Maureen's Reviews > The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
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Nov 25, 2011

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Read in November, 2011

The moon is a penal colony, and eventually the colonists get sick of being exploited and rebel. They don't have any guns, so they shoot rocks at Earth with a giant catapult! How could you not want to read this? It's not perfect though. A little preachy on the libertarian ideals, having the self-aware computer on your side seems like cheating (and the computer's fate at the end really seemed like cheating), and the girl characters kind of suck, although not nearly as bad as in Stranger in a Strange Land. Although, to be honest, the strength of scifi in general is plot, not characters.

I also liked this book because the world it builds is a very natural extension of our own. Orson Scott Card lists Heinlein as a major influence, and you can definitely see that in the way that he builds the world, working in slang and bits of other languages.

Update: another point that bothered me when I read this book, and for some reason is itching at me a year later, is Heinlein's idea of what would happen to gender relations if women were extremely scarce. Does he really think that the law of supply and demand would drive a system in which women do whatever they want, knowing that, as a rare commodity, they are protected and competed for? Or would they instead be constantly harassed and living in fear of gang-rape? The real-world experiments of a) many tech schools and b) every frontier town, ever, shows that it can go either way, but I'm skeptical that a moon full of convicts would play out as written.

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