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The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

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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!

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  1. In my opinion, the Whip Smart padcost was first rate! Deserves some kind of journalistic award, in my opinion. The padcost out-reported NPR’s Terri Gross, and that’s not easy to do. The interview with Melissa Febos about her book Whip Smart was simply excellent. I was not a fan of the book when it came out. I own it, and I read it. And re-read parts of it. Your interview with the author provided a whole new outlook on the book and her experience as a pro domme and addict. It made me appreciate more how she approached writing the book and how she approached being a Domme and being an addict. Having Alex as one of the interviewers, who comes at the profession from a completely different viewpoint, provided an irreplaceable counterpoint. Question to Axe: During the part where you discussed with her the coming out process and what it is like to have come out , did you get the sense she was more embarrassed(?) about being a pro domme or being an addict? Which is worse, drugs or sex work, in the eyes of her peers and administration? Axe, I will take some exception to your thoughts that parents should appreciate the honesty of a professor who admits to those particular demons. As a parent I do not want their teacher discussing their personal experiences with drugs. That is because, as a successful professor, they are sending the message to kids that it is okay for their students to try drugs because their teacher turned out all right. No matter what she says, the kids will think that heroin is survivable and can lead to a published book and a good job. I don’t think hers is the experience of most herion addicts. Nor do I subscribe to the it’s the quiet ones who blow philosophy; there is a communicative process logistical thinking distortion there. Not all quiet ones have secrets to blow over, some, if not the vast majority, are just quiet. (Ray Charles is not God because he is blind, and God is love and love is blind). That aside, this was an excellent, triumphant piece of journalism and interviewing skills that tackled a tough, controversial subject and book extremely well. Very well done!