The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (2)

NancyL

Member
Two things from first class:

1. Bog = God in Russian (BTW a popular expression is Bozhe Moy!! = My God!!) (My High School Russian keeps coming in handy.)

2. We're assuming that the world described in this book is our world. I don't think this is a true assumption. For one thing the Wet Firecracker War is described elsewhere in Heinlein's universe as a nuclear war which did not become an all-out-burn-everything conflict. But even leaving aside external references, we shouldn't assume we're in our own universe.
 

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
2. We're assuming that the world described in this book is our world.
It's a many-sided question!
When the novel was written, all (perhaps) of the departures from our world were still in the future, and thus were predictions, not historical departures.

So maybe the world described in the book was Heinlein's world, but not our world? Do we need to imagine ourselves in 1966 in order to read the book properly? Remember, we hadn't even landed on the moon when this book was published, and everyone was truly and deeply scared of the imminent and total destruction of a nuclear war between Russia and the US. The "wet firecracker war" was a comforting notion at the time, believe it or not: it was almost a best-case scenario.

OTOH, the moon as a penal colony is implicitly based on the English penal colony of Australia, but that's never mentioned in the book, and you'd think it would be -- at least as an edifying example -- because apparently Australia's independence ultimately failed (they escape back to the moon from "the Chinee half of Australia") but that could be a projection, too. Feels more like a historical change, though: a world where the lunar penal colony was the first time this had been tried...

In any case, our world or not doesn't seem to actually matter too much. What would change in your reading of it if you were forced to accept one or the other?
 

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
Google tells me:
Stilyagi was a youth counterculture movement based in the Soviet Union from the 1940s to the 1960s, with its main identification being the bright and eye-catching clothing that the Stilyagi wore. The literal translation of the word can be interpreted as 'stylish', or 'style hunters'.

I think in the book the Stilyagi were exclusively unmarried young men.
 

NancyL

Member
Jim, great point. I raised the issue because the Professor is generally quite strict about basing his observations only on what we are told in the book, but he leapt to the idea that the "Wet Firecracker War" was the Cold war and that just isn't true --If you read further in the series it turns out he does a grand unified universe theory and Manny's Luna explicitly did not occur in our universe. In the end, no it doesn't really matter that much and when it was written it was a possible future for our world.

LEFT TURN: I just wanted to mention some facts about Russian vowel pronunciation:
A is always "short" as in father
E is either "short" as in feather or "long" as in tree (it should be obvious from the transliteration which is in use)
there is no I except as a diphthong (A + long E)
O (as in bog) is always "long" as in note
U is always "long" as in flute
 
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