Wordy Wednesdays – Robert Heinlein’s ‘Friday’
Have you ever wanted to read a sci-fi novel that, on page 10, treats you to a rape scene?
Me neither! But that’s what Heinlein’s Friday brings to the table.
The back of my copy has some quotes on it, and from these quotes, it would be easy to believe that Friday is about a genetically enhanced secret agent who is engaged in intrigue in a malign, corrupt society.
In a sense, this is true. Except the first job we see the eponymous Friday engaged in gets her captured, raped, and tortured; after which she is rightly given a vacation. Right off the bat, we see her as an incompetent agent being fooled by a simple double-cross. Then we get the rape and torture. Even better is that, at the end of the book, Friday ends up marrying one of her rapists.
Hooray! It’s okay that he raped her, because when they met later in the novel, he claimed he had been forced to do it! He was a spy, just spyin’ it up, being forced to rape women. Well, and he wanted to, because she is sexy. But he left right after, because his spy work was done, and so he didn’t know that she had also been tortured. Why, he was shocked that they would torture her! What a dumb thing for them to do! Ha ha! But the raping was just because he had to (and wanted to) do it.
So it’s all good now!
Yes, if you are wondering, the novel left a foul taste in my mouth.
Besides that, there isn’t anything really interesting about the characters. Friday is an AP – an ‘artificial person’ – which is lightly touched upon but never delved into. She wants a place to belong. She can’t find one. Then, at the end, she does (with her rapist and some of her friends, in a communal living/sex-having place).
The novel dwells extensively on how sex is a casual thing, and that people have many partners without a lot of jealousy. I don’t mind these things in sci-fi novels about the future. Sometimes it’s interesting to see how the author has built up a future society. But this novel dwells excessively on Friday and her sexual partners, while skimping on any real sci-fi.
I’m getting irritated thinking about the novel! I used to think I didn’t mind Heinlein’s works, but I’m looking back and many of them share characteristics that are just unnecessary. Glory Road in particular still irks me; maybe I’ll review that later.
Anyway, Friday by Heinlein. Skip it. You’re not missing much. It’s like he wanted to write erotica but didn’t have the guts for it, so he slapped some science-fiction veneer on it. Not his best work.
“…But we must have something to carry. Migrants are always loaded down; I got the straight word on that.”
“I’m going to try to carry some woman’s baby,” I told him.