Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Action & Adventure
Published by Macmillan on December 1965
Robert A. Heinlein was the most influential science fiction writer of his era, an influence so large that, as Samuel R. Delany notes, "modern critics attempting to wrestle with that influence find themselves dealing with an object rather like the sky or an ocean." He won the Hugo Award for best novel four times, a record that still stands. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was the last of these Hugo-winning novels, and it is widely considered his finest work.
It is a tale of revolution, of the rebellion of the former Lunar penal colony against the Lunar Authority that controls it from Earth. It is the tale of the disparate people--a computer technician, a vigorous young female agitator, and an elderly academic--who become the rebel movement's leaders. And it is the story of Mike, the supercomputer whose sentience is known only to this inner circle, and who for reasons of his own is committed to the revolution's ultimate success.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of the high points of modern science fiction, a novel bursting with politics, humanity, passion, innovative technical speculation, and a firm belief in the pursuit of human freedom.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is the winner of the 1967 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
This week I decided to go old school. There is a lot to be said for reaching back into the past and maybe even finding the origin of some familiar story lines. We have a lot to be thankful for from such authors as Robert Heinlein who were the pioneers of modern science fiction literature.
Even though this book has a definite ‘pulp’ feel to it, it goes well beyond the usual ‘pulp’ science fiction. This is one of the earliest examples of “hard science fiction” I have run across. Admittedly it is only hard science fiction in relative to the time it was written. There are many descriptions of technologies that are either outdated or science went a completely different way than the author predicted. I did think that, with some subtle tweaking, the story could be adapted to the screen. The largest problem it would have is being compared to the Expanse Series. It would be a bit unfair since this book precedes that series by decades. This just goes to prove that this book and those like it have inspired much of what we read today.
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress does not rely only on the science or even the setting to entertain the reader. The overarching plot is well supported by a cast of characters. It contains many of the same archetypes that are the staple of many stories. There is political intrigue of a sort but, it is not quite as heavy as something like A Game of Thrones. It is interesting enough to keep the narrative moving and interesting.
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein is tour through what our past thought our future would be. If you look past some of the misplaced tech and period speech patterns you will find a great story and an unique glimpse into what might be. There is no real rough language to speak of but, there is some mature subject matter that earns this one a mild PG13.
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