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The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A.…

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966)

by Robert A. Heinlein

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: World As Myth (prequel)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,221117494 (4.16)1 / 274
  1. 132
    The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: A different moon, a different anti-authoritarian community, but the same experience of thinking about other ways to run human societies
  2. 21
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (JFDR)
  3. 11
    Illusions of Tranquility [short fiction] by Brendan DuBois (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: This short story puts a new twist on Heinlein's libertarian moon colony.
  4. 00
    Constellation Games by Leonard Richardson (bertilak)
  5. 11
    Freehold by Michael Z. Williamson (enrique_molinero)
  6. 00
    Radio Freefall by Matthew Jarpe (psybre)
    psybre: Lunar mayhem, and not just due to rock and roll, either.
  7. 01
    The Merro Tree by Katie Waitman (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For the seeds of revolution.
  8. 01
    Pallas by L. Neil Smith (enrique_molinero)
  9. 01
    Moon of Mutiny by Lester Del Rey (infiniteletters)
  10. 02
    The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin (MyriadBooks)

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English (112)  Swedish (2)  Slovak (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (116)
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
TMIaHM is about consciousness and its corollary: the urge to oppress/break free from oppression. It's about the pursuit of freedom: whether to enlarge or restrict its borders. "Seems to be a deep instinct in human beings for making everything compulsory that isn't forbidden."

In the year 2076, the residents of Luna, the moon's largest city, declare revolutionary war on Terra, the Earth. Luna was founded as a penal colony sometime, the book posits, in 2015 or 2020. This pretty much make's Luna the future's Australia (minus gravity, an atmosphere, and fair dinkum dingoes). The Loonies, as 'they' call themselves, are tired of being slaves -- for that is what they are: slaves laboring to supply Terra's 11 billion residents (Hail Malthus!) with grain -- and are ready to flourish as an independent nation.

The Loonies' bid to break their bonds will require more than pluck, money, good planning and desire: as with the Israelites and Egyptians, the Loonies need a Jehovah. He appears in the 'person' of Mike, the sentient super-computer. How Mike becomes sentient, and what he does with that consciousness, and how he's also a kind of Jehovah, these are questions only a thorough reading of the novel will answer. There's No Such Thing As A Free Lunch is more than a pithy maxim; it's this novel's version of PT Barnum's crusty adage about suckers and time.

After finishing last night, I immediately wanted to read it again; and in fact re-read the first chapter.

What is it about a book, how many pages must accumulate in a reader's head before that book becomes a living entity? And where does it come alive? In the reader's head? I think a book comes alive both In and out of a reader's imagination; it exists outside any one reader's imagination insofar as that reader attempts to describe the text to someone who hasn't yet read it. And then that someone reads the text, and yet another text-world is created. Worlds orbit, and world's collide. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
The whole thing was in dialect. and had too much exposition. I can picture this story being loved by the type of geek who always explains everything and anything to everyone and anyone without considering whether their audience might already be knowledgeable. ( )
  encephalical | Mar 3, 2016 |
Moon is used as a penal colony. Generations of "Loonies" have grown up knowing nothing but minimal gravity, rigid social conventions, and the grasping Lunar Authority. The Loonies are tired of being Earth's grain producers without receiving appropriate recompence, but have no political power or weapons. Luckily for them, computerman Mannie teams up with the first AI, Mike, an old professor, and a professional revolutionary from the Hong Kong colony, the beautiful Wyoh. Together (although not really, because Mike and the professor plan everything and then explain it in tiny words to Wyoh, who stares at them with Bambi eyes and a heaving bosom) the group forments Loonie revolution. Everything goes pretty much exactly according to plan, because they have a supercomputer on their side. That, and, like all other Heinlein main characters, they are just so much more sensible and forward thinking than everyone else.

My main problem with this book was not the rampant sexism, racist tropes, unbelievable Loonie society, clunky dialog (as usual, most characters exist soley to have things explained to them) or laughable political ideals. There was no emotion to this book. No Loonie feels oppressed or downtrodden. Nobody lives in fear or repression. The rebellion occurs for completely commercial reasons. When the war is won, everyone cheers, but there's no feeling of relief or achievement.

Spoilers: as soon as the revolution is successful, both the professor and the AI die, leaving Mannie and the Loonies to rule themselves without a manipulative overlord. How coincidentally fortuitous! ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Despite the libertarian politics which are a little heavy handed at times a really enjoyable lunar colonisation tale. I also enjoyed the way the AI was portrayed and the development of this character throughout the novel. ( )
  kale.dyer | Feb 16, 2016 |
It was fun to see where TANSTAAFL came from, and sort of funny to read about a future that was utterly mired in past sexism, however much Heinlein tried to get past it. I found some of the details to be tedious, especially the ones about setting up the government, and once the war arrived, the ending was a foregone conclusion so it was a little boring to watch it all unwind. The loss of Mike was poignant, but probably easier to manage than a free society with an all-knowing sentient supercomputer at the center. ( )
  iBeth | Feb 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
None of these complaints are to say that Harsh Mistress is a straight-up bad book. As with any Heinlein book, it offers a lot of food for thought and fodder for argument.
added by lorax | editio9, Josh Wimmer (May 2, 2010)

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Heinlein, Robert A.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, Raymistaken ascriptionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, LloydNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lippi, GiuseppeContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Patrito, MarcoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pinna, AntonangeloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Pete and Jane Sencenbaugh
First words
I see in Lunaya Pravda that Luna City Council has passed on first reading a bill to examine, license, inspect—and tax—public food vendors operating inside municipal pressure.
There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.
TANSTAAFL (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch)
We never did it that way again ... Alvarez was not a scientific detective.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
Für die ersten Raumfahrer war sie das Ziel ihrer größten Sehnsüchte, doch nun ist Luna ein Hort der Alpträume geworden. Die Menschen haben den Mond in eine riesige Strafkolonie verwandelt. Niemand, der hierher verbannt wurde, hat die Chance, auf die Erde zurückzukehren. Das System ist allen verhaßt, doch keiner lehnt sich gegen die grausamen Unterdrücker auf - bis Mike, der gigantische Computer, für die Loonies Partei ergreift. Und plötzlich scheint alles möglich zu sein - selbst die Revolution auf dem Mond.
Ein Klassiker! Einer der fünf besten SF-Romane aller Zeiten.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312863551, Paperback)

Tom Clancy has said of Robert A. Heinlein, "We proceed down the path marked by his ideas. He shows us where the future is." Nowhere is this more true than in Heinlein's gripping tale of revolution on the moon in 2076, where "Loonies" are kept poor and oppressed by an Earth-based Authority that turns huge profits at their expense. A small band of dissidents, including a one-armed computer jock, a radical young woman, a past-his-prime academic and a nearly omnipotent computer named Mike, ignite the fires of revolution despite the near certainty of failure and death.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:57 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A one-armed computer technician, a radical blonde bombshell, an aging academic, and a sentient all-knowing computer lead the lunar population in a revolution against Earth's colonial rule.

» see all 7 descriptions

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