The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress - Robert A. Heinlein, Lloyd James An exciting story of lunar revolution. As with the other Heinlein novel I've read, Stranger, here's a book bursting with conversations and interesting ideas, with planning and oversight. The story centers on administration and leadership, planning and cunning. There are some very likable characters, but this novel is certainly not character driven. In fact, I think that hurts things to an extent - i.e. there is only so much "global concern" a reader can shoulder without placing that tension with several characters we come to know and appreciate. These characters interact, of course, but purely in the manner of trading information. It's ironic, and not too hard, then, to understand, how Mike the computer becomes the character we come to care most about. Was this Heinlein's intention? Would it not have been an even better, more meaningful reading experience for us to know these characters better?

I enjoyed this story much more than Stranger in a Strange Land, since I found Stranger's ending (and, in fact, most of its second half) uninvolving and melodramatic. This novel kept my interest from beginning to end, and though perhaps not a very suspenseful read, it dealt with interesting ideas such as the physiology of lunar life and a model of happy polygamous marriages. On the other hand, the very idea that we would use the moon to farm wheat in order to then ship it back to earth is so ludicrous that it threatens to undermine all of Heinlein's more adroit speculations.