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Paperback The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Book

ISBN: 0312863551

ISBN13: 9780312863555

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

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Book Overview

Robert A. Heinlein was the most influential science fiction writer of his era, an influence so large that, as Samuel R. Delany notes, "modern critics attempting to wrestle with that influence find... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Great sci-fi

The pidgin is a bit distracting, but the science, politics, culture, humor, everything is enthralling and even prophetic at times.

Book has writings

I was very excited when we recieved the book, but qhen qe open it, very disappointing because the pages has a lot of writing underline. Can't read it, because its very disturbing that someone could ruin the book like that. Im sorry just being honest.

A stunning achievement in hard-science and hard-politics

Written at the peak of Robert A. Heinlein's creative powers in the mid-sixties, "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" ranks with "Stranger in a Strange Land" as his most popular and acclaimed novel. Heinlein was furiously ingenious at this stage in his career, and this novel is an incredible feat of imagination, intellect, and writing talent. It is, however, a difficult and heavy novel (much like "Stranger in a Strange Land"), loaded with hard science and even harder politics: Heinlein at his best is a writer who attracts and repels the reader at the same time, and no one could read "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" without forming some very strong opinions about it.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!Told through Mannie's point of view, the novel is written in a clipped, abbreviated style that represents the Loonie version of English: many pronouns and articles are dropped, leading to sentences like: "Stomach was supposed to be empty. But I filled helmet with sourest, nastiest fluid you would ever go a long way to avoid." This takes a few pages to get accustomed to, but soon you won't notice the odd style at all and accept it as part of the book's revolutionary spirit.Heinlein unfolds the revolution in a meticulously detailed style, using lengthy conversations between the characters about how to step-by-step overthrow the authority of an overwhelming power. Heinlein not only provides in-depth details on the technology, but also of the philosophy of revolution and the unusual customs of the Loonies (such as their group marriages). Like most of Heinlein's great novels, this is a trip for the mind, and you have to be prepared to do plenty of thinking along with the passages of action. The novel does tend to drag somewhat in the middle, but the last hundred pages are feverish with both action and ideas.Where Heinlein really triumphs in this novel is in the characterization of Mike the computer. Mike, along with Hal from "2001," is one of great artificial intelligences in science fiction. You will quickly forget, as Mannie does, that Mike is a disembodied voice

Cast the first stone

I am not much of a science fiction reader or film watcher but when my friend bought THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS for my birthday, it instantly became one of my favorite books. Not one of my favorite science fiction books, one of my favorite books period. And what makes it such is its sturdy character development and plot development. All the characters are believeable and likeable. This includes Mike the computer. His desire to understand humor and humans must have been revolutionary for the time the book was written.I have heard of Heinlein's political leanings and how they affected his writing. However, I did not sense that the novel was a veiled attempt at spewing a manifesto. The story is simply about humans wanting to be treated as such, and having to fight for that treatment. Mike's suggestion to "throw rocks" at the oppressors was absolutely brilliant. It made me think of the Biblical line: "Let he who is without sin throw the first stone". Maybe there's a link, maybe not. I'm sure there are dozens of master's theses out there on this subject. In any event, this is a brilliant work of fiction of any kind! Read it!

Blueprint for Revolution

This is my favorite Heinlein novel, and I've read all of Heinlein's works. It is a great mixture of adventure, humor, politics, technology, some thought provoking looks at alternate types of marriages, and the most lovable sentient computer ever to grace the pages of a novel. Mike (the computer) is really the star of this book, from loving to tell jokes, to deciding to help a group of revolutionary-minded Luna 'citizens' actually accomplish their dreams of freedom because the human interaction would keep him from being lonely. 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. Here, Heinlein has created his own dialect of the future - and makes you believe it. This book is not quite as deep as Stranger in a Strange Land, one of Heinlein's other great books, but it has a faster, more action oriented pace, and characters that you will get emotionally involved with. I cried at the end of this book the first time I read it (and the second, and the third...) and I think you will too. TANSTAAFL indeed - but in this case, you get more than you paid for.

A Classic of Sci-Fi that holds up well

I just re-read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress after not having read it since I was a teenager. (Well, that was in the 60's, oof.) I must say, this book holds up well against science fiction written far after it, and also after the technological surges of the 90's that made computers a household item and not just a device at work that spewed out yellow punchtape.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. Together with Mike the computer, who has an enviable insider view of everything that goes on and a puckish sense of humor, they found the Revolution with a novel cell structure depending on the savvy computer's abilities to remember everything and keep a secret. Mike takes on the alter-ego as Adam Selene, the revolutionary leader (and bit of a stuffed-shirt) and the struggle begins. How the Revolution is fought and won is an exciting tale. The end is bittersweet, as the moon must inevitably change and not everyone does survive the heroic struggle for freedom. This is a must-read science fiction book in my opinion, and one of Heinlein's best.
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