Tags: heinlein, moon is a harsh mistress, sci-fi
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
I saw this book on the shelf at the used book store and was amazed I had never read it. I’d heard about it and even had friends tell me about it, but had never read it myself. Odd, since I am a big fan of Heinlein.
I read this book and found it fascinating and, of course, full of my favorite thing about Heinlein: libertarian thought. He’s the Ayn Rand of the blue collar, sci-fi world. Especially with this book.
While this book is not the paradigm-changer that Stranger in a Strange Land was for me, it’s definitely up there as one of the best books ever written. It won a lot of awards and many consider this to be Heinlein’s opus. It was the fourth book of his to win a Hugo Award, which is a record that still stands (four Hugos for one author).
The story is about a colony on the moon that, tired of the oppression of the world government (basically the United Nations, but with a different name) and their own slavery, the colonists create a revolution.
The main character, Manny, is a blue collar shleb who has no interest in politics and even less interest in revolution. He’s a computer repair man, which is a rarity on the moon since most have to be shipped in from Earth and can only stay for a short amount of time before losing their “earth legs” and begin physically unable to go back.
Manny discovers that the supercomputer that does most of the real work Lunar-side is alive. The Mycroft system (he calls him “Mike”) has become self-aware. Manny is the only one that knows and the only one that Mike talks to. Until the revolution, that is.
The whole story is well-told and in the broken English of someone who hasn’t learned to write except as a requirement for reports. It’s an interesting kind of truncated almost pidgin-English and is written from Manny’s point of view. Sort of a “Fox jumped over hen house” rathern than “The fox jumped over the hen house.”
All in all, this is definitely a book that anyone who’s interested in freedom, liberty, modern revolution, science fiction, or Heinlein should read. Very highly recommended. TANSTAAFL!