The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein

Why I Read It: Killing time at the library and I remembered that my knitting buddy said he ‘adores Heinlein’.

Where I Got:  Library

Who I Recommend This To: Those into scifi-rebellion stories

Narrator: Lloyd James

Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks (1999)

Length: 12 CDs

Manuel O’Kelly is our hero, with his fancy cyberarms and Russian accent. Set in a colonized Moon future, where that vast natural satellite has been used as a penal colony for generations. Manuel lives in a time where not all Loonies are convicts serving time, but rather a mix of folks bred and born there and new, incoming penalists. Due to physiological changes brought upon by the difference in gravity, visitors can only stay for a short time before they become residents. And the vast majority of residents live to serve Mother Earth with their hard work and natural carbons, which are sent to Earth in the form of grain crops. Robert Heinlein wrote a brilliantly intricate society with polygamous, complex marriages, mixed ethnicities, future, low-gravity tech, and rebellion.

Manuel is a computer tech repair guy. An excellent one. And he has a secret buddy, Mike, the city’s main computer. Mike was born to consciousness shortly before the opening of this book and he and Manuel have had enough time to become friends. Mike likes jokes and he usually, but not always, runs them past Manuel for ‘funniness’. This added some much needed humor to an otherwise serious book.

Pretty soon, Manuel and Mike are sucked into the burgeoning rebellion – independence from Earth. Wyoming Knott and the Professor Bernado de la Paz are central figures in this rebellion. The four of them plot and with Mike’s great resources, instigate a highly organized and informed rebellion. Then there is the aftermath to deal with (which takes up most of the 2nd half of the book).

This was my first book listening to Lloyd James and I was mightily impressed. He has placed himself up there in My Top 5 Fave Narrators by his performance. Most of the book is told in Manuel’s voice, in a Russian accent, which James pulled off without a flaw! Then the various other accents (such as de la Paz) and Mike’s aging voice. In short, he was excellent and highly entertaining.

What I Liked: The future tech; complex marriages; Manuel O’Kelly; the negotiations with Earth.

What I Disliked: the ladies are still mainly cast in the Romantic Interest role.

4 thoughts on “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein”

  1. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of my favorite Heinleins. The romance between Manny and Wyo is absolutely adorable, even if she isn’t much more than a romantic interest character. Manny is a great character, and Mike is just, well, Mike. and I always cry at the end.

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