on June 11, 2004
The book was introduced by Niven and Pournelle as an explication of the philosophy of Rational Libertarianism. In that role, it is quite successful if the reader has a public school grasp of basic history and political philosophy.
In former times those who prized liberty and order but liberty above all migrated to Coventry or the American West. R.A.H sent his libertarians to the moon and beyond. In the context of this book- absent space flight, an Urban Monad makes sense. One reviewer is reminded of the apartment blocks of the Soviet Steppes or HUD housing enclaves and points up the creative contrast. Another, not meeting the criteria outlined in paragraph one (above) fails to grasp the irony and misses the underlying them of the work all together.
Political polemic takes a back seat to this creative and swashbuckling novel. It stands with the works of Heinlein and bypasses the ponderous pontifications of Ayn Rand.
Highly recommended for the flexible, thinking reader.