The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress❴Epub❵ ➝ The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Author Robert A. Heinlein – Luna of the 21st century is a penal colony where everyone lives under the dictatorship of the hated Authority But the inevitable takes place one day when Mike the master computer who controls everythi Luna of the st is a MOBI · century is a penal colony where everyone lives under the dictatorship of the hated Authority But the inevitable takes place one day when Mike the master computer who controls everything on Luna devises an intricate revolutionary plot with the help of a professor a beautiful blonde and a jack of all trades The conspirators' plans go along beautifully for a while. 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 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 himselfThis 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 independenceThe 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 freedomCertainly 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 reactionFirst 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 freuently 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 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 dialogues and monologuesHe always played with political ideas and while Starship Troopers was uite unreflective except of the philosophical debates this novel has much room for interpretations Especially anarchism a mainly forgotten option for society design takes a large place in the argumentation in one of the characters´ argumentations not leaving space for counter arguments But it shows the inherent flaws of any concept that prioritizes the ultimate freedom of everyone over the protection of the weak from the arbitrariness of the law of the jungle something certain ideologies seem to permanently forget mentioning Heinlein has a special tense relationship to democracy and regulated markets in welfare states and avoids mentioning such topics or describes them as not good options throughout his worksHis writing dialogues characters are so badass that it would be close to stereotypical humoristic writing today because it´s so filled with cliches about that time that it´s hard to imagine that they really talked and thought like that It´s as if the people had made a time travel to a brighter future but kept their strange mentality not having had the time for cognitive development and cultural evolution so that the contrast is even stronger and they seem somehow primitive stone agy ugh The main difference to Clarke and Asimov is that they do worldbuilding and metaplots while Heinlein is of a character focused writer who adds some Sci Fi elements and a rudimentary plot but is mainly interested in detailed descriptions of how the humans deal with the topics he wants them to talk about And of course the controversial political and sexist views he added in his work the other two were able to avoid and to stay neutralBut with this work he wrote a for his standards less agenda and bias influenced work that is closest to what someone would call a Hard Sci Fi novel and it really takes place in space just as Starship troopers something not always the case in his worksview spoiler It´s uite funny that any planet would risk putting delinuents and criminals in a position where they have any possible advantage It´s like building a very easy to defend badly or not guarded open prison city at the top of a huge plateau when all your important cities are in the range of siege weapons that could bomb them in oblivion from above with that bit of gravity and the moon has a bit potential for that hide spoiler “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 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 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 anarchismSo 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 1800 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 itAlthough 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 17 and then as everything proceeds to go perfectly to plan drops to as low as 1100 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 capableExit 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? 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 No bars no guards no rules—and no need for them Back in early days he said before was clear that transportation was a life sentence some lags tried to escape By ship of course—and since a ship is mass rated almost to a gram that meant a ship’s officer had to be bribedSome were bribed they say But were no escapes; man who takes bribe doesn’t necessarily stay bribed I recall seeing a man just after eliminated through East Lock; don’t suppose a corpse eliminated in orbit looks prettier Slaves of the systemThat we were slaves I had known all my life—and nothing could be done about it True we weren’t bought and sold—but as long as Authority held monopoly over what we had to have and what we could sell to buy it we were slavesBut what could we do? Warden wasn’t our owner Had he been some way could be found to eliminate him But Lunar Authority was not in Luna it was on Terra—and we had not one ship not even small hydrogen bomb There weren’t even hand guns in Luna though what we would do with guns I did not know Shoot each other maybeThree million unarmed and helpless—and eleven billion of them with ships and bombs and weapons We could be a nuisance—but how long will papa take it before baby gets spanked? A computer with a sense of humor“Mike her name is Wyoming Knott”“I’m very pleased to meet you Mike You can call me ‘Wye’”“Why not?” Mike answeredI cut in again “Mike was that a joke?”“Yes Man I noted that her first name as shortened differs from the English causation inuiry word by only an aspiration and that her last name has the same sound as the general negator A pun Not funny?”Wyoh said “uite funny Mike I—”I waved to her to shut up “A good pun Mike Example of ‘funny only once’ class of joke Funny through element of surprise Second time no surprise; therefore not funny Check?”“I had tentatively reached that conclusion about puns in thinking over your remarks two conversations back I am pleased to find my reasoning confirmed” How to deal with a spyThe thing to do with a spy is to let him breathe encyst him with loyal comrades and feed him harmless information to please his employers These creatures will be taken into our organization Don’t be shocked; they will be in very special cells ‘Cages’ is a better word But it would be the greatest waste to eliminate them—not only would each spy be replaced with someone new but also killing these traitors would tell the Warden that we have penetrated his secrets How to fight backLet’s get back to the basic problem how we are to cope when we find ourselves facing Terra David facing Goliath” “Oh Been hoping that would go away Mike? You really have ideas?”“I said I did Man” he answered plaintively “We can throw rocks”“Bog’s sake No time for jokes”“But Man” he protested “we can throw rocks at Terra We will”And throw rocks is what they doA space war with rocks Enjoy 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 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 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 naïveté 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 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 fixated on jokes and whether they are funny only once in a given situation or always funny Maybe Alexa is not on the verge of becoming self aware; however the idea that artificial intelligence could awaken is explored in an interesting way by Heinlein in 1967 without the knowledge of what AI looks like now The Moon is a Harsh Mistress feels a little clunky in my reread but this side plot Mike awakening works well with the main plot overthrowing Earth's control of the Moon I would also have liked on the implications of Mike's awakening but overall Heinlein tells an interesting and enjoyable story about the not so distant future 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 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 audience or should I say readership Maybe only the hardcore sci fi crowd rated this beast of a bookMaybe the usual romance reading housewives had a hand in rating this book 4 or 5 stars but I can't see this happening I'm amazed that I lasted that long What do you want us to do? Throw rocks at them?Nah 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 have read him early so as to be fully indoctrinated in this gung ho politicism of Rational Anarchy and I can laugh and whoop and grin foolishly all the whileBut I'm weirdStill When it comes to the story the most amazing thing about this novel is not that it's set on the moon or that it has been populated with all of Earth's undesirables or that they're economic slaves to the Earth Nope It's amazing that this book is actually a How To Guide on how to stage a successful revolution against a technologically and militarily superior foe from initial planning leverage sleeper cells and of course political preparation communication diplomacy and economics And of course the resulting MASS DEATH of so many innocents Can't forget thatBut I suppose the one thing that sticks in my mind most strongly is the planetary computer Mycroft What a guygal Heshe always gets me in the feels That's leverageFortunately or unfortunately I keep on seeing tons of good revolution books or modern SF still stealing from this classic either knowingly or unknowingly Perhaps all AIs that show up in SF are a reply to Mycroft in one way or another Who knows? This is the one that stands out supreme in my mind and perhaps always shallCall me a Lunatic I dare you ;This one won the Hugo in '66 but I also place it firmly in one of my top 100 novels of all time Great stuff

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress ePUB ¸ Moon is a  PDF
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 302 pages
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  • Robert A. Heinlein
  • English
  • 13 March 2015
  • 9780425430132