The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

The Moon is a Harsh MistressIt Is A Tale Of Revolution, Of The Rebellion Of A Former Penal Colony On The Moon Against Its Masters On The Earth It Is A Tale Of A Culture Whose Family Structures Are Based On The Presence Of Two Men For Every Woman, Leading To Novel Forms Of Marriage And Family It Is The Story Of The Disparate People, A Computer Technician, A Vigorous Young Female Agitator, And An Elderly Academic Who Become The Movement S Leaders, And Of Mike, The Supercomputer Whose Sentience Is Known Only To The Revolt S Inner Circle, Who For Reasons Of His Own Is Committed To The Revolution S Ultimate Success This is an excellent novel, action packed, exciting, and deftly plotted, with fascinating, complex characters and some interesting science fictional ideas I also enjoyed reading about Luna s culture I thought the marriage customs were particularly interesting.One thing I noticed right off was the way the Loonies use language differently than people from earth do In fact, it threw me at first I couldn t figure out what was going on or why the language was so rough and unpolished and choppy Eventually, though, I found the rhythm of it and settled in just fine I didn t even notice it after a while It makes sense Luna started off as a penal colony and has since developed completely separate from Earth and relatively unmolested Of course they would have their own dialect and speech patterns To my mind, their language seems to be as efficient as possible They trimmed away any unnecessary deadwood they don t use articles, for example, and very few personal pronouns, and they seem to prefer to use fragments to complete sentences Only the essentials remain, much the same as the original colonists prisoners had to start their lives over with only the bare essentials and sometimes not even that.This book was written about forty years ago, and it has stood the test of time quite well, but there are some aspects of it that do seem rather dated For example, the idea behind the character of Mike the computer that is connected to everything and has woken up or become alive is one that is very familiar to modern readers, one that we accept easily Apparently, we accept it much easily than Heinlen expected his readers in 1965 to accept it, because he spends time explaining it than he really needs to When Mannie, the narrator, tells Wyoh about Mike and introduces them via a telephone conversation, she is shocked that Mike already knows what she looks like He looked up her medical records and found a picture of her immediately after being introduced to her To modern readers familiar with the internet, this is an obvious step and hardly shocking we expect it, and Wyoh s shock and apparent need to have every detail and implication of Mike s life spelled out for her makes her seem a little bit stupid to us If we don t remember that Heinlen is using Wyoh to explain things to his 1965 audience that his 2005 audience intuitively understands, then we ll get a little frustrated with Wyoh s denseness.All in all, though, this is a novel about politics a very complex, deep, intellectual and sophisticated look at politics, government, revolution and war The Moon is a Harsh Mistress has a very definite world view and political philosophy, some of which I agreed with, and some of which I really, really didn t My agreement or lack thereof with the politics espoused in this book didn t seem to have much bearing on my enjoyment of it This is a book that requires the reader to think And that, I think, is why I loved it so much. TANSTAAFL There ain t no such thing as a free lunch.My 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, so is Moon is a Harsh Mistress to ideology And just as The Fountainhead is the better, though less epic, of the pair with Atlas Shrugged, so is Moon is a Harsh Mistress, the focused and simple of the two, better than Stranger in a Strange Land I liked the setting, the use of libertarian principles and of course the brilliant work of the Grandmaster himself.This is a virtuoso science fiction futuristic re telling of the American Revolution Told from the first person recollection of a computer technician with thick Russian accent and of the birth and progress of the Lunar independence.The Moon Luna to it s residents who call themselves Loonies has been a penal colony for decades It is the perfect prison, get outside the underground warrens and beyond the air locks and you re on the moon Without a pressure suit, you re dead There are very little rules and no real laws, so a hardscrabble anarchy has created a loose but tough and resilient populace who want freedom.Certainly this libertarian paradise could have become an anarchistic hell, but in Heinlein s hard loving hands, his creation is the Free State of Luna This story tracks with the American Revolution with unfair and distant landowners, inept and uncaring provisional governors the warden and even a declaration of independence on the fourth of July Students of revolutionary movements will also see an allegory for throwing rocks as a statement about the earliest stages of discontent and reaction.First published in 1966, this was written at the zenith of his considerable powers and stands as a true classic of the genre I just re read this one the very few books that I have read than once and may re read it again it s that good 2018 addendum it is a testament to great literature that a reader recalls the work years later and this is a book about which I frequently think A friend commented about Heinlein books and I realized as we talked that when I think about Heinlein, my mind automatically defaults to this book When I read SF I project this on that book and I wonder if that author read and was inspired This is on my short list of all time favorites and I think this should be on a very short list of greatest SF books of all time. do you play games where you know the outcome of the game itself is without question 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 Mistress.the 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 social family romantic 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 chose.still, 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, right the 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 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 question 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. 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 was 1 A radically forward thinking visionary of libertarianism2 A raging fascist, homophobe, and misogynist3 Any point on the sociopolitical spectrum in between.It s not my fault Over the course of his career, Heinlein seemed to espouse every possible viewpoint on religion, government, and gender relations obviously, he liked to stick to small themes , showing little tolerance for moderate opinions Without a blink of irony, he also placed a premium on pragmatism And the balance of pragmatism and idealism or, rather, the illusion that the two can coexist effortlessly is what The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is all about It is the story of a lunar colony s revolt, in the same way that The Fountainhead is a book about architects an insulting comparison Heinlein s prose is significantly readable than Ayn Rand s You see, it s really about libertarianism or, as one of the book s heroes characterizes it, rational anarchism So, a small group of revolutionaries attempts to liberate the moon from her Earthbound oppressors, and institute a perfect anarcho syndicalist commune in their stead They set about doing this, of course, with the help of a sentient supercomputer They organize the people of Luna, and succeed in overthrowing the existing government, but in so doing upset the nations of Earth After all, the moon has been shipping grain down to help feed Earth s starving masses, so they re a little cranky when the Lunies threaten to cut off the supply you d be cranky living on 1,800 calories a day too Coincidentally, the ruling philosophy on Luna is the maxim TANSTAAFL There Ain t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch I mentioned that Heinlein was subtle, right So they go to war, and then, in the novel s single biggest twist, the computer doesn t turn evil I could hardly believe it.Although the book is riddled with bizarre moments that nag one s attempts to suspend disbelief the most persistent being Mike the Computer s regular updates as to the revolutionaries probability of success, which starts out at 1 7, and then as everything proceeds to go perfectly to plan drops to as low as 1 100, in unapologetic defiance of all mathematical logic , the plot s weaknesses don t matter Heinlein is a gifted novelist, and a natural storyteller Even when the characters decide to take 10 pages off and simply talk politics for a while, it s enthralling And talk politics they do No one flinches at the notion of attempting to institute a perfect democracy run entirely by a handful of exceptional individuals, who themselves defer to the managerial expertise of a supercomputer no tyrannic potential there, right Nor do they worry themselves with the philosophical contradiction of attempting to forge a pacifistic state by means of terrorism and interplanetary warfare those who raise the issue, and thus violate Heinlein s worship at the Altar of Pragmatism, are conveniently Roslined out of the nearest airlock it s okay, they re wormy enough that you won t miss em But all of this simply serves to illustrate Heinlein s mastery of the ideological paradox He s than smart enough to recognize the inconsistencies of his own personal politics, and to play with them to terrific effect Notably, Heinlein did not self dentify with the majority of his protagonists Instead, his Mary Sues are characters like Stranger in a Strange Land s Jubal Harshaw and, in the case of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Professor Bernardo de la Harshaw er, Paz They are cynical old men who are, in novel after novel, infallible, brilliant, well connected, and almost disturbingly capable.Exit thought why is it that the computer that makes the revolution possible just happens to share its name with the superhuman hero of Stranger In a Strange Land, both of whom disappear suddenly and inexplicably upon concluding their tasks

Robert Anson Heinlein was an American novelist and science fiction writer Often called the dean of science fiction writers , he is one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of hard science fiction He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre s standards of literary quality He was the first SF writer to break into mainstre

❰BOOKS❯ ✪ The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Author Robert A. Heinlein –
  • Paperback
  • 288 pages
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  • Robert A. Heinlein
  • English
  • 20 January 2019
  • 9780340837948

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