Study Guide

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Technology and Modernization

By Robert Heinlein

Technology and Modernization

Science fiction often depicts technology turning on humans, but this wasn't always the case. In the genre's golden age, technology and modernization were generally viewed as a beneficial force that would ultimately save humanity from itself. Yay technology. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress follows this rosy, golden view.

The super computer Mike, the hi-tech-honcho, allows individuals like Mannie and Prof to go toe-to-toe with larger-than-life government entities such as the Lunar Authority. Technology gives the everyman the power to do extraordinary things, so long as he uses that power for good, and not just for creating Internet memes.

Questions About Technology and Modernization

  1. How do you see technology being used by the characters? What does this tell us about technology's use in human society?
  2. Are there any moments when technology fails the Loonies? If yes, then how do the characters react and what does this say about this theme? If no, then what does that tell you about this theme?
  3. Mannie is obviously the most tech savvy of the bunch. Based on his character, what do you think the novel suggests the value of understanding technology is? Any detriments?

Chew on This

Mannie is the guy who wins the day for the Loonies, not because he's a warrior or a great speechmaker, but because he can use technology like a pro.

Technology not only makes life easier on Luna, it is essential to even being able to live on the Moon in the first place—although the same could be said for life on Earth if you're human.

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