Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Robert Heinlein's novel Friday was published in 1982. This book tells the story of a female "artificial person" (a genetically-engineered person with enhanced physical and mental abilities) named Friday, set in the not-too-distant future. Friday is employed by a private intelligence agency as a courier, often carrying valuable information in a pouch in her belly. She differs anatomically in being much stronger and faster than other humans. Since artificial humans are widely resented, much of the story deals with Friday's attempts to win against prejudice, along with her attempts to conceal her gifts from other humans. This occurs against a backdrop of general social collapse that is intended to represent the irreversible decline of Western Civilization & the birth of an interstellar civilization.
The book should be a textbook for conspiracy theorists in that it is difficult to guess the who & why of the attempt to overthrow the "governments" which drives the plot. It may well be that Friday herself is the single most important person in determining the direction of civilization or it may not.
Among other things this book is a satire, albeit a sympathetic one, on women's liberation. It begins with the ultimate male chauvinist cliche--Friday is being raped by enemy agents and relaxes and at least pretends to enjoy it. It ends with Friday, the most advanced being in the galaxy, living in an interstellar suburb, baking cookies, and running a brownie scout troop. But of course the reality in both cases is the opposite of what the cliches suggest.
The book is to some extent a sequel to Gulf although since Gulf is set some time after the overthrow of a 1950s style communist world dictatorship while Friday is set in a 1980s future, carefully undated, but within an adult lifetime of its writing, it cannot be called a pure sequel. The technology appears generally more advanced than that implies but the author may no better than us. He certainly predicted a balkanisation of the planet which is becoming apparent.
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