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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: 20.9 x 14.2 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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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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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 Anakina on July 10 2014
Format: Paperback
This book has left me puzzled. The setting (the Moon) is undoubtedly fascinating. The story itself, although it is a sci-fi reinterpretation of the American Revolutionary War, has a remarkable originality. Unfortunately I did not like the way it was developed and only the first two points have allowed me to give it two stars instead of one.
We have a lot on the plate and we immediately realize that a novel is just too little to develop all that as it should. The result is that it appears to be largely a mere report, full of super-detailed technical information in the political, scientific field, etc ..., with facts summarized in a few lines here and there, and only portions of dialogues, which fail to bare the feelings and the humanity of the characters.
The most obvious consequence is boredom.
Yet in the beginning I had been intrigued with the computer, Mike, that had taken self-consciousness, thus becoming alive. But then the story ends up relying too much on this intelligent, likeable, able to do anything, infallible supercomputer, only thanks to which (at least roughly) the characters succeed to achieve their goals.
It seemed too easy.
I was hoping for an improvement, but I found myself trudging in the middle of the book wishing for it to end as quickly as possible. A story that is essentially told, in which little is shown as it should. The same choice to tell it from the point of view of a single character limits it a lot.
Despite the long timescales of the narrative, the ending is obvious from the moment you understand what the story is really about. There are no real twists or, better, the way in which the events are narrated makes them little surprising.
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