Questions: The moon is a Harsh Mistress

Jon Markloff

New Member
Hello all, I have just finished reading (audio book version) the book and wanted to see what others thought of two thoughts I’ve had.
First, how much are we supposed to admire and agree with prof for his political machination, especially as the book progresses? I think particularly of the congress, which he creates to give others something to do, then circumvents to pass the declaration, and the diplomatic trip to earth where he intentionally antagonizes the representatives in order to be sure that they reject them outright. Are we like Manuel supposed to accept that he is smarter than everyone so everything he does is the best option? Is the fact that his ideas are not implemented because some others not under his control present a constitution and it is ratified despite his reluctance allow us an opening to criticize his policy?
The second question that I have I feel is connected, which is the strong identification to he American revolution. I feel safe saying that we are meant to identify between the two, due to the explicit dates uses, and many of the quotes repeated; often by prof himself. However I see little to allegorize as, beyond the dates, little resembles the real events or people. What connections do you think we should draw from the parallel suggested?

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
Robert Heinlein famously wrote that politics is the only game fit for adults, and was politically involved himself. I'm not sure how much the reader is "supposed to" admire and agree with prof, but I do think RAH used the character as a spokesman for his own beliefs (perhaps exaggerated for dramatic purposes).

[edit] In fact, it turns out that the phrase was never actually written by RAH. Instead, it was a misquote of Heinlein by Orson Scott Card in "Ender's Game", in a blog post by "Demothsenes", neatly tying this thread to the other one!

As far as the identification with the American revolution: yes, of course. Allegory? No.
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SPOILERS -- Fond as I am of Heinlein, by the end the entire revolution as we see it and as understood by Manny is essentially beside the point as Mike is the deus ex machina behind the REAL plan. That was a bit disappointing, but obvious in hindsight given Mike's abilities. I think Heinlein may well have thought so too since he basically kills Mike off at the end.


Well-Known Member
SPOILERS -- I kind of wondered about Mike's death. Prof mentioned something to Mannie about how they could never achieve their true goal so long as anyone was actually in charge, including Mike. Could Prof have convinced Mike that he needed to eliminate his personality for the good of the cause? Or failing at that, might he even have done something about it himself? I know there were other good reasons for sending Mannie and Wyoh away, as well as for turning over the catapult to a lesser computer, but still...