The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert A. Heinlein
If you haven’t read it, put it on your list. I enjoy every single page of it. It’s one of my favorite books of all time.
When I arrived in the Netherlands, almost nine years ago, I wanted to improve my English and catch-up with American and British culture, not so present in France. So I started reading a ton of science fiction, fantasy and steam punk. I used to go to work walking, listening to audio books, which is how I experienced The Moon is a Harsh Mistress the first time. I still have fond memories of it. Recently, for a work related reason, I decided to read it on a paper book, taking my time to reflect more on its ideological content in addition to the story.
I like the tone of the book. Narrated by Mannie, with his Russian accent and his Loonie way of talking. Makes you jump right into the ambience of the story. This makes the style fluid and enjoyable. Nothing unnecessary, tanstaafl! The story develops itself naturally and at a good pace. Heinlein is not creating a universe, he’s setting us in what the world could become in a century. Now, on the ideological content. I take what’s written with a big pinch of salt, considering that Heilein was one of the first libertarians, whom I am not fond of. Things like paying taxes only for things that apply to you for example, not considering the others. Aside from that, there are many aspects that I like.
One is Mike, the super computer, becoming conscious, aware. It’s the beginning of the book, I am not spoiling. That you can program it talking to it. That it tries to understand and make humour. An artificial intelligence not trying to destroy everything it encounters to take its revenge against mankind. How it learns throughout the book, and if it can develop feelings. Nothing new I concede, but an interesting take on it.
Another one is being a rational anarchist, like Prof. de la Paz, trying to live perfectly in an imperfect world. Humans are imperfect and that’s a good thing, I am completely fine following an asymptote. I am aware I am going to die before seeing any substantial improvement. But as long as I can add my stone on the road I am satisfied. These two words, put together, have helped me describe where I stand. Most of the people I talk with don’t try to understand, I even rarely mention it really, but it cuts the chase when I am asked.
The third one is self organisation. Compose small cells. Avoid centralisation. Keep communication direct. Strive for efficiency. Take self motivated people who believe in the cause. Be patient. So many rules I try to apply everyday at work and in my personal life. It’s so good to see them declined throughout the four hundred pages.
I could go on for pages, there are tons of interesting concepts. But you’ve got my point: Read it. And tell me what you think about it. Around a good bottle of vodka.