1 Followers
2 Following
sologdin

sologdin

Currently reading

Middlemarch: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds, Reviews and Criticism (A Norton Critical Edition)
Bert G. Hornback, George Eliot
The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann, John E. Woods
Love in the Time of Cholera
Gabriel García Márquez
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress - Robert A. Heinlein Nutshell: lunar colony secedes from Earth, led by John Galt and AI, as told by know-nothing with charming pseudo-slavic accent.

Likely one of the source texts for items such as Red Mars and Iron Council, each of which carries echoes of this one.

Some odd lapses. One of the principals describes herself as a "Fifth Internationalist" but yet "no Marxist" (64). That's essentially a contradiction in terms. Heinlein doesn't have her expound on her political ideology, as she is apparently present, like Marlowe's Zenocrate, to "rest thee like a lovely queen," to screw the narrator (an apolitical jackass, who proves old slavic saying that it's better to be lucky than smart), and to agree with the libertarian professor, who johngalts his hour upon the stage. The AI--who has an "orgasm" when inflicting mass-driven projectiles on Earth from orbit (269)--gets more political & legal discussion than The Girl, who is revealed to be a fetus machine. Even an aristocratic monarchist has more time to discuss his political ideas (his contempt for egalitarian politics is shared by the libertarian, of course). Not surprising that Heinlein hushes up the female socialist, given his less-than-enlightened gender politics and his thorough lack of comprehension of leftwing ideas.

We are given uncritical praise of Malthusian economics (206), unflattering portraits of arts-oriented intellectuals (272-73), and glib assurances that "life has never been sacred in Africa" (280). In a different sort of lapse, the text reveals its age when the narrator "didn't get that far away, as needed to stay on phone and longest cord around was less" (255).

All that aside, it is a gripping novel, very worthy of its Hugo. Some might be annoyed by the legal and political discussion, but it's all very well done. I must concede that Heinelin is a very proficient writer, as he presents technical details in an engaging way, with lively scientific minutiae and genuinely interesting attention to engineering detail. It helps that these things are items of contention, at issue in the plot, rather than description for description's sake.

Very interesting scene early on regarding the lack of a judiciary on the Moon--anyone can be a judge and adjudicate actions in tort, and then impose criminal penalties, including execution. I suspect this is some kind of libertarian suggestion to abolish law, lawyers, and the judiciary. It's hopelessly naive at best, but more likely it's simply a nostalgia for manorial justice: property owners adjudicate tort on their own terms. In a book filled with reprehensible ideas, this is one of the worst.

Recommended for those who look nulliparous and younger than they are, persons with occupational diseases of the underground, and readers with a dubious claim to being the Macgregor.