You will be forgiven if you kind of can’t stand Lazarus Long, and therefore don’t really want to read a 600 page about a man who is so appealing to women that he’s been married dozens of times and sired hundreds of children. But when dealing with longevity, it’s also reasonable to dislike some of the products of it, while still respecting the experiences they’ve been through. After 2300 years of life, Lazarus Long is tired, he’s sad, and he’s mad that he’s being rejuvenated once again when he was fairly certain he was ready to die. But on this planet, his long ancestors, along with some sentient robots need him, or think they do, or want him really.
The novel begins then with a kind of Scheherazade in reverse, where they just need him to keep telling stories to keep him alive, lest he demands to have his suicide button reinstalled near his hospital bed, as is his right. Ostensibly an accounting of the personal histories and memoirs of the figure, we end up with a collection of stories sometimes with him as protagonist, sometimes with him as observer, and a lot of interstices building up a present-day and leading to a very silly and amazing concluding third. Longevity and selective breeding (where genetic matches have taken over and old taboos thrown out the window) lead us down a sometimes very funny, weird, madcap, frustrating, and at times purposely trite set of stories and experiences. It’s Heinlein at among his wildest.