On a recent drive to Idaho I had just finished listening to the audible book version of Heinlein’s The Number of the Beast* when I saw this:
* Did you know he also wrote an alternate universe version of this book, which is about alternate universes?
I just read the alternate (“Pursuit of the Pankara”) and re-read Number of the Beast right after that. Both are excellent; on the whole I like Pankara slightly better.
It’s curious that both versions exist, and one wonders why the one wasn’t published in Heinlein’s lifetime.
Having read Pankara, I noticed in re-reading Number of the Beast that there’s a leftover from the earlier version that no one noticed in editing: a reference to a Barsoomian mathematician who doesn’t appear in the body of the book at all, but does figure prominently in Pankara.
Both books are highly recommended.