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Ith the help of a professor a beautiful blonde and a jack of all trades The conspirators' plans go along beautifully for a whi If you re into stuff like this you can read the full reviewOn How to Spin a Top Notch Yarn of Bullshit The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A HeinleinThe usual pretty crude pneumatic sex fantasies cropped up But women actually have a pretty dominant role in Heinlein s lunar society It s a penal colony and Heinlein reckons that means there are going to be far fewer women then men there so he s come up with a system called line marriage wherein a few women in a household share numerous husbands And the head of the household is a woman and women call the shots Meanwhile outside the home women are treated with far respect than they are on earth because they are so rare and precious Obviously he s not going to get any badges from feminists but he does at least ask a few interesting uestions about the way women were viewed in his own worldThe characters explicitly reject using patriotism as a method to revolution I think that Prof De La Paz s rational anarchism is also expressed by Jubal Harshaw in Stranger though not in as straightforward a manner Both seem to say that it s not that hard to figure out what ideal behavior should be but expecting actual live humans to live up that is impossible After accepting that point they both want to move on Yep humans are hypocritical and sometimes hard to live with What of it The other big point of this is that only the direst situation near term cannibalism here justifies butting into other people s business Sadly this attitude is pretty rare today The characters explicitly reject using patriotism as a method to revolution If you re into SF read on The Illusionists usual pretty crude pneumatic sex fantasies cropped Planet of the Bugs up But women actually have a pretty dominant role in Heinlein s lunar society It s a penal colony and Heinlein reckons that means there are going to be far fewer women then men there so he s come Fishes of the Open Ocean up with a system called line marriage wherein a few women in a household share numerous husbands And the head of the household is a woman and women call the shots Meanwhile outside the home women are treated with far respect than they are on earth because they are so rare and precious Obviously he s not going to get any badges from feminists but he does at least ask a few interesting Out of Bounds (Boundaries, uestions about the way women were viewed in his own worldThe characters explicitly reject Grass, Sky, Song using patriotism as a method to revolution I think that Prof De La Paz s rational anarchism is also expressed by Jubal Harshaw in Stranger though not in as straightforward a manner Both seem to say that it s not that hard to figure out what ideal behavior should be but expecting actual live humans to live Otter Chaos! (Otter Chaos up that is impossible After accepting that point they both want to move on Yep humans are hypocritical and sometimes hard to live with What of it The other big point of this is that only the direst situation near term cannibalism here justifies butting into other people s business Sadly this attitude is pretty rare today The characters explicitly reject The Illusionists using patriotism as a method to revolution If you re into SF read on

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The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Luna of the 21st century is a penal colony where everyone lives under the dictatorship of the hated Authority But the inevitab The Moon is a Harsh Mistress what a title sometimes I wonder if this book is considered such a classic in large part due to that title Despite some imperfections it does have much to offer especially being published in the mid 1960 s The setting revolves around a former Lunar penal outpost which has evolved into a highly functioning colony with ice mining and successful grain farming The colony is tightly managed by the Lunar Authority which is controlled from Earth Set in the later 21st century Heinlein imagines an intriguing future publicizing some groundbreaking technology and ideas We not only have sentient computers rail guns fusion power space battles with laser guns we also have a Lunar dialect uniue family and marital structures and different social norms sprung out of living in a harsh and compact environment After establishing this future the book explores a lunar revolution Take the American Revolution narrative mix it with the Australian evolution from a penal colony to an independent nation stir in some libertarian ideology and you have the plotWhen I first read this book in the mid 1980 s it was later high school or early college years I can t uite remember I was astonished by the concepts in this book I was intrigued by the sentient computer and the concept of using a rail gun for space travelsupply logistics Moreover It was the first time I was truly interested in politics and political principles I mean I had some lessons in high school around government but I found it mind numbingly boring This book triggered something intellectually that made me think deeply about government philosophy Since then I ve considered the book one of my favorite science fiction books if not overall favorite books So I almost regret this reread afterwards as I just couldn t ignore some of its flawsThe primary issue with this book is sexism I m sure at the time of its writing it was probably considered progressive in terms of how it treated female characters I mean one of the central figures of the revolt is a woman And the women on the moon control large extended families with polygamous relationships Women are revered and sexual advances are not allowed without permission Advanced thinking for the early 1960 s right Well unfortunately you only need to go one step deeper to dig down to the issues Women are only revered and not touched or raped due to their scarcity The constant threat of other males tossing violators out an airlock is what creates this situation It s still socially acceptable to catcall and ogle women and in this reality women enjoy this type of lecherous attention because they don t have to worry about rape While one of the central characters is one of four founding members of the revolution her role is often to gain interest and support due to her attractiveness And when miners are reluctant to main defensive laser positions the solution is to provide pretty women at the posts as well problem solved Another issue includes a tremendous amount of exposition It does help that its written in first person so at least the infodumps are coming from the mind of the protagonist instead of an anonymous narrator The exposition also serves to move the plot along uickly at times when complex setting political and technical information needs to be established However it did limit my enjoyment to continuously run into large blocks of narration Despite these flaws it s still an important book Using science fiction to explore political affairs and alternate social structures set a foundation that many future authors built upon Might we not have The Handmaids Tale without this book Possibly Was it brave in the 1960 s to explore alternate social structures such as polygamy Definitely Did the book popularize some intriguing concepts such as the importance of the moon s weak gravity well sentient computers and rail guns Absolutely In the context of history I still rate this book highly However I feel compelled to take away at least half a star in recognizing some underlying issues TANSTAAFL Four and a half stars rounded up to five for this Hugo Award winning philosophical yet action packed tale

review The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Le takes place one day when Mike the master computer who controls everything on Luna devises an intricate revolutionary plot w do you play games where you know the outcome of the game itself is without uestion where any fun to be had is not so much in the winning that s predetermined but in figuring out how exactly you will win what moves you will make how you will overcome all those minor hurdles along the way that s sometimes how i feel when playing chess with some folks for me it s not the most exciting thing in the world it s a little eye rolling i think others may have excitement when playing a game they know they ll win my little nephews seem to have a really enjoyable time kicking my ass at their various new fangled video games personally i don t get it but they seem to love illustrating how easy and exciting it is the thrill of watching all their strategies and skills coming to predictable fruition even when there is no real competition their eventual win is obvious and that s the impression that i m left with after reading the enjoyable Moon Is a Harsh Mistressthe novel is about a revolution on Luna by its oppressed permanent labor force far in the future the moon is the newest Prison Island once you are transported there you can t come back and there you work mainly to export grain and live a life of economic exploitation by The Lunar Authority you will alway live in this proletariat society overall it is actually not a horrible existence the Loonies are an enjoyable lot unpretentious and down to earth concerned mainly with beer gambling and the ladies Heinlein creates an odd and i suppose semi utopic world with a pleasing lack of laws a kind of libertarian anarchy of sorts and a surprisingly liberated view on women basically women are the socialfamilyromantic Boss of It All not truly a matriarchal society per se but rather one built around the need to make sure women are completely empowered apparently due to the 2 to 1 status of men to women on the moon and the need for women to be available to much than monogamy if they so chosestill despite the basic lack of horror in this odd world it s no fun to be exploited by bureaucratic overseers and so must come REVOLUTION we have our friendly no nonsense Everyman we have our bewitching passionate Lady in Hiding we have our amusing highly intellectual Idealistic Professor and of course we have our sentient computer Mike who likes to play games and revolution is just another kind of game rightthe writing is breezy casual and in a sort of pidgen english a kind of cross between baby talk and our very own text messaging style that style should be annoying but actually isn t much like with HAL in 2001 A Space Odyssey we have a fascinating computer who provides all of the genuinely emotional and resonant moments in the narrative and perhaps because of the time period in which the novel was written but certainly topical today we have a step by step account of How To Make A Revolution Work Heinlein s passions come across mainly in the world building of this almost utopia and in the very detailed expression of how exactly to overthrow the chains of oppression through revolution and i suppose a bit of terrorism at timesso back to my original point i liked this novel but i would never consider reading it a second time it was fun but the outcome was never in uestion Heinlein loads the dice by making sure that everything happens as projected each step of the way no tension and a tension free revolution is a curiously child like enterprise child like but not childish there is a sweet na vet to it all Heinlein jerry built this revolution to be won and so i never felt any kind of nervousness i never worried the only stakes that were meaningful to me were the rather slight emotional stakes around Mike the computer his past loneliness his concern about whether he is actually sentient and his need to have friends to talk to people who are not stupid aww that s adorable Mike i m not super smart or anything but i ll be your friend cute little revolutionary computer minds are very appealing to me


10 thoughts on “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

  1. says:

    TANSTAAFL There ain't no such thing as a free lunchMy three favorite books of all time are in no order Heart of Darkness The Dispossessed and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress When I first read this years ago I loved it I could not put it down As Stranger in a Strange Land was a Robert A Heinlein vehicle for theology

  2. says:

    Space camp prison fun time So we have AI use of food as a weapon of war philosophy how probability influences human decisions and satirizing statistics rebellion how to treat colonies right or wrong and what true independence means with many side blows on history emancipation by imbalance of sex ratio that enables women to be powerful and what kind of family models form out of this new situation and as always in Heinleins´works many dial

  3. says:

    “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” – what a title sometimes I wonder if this book is considered such a classic in large part due to that title Despite some imperfections it does have much to offer especially being published in the mid 1960’

  4. says:

    Ah Heinlein SF's great paradox artist I am fairly certain that I have personally held every possible wrong viewpoint on the man Namely that he was1 A radically forward thinking visionary of libertarianism2 A raging fascist homophobe and misogynist3 Any point on the sociopolitical spectrum in betweenIt's not my

  5. says:

    Imagine a prison colony on the MoonNow add a new and updated twist on the American war of independenceA self aware computer that actually runs the colonyA non political computer engineerA beautiful freedom fighterA politically cynical professor The birth of a new nationAnd you have one of the best hard science fiction tales ever image Prison HistoryMy Grandfather Stone claimed that Luna was only open prison in history N

  6. says:

    do you play games where you know the outcome of the game itself is without uestion where any fun to be had is not so much in the winning that's predetermined but in figuring out how exactly you will win what moves you will make how y

  7. says:

    One of the presents for my mother this Christmas was an Echo Alexa Having recently reread Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress I couldn't stop thinking about the parallels between the awakened computer Mycroft Mike in this novel and Alexa This connection was reinforced when people kept asking Alexa to tell a joke While he helps the former convict Lunar settlers in a rebellion against Earth MIke's obsession remains fixate

  8. says:

    If you're into stuff like this you can read the full reviewOn How to Spin a Top Notch Yarn of Bullshit The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A HeinleinThe usual pretty crude pneumatic sex fantasies cropped up But women actually have a pretty

  9. says:

    DNFed it at 55 % or so I can't believe that this difficult to read and difficult to follow story is so highly rated on GoodreadsThe story is so painstakingly revealed yet there are uestions than answers The coup prepared by the oppressed moon dwellers seems to take foreverEach successful book has its own audie

  10. says:

    What do you want us to do Throw rocks at themNah but we could have a tea partyWow I'm still amazed at how good this Revolution novel has held up over the years I had read it twice before this latest re read but it hasn't lost any of its charmOf course I love Heinlein's heavy reliance on self reliance libertarianism and TANSTAAFL I'm lucky to

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