Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
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Audiobook Review copy provided by Jefferson Parish Library
PJVs QUICKIE POV:
Robert Heinlein is one of the masters of science fiction writing. His books have inspired millions, and is still to this day one of the most popular and controversial authors of the genre. His books are the president that I judge all others in the science fiction category. Books such as FOR US THE LIVING, STARSHIP TROOPERS, and STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND are some of my favorites. I had the chance to read THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS in college and dissect it, but as a course requisite you view a book differently. Revisiting old favorites is always fun, so I just recently downloaded the audio book and experienced from a different perspective. It was definitely a much more enjoyable experience, especially since I didn’t have opposite view point teachers and students pushing their biased opinions on it and giving you their skewed yet, well meaning takes on different passages.
The book takes place in the future, written in the 1960s it was set 100 years in the future, but funny how we are now creeping up on certain parts of this book.
Man has settled the moon, they have installed themselves there and forced prisoners, political exiles and undesirables off of Earth and onto Luna. Just as they did in the early colonies of the United States, the people of Earth use Luna as slave labor, their exports taken without any compensation, or at least suitable compensation. Projections depict that Luna will not be able to maintain their current rate of export or food riots will begin in as short as 7 years which might lead to cannibalism.
An unknowing one-armed computer technician, Manuel Garcia “Mannie” O’Kelly-Davis, is called in when the computer that runs Luna City starts malfunctioning. Through his observations, Mannie discovers that the computer has become self-aware and his errors are the result of an immature sense of humor. Mannie names the computer Mike and from then on the future of the Moon gets put into the hands of a computer.
Mike, interested in the social behavior of humans urges Mannie to attend an anti-Authority (the Earth-side governing body of Luna) rally and sneak in a recorder so Mike can listen. The rally is illegal and as Mannie becomes acquainted with one of the speakers Wyoming Knott and surprised by another, his former teacher Professor Bernardo de la Paz, the rally is raided by Authority guards and people are killed.
With Mike’s help, Mannie gets Wyoming Knott away from the rally and secreted away. She is now a wanted woman. With the help of the professor and Mike they begin discussing a plan…a revolution. They form covert cells, they recruit and they plan to make Luna a free entity.
One of the great science fictions novel of the middle 20th century, THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS is really more of a political statement wrapped in a science fiction suit. The novel has many libertarian ideals and speculates routinely about outcomes of different actions. This novel makes you think and forces you to come to terms about certain aspects of government and oppression. Myself, having certain libertarian tendencies, found a bit of comfort in some of the parts, but dismayed at others. Some of the outcomes of the government that forms prove that maybe we are just destined to repeat ourselves over and over again. I think I just might change my political flag after reading this one. Professor is what he describes as a Rational Anarchist…I think that sounds like a reasonable flag to fly, rationally speaking.
Regarding the audiobook by Blackstone Audio, Inc., read by Lloyd James, the narrator was phenomenal. Mannie is considered Russian and spoke with a Russian accent, while Wyoming spoke with a more American accent, then Professor spoke with an educated British accent..James switched accents like a champ. There were also French females, French males, Indian, Japanese, you name it, there was a character with that nationality in this novel and Lloyd James tackled them all. The females did not sound like drag queens and the reading was spotless. Picked up a new favorite word… assuage.
Recommended for adults and mature teens. This is a wonderful learning experience especially if you would like to have a “fictional” approach to politics and American History. If you enjoy authors like Asimov and Arthur C. Clark — it is seriously recommended that you read Henlein.