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4.5 out of 5 stars
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
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Showing 1-10 of 132 reviews(5 star)show all reviews
A great story, characters you'd like to know, and a nice format size edition. My old copy was falling apart, and this makes a fine replacement.
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on August 26, 2013
I have read and reread the book, probably more than 250 times (no kidding). I went to the local library to search for a book by the same author recommended by a teacher for me to read. I was rapt. I continue to get the book at times when I go out to eat. I had it in soft cover but wore away the cover and pages on 3 separate novels. The hard cover version is not experiencing the same treatment. I continue to read and find new information in the book. I have to say it is the best book I have ever read. Mannie, Mike, Wyoh, the prof are fantastic. I have learned the role Mimi Davis (Mannie's wife) played in the book. It is a testament to how we should live IN the moon today.
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on September 21, 2011
This is Heinlein at his iconoclastic best, perhaps overshadowed only by Stranger in a Strange Land. This is one of my all time SF favorites.
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on September 12, 2009
A for "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert Heinlein

Despite the writing style that is incredibly difficult to get used to, this is one of the best sf novels I've read in recent memory. Thought-provoking and exciting, so if you are a science fiction fan you should definitely read this novel. The characters are well-done, if not especially three-dimensional, the plot is good, but the philosophy, world building, and the issues behind the novel are what make it really shine.
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on August 5, 2008
To say that The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was prophetic would be quite the understatement, but it's not just Heinlein's brilliant depiction of a near-future Earth and Moon that shines so brightly but his sensitively-structured portrayal of the characters, from rebels to machine intelligences. The political structure is both a revealing and entertaining parallel to the colonial system during the American revolution and makes for a fascinating glimpse into the future. Race relations, sexual relations and economic systems are all interwoven into a rich human narrative that speaks to every one of our emotions and ideals, and the story never flags, alternating between tranquil moments of negotiations and scheming to brutal military engagements and desperate fights, leaving you breathless (and with perhaps a tear in your eye) until the last moments. A beacon of a novel for sci-fi writers, and deservedly so.
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on November 30, 2007
The science is dated. It doesn't matter. The plot is straightforward without a lot of unexpected twists. It doesn't matter. People talk funny. It doesn't matter. What matters is that this book is a compelling study of applied political science that uses the unforgiving locale of the moon and its limited resources, suffering under gross mismanagement, to explore the anatomy of revolution.

Heinlein peaked with this novel. "Stranger" and all subsequent work got more twisted, more cranky, more obsessive, and ultimately more senile. This one presents many of Heinlein's later ideas in lean and supple forms, without the flab and flapdoodle that made Lazarus seem so Long.
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on March 17, 2004
I am not much of a science fiction reader or film watcher but when my friend bought THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS for my birthday, it instantly became one of my favorite books. Not one of my favorite science fiction books, one of my favorite books period. And what makes it such is its sturdy character development and plot development. All the characters are believeable and likeable. This includes Mike the computer. His desire to understand humor and humans must have been revolutionary for the time the book was written.
I have heard of Heinlein's political leanings and how they affected his writing. However, I did not sense that the novel was a veiled attempt at spewing a manifesto. The story is simply about humans wanting to be treated as such, and having to fight for that treatment. Mike's suggestion to "throw rocks" at the oppressors was absolutely brilliant. It made me think of the Biblical line: "Let he who is without sin throw the first stone". Maybe there's a link, maybe not. I'm sure there are dozens of master's theses out there on this subject. In any event, this is a brilliant work of fiction of any kind! Read it!
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on March 3, 2004
With over 35 years of SF culture between us and this novel, it is difficult to see it for the ground breaking work that it is. Through books and film we've since been exploring new worlds, galaxies and even dimensions for almost 4 decades. Thus a very human story of revolution on our little neighbor may not be that thrilling to the seasoned reader.
Although the story takes place in 2076 the idealism and cynicism of the 1960s is ever present in the background. And even though we're now a third of the way closer to that date than when the novel was written I am amazed at how well the science in this fiction has held up.
The story presents a logical and somewhat predictable pathway for "the liberation of the moon" yet I was in suspense as to the success or failure of the venture until the final pages. Heinlein held my attention throughout and weeks later I have to admit I still miss Mike.
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Like the title says. Heinlein wrote at least 40 books in his career, not to mention a slew of short stories. I have read more than half of his works, so I know a thing or two about Robert A. Heinlein. This book, along with Stranger in a Strange Land, Red Planet, and the short story "We Also Walk Dogs" are, in my opinion, his best works. Moon is a great tale with good, likeable, characters, an engaging story full of twists. Unlike many books, the plot twists feel good. By this I mean that after you have been thrown for a loop, you come back and say "Yes, that makes sense now that I look at it" and that is always a good thing. Even if you do not like all of Heinlein's work, you have to respect his vision, his feel for the future and for what may happen. He was one of the fathers of modern sci-fi, and that is no accident. Check this book out.
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on January 13, 2004
With TANSTAAFL for a screen name, how could I not review this book. ;-)
TANSTAAFL (There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch) is the theme of this book and here Heinlein, unlike some of his other works, manages to intertwine his plot and theme without being too preachy.
Heinlein who, preachy or not, is always a great storyteller is at the top of his game with this one. The people of the moon, populated primarily by prisoners and their decendants a la Australia, rise up for a hopelessly outmanned and outgunned battle with Earth. The story is told through the eyes of an everyman hero, Manuel Garcia O'Kelly, jack of all trades and even master of a few of them. An everyman protaganist is, of course, helpful for the reader to identify with but Heinlein makes the book great, rather than good, with the inclusion of three of the most memorable characters in SF literature. Professor Bernado de la Paz, a veteran revolucianario full of contradictions, Wyoming Knott, who I do not want to describe here because you should discover her for yourself in the book, and Mycroft Holmes, not Sherlock's smarter brother, but rather the smartest computer who we know has reached sentience because he wants what we all want - to be loved.
If you have never read Heinlein, read this book.
If you have read Heinlein and haven't yet read this, read this book.
If you have already read this book, read it again, I have been re-reading it every few years for more than 30 years now, and I still love to read it.
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