Robert Heinlein, Moon is a Harsh Mistress

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Moon is a Harsh Mistress is rightfully considered to be one of the classical examples of science fiction libertarian prose; even to an extent of being awarded a corresponding award and lending a motto TANSTAAFL (There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch) to the Libertarian Party of the USA.

Set in a not so distant future; it describes a peculiar society of the Luna, former penal colony on the Moon, built along the principles of free market, almost complete absence of law enforcement and a rather rudimentary control of the Moon administration. Heinlein gives a number of interesting thoughts on the theory of revolution as several of Moon residents decide to overthrow the Administration and oppressive limitations placed on the Moon residents by the Earth.

Although it is a science fiction, the people living on the Moon, a sentient computer, and all the rest along these lines simply creates the setting explaining how the society in question could have appeared and how it functions. The real attention is concentrated on political and economical aspects of a free society, and how unavoidably the government will all the same appear, like a kind of terminal disease, even after a revolution launched in order to eliminate it.

The style deserves to be mentioned separately. Imitating the language of the Moon’s melting pot that has taken something from every nation on Earth, Heinlein features English with greatly simplified grammar and syntax, where English words are densely interspersed with borrowings from Russian, Chinese, German, Japanese and a dozen of other languages. The effect of this is really amazing. The book is highly recommended to anyone interested in libertarianism and/or linguistics.

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