SciFi and Fantasy Book Club discussion

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Group Reads Discussions 2010 > "Moon is a Harsh.." A Rabble in Arms *spoilers*

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Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments Heinlein was kind enough to give us a perfect structure for discussion, so let's start there. I'll add some other topics as things come up, but we'll keep Manny's voice to the First Impressions section since it seems to be a perfect place for it.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

For some reason, I just don't buy the US joining up with some trumped up UN(the FN) they way they seemed to have in this book.

Also, the North American delegate deserved a rice bomb down his throat.


stormhawk | 411 comments I don't buy the U.S. being part of the U.N. now ... ;)


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

stormhawk wrote: "I don't buy the U.S. being part of the U.N. now ... ;)"
Ahaha, true, true


Sarah Sorensen (tiggersorensen) | 220 comments I didn't love this piece write as much as the first but I still really enjoyed it. I liked the Prof and Mannie visit to earth, especially when Prof fake collapsed and Mannie collapsed when he hurried over to him. Mannie's jailing was kind of mind blowing. All of a sudden Terra is interested in enforcing their laws? Prof is one seriously devious individual and I love how he can predict everything and play it just right. However, the political process itself was quite appalling! They completely manipulated elections and Congress so that they can do things their way. What's the point of a free Luna if it's being manipulated and controlled by three people (and a computer). Now they're just doing things for people's best interests rather than Authority. It's a bit insane. And now Stu is talking about electing Prof as King? First - electing a king is just weird. Second - It's just another dictatorship. The book is a bit of a mess at this point!

On to the next section.


Al Philipson (printersdevil) | 42 comments Sarah wrote: "I didn't love this piece write as much as the first but I still really enjoyed it. I liked the Prof and Mannie visit to earth, especially when Prof fake collapsed and Mannie collapsed when he hurri..."

I never thought of the manipulation thing. It's so easy to get caught up in one of Heinlein's worlds that you forget to be critical of some of the goings-on. I guess it's a good idea to always remember that it's FICTION, otherwise I start approving of that sort of thing.


Valerie (DarthVal) | 152 comments I kind of loved the politics in this section. Prof was a master manipulator, which you get to see up close. I was quite impressed with his antics.

It was interesting to see the political corruption on earth and then contrast it with the seeds of corruption on Luna as they try to build their own government. It made me think about the right and wrong of the situation...is it better to let the rabble of democracy have free reign, or better to have a strong monarchy who has the authority to craft a solid system of government. We see this all of the time in the world today. So often there is action through inaction because the rabble cannot reach a solid compromise that is also a good solution.


Sarah Sorensen (tiggersorensen) | 220 comments Al wrote: " I guess it's a good idea to always remember that it's FICTION, otherwise I start approving of that sort of thing..."

I know! It's terrible that I was cheering them on. And I just love the way Prof can play everyone and every situation. He's brilliant but he's also actually an anarchist! It's kind of crazy.

Valerie wrote: "It was interesting to see the political corruption on earth and then contrast it with the seeds of corruption on Luna as they try to build their own government. It made me think about the right and wrong of the situation"

I really struggled with this. The government freed the people of Luna and then it was very corrupt. It's horrible to think of this happening and it's a strong reminder to me of how corrupt governments are in general.

The woman with all of the moral issues she wanted to put in the declaration was absolutely ridiculous. I liked that he emphasized that people are always wanting to do things for everyone else's good but they never try to pass legislation for their own good. And then there was the guy arguing inalienable rather than unalienable. That was hilarious because he could not let it go.


Valerie (DarthVal) | 152 comments I did find that very funny. I've been on some committees that deal with organizational bylaws, and that is precisely the type of debate I've experienced! It is really hard sometimes to capture the spirit without getting ridiculous. Heinlein hit the nail on the head with this.


John Siers | 136 comments Yes, manipulation of the political process by a few "insiders" is a terrible thing... and it happens every day at local, state, and federal levels (and for that matter, pretty much everywhere in the world). It's been going on all my life (which includes when Heinlein was alive and writing). Yes, Heinlein was writing fiction, but he was also taking a poke at the reality of politics in general.


Sarah Sorensen (tiggersorensen) | 220 comments I kept catching myself rooting for them, even though I know I would never root for something like that in real life. I suppose we don't have to call ourselves hypocrites if it's fiction? Prof was so skilled!


Michael | 591 comments I love this discussion about the government/manipulation. That was such a blindspot for the characters, I thought. Except Prof kept saying they can only do this temporarily. Like Batman in The Dark Knight movie, who breaches the public trust in order to stop one particular criminal - and lets himself off by saying he won't do it again.

It makes you wonder if the argument is this is the only way things can actually get done. Seems like the Lunies would never have gained independence if it was up to them; they would have stopped fighting after the first concession - is that a good thing?

I do remember in college watching a few organizations try to do use "consensus" to get things done, and nothing ever got accomplished. But tyranny at the other end? Seems like a happy medium should be in there somewhere...


Sarah Sorensen (tiggersorensen) | 220 comments Hell, they never would have even gotten started in fighting a war. They were still at the speeches and demonstrations stage. They even had to be manipulated into feeling some kind of 'national' unity.


John Siers | 136 comments I love this discussion, because it touches so many aspects of our own society. The whole liberal vs. conservative thing has been so distorted by the media that we tend to forget the basics. Everyone pretty much agrees that the extreme end of the liberal spectrum is communism, with the state being the ultimate authority and little or no individual freedom; but people seem to think that extreme conservatism is fascism, dictatorship, etc. In fact, extreme conservatism would be anarchy (no government at all).

That's what Prof would have preferred to see, but he called himself a "Rational Anarchist" -- meaning that he recognized that most people wouldn't behave well without some government to maintain order, and he was willing to settle for a severely limited government (which is what the American Colonists in 1776 and thereafter were actually trying to create).

Fact is, just about every form of government you can imagine is a compromise between anarchy and totalitarianism. Some forms just seem to work better and last longer than others. Mannie, the Prof, Wyoh, and their "Loonie" cohorts were just trying to find that happy medium that would work for them... and were willing to do whatever they had to do to achieve it.


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