Farnham’s Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein – Dystopian Books Review

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Review, Synopsis, and Summary of Science Fiction Novel Farnham’s Freehold

Farnham’s Freehold is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel published in 1946. The story, written by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, revolves around a post-apocalyptic narrative about a direct nuclear weapon hit. It sends a fallout shelter into the future containing Farnham, his family, home worker and daughter’s friend.

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Author: Robert A. Heinlein

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 256

Good reads rating: 3.56 of 5

My Ratings: 7.1 of 10

Published: 1964

Publisher: G.P. Putnam (US)

Language: English

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Review and Summary of Science Fiction Novel Farnham’s Freehold

***Warning Spoilers Below This Point***

Hugh Farnham is a middle-aged man who lives with his alcoholic wife, Grace; law graduate son, Duke; and college student daughter, Karen. He hosts a bridge club party for his family and his daughter’s friend Barbara. As they are playing the Bridge game Duke criticizes Hugh for a possible Soviet nuclear attack. Although when the attack happens, they along with their family’s African-American servant Joe hides in a fallout shelter underneath the house. Several nuclear explosions take place nearby and as they are spending time together, Hugh and Barbara became intimate.

A big explosion takes place and also hits the shelter. They all experience minor injuries, but because they run low on bottled oxygen, they plan to leave the shelter. They exit the shelter by an emergency tunnel and find out they reached a place that is undamaged and also looks uninhabited. The people of this group suggest that the final large explosion might lead them into an alternate universe.

The group tries to stay alive by adopting different ways. Although Hugh and Duke are still under tension. Meanwhile, Karen informs everyone that she is pregnant. Barbara also announces that she is pregnant, however, she did not mention that it is Hugh’s child. While in labour, Karen dies, and her infant daughter dies the very next day. Grace experiences grief and demands Barbara’s departure, or else she would leave. Duke takes Grace’s side, but before any final decision, a large aircraft appears. The group becomes captivated by African people and is just about to be executed when Joe starts conversing with their leader.

With this conversation they realise that it is not an alternate universe, rather they arrived in a distant future in the same world. The group becomes slaves. Hugh and Barbara decide that this is not their future and they try to escape, but they become captured in the last moments. Instead of executing them, the Lord Protector of the tribe asks them to volunteer for a time travel experience which will lead them back to their time. They return just before the nuclear attack and found in Barbara’s car. When they drive in the car, they find out that while Barbara’s car was automatic, this car is manual, with which they determine that the time travel took them into a real alternate universe. They get the supplies and fly to the hills where they survived the attack and live.

Final Say on Science Fiction Novel Farnham’s Freehold

This novel surely presents a very interesting and informative read. The author brilliantly explained the prospects of nuclear war and after events in the book. The novel touches topics like science fiction, romance, slavery, sexual relationships and much more. This novel receives my rating of 7.1 out of 10. Would I re-read this novel? No. am I glad I read it? Yes.

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Max Atlas
Max Atlas
I am Max Atlas; my only mission is to raise awareness of Dystopian fiction and share in a collective awakening. Together we will explore not only the best Dystopian Novels ever written but also new and upcoming Authors, giving future greats a platform to share their Dystopian Worlds.