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Robert A. Heinlein
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Group Reads 2014 > May 2014 Groupreads - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Have Space Suit - Will Travel

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message 1: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1092 comments The author chosen by the group to read was Robert A Heinlein and the poll was very closed and resulted in 2 books being chosen The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and Have Space Suit—Will Travel. Whether you have already read or plan to read feel free to discuss here.


message 2: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1092 comments In case anyone is looking for the Moon is a Harsh Mistress for the Kindle it seems it's not available until June 5th.


Knight of the Reading Table | 17 comments I plan to start reading the Moon is a Harsh Mistress tomorrow, after I finish reading the Shining by Stephen King


message 4: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1092 comments I haven't managed to get a copy of the Moon is a Harsh Mistress yet so i've started reading Have Space Suit - Will travel. I didn't realise it was part of Heinlein's Juvenile series. I've only read the first 4 chapters it's quite light weight and amusing in parts. It really is quite easy reading. Think i'm going to have no problems finishing this one.


message 5: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
I love the money baskets on the table.


message 6: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 896 comments I read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress a year or two ago. It's one of my favorite Heinlein books. I have Have spacesuit Will Travel on my library list and will read it shortly.


message 7: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1092 comments I've just finished Have Space Suit - Will travel and have to say it was a thoroughly enjoyable book. It's slightly dated in places for instance references to slide rules but that doesn't really detract from the story. It was quite amusing in places and although written for Juveniles it is still enjoyable for an older person. It's definitely inspired me to read more Heinlein (and hopefully I can track down a copy of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress).


message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
Does anyone remember how to use a slide rule any more? I still have a couple & showed one of the kids how to multiply & divide on it a couple of years ago. Can't recall how to do anything else, though.

I liked the bit about Cliff's schooling. As a parent, I have a feeling that's a perennial problem & loved the age of this - 30 years before my own kids went to school. They sent one of my kids home with a calculator in 1st grade. Long story, but I stomped it to death & returned the pieces in a plastic bag. The principal admitted I was right several years later.


message 9: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 896 comments Jo wrote: "I've just finished Have Space Suit - Will travel and have to say it was a thoroughly enjoyable book. It's slightly dated in places for instance references to slide rules but that doesn't really det..."

Heinlein is one of my favoites. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress wasn't written for juveniles. I don't think I've read any of Heinlein's kidlit. I'm looking forward to Have Spacesuit Will Travel. I also have Star Beast on my library list.


message 10: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 896 comments I'm about a quarter of the way in. This is the first of Heinlein's juvenile series that I've read. Kip wins the space suit and his refurbishing of it seems technologically authentic. It does have the flavor of YA. Then suddenly we have a case of alien abduction and the apparent age of the intended reader drops. With that in mind, I am enjoying it.


message 11: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 896 comments I read The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress some time ago. One of the things that impressed me about the loonies' minimal government was their ad hoc citizens' court. I kind of expect that in reality, the way people really are, that there would be kangaroo lynchings.

Here is my Goodreads review from April 2013:
Heinlein shows his skill in this writing. This is a story of the planning and execution of a rebellion for independence, which ultimately leads to war between Luna and Terra. It's a first person narrative in which we learn what has happened through dialog or through the narrative. There's not much action. And yet Heinlein holds our interest. It never gets boring.

A major element of the culture of the Loonies (the native people of Luna) is plural marriage. Some people on earth are so offended by the idea, that it results in the arrest and brief incarceration (ala Warren Jeffs) of the protagonist when he visits Earth. The novel also explores the feasibility of anarchy and the idea of limited government.

I heard the audiobook version read by Lloyd James. James adopts an Ensign Chekov voice for the main character, the narrator of the story, which I found a minor annoyance. I can't imagine that Heinlein actually wrote the novel in an ersatz Russian accent.



message 12: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
I listened to this last year, the same edition as Buck. In my review, I wrote, "Read by Lloyd James, downloaded from my public library. James does Manny with a horrible accent, but I lived with it, although the teary Manny voice is even worse. I liked Mike's & the rest are pretty good except Stu. He had such a thick French accent that I couldn't understand him sometimes, especially when he's pronouncing Russian or other languages. This is definitely a case of the reader acting too much. Worse, he pronounces some words & names in ways I wouldn't. He pronounces 'Prof' as 'Proof'. Yuck."

The full review is here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 13: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 896 comments Jim wrote: "Does anyone remember how to use a slide rule any more? I still have a couple & showed one of the kids how to multiply & divide on it a couple of years ago. Can't recall how to do anything else, t..."

I still have my old slide rule, somewhere, I think. I managed to get a Hewlett-Packard 35 calculator when they first came out, in the late 60s. ($395 was a lot of money to replace a slide rule.) After about twenty years I had to replace the 35 with an HP 11C, which I still use. I've never missed using a slide rule. Long live RPN!


message 14: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
I had to use a slide rule for my first high school physics class in 1973, although some of the rich kids had TI calculators. A calculator was required for Adv. Physics in 1976, though. It was over $100 for one that just had a memory, the kind they've been giving away for free now for years. It was huge, too. Maybe 4"x6" by 2" thick.


message 15: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 896 comments About 3/4 of the way through Have Space Suit—Will Travel. Kip and Peewee have just learned they are about to go to a planet in the Lesser Magellanic Cloud. I thought, "Aha! Tralfamadore!" And then I realized, no, that's Vonnegut not Heinlein? ;)


message 16: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 896 comments Finished. Have Space Suit-Will Travel is acknowledged as a juvenile novel, and so it is. I had a little problem with the alien abduction - too much over the top, but it is rationalized in the end. Another thing that bothered me was that when Kip returned to Earth, he didn't try to contact his parents right away. But these are minor quibbles.

One thing that I really liked about this book is the hard science. Did kids in the fifties digest this stuff? Somehow I think schoolkids today wouldn't have a clue.

References to the appearance of the Milky Way are from a bygone era. I've always lived in cities with lots of light pollution, so I've only seen it few times in my life, and never the M31 galaxy, the so-called Andromeda Nebula. I'd bet that the great majority of Americans have never seen the Milky Way.

I've read a couple of other children's science fiction books that are highly regarded - A Wrinkle in Time and The Giver. Have Space Suit-Will Travel is far superior to either one of them.


message 17: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
I read it in the late 60's & I got it. Heinlein's problems & solutions in these novels always made me want to learn. For some reason, I found the ecology of Ganymede as described in Farmer in the Sky fascinating & loved the math to figure out how much soil it would take to cover one farmer's field. I knew many of the facts about the solar system that Kip discusses in this book & went on to read many more because of it. Great stuff!


message 18: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1092 comments I'm about to start reading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, a friend of mine bought this and Lord of Light back from a trip to the UK. The guy in the bookshop told him that one is brilliant and the other pickled his head but my friend didn't remember which way round! I'm looking forward to seeing which one this is...


message 19: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 896 comments Jo wrote: "I'm about to start reading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, a friend of mine bought this and Lord of Light back from a trip to the UK. The guy in the bookshop told him that one is brillia..."

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of my favorite Heinlien books, I haven't read Zelazny's Lord of Light yet. It is on many lists of must read SF. So, no help from me. You'll have to read them both.


message 20: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
Likely Lord of Light pickled his head. Zelazny tends to do that to people. I don't know why, but most people don't seem to get that LoL was written in 7 sections. The first is in the hero's present & then he remembers back for the next 5 - from way far back to the circumstances that lead to the present situation, then the last section is back in the present again.

It's a fantastic book - SF but written in a mythical, fantasy way. It can be read as either or both. I prefer the latter because it's obvious that there are no reliable sources, typical of Zelazny.

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is an excellent book too, but completely different. Very straight forward & Manny is pretty reliable. It's the modern American revolution based on an old vision of a lunar society that resembles Australia in some ways, straight SF.


message 21: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1092 comments I look forward to reading Lord of Light next month. I've read a few chapters of the Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I'm having problems getting used to the way Mannie speaks in the book but I'm sure I'll get used to it.


message 22: by Harold (new)

Harold Ogle | 14 comments Finished Have Space Suit—Will Travel; having just read The Martian, I was struck by how I preferred Heinlein's level of technical detail. I also figured that the book was the start of many responses to Sputnik, and the start of the Space Race. Also interesting is that he never refers to the Moon as Luna - something which changed over the course of the few years between this book and our other Heinlein selection, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.

On the subject of that book: I've just started (plenty of time to finish before the month is over!), and I wondered what other people thought of the narrator's voice. Is he supposed to be Russian, or is that just how Loonies talk in 2075?

Finally, I am a bit irritated that the first Heinlein book is considered "for kids." At most it should be for YA as it's aimed at teens...but now that I think of it, that category didn't exist in 1958. So a story of self-discovery by a college-age youth was considered a kiddie book. The sad thing is that it's still categorized that way today.


message 23: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
Harold, I think I agree with you. 'Space Suit' was one of the Schribner (sp?) books that Heinlein was contracted to do. He gave them a YA book annually for a decade or so, most in the 50's. I always thought of YA as teens & up. I certainly hated that the library stuck these gems only in the kids section since they're a great intro to SF for adults. I still read them occasionally for fun.

Heinlein wrote a lot for 'Boy's Life' & really liked the Scouts. While many of these stories use them to set standards for behavior to aspire to, things to learn, & a sense of wonder, he conspicuously left religion out for the most part. It was more obvious back when I first read them, but most don't see it today. He was ahead of his time there.

He takes a lot of heat for his female characters now, but he was one of the early authors to try to give them equality in this genre. Ham-handed as he was, at least he tried. Characterization was never his strong suit, either. He basically has one of various ages & either sex for his main character.

I hadn't noticed that about the moon & Luna. Good catch.

I've always thought Manny's voice was heavily Russian influenced, but that he basically spoke a lunar mix, another attempt by Heinlein to equalize everyone. He does the same with color & tries to with sex, although he didn't do so well with the latter. He succeeded with sexual preference, though. Again, it's probably not so noticeable now, but the odd marriage arrangements & references to (support of?) homosexuality were far out of the norm then. The shrink society voted homosexuality as a disease a decade after this was published.

It became clear later that Heinlein didn't write as far out as he wanted with his sexual ideas, but he still managed to publish pretty far out on the racy side for his time. He really pushed the envelope in the 70's when he started promoting incest in his books. Between that & his preaching, he turned me off.


message 24: by Harold (new)

Harold Ogle | 14 comments So, having failed to finish The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress in time (my wife shelved it and that didn't occur to me for days, during which I read Lord of Light and a few others), I'm still reading it now. I'm curious how others felt, not just about the plural marriage, but about the presentation of Lunar society as the result of the low ratio of women to men. Was that believable to you?

It strikes me as fairly weird. Not that there are plural marriages - that seems like one of three possible outcomes, to me (*) - but that the rest of the culture is so limited. Yes, every woman has her pick of men, but the women have an astonishing lack of power otherwise. Wouldn't you think such a society would quickly become a matriarchy? Heinlein has written the Davis family as being administered capably by their matriarch, "Mum," but it's weird to me that female authority seems to end with the family group. To me as I'm reading the book, it feels like Heinlein was trying to present women in a favorable light appropriate to the times in which he wrote it, but that he still presents them as fairer and gentler, best suited to the social skills of the home. Manny definitely has a weirdly chivalric attitude toward Wyoming, given how much power and respect women are supposed to have in the culture. Why wouldn't the women on the Moon be in control of everything?

* - It seems like there would be three outcomes, in a society with no laws, a constant influx of new criminal residents, and a ratio of one woman to every two or three men: matriarchal polyamory, total subjugation of women, or large-scale bi- or homosexuality. Judging by how Heinlein dismisses the idea of homosexuality in one sentence, that was never a possibility for him. Of the two remaining, matriarchy is far more palatable. The other possibility would be a Gor-like treatment of women as chattel (but with a much more logical set-up for the disparity in rights). Heinlein's Moon is a planet populated primarily by hardened criminals, after all. That would be a very different book, and one in which gender attitudes would have to take a more central role (it would likely be rebellion of women as well as Loonies). Or, as I say, it would be another Gor book. And who wants to read that?


message 25: by Jim (last edited Jun 03, 2014 04:55AM) (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
I think you got it right here:
Harold wrote: "...To me as I'm reading the book, it feels like Heinlein was trying to present women in a favorable light appropriate to the times in which he wrote it, but that he still presents them as fairer and gentler, best suited to the social skills of the home. ..."

He couldn't go too far off the beaten path or he wouldn't have been read or possibly even published. As it was, he pushed the envelope. This was before women's lib, soon after the 50's with the "Father Knows Best" & June Cleaver attitudes. Women were the delicate sex who desired nothing more than to keep house for their man & families. Homosexuality was a crime & still considered a mental disease. It would be for at least another decade. (I believe 1974 was the last year the American Psychiatric Association voted it as a disease.)

Did you notice that Manny's family were about equally male & female? While he talked a lot about the inequality in numbers, the one family we saw the most of wasn't.

IMO, he didn't do a great job of equalizing women nor of making the sexual mores believable, but it was pretty good for the time, probably as much as he could get away with. He'd published Stranger in a Strange Land a few years before & that had rocked everyone. I wonder if he might have toned down a bit just to keep his numbers up.

Judging by the preachiness of his first book that Spider Robinson finished up & got published after Heinlein's death, he didn't really write what he wanted until 1970 or so. That's when he came close to dying from that brain problem & decided to preach away.

That's wrong, he'd always been preachy. I just didn't mind the preachiness or it wasn't as bad. Farnham's Freehold is pretty awful, come to think of it. Didn't seem quite so bad at the time - another published in 1964.

He did let his ideas on sex hang way out, though. He had the chops for it by that point in his career, but it could also have been the times. Possibly supporting that or just interesting to note is that he & Virginia were friends with Theodore Sturgeon & his wife. I think they belonged to the same nudist colony. In 1967, Sturgeon published "If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?" in Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions.

IMO, most of his books after 1970 were pretty bad, especially the last few novels. Still, I bought & at least skimmed most of them. It was a shame. I remember not being very happy with I Will Fear No Evil. My wife & I were both fans of his, but she quit reading him entirely after The Number of the Beast.


message 26: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
There's an interesting article in the May issue of Smithsonian Magazine that I'm just getting around to reading. It's titled "Brave New Words" & discusses the influence SF has had on scientists among other things. One mentions he went to MIT because Kip did in Have Space Suit—Will TravelHave Space Suit—Will Travel. You can read it here:
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-cu...


message 27: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 100 comments I enjoyed Have Space Suit-Will Travel, even if I kept expecting Paladin to show up. I have a minor complaint, though.

The book kicks off with the main character bragging about how he's too smart for his school. I got a real elitist vibe off it. It was like Heinlein was saying that some people should just be above others. Am I overreacting?


message 28: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
I don't recall Kip bragging about how he's too smart for his school. He did study a lot outside it due to his father's influence, but the book starts out with him saying he was in the top quarter of the class of a school that wasn't very good. What gave you the elitist vibe?


message 29: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 100 comments I read this one 10 years ago when I was considering it for my classroom. Students come to my school because they have serious learning disabilities that cause them to be unsuccessful in typical classrooms. I remember thinking that this would be salt in the wounds, and that Kip was too boastful.

I recently read The Door Into Summer, and I thought it had a flavor of that Ayn Rand "smart people swim/dumb people sink" social Darwinism to it. I was just wondering if anyone else sees that as a theme in Heinlein's work.


message 30: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 896 comments I've read both of these books, two-three years ago. I particularly liked The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I don't recall this so-called "elitist vibe" from Have Space Suit, Will Travel. I thought it was a pretty good kids' science fiction book.

Here are my reviews:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 31: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
There is some social Darwinism in Heinlein's work - correctly, IMO. Rand takes it too far, a typical mistake of philosophers on a mission, but Heinlein seemed pretty balanced about it. While his main characters were always smart & tough (Again, he had 1 character of 3 ages & 2 sexes.) his supporting characters weren't always the best & brightest. So long as they were honest & tried hard, they eventually succeeded. If they were lazy or slovenly, they failed. This is very much in line with his Boy Scout theme.

He had misfits or people handicapped in one way or another who succeeded. There was the blind girl who got lost on the moon & was found through her hearing. Libby was a social outcast, a troubled youth, who found his niche with his mathematical ability. While I suppose some could say it was elitist in that they both had exceptional abilities, I read it as we all have something that we excel at & just need to find it.

Also keep in mind that he was writing many of these stories in the 40s & 50s. Eugenics wasn't popular, but it still had many supporters. People were 'retarded' instead of 'mentally challenged' & many aberrant behaviors were dealt with harshly. Homosexuality was considered a mental disease & had some horrible 'cures'. I believe US shrinks last voted it a disease as late as 1974. Times have changed.


message 32: by Michael (last edited Aug 11, 2016 12:17PM) (new)

Michael | 44 comments Harold wrote: "To me as I'm reading the book, it feels like Heinlein was trying to present women in a favorable light appropriate to the times in which he wrote it, but that he still presents them as fairer and gentler, best suited to the social skills of the home..."

I think this is exactly right. In another one of his juveniles he had a society of free traders who lived their whole lives in their ships. The commander of the ship was always the senior male, but the head of the family was always the senior female. In most ways, the captain deferred to the decisions of the senior female (generally his wife or mother) except in matters of flying and fighting the ship (which were seemingly "man's work").

Heinlein seems to get a lot of criticism from contemporary readers as being sexist or patriarchal when in fact *for his time* he was actually remarkably free of the then current sexism. By todays standards his male/female relations may appear dated but he had quite a few strong female characters. They were just set in a social matrix that was still strongly influenced by the society of his day.


message 33: by Michael (new)

Michael | 44 comments Jim wrote: "Also keep in mind that he was writing many of these stories in the 40s & 50s. Eugenics wasn't popular, but it still had many supporters. People were 'retarded' instead of 'mentally challenged' & many aberrant behaviors were dealt with harshly. Homosexuality was considered a mental disease & had some horrible 'cures'. "

Looking at Heinlein's whole body of work, many of his attitudes did change as time passed. I remember a rather negative passage in Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) regarding homosexuals, but in the latter Time Enough for Love (1973) he brings back the character of "Slipstick" Libby and reveals he was a transsexual. In the latter book this is treated as perfectly acceptable and after a high-tech sex change Libby enters into the main characters extended family without anyone in the story giving it a second thought.


message 34: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "I think this is exactly right. In another one of his juveniles he had a society of free traders who lived their whole lives in their ships. The commander of the ship was always the senior male, but the head of the family was always the senior female..."

I agree with you. The book you're referring to is Citizen of the Galaxy. Hazel of The Rolling Stones & Mum of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress both fit those roles, too.


message 35: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "Looking at Heinlein's whole body of work, many of his attitudes did change as time passed. I remember a rather negative passage in Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) regarding homosexuals,..."

IIRC, in 'Stranger', Ben was worried about Michael's bisexuality or omnisexuality, but Jubal thought he was being childish about it & Ben didn't come out of that discussion very well. Didn't Jubal lecture him about judging someone in their own home or something?

He did evolve in that respect, not always for the better, IMO. While I don't have a problem with transexual Libby or Lazarus saying they'd had sex before & after the sex change, he also pushed incest as a central theme. Lazarus creating clones of himself that he has sex with when they're still very young & then going back to bop his mother. In The Number of the Beast he had a father & daughter having sex, too. It was a huge turn off in both books for me & ruined my reread of The Door Into Summer.

As a mental exercise & exploring such a forbidden topic, his friend Theodore Sturgeon did much better in the short story "If All Men Were Brothers Would You Let Your Sister Marry One?" Heinlein was just crass about it, but then what passed for his sex scenes were always awful.

Maybe I'm just being provincial, but I have a daughter & I can't think of anything that turns me on less than the thought of having sex with her or my mother. There's some scientific thought that this is actually hardwired into us.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/art...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incest_...


message 36: by Michael (last edited Aug 12, 2016 07:03AM) (new)

Michael | 44 comments Jim wrote: "Michael wrote: "Looking at Heinlein's whole body of work, many of his attitudes did change as time passed. I remember a rather negative passage in Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) regarding homose..."

I remember that, although it wasn't the scene I was thinking of. It was earlier in the book and I think Gillian(?) was either thinking or talking about how it was good Michael was looking more masculine recently, to avoid passes by gay men. The way she talked about them indicated that she pitied them or though their was something wrong with them.

I do agree that some of his latter works traveled a bit too far down the "sexual liberation" path. (The Number of the Beast comes to mind)


message 37: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "JI remember that, although it wasn't the scene I was thinking of. It was earlier in the book and I think Gillian(?) was either thinking or talking about how it was good Michael was looking more masculine recently, to avoid passes by gay men...."

Oh, yes. I remember that, too. She was talking to Ben, wasn't she? Could it have been more reflecting the times rather than Heinlein's feelings? I've always had the feeling he's the wiser, old head in his books tutoring his younger self & others.

Did you ever read Variable Star? IIRC, it was his first book that wasn't published until after he died. What are the sexual attitudes in that book? I tried reading it, but it was too much like his later ones such as The Cat Who Walks Through Walls & I abandoned it, but that was years ago. I don't recall anything else about it.


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) The Moon is a Harsh Mistress has been given a convincing nomination for 'best Heinlein' here: https://www.tor.com/2019/01/31/is-the.... That's Alan Brown writing for Tor.com, Jan 31 2019.


message 39: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
Wow! That was really good, Cheryl. Thanks! I had a couple of quibbles, but otherwise agree with him. Perhaps I should say, he missed a couple of big points that make this book so relevant today: racism & empowering women. Actually, considering the odd marriage & sleeping arrangements, he went even further with sexual freedom & this was back in the mid 60s. I think it's held up far better than SIASL.


message 40: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 450 comments I finished the book a couple of days ago and really liked it. It stands up way better than SIASL.


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) Rosemarie wrote: "I finished the book a couple of days ago and really liked it. It stands up way better than SIASL."

Which? Two books are discussed in this thread.


message 42: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 450 comments Oops! The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I haven't read the other one yet.


message 43: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4084 comments Mod
I think Have Space Suit—Will Travel stood up better too, FWIW. SIASL hasn't stood up well at all. Kids reading it today think RAH was a sexist pig from some of the comments in group reads.


message 44: by Kateblue (last edited May 03, 2019 09:38AM) (new)

Kateblue | 56 comments Yes, I think Stranger did not hold up well as compared to most of his other earlier fiction. I do think that some of the later fiction, on the other hand, is just not as good as his earlier stuff, so it did not "not hold up" so much as it failed in the first place. Examples: To Sail Beyond the Sunset and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.

And that is hard for me to say, since he is one of my favorites.


message 45: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 1901 comments Mod
I just read "Harsh Mistress", for the first time, with another group. I liked it quite a bit. I did get somewhat bored during the middle. Too much theorizing and too little character development. But overall, I liked it.

Buck wrote: "One of the things that impressed me about the loonies' minimal government was their ad hoc citizens' court. I kind of expect that in reality, the way people really are, that there would be kangaroo lynchings."

Yeah, I also think that would lead to lynchings. Not only were there ad-hoc courts, but the members of the court weren't even necessarily adults. Manny stops a group of kids from lynching an Earthman over a misunderstanding. Yikes!

I found it odd that while there were many different types of "marriage" and relationships, and while the presence of homosexual relationships was mentioned without any obvious malice, there were no exclusively gay marriages mentioned. Should we assume those exist offscreen? Or was Heinlein unable to imagine that some gay men would want a marriage?

At the end of the book, the super-computer Mike stops speaking. Is he dead? Did he just withdraw so as to avoid becoming the baby-sitter for the humans?


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