The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
Cover of the first edition
|June 2, 1966|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
|Pages||382 (1997 |
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is a 1966
Originally serialized in
At the time of the story, 2075, the
HOLMES IV ("High-Optional, Logical, Multi-Evaluating Supervisor, Mark IV") is the Lunar Authority's master computer, having almost total control of Luna's machinery on the grounds that a single computer is cheaper than (though not as safe as) multiple independent systems.
The story is narrated by Manuel Garcia "Mannie" O'Kelly-Davis, a computer technician who discovers that HOLMES IV has achieved
At the beginning of the story, Mannie, at Mike's request, places a recorder in an anti-Authority meeting. When the authorities raid the gathering, Mannie flees with Wyoming ("Wyoh") Knott, a political agitator, whom he introduces to Mike and with whom he meets his former teacher, the elderly Professor Bernardo de la Paz, who claims that Luna must stop exporting
Mannie, Wyoh, and de la Paz thereafter form
Mike impersonates the Warden in messages to Earth, to give the revolutionaries time to organize their work. Meanwhile, the Professor sets up an "Ad-Hoc Congress" to distract dissenters. When Earth finally learns the truth, Luna declares its independence on July 4, 2076, the 300th anniversary of the
Mannie and the Professor go to Earth to plead Luna's case, where they are received in
Public opinion on Earth has become fragmented, while on Luna, the news of Mannie's arrest and the attempt to bribe him with the appointment of himself as Warden have unified the normally fractious Loonies. An election is held in which Mannie, Wyoh, and the Professor are elected (possibly by the intervention of Mike).
(The title is an acronym for "
The Federated Nations on Earth send armies to destroy the Lunar revolution, but these are vanquished, with great loss of life, by the revolutionaries. The rumor is circulated that Mike's alter ego Adam Selene was among those killed, thus removing the need for him to appear in the flesh.
A second attack destroys Mike's original catapult, but the Loonies have built a secondary, smaller one in a secret location, and with Mannie acting as its on-site commander, the Loonies continue to attack Earth until it concedes Luna's independence. Professor Bernardo de la Paz, as leader of the nation, proclaims victory to the gathered crowds, but collapses and dies. Mannie takes control, but Wyoh and he eventually withdraw from politics altogether, and find that the new government falls short of their expectations.
When Mannie tries to speak to Mike afterwards, he finds out that the computer has lost its self-awareness and its human-like qualities.