of the Beast." All in all, my favorite of the forty-some-odd Heinlein books in my collection.

mercutio@grfn.org , 11/13/95, rating=5:
Half of a very good book.
The first half of this book is vintage Heinlein. This is probably because the first half was written twenty years before the second half. The latter half of the book is reminiscent of Heinlein's "Number of the Beast", and is almost as poorly written. Recommended only for someone who wants to read _every_ Heinlein novel.

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