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The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Posted by Lauren on October 24, 2001

In Reply to: The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress posted by R. Berg on July 04, 2001

: : : : : : This tilte is both a book: The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein and a song: music and lyrics: Jimmy Webb (1974; White Oak Songs/ASCAP). Does anyone know the origin of the title?

: : : : : Heinlein seems to have invented it. I couldn't find any older reference. Anybody else?

: : : : I'll check my references. But I think that's a really looney title.

: : : Would that be a LUNAR title? Heinlein's novel takes place on the moon, a difficult place to live. One can call the moon a harsh mistress in the same way that a sailor might say the sea is a harsh mistress. Mistress instead of master because the moon is traditionally classified as feminine.

: : Looney, lunar. Yes, that's what I was going for. I haven't found the phrase so far. But I am wondering if it doesn't reference the effect the moon has on the affairs of man -- as in Moonstruck.

: My husband's read the book, I haven't. He thinks the title refers to the rough environment of the lunar colony.

: There was once a science fiction magazine called Harsh Mistress, so titled as a tribute to Heinlein. Its editors changed the name because they were getting too many inquiries about dominatrixes and such.

There is a line in the book that says "Luna is a stern school mistress"

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