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The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Paperback – June 15, 1997
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A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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The story follows a revolution on the lunar colonies against Earth authority. The lunar colony was originally a penal colony, but even though the lunar residents ("Loonies" as they call themselves) are no longer technically prisoners, they have become economic slaves of the Earth. Also, because of their adaptation to the Moon's lower gravity, they cannot safely return to live on Earth, so their exile is a permanent one. Amidst growing but unorganized discontent amongst the Loonies, four remarkable individuals begin the meticulous planning of a revolution to free the Moon: Mannie, an engineer and our narrator; Prof. de la Paz; fiery Wyoming "Wyoh" Knott; and a newly sentient supercomputer named Mike. Starting from this small group, the resistance spreads across the Moon. But how can the nearly defenseless colonists and miners face down the juggernaut of the nations of Earth? Mike has an ingenious solution: "Throw rocks at `em"...literally!Read more ›
Along the path to revolution, Heinlein, (as usual), inserts thoughts and ideas that challenge your basic assumptions about what is right, normal, necessary, or appropriate. Is a representative democracy the only 'good' form of government? What's so sacred about a 'majority'? How should a government finance itself? (Maybe make the representatives pay for their pet projects out of their own pocket - taxes not allowed!). Are polygamy, polyandry, or other forms of multiple marriage wrong or can they be used to help preserve the stability of a child-rearing environment? How do you most efficiently organize a revolutionary group that must be kept secret from the authorities (given the assumption that there will always be 'stool pigeons')?
Some have quite correctly noted that this book should not be read by ultra-grammarians, as it is told in first person Luna-speak, an odd pidgin mixture of English and Russian, with occasional items thrown in from Chinese, Finnish, and several other languages. Far from being a detriment, I consider this to be a great accomplishment. Most writers have trouble accurately portraying the dialect, say, of the Deep South in a convincing manner.Read more ›
Heinlein attended Annapolis and was in the Navy; his experiences feed into many of his books (most famously, Starship Troopers.) And the theme of liberty, alternate marriage styles, animate computers also turn up in many of his works (Time Enough for Love.) Heinlein was kind of a libertarian; his ideas about society show up in many of his novels.
The endearing part of this book is the wonderful relationship between Mannie, jack-of-all-trades and computer technician, and Mike, the self-aware computer that runs everything on the Moon from the air systems and transport to accounting and telephones. The moon has been settled by various countries (Russia, US, China) and has been turned into a penal-colony and excess population dumping zone. The government is lead by the Warden, who views the post as a sinecure, and aside from keeping general order, does nothing. Since escape is pretty much impossible, the convicts and transportees have been left to set up a semi-anarchic society ruled mainly by common sense. (As long as you leave your neighbors in peace, they'll do the same for you.)
However, when Manny attends a Free Luna rally, he learns that the resources of the moon are being depleted and that without halting the one-way export of resources to the earth, the moon and its inhabitants will be soon be doomed to starvation. Manny joins an ad-hoc revolutionary cabal with his friend the Professor and blonde hot-head Wyoming Knott.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a Libertarian, I fully appreciate the politics driving these everyman characters.Published 14 days ago by Frisco
Robert A. Heinlein's best book; written right at the top of his career. I like his earlier work; his later work, not so much. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Jerry
A must read for science fiction fans. Heinlein's "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" is more than an exciting story, it takes a thoughtful look at society and the true meaning... Read morePublished 2 months ago by El Lobo Rojo
One of my top 5 books of all time. Heinlein is in his prime with this work. The characters are rich and he gives you tones of meat to chew on in the form of ideas that are... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Joshua Sexton
I love this book. I have re-read it a number of times, especially the sections involving Mike. Given its age, the “science” aspects hold up exceptionally well. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Since a young man Heinlein's stories have captivated me. I read this one after college, and to this day it remains my favorite book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by AWBunn