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Stranger in a Strange Land

Stranger in a Strange Land

by Robert A. Heinlein

Stranger in a Strange Land Chapter 20 Summary

  • At the beginning of the World Federation conference, Jubal tries to establish Mike as someone with equal political power as Douglas. As is typical of such political pomp and ceremony, this amounts to Mike having the newly minted Mars flag behind him, having a song play in Mike's honor, and having Mike sit and stand at just the right moment. Absurd? Maybe a tad.
  • Mike and Douglas each give their opening remarks. It's the good will, ad hoc mumbo-jumbo we've seen in countless political thrillers.
  • Jubal receives a letter from Douglas's assistant, Bradley. The letter reads "Yes," and it is signed by Douglas. The conference is now officially over. All Jubal has to do is give the public a show.
  • Jubal reiterates to the audience that Mike is the heir to a vast fortune. But being Martian and having no human consideration of property or even the idea of ownership, he is at a loss for how to properly manage it. 
  • Jubal says that he is not fit for the job, nor does he desire such a task. Instead, he asks that Douglas take on the job of managing Mike's financial affairs. The job will be Douglas's even after he retires from being the Secretary-General. (He's trying to get rid of Mike's wealth, remember?)
  • If Douglas doesn't want the job, then Ben Caxton—whom Douglas hates—will take over the responsibility.
  • Although Douglas's answer has already been given, he plays it off as if he needs time to consider the offer. If you've ever wondered where the boundary between politician and actor lies, here's the thin line.
  • Kung, head of the Eastern Coalition, demands a conclusion be made on the Larkin Decision and whether or not Mike is the sovereign and owner of Mars.
  • Jubal argues that Mike is not the sovereign of Mars but merely its representative and that the true owners of Mars are the Martian Ancient Ones (Ancient Ones being a spruced up name for the Old Ones).
  • Although it's not specifically stated here, it seems as if this statement renders the Larkin Decision moot for the rest of the novel. Don't be surprised when the issue is suddenly dropped.
  • Jubal, claiming he is tired from such a long, public engagement, asks that the conference be adjourned. Whew.
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