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[Comments] (5) The Moon is a Harsh Mistress: I guess when you're a kid in a small town and you want good science fiction and there's no Internet, you're supposed to befriend an adult who knows about science fiction, and borrow it from them or get it via inter-library loan. But I didn't know of any such adults, or even about inter-library loan until it was almost too late, so when I was a kid there was not much science fiction for me to read.

There was an anemic selection of young adult science fiction at the middle school library. This selection was much bigger than it needed to be because only three of its books were worth reading: two whose titles I don't remember, and Robert Heinlein's classic juvenile novel Have Space Suit Will Travel. Man, that was a great book. So I started out very well-disposed towards Heinlein.

The Arvin library had about two bookshelves worth of science fiction, plus some in the paperback racks. It was mostly mediocre Star Trek novels, and now that I think about it, the remainder was also pretty mediocre, but I read it. I read some of Heinlein's later stuff like The Number of the Beast, which even at that age I could tell was lousy despite the gratuitous sex scenes added to throw me off the track.

My dad had a copy of Stranger in a Strange Land which I also read and found to be very boring. I later learned that it was a classic, so I read it again a couple years ago and found it to be very boring again. I realize this makes me an iconoclast. So I figured Heinlein's adult writing was a bust.

But for some reason (probably extreme low cost), I recently decided to buy a cheap copy of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I just read it and dang if that wasn't great. Good plot, funny humor, MacLeod-esque in its sardonic political one-liners. The computer science was abysmal but I didn't mind. I did mind the political hay made of the contigent fact that the computer science was so abysmal, but I say go with the flow. I think apart from Lem (who will probably forever be a special case) this is the earliest-published science fiction I've read that I didn't have to judge by the lowered set of expectations I usually use for old science fiction. Well, 1984 qualifies as well.

Also, while doing research for this entry I discovered Frank Key, who is kind of what you'd get if Olaf Stapledon wrote Fafblog.

The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide: Sorry to shout, old chap, but the author of The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide (which I am currently reading) spells LEGO in uppercase throughout the whole book. He also always says "LEGO pieces" or "LEGO elements" or "LEGO bricks" instead of "LEGOs", just like LEGO Corp's anti-trademark-dilution guide says you should. I guess you have to do that if you're writing a whole book but it looks weird. Anyway, I thought I'd ELOG these facts for you to OGLE.

Apart from this (which looks to happen less frequently in later chapters as it slowly sinks into the reader's head just what brand of click-bricks we're talking about here), the book is great. It's the book I always wanted to write, just as OOP from Microserfs was the computer program I always wanted to write (now we have LDraw).

There's also a sentence in the book which I wanted to share with you because it seemed tautological and funny, though I guess you can parse it to be non-tautological:

Although only a few elements fall into the standard cylinder or cone categories, what they lack in number they make up for in uniqueness.


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