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The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Paperback – Jun 15 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; 1 edition (June 15 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312863551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312863555
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 2.6 x 21.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"We proceed down a path marked by his ideas." --Tom Clancy

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First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John S. Ryan on Sept. 8 2003
Format: Paperback
I rank this among Heinlein's three absolutely magisterial novels (the other two being _The Door into Summer_ and _Double Star_).
I'm not altogether sure why it's regarded as a "libertarian" novel; although Heinlein was indeed calling himself a libertarian by the time he wrote it, there's nothing much here by way of a principled case for liberty. But it sure is some great storytelling.
It's 2076, see, and Luna is a penal colony (rather like Botany Bay). Projections indicate that it's losing natural resources at such a rate that it will become uninhabitable within a small number of years. So it's time to reenact the American Revolution.
But this time it's led by computer repairman Manuel Garcia O'Kelly Davis, "rational anarchist" Professor Bernardo de la Paz, rabble-rousing rebel Wyoming Knott, and a HOLMES IV computer named Mycroft who happens to have become sentient.
Okay, the technological projections aren't the most accurate (even for Heinlein, who didn't average all that well anyway). But man oh man, what a story.
And it's narrated by Mannie himself, in a thick Lunar dialect that owes a lot to Russian (and, one suspects, to Anthony Burgess's _A Clockwork Orange_). Heinlein does a wonderful job here, keeping the tone just right throughout the entire novel and never drifting into obscurity.
Heinlein made his original reputation with brilliant short stories, but this novel is one of the reasons he kept it. Nearly forty years after it was written, it's still on the shortlist of the best SF ever. Don't miss it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brad Kynoch on Nov. 30 2011
Format: Paperback
This novel is a study of the politics and mechanics of a planet's struggle for independence, packaged as compelling science fiction. It takes part in the 2070s when the collection of human settlements on the moon want independence from the oppressive international "Federated Nations" of Earth. Without spoiling anything, the first part of the book takes place on the moon ("Luna") with help from the lunar super-computer who has secretly achieved consciousness, the second part is human negotiations on Earth ("Terra"), and the last part is back on the moon for the final struggle, again teamed up with the artificially intelligent "Mike".

Although heavy on political science at times, this landmark sci-fi story is nonetheless a wonderful blend of subjects such as the novelties and challenges of off-planet human settlement, long-term sustainability, independence, revolution, leadership and organizational theory, politics (especially libertarianism and anarchism), international (and interplanetary) affairs and trade, military strategy, cultural identity, community, polygamy, physics, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, and media/mass communication.

The character development is excellent between Manuel (technical expert), Prof (political expert), and Mike, the computer with brains, personality, and independent thought.

Even though the lunar revolution is *against* the reader's familiar Earth, you easily side with the rebellion and the Lunies' fascinating culture and difficult lifestyle that's on the line.

Enjoy the ride!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard C. Drew on Nov. 3 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm not embarrassed to admit that I actually got teary eyed at the end of this book. It was one of the most engrossing, well written books RAH penned. It proved that his "black belt" in writing was well deserved. Any SF fan would enjoy this book, period. I know a LOT of people that love SF and some that tolerate it. All really - really- liked this book.
Come on, RAH even did some time hopping in another novel to revisit the events of this one - and "save" a key character. As the old cereal commercial states "try it - you'll like it!"
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By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER on Feb. 23 2013
Format: Paperback
Luna is the Australia of the future. Populated largely by criminal transportees and their families, it supplies critically-needed food to a near-starving Earth. The "Loonies" are governed by a dictatorial warden and his small army of security guards. Luna seems like the most secure prison colony ever founded. There is truly no escape.

Mannie O'Kelly-Davis works for Luna's administration as a contract computer trouble-shooter. When the central computer achieves self-awareness and begins calling itself "Mike," Mannie is the first one to notice. Advising Mike to keep a low profile about his new-found sentience, Mannie becomes his "first and best friend." And they both get caught up in a revolutionary movement to free Luna.

I liked this when I read it as a kid. Rereading it as an adult was a thought-provoking experience. Luna's "revolution" is organized into COMINTERN-style cell system with elaborate security procedures and more than a little lying to and stealing from innocent people. A few even get killed. All of this highlights how young people can be drawn into such dubious enterprises in real life. As Mannie observes, "Kids will do anything which is mysterious and fun." All of this sneaking around has a Tom Sawyerish feel to it.

Disturbingly, everyone proceeds with the fanatical assumption that everything is secondary to the revolution. This allows lying, killing and stealing to proceed with few second thoughts. A less extreme stance might at least have had the revolutionaries struggling with these moral concerns a bit. Better would be having them proceed while balancing a number of concerns and values--like real, non-fanatical people do.

Still, it is a classic and worth reading.
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