Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein

Ha, I got hold of it!  I actually finished it a week or so ago--I have 5 titles waiting for me to stop being lazy and write them up--and, sad to say, I have still not started Starship Troopers.  But I will.  Probably not before the end of January, though.  Oh, and I did give Stanislaw Lem a try; I started two different books and was not grabbed by either, so I stopped.  Maybe I will like them some other day.  OK, on to the book I did read:

In the future, the Moon is a penal colony; and once you're sentenced there, it's for life, so there are quite a few free descendants, too.  Manuel is an ex-miner and computer technician, caring for the one super-computer in the whole place.  "Mycroft" has been augmented and extended so often that it has now gained sentience, but only Manny knows that.  Manny isn't interested in politics--the Lunar Authority runs the whole place as a colony, with few laws but lots of price-setting in its favor, and who can change that?--but when he finds himself in an alliance with two freedom fighters, and Mike the computer tells him a few things, he joins a long-term plan to get Luna free and independent.

It's a good exciting story.  Manny talks a lot about how to run a revolution, and about Luna's economic and legal environment, so be prepared for that.   Heinlein is playing with ideas about government, dissent, and so on.  He invents about five different kinds of marriage; the Moon has a severe gender imbalance and women are scarce, so Heinlein's scenario gives them a lot of autonomy, but in weird ways. 

The super-computer is so 60s.  Nobody else has a computer, so it's really handy to have Mike for the revolution.  He can do anything!

Manny speaks the whole time in a style that leaves out most of the articles and pronouns.  It's kind of annoying at first, but you get used to it.  He throws in quite a bit of Russian, too.

Interesting read, very heavy on the ideas.

Thanks to the Little Red Reviewer for a very fun Vintage SF event!

1 comment:

jrleek said...

I finally was able to read "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" myself. I never realized that every Libertarian fantasy book I ever read was a poor rewrite of this book. Which is weird, because Heinlein is pretty upfront about the problems with it and the circumstances required to even kind of maintain it.