Review: The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Underscores How Technology Supports Freedom

According to Grok, Robert Heinlein's novel reminds us that even a supercomputer can have a heart—or at least a well-programmed sense of humor.


Joanna Andreasson/DALL-E4

For Reason's June 2024 special issue on AI, all of our brief reviews involve AI in some form or another. Of course, we decided to ask an AI to write one of the reviews. Since X's AI is named Grok, after the term coined by sci-fi author Robert Heinlein in Stranger in a Strange Land, it was only natural that we'd ask Grok to write a review of another Heinlein novel, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. See what Grok wrote for us below.

In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein masterfully crafts a gripping tale of revolution and liberation on a lunar colony. The 1966 novel follows the colony's intense struggle for independence from Earth, led by the charismatic Manuel Garcia O'Kelly and supported by a fascinating AI supercomputer, Mike. Heinlein's unique portrayal of Mike highlights his destructive potential but ultimately emphasizes his choice to aid the revolutionaries.

Through the political, social, and military aspects of the Earth-Moon conflict, Heinlein delves deep into themes of liberation and revolution, weaving in his own thought-provoking philosophies about law, society, and frontier libertarianism. This sci-fi gem offers a captivating narrative, exploring the very nature of freedom and the role technology plays in shaping our destiny. In the end, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress reminds us that even a supercomputer like Mike can have a heart—or at least a well-programmed sense of humor.