The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

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US hardcover, 1st edition.

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is a political science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. I was originally serialized in the magazine Worlds of If from December 1965 to April 1966, and then published as a novel in 1966.

I first become a fan of Heinlein from Stranger In a Strange Land, after that, I read Starship Troopers, which was decent, and The Door Into Summer, which was awful. A friend suggested The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress as being one of his best, so I decided to give it a go.



  • I like the amalgam of cultures.
  • It's interesting to hear about the various marriage systems put in place to handle a population that's only 1/10th female.


  • For the most part, I was bored for most of the book. The Lunar rebellion always seemed several steps ahead of the warden and the Earth, so it never really seemed like there was a threat. It was more just waiting for them to be victorious.
  • The likelihood that Mike would become the first sentient AI without any notice from scientists or researchers seems especially slim. Why was Mike equipped so well when he was just supposed to run the catapult on the moon? Shouldn't the Earth computers have been far more impressive?
  • I like that women are in control, but they still seem to be delegated to all the menial tasks.


  • The book appears to be just a vehicle for Heinlein's anarchist approach to government. However, much like in Starship Troopers, he constantly touts the benefits of his ideals without giving any evidence for how they are superior.
  • The idea that the Earth having the technology to build interplanetary spaceships, but not having a way to deal with incoming rocks, is unbelievable.