The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress – Robert Heinlein

I’ve never read any Robert Heinlein before. Which is a bit ridiculous, given that he’s known as “The Dean of Science Fiction Writers“, and I’m borderline obsessed by the genre.

This one is a moon colony book, in the vein of Andy Weir’s Artemis (which *spoiler* I absolutely loved). I’m always a sucker for moon colonies, I think probably because it seems so potentially achievable, like it might actually happen in our lifetime, and its not limited by the need for close-to-speed-of-light hacks that further out space fiction needs.

I love the disjointed commentary style the narrator uses, presumably intimating a particular accent or dialect from the future.

Must be a yearning deep in human heart to stop other people from doing as they please. Rules, laws — always for other fellow. A murky part of us, something we had before we came down out of trees, and failed to shuck when we stood up.

The golden-age-of-scifi catapults to get things back to the moon is cool, plus the surprisingly realistic mainframe that is basically cloud computing.

Coupled with the style is the way Heinlein makes delightful jumps in his writing. He has a confidence in his own prose, and in the reader’s intelligence; he makes allusions to stuff you already know but wouldn’t necessarily connect, and just trusts that you’ll manage it:

“I don’t know Who is cranking, I’m pleased he doesn’t stop.” [talking about God]

Finally, there is a brilliant send-up of politics and governing in general. I’ll try to avoid spoilers, but there’s a beautiful use of busy-work and distraction in the pursuit of an effective government, that both highlights the importance and failings of democracy.

A great read, and one I’d recommend for anyone wanting to get into a classic that isn’t a slog.

2 thoughts on “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress – Robert Heinlein

  1. I’m also hanging my head in shame for not reading one of the greats. The annoying thing for me though is I own a lot of his books as I got them in a collection a long time ago. I really should get them out and read them when I finally get to make my library (when the son moves out)

    1. It’s definitely an enjoyable one. I’d recommend making the time for it, as I recall its a fairly short read, to be fair…

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