I was on the Greyhound bus, somewhere between Amarillo, Texas and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Across the aisle from me sat a young woman who looked like an adult, but still had that shy quality that means "too young". On the Greyhound, you usually end up talking to the people around you, and this ride was no exception. To make a long story short, she asked me what I was reading. I told her "Tramp Royale, another book by one of my favorite authors, Robert A. Heinlein." I picked out a segment I particularly liked, and asked her to read it. This is what she read:
When she gave it back, her face was lit up with a wonderful maternal smile that was very feminine and beautiful to see. I might have mentioned that I consider it "the official Heinlein read in the videogame of life." I was curious about how she would react to something a bit darker. I asked her to read this:
When she gave the book back the storm clouds that had gathered in her brow made me proud to be an American. I think I mentioned something about how it was written in the 1950s. When I showed the same thing to my father a couple of days later, he said "at that time nobody could have predicted the changes that would hit South Africa at the end of the 20th Century."