New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1966. First edition, sixth printing. Hardcover. This is the first edition, sixth printing of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, signed by both Robert A. Heinlein and his wife, Virginia. Both signatures are inked in black on the title page, “Robert A. Heinlein” directly above his printed name at the upper right of the page, “Virginia Heinlein” in the same ink at the lower left of the page.
This sixth printing is virtually identical to the first. “Sixth Impression” is noted on the title page verso with no further print history. The dust jacket differs only in a later issue price of “$6.95” replacing the first printing’s “$5.95” at the upper front flap. Condition is impressive, both book and jacket near fine. The blue cloth binding is square, clean, bright, and tight with sharp corners. The only trivial hints of wear worth noting are a bit of wrinkling and shelf wear to the lower spine. The contents are notably crisp and clean. We find no spotting, no soiling, and no previous ownership marks. Minor age-toning to the otherwise clean page edges is the only testimony to age. The book feels unread. The dust jacket remains bright, clean, and complete, with trivial wear to the spine ends and corners. The jacket is protected beneath a removable, archival quality clear cover.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress became the fourth and final of Heinlein’s novels to win a Hugo Award (following 1956’s Double Star, 1959’s Starship Troopers, and 1961’s Stranger in a Strange Land). Moon capped Heinlein's most remarkable and acclaimed decade as a speculative fiction writer and arguably shows him at the height of his creative and intellectual powers. Moon is a tale of social, political, and technological revolution in the form of rebellion of a former penal colony on the Moon. As with many of Heinlein’s more developed novels, it is a compelling story deftly positing alternative conventions, both social and technological. Strong female characters, novel forms of family structure, and a sentient supercomputer secretly at the heart of the revolt helped make the story provocative in 1966 and keep it relevant today. Moon is also credited with popularizing the phrase “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” (TANSTAAFL) used to colloquialize the concept of opportunity cost.
Robert Anson Heinlein (1907-1988) was one of the “Big Three” of American science fiction writers, along with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. A prolific writer with a career spanning half a century, Heinlein published more than 30 novels, along with numerous short stories and collections. Heinlein was lauded not just for individual stories, but also for weaving a coherent and often thought-provoking speculative future; Heinlein’s “Future History” series was nominated for a Best All-Time Series Hugo Award in a very strong field in 1966, losing (along with fellow nominee The Lord of the Rings) to Asimov’s Foundation series.
Fittingly, Heinlein’s name accompanies his imagination into space; an asteroid and a crater on Mars are named after him. Robert Heinlein’s wife, Virginia “Ginny” Heinlein (1916-2003), was a chemist, biochemist, and engineer who inspired many of the strong, red-haired female characters in his novels. She met Robert during the Second World War when they both worked at the Naval Experimental Station in Philadelphia, she serving in the WAVES. They relocated to Los Angeles after WWII and married in 1948, remaining married until Robert’s death in 1988, after which she edited collections of his correspondence and writings and authorized longer editions of several of his works. Item #004384