Friday by Robert Heinlein
Friday is a secret courier and ardent lover. Employed by a man she only knows of as “Boss”, she is given the most awkward and dangerous cases, which take her from New Zealand to Canada, and through the new States of America’s disunion, all the way out into the stars and the new colony of Botany Bay.
Thrust into one calamity after another, she uses her enhanced wits and very many skills to evade, seduce or even kill her way out of any sticky situation she finds herself in. For she is both superior and inferior to the average human.
As an AP—artificial person—the best humanity has to offer has been written into Friday’s DNA. Yet she is often treated like a second class citizen—if she were ever able to claim citizenship. Her mother was the test tube and her father the knife, as the saying goes, so she has less rights than the biologically-born human, and no soul, according to the church.
But in Friday Heinlein has created one of the most enlightened, warm, engaging and humane characters in the science fiction field, gifting us a novel of female empowerment that was well ahead of its time.
Somehow I missed reading this in junior high when all my friends were reading it. Overall I really liked this book. I was somewhat surprised that a significant portion of it takes place in a area that I’m familiar with, the border area of North Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba. I’ve visited Winnipeg several times.
I liked the characters, I thought the plot line was fine, but the action ran at you time and time again like a blitzing linebacker. Friday was the only really well developed character, the rest of the characters were fairly disposable and transient. At times it was kinda preachy on the issues of libertarianism and, somewhat shockingly, on discrimination. Anyone who claims Heinlein is racist and/or discriminatory probably hasn’t read him. Friday ended up having way more sex than I was expecting. She’s oddly unemotional about the rape at the beginning of the book. I’ve heard it said it’s because she doesn’t regard herself as human. I’m not sure I buy into that. She’s a little tentative about kissing a woman at first, but then seems to get quite into it. None of her relationships are what someone might consider ‘conventional’.
My biggest complaint was the formatting of this copy. This was apparently a bad OCR, as there were numerous instances of misspellings and improper punctuation.