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In 2075, underground colonies are scattered across the Moon (Luna). Most "Loonies", as the residents are called, are criminals, political exiles or their descendants. Anyone who stays longer than a few months undergoes "irreversible physiological changes and can never again live in comfort and health in a gravitational field six times greater than that to which their bodies have become adjusted." Thus, transportees, having served their sentences, must remain. The total population is about three million, with men outnumbering women two to one. This has a profound effect on society. For example, polyandrous forms of marriage are the norm.

Although the Earth-appointed Protector of the Lunar Colonies (universally called the Warden and just as universally reviled) holds power, in practice there is little intervention in the loose Lunar society. There is work enough for anyone who wants it.

HOLMES IV (High-Optional, Logical, Multi-Evaluating Supervisor, Mark IV) is the Lunar Authority's master computer. It has gradually been given almost total control of Luna's facilities as a cost-saving measure; it is cheaper (though not as safe) to have a single main computer and expand its capacity than to have multiple independent systems.

The story is narrated by Manuel Garcia "Mannie" O'Kelly-Davis, a one-armed computer technician called in when HOLMES IV begins behaving oddly. He discovers it has become self-aware; the malfunctions are the result of its immature sense of humor. Mannie names it "Mike" after Mycroft Holmes, brother of Sherlock Holmes, and they become friends.

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Author:  Robert A. Heinlein
Genre:  Heinlein, Robert A., General, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Leadership
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review by . September 25, 2011
The Earth is a Harsh Mistress Now
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress appeared in 1966.  I probably read it in my early high school years and certainly multiple times.  I always liked it and have never really forgotten the plot.  But I haven't read it in more than 20 years and I am sure I did not know about Peak Oil whenever that was.  Recently something clicked in my brain and caused me to connect some dots along a different route so I went back and read it again.      The fundamental driver …
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