The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

E. C. Gordon—also known as “Easy,” “Scar,” and “Oscar”—is a veteran from a military family who narrowly escaped death in combat in Southeast Asia. He now lives frugally on the French Riviera. Answering a personals advertisement in the newspaper, he finds himself faced with Rufo, a short, muscular raconteur, and Star, the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. The advertisement promises great adventure, danger, and reward, and Oscar soon has all these things as he embarks with Star and Rufo, who is now his groom, on a series of adventures aimed at recovering the lost Egg, a repository containing the collected wisdom of hundreds of emperors and empresses of the Twenty Universes.

Oscar, Rufo, and Star battle Igli, a golemlike humanoid, the Horned Ghosts, enormous rats, and scientifically plausible fire-breathing dragons. In more peaceful but no less startling action, they enjoy the hospitality of the Doral, a semimedieval Nevian lord who expects Oscar to sleep with his wife and/or daughters and who must be placated when Oscar does not. Oscar, a superb swordsman, eventually kills the Soul-Eater, guardian of the stolen Egg, who has taken the form of Cyrano de Bergerac. Oscar is wounded seriously in the battle and is nursed to health by Star, who he discovers is the current empress of the Twenty Universes. He has come to love her, and they are married.

As Oscar recovers and basks in the glory of being the one Hero who could have...

(The entire section is 458 words.)

Glory Road Bibliography

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Aldiss, Brian. Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction. New York: Atheneum, 1986.

Franklin, H. Bruce. Robert A. Heinlein: America as Science Fiction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.

Gifford, J. Daniel. Robert A. Heinlein: A Reader’s Companion. Sacramento, Calif.: Nitrosyncretic Press, 2000.

McGiveron, Rafeeq O. “Heinlein’s Inhabited Solar System, 1940-1952.” Science-Fiction Studies 23 (July, 1996): 245-252.

Nicholls, Peter. “Robert A. Heinlein.” In Science Fiction Writers: Critical Studies of the Major Authors from the Early Nineteenth Century to the Present Day, edited by E. F. Bleiler. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1982.

Olander, Joseph D., and Martin Harry Greenberg, eds. Robert A. Heinlein. New York: Taplinger, 1978.

Panshin, Alexei. Heinlein in Dimension. 1968. Reprint. Chicago: Advent, 1974.

Patterson, William H., Jr., and Andrew Thronton. The Martian Named Smith: Critical Perspectives on Robert A. Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land.” Citrus Heights, Calif.: Nitrosyncretic Press, 2001.

Stephens, Christopher P., comp. A Checklist of Robert A. Heinlein. Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.: Ultramarine, 1994.

Stover, Leon. Robert Heinlein. Boston: Twayne, 1987.