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FriedEgg

FriedEgg

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress - Robert A. Heinlein This is your anarchist's revolutionary handbook. If you're being oppressed by imperialist overlords that treat you little better than slaves and you want to organise a revolt to liberate yourselves, this is an ideal guide to doing everything from setting up an effective underground communications network, how to know when (and what) to strike, when (and how) to netogiate with your oppressors and how to win a war when outnumbered and against a better equipped and supplied enemy. Of course, it helps if you have a near ompipotent and omniscient super computer who's your best friend and can organise everything and tell you what to do, but that goes without saying.

Heinlein has envisaged a near future (around one hundred years) in which the moon has been successfully settled and has been used as a penal colony; somewhere to dispose of all those social undesirables without having to inhumanely execute them (or worry about the expenditure of imprisoning them). I suppose it's a bit like what Australia used to be. However, once people have served their sentences, they can never return as after a few months of living with lunar gravity, it becomes impossible to survive in earth's gravity for any real length of time. Now there are millions of people living on the moon, most of which are not under sentence but they don't have their freedom as they are also forced to work to produce grain for export to earth and get little in return. An oppressive warden watches over them making sure they meet their quotas. The people are not happy, they want their freedom.

This book is the protagonist's account of their struggle, from his position, as one of three, at the top of their insurgent organisation. He was never that political, and wasn't that keen on becoming so, but is led by events into the heart of the stuggle.

This is a great story, told only as Heinlein could tell it, but there was something abrasive about his writing style here that made it harder work than it should have been. Perhaps it was something to do with the psudo futuristic way of speaking (not as bad as some cyber-punk novels) or the many didactic paragraphs where the characters told it like they (Heinlein?) saw it. For me, this stood in the way of my judging it to be a masterpiece.

I had high hopes for this book, I wanted it to be my first Heinlein story that really blew me away but somehow, his books always manage to fall short. A very good book nonetheless.