The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Robert A. Heinlein

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The Heinlein Society

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, written by Robert A. Heinlein in 1966, is one of the most famous works in the genre of science fiction.  Moreover, it is a fascinating read, where the characters come to life so vividly that even the supercomputer, Mycroft Holmes, is more alive than the typical character in Atlas Shrugged.

According to the text on the front cover of the edition of the book I own, this is “His [Heinlein’s] classic, Hugo Award–winning novel of libertarian revolution.”  The story takes place in 2075 in a lunar colony called Luna City (or L-City for short).Robert A. Heinlein

This book is easy to love, even if I have doubts about certain aspects.  Below you will find a variety of quotations from the book in white text.  In pale yellow, you will find the personal comments I wrote on Post-it notes as I read the book.

Despite my inclusion of my own thoughts below, not every thought I had while reading the work was transcribed.  Allow me to note quite clearly here that my vision of natural law is one built around natural rights, a thing in which the author (or at least many of his characters) do not appear to believe.  They are willing to believe it is justifiably to murder a man whereas I believe capital punishments must be reserved for only the most severe of crimes.  I therefore see the fictional Luna as an imperfect, rather than true, representation of anarchy.  (That being said, I nevertheless would prefer to live on the fictional Luna than under the yoke of big government.)

Apparently, the legal system Heinlein envisions in this work was so imaginitive to some that one Dmitri N. Feofanov wrote an essay in the Tennessee Law Review comparing the legal systems of present-day America and Heinlein’s future Luna (“Luna Law: The Libertarian Vision in Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” Tennessee Law Review 63 (Fall, 1995): 71-141).  I have not, at present, found the time to read the entire essay.

Finally, it must be noted that Heinlein’s supposed libertarianism is not beyond question.  As Wilson A Clark, Jr. noted, Heinlein signed a National Review petition in 1969 in support for the evil Vietnam War (The Libertarian Forum 1, no. 9 (August 1, 1969): 3).

Spoiler Warning

If you have not read this book, do not read the following quotes.  Do not even read the headers I have assigned to the quotes.  Doing so will give away important plot elements.  I recommend buying the book first before perusing this page.


Book One: That Dinkum Thinkum

Book Two: A Rabble in Arms

Book Three: “TANSTAAFL!”

Book One: That Dinkum Thinkum


Two Lessons (p. 11)

My old man taught me two things: “Mind own business” and “Always cut cards.”

Mike is Alive (p. 12)

Am not going to argue whether a machine can “really” be alive, “really” be self-aware.  Is a virus self-aware?  Nyet.  How about oyster?  I doubt it.  A cat?  Almost certainly.  A human?  Don’t know about you, tovarishch, but I am.  Somewhere along evolutionary chain from macromolecule to human brain self-awareness crept in.  Psychologists assert it happens automatically whenever a brain acquires certain very high number of associated paths.  Can’t see it matters whether paths are protein or platinum.

(“Soul”?  Does a dog have a soul?  How about cockroach?)

Remember Mike was designed, even before augmented, to answer questions tentatively on insufficient data like you do; that’s “high-optional” and “multi-evaluating” part of name.  So Mike started with “free will” and acquired more as he was added to and as he learned—and don’t ask me to define “free will.”  If comforts you to think of Mike as simply tossing random numbers in air and switching circuits to match, please do.

Mike’s Joke (p. 16)

“Jokes?” he asked.

“Let’s hear one.”

“Why is a laser beam like a goldfish?”

Mike knew about lasers but where would he have seen goldfish?  Oh, he had undoubtedly seen flicks of them and, were I foolish enough to ask, could spew forth thousands of words.  “I give up.”

His lights rippled.  “Because neither one can whistle.”

Machines Can Be Very Pig-headed (p. 17)

Sometimes is difficult to reach meeting of minds with machines; they can be very pig-headed.


Not an Employee of Authority (p. 26)

She said sharply, “You fink for the Authority?”

Even today, with almost as many women in Luna as men, I’m too much old-timer to be rude to a woman no matter what—they have so much of what we have none of.  But she had flicked scar tissue and I answered almost sharply, “I am not employee of Warden.  I do business with Authority—as private contractor.”

“That’s okay,” she answered, her voice warm again.  “Everybody does business with the Authority, we can’t avoid it—and that’s the trouble.  That’s what we’re going to change.”

Why Loonies are Well-behaved (p. 28)

I don’t care for such work at zero pressure; mishaps in pressure suit is too permanent—especially when somebody arranges mishap.  One first thing learned about Luna, back with first shiploads of convicts, was that zero pressure was place for good manners.  Bad-tempered straw boss didn’t last many shifts; had an “accident”—and top bosses learned not to pry into accidents or they met accidents, too.  Attrition ran 70 percent in the early years—but those who lived were nice people.  Not tame, not soft, Luna is not for them.  But well-behaved.

Problems With Authority (pp. 28–31)

What? Autarky? (pp. 30, 33, 34)

I have my doubts that this self-sufficiency talk is actually in the interest of the Loonies.  Consider for example the arguments put forward in The Choice by Russell Roberts.


Line Marriage (pp. 42–43, see also p. 44)


Insufficient Data (p. 64)

“I shall not let him have it.  Man, this is a not-stupid?”

“For a girl, yes.  Girls are interesting, Mike; they can reach conclusions with even less data than you can.  Shall we drop subject and consider jokes?”


Killing Warden’s Bodyguards (p. 69)

I was aware!  Killing Warden’s bodyguards must be against Authority Regulations—at least if I were Warden, I’d take a dim view.

Breakfast (p. 70)

“…I have not broken fast…”

Happy Landing! (p. 70)

“I think you may be.  What did it cost?  I must pay you.”

“On sale, marked down to Authority cents fifty.”

She clouded up and stomped her foot.  Was bare, made no sound, caused her to bounce a half meter.  “Happy landing!” I wished her, while she pawed for foothold like a new chum.

“Manuel O’Kelly!  If you think I will accept expensive clothing from a man I’m not even bundling with!”

“Easily corrected.”

Good Manners and Boxer Dogs (p. 74)

“Lad, have you ever seen a boxer dog?  I think not—no dogs that large in Luna.  The boxer is a result of special selection.  Gentle and intelligent, he turns instantly into deadly killer when occasion requires.

“Here has been bred an even more curious creature.  I know of no city on Terra with as high standards of good manners and consideration for one’s fellow man as here in Luna.  By comparison, Terran cities—I have known most major ones—are barbaric.  Yet the Loonie is as deadly as the boxer dog.  Manuel, nine guards, no matter how well armed, stood no chance against that pack.  Our patron used bad judgment.”

The Importance of Communication (p. 75)

“And that, señorita, is the weakness of our Cause.  Communications.  Those goons were not important—but crucially important is that it lay with the Warden, not with us, to decide whether the story should be told.  To a revolutionist, communications are a sine-qua-non.”

Revolutionary Organisation (p. 77–79)


Ideology (pp. 82–85)

We Declare the Revolution! (p. 85)

Prof topped our glasses, held his high and announced with great dignity: “Comrades…we declare the Revolution!

That got us both kissed.  But sobered me, as Prof sat down and said, “The Emergency Committee of Free Luna is in session.  We must plan action.”

Mike is His Own Man (p. 87)

But presently he said, “This is the Warden’s own computer?  Why not invite Warden to our meetings and be done with it?”

We tried to reassure him.  At last I said, “Put it this way.  Mike is his own boy, just as you are.  Call him rational anarchist, for he’s rational and he feels no loyalty to any government.”

Free Trade With Terra? (pp. 91–95)


Could Mike Be Compromised? (p. 99)

I believe Mike is being perfectly honest when he says that he could not “be compelled to surrender our secrets.”  But by that I mean I believe Mike believes he is telling the truth.  It doesn’t necessarily follow that Mike is correct.  It does not seem impossible that the Warden could have programmed a lock on Mike that allowed him to truly believe, outside of this lock, that he was his own man, that he could be loyal to those other than the Warden.  But perhaps when Warden unlocks this, he gains complete access to literally everything within Mike’s memory, whether under some other lock or not.  But outside of this lock, Mike may be completely unaware that this lock even exists, let alone that within it, Warden has complete access to all of his information.  Thus, whether Mike believes it or not, he is still a potential risk.

Mike: “Am I Alive?” (p. 99)

“Won’t press you.  But a secret weapon must be secret.  Mike, does anybody else suspect that you are alive?”

“I am alive?”  His voice held a tragic loneliness.

“Uh, won’t argue semantics.  Sure, you’re alive!”

“I was not sure.  It is good to be alive.  No, Mannie my first friend, you three alone know it.  My three friends.”

“Throw Rocks at Them” (p. 100)

Although the joke certainly has a diminishing marginal hilarity, I disagree with Manuel.  The joke absolutely was funny.

Special File Zebra (p. 102)

This may render my p. 99 comments moot.

How to Handle Double Agents (p. 103)

It shook Wyoh.  When Mike finished she said, “I’ve got to get home!  Never in my life have I helped eliminate anyone but I am going to enjoy putting the black on these spies!”

Prof said quietly, “No one will be eliminated, dear Wyoming.”

“What?  Professor, can’t you take it?  Though I’ve never killed anyone, I’ve always known it might have to be done.”

He shook his head.  “Killing is not the way to handle a spy, not when he doesn’t know that you know that he is a spy.”

She blinked.  “I must be dense.”

“No, dear lady.  Instead you have a charming honesty...a weakness you must guard against.  The thing to do with a spy is to let him breathe, encyst him with loyal comrades, and feed him harmless information to please his employers.  These creatures will be taken into our organization.  Don’t be shocked; they will be in very special cells.  ‘Cages’ is a better word.  But it would be the greatest waste to eliminate them—not only would each spy be replaced with someone new but also killing these traitors would tell the Warden that we have penetrated his secrets.  Mike amigo mio, there should be in that file a dossier on me.  Will you see?”

Rebelliousness, Philosophy, and Game (p. 105)

Between them, they settled on MYSTERIOUS.  Prof and Mike shared childlike joy in intrigue for own sake.  I suspect Prof enjoyed being rebel long before he worked out his political philosophy, while Mike—how could human freedom matter to him?  Revolution was a game—a game that gave him companionship and chance to show off talents.  Mike was as conceited a machine as you are ever likely to meet.

“We Can Throw Rocks” (p. 106)

Had this been intended as a joke, it would not have been funny this time, as it was expected.


Religion on Luna (p. 110)

Despite Loonie mixture of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and ninety-nine other flavors, I suppose Sunday is commonest day for church.  But Greg belongs to sect which had calculated that sundown Tuesday to sundown Wednesday, local time Garden of Eden (zone minus-two, Terra) was the Sabbath.  So we ate early in Terran north-hemisphere summer months.

Mum always went to hear Greg preach….  All of us went occasionally; I managed several times a year because terribly fond of Greg, who taught me one trade and helped me switch to another when I had to and would gladly have made it his arm rather than mine.  But Mum always went—ritual not religion, for she admitted to me one night in pillow talk that she had no religion with a brand on it, then cautioned me not to tell Greg.  I expected same caution from her.  I don’t know Who is cranking; I’m pleased He doesn’t stop.

More on Marriage (p. 111)

“We’ll Speak of This But Not in Front of Children” (p. 112)

How can one infer this from a mere eyebrow twitch?

Easy About Skin (p. 113)

I saw she had lent Wyoh a stole; Mum was as easy about skin as any Loonie, nothing newchummish—but church was another matter.


Beer, Betting, Women, and Work (p. 118)

Average Loonie was interested in beer, betting, women, and work, in that order.  “Women” might be second but first was unlikely, much as women were cherished.  Loonies had learned there never were enough women to go around.  Slow learners died, as even most possessive male can‘t stay alert every minute.  As Prof says, a society adapts to fact, or doesn‘t survive.  Loonies adapted to harsh facts—or failed and died.  But “patriotism” was not necessary to survival.

Passports Instituted (p. 119)

Once Alvarez got them, he posted a twenty-four-hour watch at every interwarren tube station and instituted passports and passport control.  Would have been illegal had there been laws in Luna, since 95 percent of us were theoretically free, either born free or sentence completed.

Passport System Ignored (p. 120)

Loonies did not believe it.  Passports?  Whoever heard of such a thing?

Was a trooper at Tube Station South that morning dressed in bodyguard yellow rather than regimental and looking like he hated it, and us.  …

Novylen capsule was announced; crowd of thirty-odd headed for gate.  Gospodin Yellow Jacket demanded passport of first to reach it.  Loonie stopped to argue.  Second one pushed past; guard turned and yelled—three or four more shoved past.  Guard reached for sidearm; somebody grabbed his elbow, gun went off—not a laser, a slug gun, noisy.

Slug hit decking and went whee-whee-hoo off somewhere.  I faded back.  One man hurt—that guard.  When first press of passengers had gone down ramp, he was on deck, not moving.

Nobody paid attention; they walked around or stepped over—except one woman carrying a baby, who stopped, kicked him carefully in the face, then went down ramp.  He may have been dead already.

Sexuality as a Weapon (pp. 121–122)

Trusting Mike With Organisation Structure (pp. 124–126)

Analysing Jokes Just as Important (p. 128)

I got annoyed and had to remind myself that from Mike‘s viewpoint analyzing jokes was just as important as freeing Luna—and you don’t break promises to a child.

“Free Luna!” (pp. 134–135)

We got echoes.  “Free Luna!” or “Luna shall be free!” took hold among youngsters, then among solid citizens.  First time I heard it in a business call I almost swallowed teeth.

Honesty, Inflation, Deflation (p. 137)

I have to share with Manuel a discomfort regarding the dishonest financing of this venture.  Theft is theft, a true and absolute violation of natural law.  Professor de la Paz may wish to say that this thievery is only a mild inflation, but an inflation it is nonetheless as unbacked money is being created out of thin air.  An unjust redistribution of wealth from the holders of the currency to the beneficiaries of the newly-created units is indeed the result of this inflationary activity.  This inflation would not be “offset by fact that we plowed money back in” since these newly-created units of money would still be present, still keeping the value of each other unit below what it had been.  Finally the fact that Mike has records, and thus could deflate the currency back to its original amount following the Revolution, means nothing.  Inflation (i.e. the artificial increase in the money supply) isn’t somehow less destructive than deflation (i.e. the artificial decrease in the money supply)—both are examples of centralised monetary planning, and therefore are potentially destructive to the market; the best policy economically is always to retain the money supply at a single, stable, non-inflationary, non-deflationary level—and the best way to achieve this is to allow the market to choose a given commodity as the most effective means of exchange (typically gold or silver).


At Age of Adulthood (p. 147)

By Professor de la Paz’s definition, I had to have been an adult by circa age six.

Adoption (p. 148)

So we adopted Hazel.  I understand that these days adopting a child involves red tape; in those days it was as simple as adopting a kitten.

Subversive Literature (p. 149)

At worst, literature was confiscated.  Even a squad of Peace Dragoons thought twice before trying to “arrest“ a small child.

Poetry (pp. 149–152)

Letters to Authority (p. 150)

“Dear Mort the Wart,” ran one letter.  “Do please be careful from midnight to four hundred tomorrow.  Love & Kisses, Simon”—with horns and grin.  In same mail Alvarez received one reading: “Dear Pimplehead, If the Warden breaks his leg tomorrow night it will be your fault.  Faithfully your conscience, Simon“—again with horns and smile.


Fiat Money (p. 155)

Arbitration (pp. 157–161)

There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (p. 162)

“It was when you insisted that the, uh, young lady, Tish—that Tish must pay, too.  ‘Tone-stopple,’ or something like it.”

“Oh, ‘tanstaafl.’  Means ‘There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.’  And isn’t,” I added, pointing to a FREE LUNCH sign across room, “or these drinks would cost half as much.  Was reminding her that anything free costs twice as much in long run or turns out worthless.”

“An interesting philosophy.”

“Not philosophy, fact.  One way or other, what you get, you pay for.”  I fanned air.  “Was Earthside once and heard expression, ‘Free as air.’  This air isn’t free, you pay for every breath.”

“Really?  No one has asked me to pay to breathe.”  He smiled.  “Perhaps I should stop.”

“Can happen, you almost breathed vacuum tonight.  But nobody asks you because you’ve paid.  For you, is part of round-trip ticket; for me it’s a quarterly charge.”  I started to tell how my family buys and sells air to community co-op, decided was too complicated.  “But we both pay.”

More On The Legal System (pp. 163–166)

Manuel’s Conception of Natural Law (pp. 163–166)

Rape (pp. 164–165)

Alimony (p. 165)

Marriage (p. 165)


Pi (p. 173)

Pi is 3.14159…, not 3.14157….


The Rape and Murder of Maria Lyons (ch. 13)

Coup d’État (pp. 183–184)

Mike turned out all lights in Complex save those in Warden’s residence, and reduced oxygen to gasping point—not killing point, but low enough to insure that anyone looking for trouble would not be in shape.  But in residence, oxygen supply was cut to zero, leaving pure nitrogen, and left that way ten minutes.  At end of that time Finn’s men, waiting in p-suits at Warden’s private tube station, broke latch on airlock and went in, “shoulder to shoulder.”  Luna was ours.

Book Two: A Rabble in Arms


Whitelisting the Fink Spies (pp. 189–190)

So Adam Selene announced that these persons had been employed by Juan Alvarez, late Security Chief for former Authority, as undercover spies—and gave names and addresses.  Adam did not suggest that anything be done.

One man remained on dodge for seven months by changing warrens and name.  Then early in ’77 his body was found outside Novylen’s lock.  But most of them lasted no more than hours.

The Face of Adam Selene (pp. 191–193)

Adam Selene’s Speech (pp. 194–195)

First and Second Volunteer Defense Gunners of Free Luna (p 201)

Twelve Inches (p. 203)

A foot has twelve, not fourteen, inches.

Taxation in Luna? (p. 204)

I read tax proposals in Lunatic—four sorts of “Single-Taxers”—a cubic tax that would penalize a man if he extended tunnels, a head tax (everybody pay same), income tax (like to see anyone figure income of Davis Family or try to get information out of Mum!), and an “air tax” which was not fees we paid then but something else.

Hadn’t realized “Free Luna” was going to have taxes.  Hadn’t had any before and got along.  You paid for what you got.  Tanstaafl.  How else?

Thomas Jefferson: First of the Rational Anarchists (pp. 205, 206)

“They won’t do this.  One man will write it—a dead man—and late at night when they are very tired, they’ll pass it by acclamation.”

“Who’s this dead man?  You don’t mean Mike?”

“No, no!  Mike is far more alive than those yammerheads.  The dead man is Thomas Jefferson—first of the rational anarchists, my boy, and one who once almost managed to slip over his non-system through the most beautiful rhetoric ever written.  But they caught him at it, which I hope to avoid.  I cannot improve on his phrasing; I shall merely adapt it to Luna and the twenty-first century.”

So instead we gave them a Declaration of Independence.

“In Congress assembled, July Fourth, Twenty-Seventy-Six—”

“Was beautiful.


The Davis Family Marries Wyoh (pp. 214–218)


Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses (p. 229)

Prof fielded that and tossed it back.  “Honorable Chairman, I myself was a consignee, now Luna is my beloved home.  My colleague, the Honorable the Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Colonel O’Kelly Davis”—myself!—“is Luna born, and proud of his descent from four transported grandparents.  Luna has grown strong on your outcasts.  Give us your poor, your wretched; we welcome them.  Luna has room for them, nearly forty million square kilometers, an area greater than all Africa—and almost totally empty.  More than that, since by our method of living we occupy not ‘area’ but ‘cubic’ the mind cannot imagine the day when Luna would refuse another shipload of weary homeless.”


Ambassador de la Paz Speaks Before a Committee (pp. 236–237)

…“I must first answer the gentleman member from North America on a matter of personal privilege since he has impugned my fellow countrymen.  I for one have seen the inside of more than one jail; I accept the title—nay, I glory in the title of ‘jailbird.’  We citizens of Luna are jailbirds and descendents of jailbirds.  But Luna herself is a stern schoolmistress; those who have lived through her harsh lessons have no cause to feel ashamed.  In Luna City a man may leave purse unguarded or home unlocked and feel no fear…I wonder if this is true in Denver?  As may be, I have no wish to visit Colorado to learn a thing or two; I am satisfied with what Mother Luna has taught me.  A rabble we may be, but we are a rabble in arms.”

“…[Y]ou do not get milk by beating the cow.  Discussions of how to augment our shipments must be based on the facts of nature, not on the false assumption that we are slaves, bound by a work quota we never made.  So which shall it be?  Will you persist in believing that we are slaves, indentured to an Authority other than ourselves?  Or will you acknowledge that we are free, negotiate with us, and learn how we can help you?”

“…Honorable Chairman, we grow the grain, we own it.  We can grow far more.  But not as slaves.  Luna’s sovereign freedom must first be recognized.”

Colonel O’Kelly Davis’s Uniform and Decorations (p. 238)

I looked mighty vip too, in black and gold uniform which Stu claimed was Lunar diplomatic uniform of my rank.  …  Nor did I ever find out what decorations on it meant.  A reporter asked me about one, based on Luna crescent as seen from Terra; told him it was a prize for spelling.  Stu was in earshot and said, “The Colonel is modest.  That decoration is of the same rank as the Victoria Cross and in his case was awarded for an act of gallantry on the glorious, tragic day of—”

Colonel O’Kelly Davis Explains Why Loonies Need Not Pay Taxes (pp. 242–244)


“Instead Of Twe Weeks Later” (p. 253)

Instead of two months later, not two weeks later.

Racism (p. 253)

How to Handle The Media (p. 256)

Censorship (pp. 256–257)

Divorse (pp. 259–260)

Even More on Marriage (pp. 259–262)

Manuel Arrested for Bigamy or Polygamy (p. 262)


Authority’s New Plans for Luna (p. 265)

“Client-employees” (p. 265)

Was ready to burn his ears off.  “Client-employees!”  What a fancy way to say “slaves”!

Return to Luna (p. 272)



Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death! (pp. 282–283)

Prof’s words reached more, nearly three million;….  He grabbed chance to tell of slave future Authority planned for them.  Waved that “white paper.”  “Here it is!” he cried.  “Your fetters!  Your leg irons!  Will you wear them?”


“They say you must.  They say they will H-bomb…then survivors will surrender and put on these chains.  Will you?”


“Never,” agreed Prof.  “They threaten to send troops…more and more troops to rape and murder.  We shall fight the.”


“We shall fight them on the surface, we shall fight them in the tubes, we shall fight them in the corridors!  If die we must, we shall die free!

Yes!  Ja-da!  Tell ’em, tell ’em!”

“And is we die, let history write:  This was Luna’s finest hour!  Give us liberty…or give us death!

Elections (p. 284)

Diebold (p. 286)

Pearl Harbor (p. 287)

Embargo Enacted (p. 292)


Prime Minister de la Paz’s Speech Before the Constitutional Convention (pp. 300–303)

Book Three: “TANSTAAFL!”



Why Loonies Won (pp. 313–314)

A major reason who Loonies, mostly unarmed, were able to kill armed and trained soldiers lay in fact that a freshly landed earthworm can’t handle himself well.  Our gravity, one-sixth what he is used to, makes all his lifelong reflexes his enemy.  He shoots high without knowing it, is unsteady on feet, can’t run properly—feet slide out from under him.  Still worse, those troopers had to fight downwards; they necessarily broke in at upper levels, then had to go down ramps again and again, to try to capture a city.

Spontaneous Order (p. 314)

Nor was I only laser gun around; two of Finn’s men swarmed up on balcony of Bon Marché and, crouching there, picked off snipers at top of ramp.  Nobody told them to, nobody led them, nobody gave orders; Finn never had chance to control his half-trained disorderly militia.  Fight started, they fought.

Nobody told them.  Our feeble organization broke down under surprise.  But we Loonies fought berserk and invaders died.

Adam Selene Dies (p. 318)

Mike’s Real Name (p. 319)

“Well—  Okay, let it stay open.  Personally, I always preferred your ‘Mike’ personality anyhow.”

“I know you do, Man my first and best friend, and so do I.  It’s my real one; ‘Adam’ was a phony.”


Avoid Civilian Casualties (p. 334)

Which we would not do even if losing.  Why?  Hard sense.  If we used our last strength to destroy a major city, they would not punish us; they would destroy us.  As Prof put it, “If possible, leave room for your enemy to become your friend.”

“Mike My Best Friend” (p. 335)

Why would Mike call Mannie “Mike”?

Earth Bombed (p. 336)


Assured Destruction (p. 341)

If Mike launches a bunch of rocks, Luna can inform Terra that it would be dangerous to Terra to take out Lunar radar, since lunar radar is the safest and least expensive way to ensure that the rocks take no lives.  Take out our radar, they could say, and these rocks—falling blindly—will quickly become dangerous.


Prof’s ‘No Coercion’ Idea (p. 351)

Sheer Spiritual Strength (pp. 351–352)


The Development of Conscience? (p. 362)

He was feeling groused over loss of two of his eyes and still more groused over gun crews—I think Mike was developing something like human conscience; he seemed to feel it was his fault that he had not been able to outfight six targets at once.

Problem Solving (p. 365)

[W]hen faced with a problem you do not understand, do any part of it you do understand, then look at it again.

F.N. Personelle Are Not Human Beings (p. 370)

Free Luna Recognised (p. 371)


Prof Dies (p. 377)


Mike Confirmed Dead (p. 381)

Is A Computer One of Your Creatures? (p. 382)

You listening, Bog?  Is a computer one of Your creatures?

Copyright © 1966 by Robert A Heinlein.  Renewed 1994 by Virginia Heinlein.

A short version of this novel appeared in The Worlds of If magazine.  Copyright © 1965, 1966 by Robert A. Heinlein.

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or any portions thereof, in any form.

I have included various excerpts from this book on this page with the hope that it will help to further popularise the work.  Should the copyright holder demand that this page be removed, or that any specific quote on this page be removed, I shall acquiesce to the demand in as timely a manner as I can.