Monday, September 13, 2010

The Hugos: The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress

I took a pretty long break from Hugo-winning novel reviews, but like a dog with a bone or a Holmes IV neuristic computer with self-awareness I've returned to my obsession and I'm sharin' it with you!

So, first off, I like Robert Heinlein's books a lot. The 1967 Hugo award winner 'The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress' is no exception.  Therefore, if you want me to tell you it's a flawed depiction of revolution from the mind of a kooky patriot who glorified war and despised all governments just a smidgen, then, I won't.  It is really very thoroughly enjoyable and amazing.  

You can keep handing your Vernor Vinge with his big concepts and his awful, listless characters these Hugos, but I'll never quite believe he isn't sleeping with someone on the committee.  Or maybe offering to NOT sleep with them.  One of those things.

Because I LOVE Heinlein's characters!  Yes, they expound a lot and they're stock characters (here we have Manny the Comptent Man, Professor Bernardo the Wise Old Mentor, Wyoming the Gorgeous Woman, and Mike the lovable young AI troublemaker who runs the joint (Mike is short for Mycroft Holmes; the HOLMES IV computer).  And they're very awesome.  

They live in the moon in 2076, a frontier colony descended primarily from convicts Australia-style.  The Loonies are troubled by increasingly greedy demands from Earth for more hydroponic foodstuffs that the moonfolk can ill afford to lose: Mike predicts cannibalism before the decade is out.  A plot to throw off the shackles of Good Ol' Earth's despotism is hatched, involving dropping BIG FRICKIN' ROCKS on those jerks with all their OXYGEN and their outdated COUPLE marriages!
 (Pictured here: Mr. Heinlein and Ginny the Gorgeous Redhead to whom he was married.  They're on the moon, but not involved in a polyamorous or mixed-race marriage like all those moonfolk.)

The Professor in particular has a lot to say on the subject of 'rational anarchism', a philosophy that a appears to boil down to doing whatever the heck you want and staying out of other people's Bid-ness.  If other people don't like it, DROP A FRICKIN' ROCK ON THEM.  Repeat as needed.

But nothing is ever that simple, as the phase made famous by this book implies: TANSTAAFL... 'There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch'.  True freedom and independence are not easily forthcoming and sacrifices must be made.

It's an action-filled, funny, and moving tale and I gave it 4 moon rocks out of 4.  Suck on that, Flowers For Algernon!

1 comment:

Bookmonkey said...

HEY! FLowers for Algernon sucks for no one! Although Heinlein did many fantastic things, did any of his stories get adapted into a film starring the guy who played Peter's Uncle Ben in the 2002 film Spider-man!

I Thought not.