Stranger in a Strange Land

Robert A. Heinlein

Illustrated by Donato Giancola

Introduced by Michael Dirda

Still as topical and as challenging as when it was first published, Stranger in a Strange Land is Robert A. Heinlein’s science-fiction masterpiece. This is the first illustrated edition.


Stranger in a Strange Land

Once upon a time when the world was young there was a Martian named Smith.

Stranger in a Strange Land was published in 1961. Initially acclaimed by science-fiction readers, it won the Hugo Award for best novel and soon garnered a larger, more mainstream following, going on to become, as described by Michael Dirda in his new introduction, ‘one of the defining literary works of the 1960s’. Robert A. Heinlein was a giant of 20th Century science fiction, and he, like all the greatest SF masters, used the genre as a lens through which to view the key questions of existence. Tackling radical ideas about sexual liberation, free love and religion that were enormously controversial at the time – and continue to be hotly debated talking points today – Stranger in a Strange Land struck a chord with a generation in the midst of a period of great change and remains an essential read. This, the first illustrated edition, features a series of hallucinatory images by award-winning artist Donato Giancola.

Production Details

Bound in blocked cloth

Set in Meridien with Altrincham as display

616 pages

Frontispiece and 8 full-page colour illustrations

Printed endpapers

Gilt metallic red page tops

Slipcase with an inset colour printed label

10˝ x 6¾˝

Illustrated by the winner of three Hugo awards

‘The best of his many books and the best in the genre’

  1. Washington Post

Folio’s Stranger in a Strange Land, which features the full, uncut version of Heinlein’s text, is also the first ever illustrated edition. Artist Donato Giancola has worked on a number of celebrated science-fiction and fantasy projects, and has himself won the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist three times, making him the perfect choice to capture the story of the truly otherworldly Valentine Michael Smith. For this special edition, Giancola has created nine fantastical illustrations suffused with dreamlike colour, and an eerily beautiful slipcase design that depicts Smith and his followers floating together in a strange, watery landscape. As well as a handsome binding, Stranger in a Strange Land features printed endpapers, making this – alongside the Folio edition of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers – an essential addition to any science-fiction collection.

The man from Mars comes home

The first manned mission to Mars had been thought lost for decades, the crew assumed to have been killed in the line of duty. Twenty-five years later, a new expedition discovers that there was a lone survivor… Valentine Michael Smith, born on the ship and subsequently raised by Martians, is the very first ‘Man from Mars’. Returning to Earth, Smith finds himself in a world that is dangerously incomprehensible to him, surrounded by people who wish to exploit his unique status and use him for political advantage. When a kindly nurse unwittingly performs a sacred act of Martian bonding by offering Smith a glass of water, a series of events is put into motion that will see this man from Mars chasing after universal truths – survival, love, and the freedom to express it.

About Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein was a prolific American science-fiction writer. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1907. Having served in the US Navy for five years he went on to study mathematics and physics at the University of California, which greatly influenced the technical nature of his writing. His first work, ‘Life Line’ (1939), was published in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction and its success motivated Heinlein to start writing full time. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Heinlein decided to frame his writing in a more political fashion, coining the term ‘speculative fiction’. His short story ‘The Green Hills of Earth’ was published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1947. He went on to write several successful novels and cultivated a wide readership. His most influential works include Starship Troopers (1959) and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966). Heinlein’s science fiction transformed the genre and took it from the pulp era to the forefront of popular culture. He won several awards for his work, including the Hugo Award. Heinlein died in 1988 and is now widely remembered as the ‘dean of science-fiction writers’.

About Michael Dirda

Michael Dirda is a Pulitzer Prize-winning literary journalist, a weekly books columnist for the Washington Post, and the author of five collections of essays: Readings (2000), Bound to Please (2005), Book by Book (2006), Classics for Pleasure (2007) and Browsings (2015). He has also written the memoir An Open Book (2003) and On Conan Doyle (2012), which received an Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. His current project is a reconsideration of popular fiction during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He has written introductions to The Great Gatsby (2013), Dune (2016), East of Eden (2017) and Atlas Shrugged (2018) for The Folio Society.

About Donato Giancola

Donato Giancola is an American artist specialising in science fiction and fantasy. He grew up in Vermont and received a BFA from Syracuse University; he is now based in Brooklyn and teaches online through the SmArt School. He traces his love of classical figurative painting – a deep influence on his own art – to long hours spent in the museums of New York City. His notable work includes illustrations for the collectable card game Magic: The Gathering and he has been commissioned by LucasArts, Hasbro, DC Comics, and many others. Among Giancola’s accolades are the Hamilton King Award for Excellence from the Society of Illustrators and three Hugo Awards from the World Science Fiction Society.


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