The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress By Robert A. Heinlein

” The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress ” is a science fiction novel originally published in the 1960’s , written by the legendary author Robert A. Heinlein .

In the future , the Luna is a penal colony built underneath the moon , being ran by the united government of Earth . The story is told from the point of view of a computer technician called Mannie . A small group of the colonist join together to start a rebellion against the Warden after one of their meetings get violently interrupted by the prison guards . With help from a self aware computer named HOLMES IV , the small group grows and plans the overthrow of the penal government but certain events force them to act before their ideal time . They have success but now have to deal establishing a stable government on the moon while having to prepare for potential war with Earth . Will this new society survive or will they fall underneath the pressure from the Earth’s power ?

First off , this novel is great old school science fiction . It keeps a good pace throughout once you get used to the style of speech . This novel is heavily political and normally I’d say that takes points off but this novel does it in a smart way . By telling the story from the point of a view from a character that doesn’t care much about politics and having a clear focus on his friendship with the computer ( whom treats the situation like a game ) , it keeps the story from becoming a political essay .

Favorite quote : ” Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve . Nor is this a source of dismay; a lost cause can be as spiritually satisfying as a victory . “

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

” The Manchurian Candidate ” is a political thriller written by Richard Condon , published in 1959 .

Sergeant Raymond Shaw and the rest of his platoon are captured during the Korean War . They are taken to Manchuria where they get worked over and brainwashed by communist scientist . The scientist put on a demonstration of their brainwashing abilities by having Shaw kill two of his fellow soldiers in front of Chinese and Soviet officials . They then proceed to brainwash Shaw and his group, telling them that they were ambushed by Chinese soldiers but Shaw heroically took out every single one of the people who had attacked them . This leads to Raymond Shaw winning the medal of honor . Now the communist have a brainwashed sleeper agent going around with a medal of honor , what evil deeds do they have planned ?

This novel feels like a time capsule of the 1950’s in America . Dealing with issues such as the Korean War , the threat of political assassination , Joseph McCarthy , the red scare , etc . It benefits you if you have some knowledge of the era but it gives you enough knowledge inside so you don’t get lost . One hell of a thriller , I can see why it made such a big impact back in the day . Would not recommend it to everyone though , most of the characters throughout the novel are evil people and there is some fairly taboo stuff in there dealing with incest , but if that doesn’t affect you then by all means check it out .

The Damnation Game by Clive Barker

” The Damnation Game ” is a horror novel by Clive Barker originally published in the 1980’s .

A gambling addict ( Marty Strauss ) is freed from prison in order to become the personal bodyguard of a wealthy man named Joseph Whitehead . Not all is at it seems however , weird things are happening to Whitehead’s heroin addict daughter ( Carys ) , and Whitehead is in constant fear of a man named Mamoulian . They apparently had made a deal together back in World War Two and Mamoulian wants Joseph to pay up . Mamoulian does various things to haunt Joseph such as raising the dead and entering Carys mind . During all of this , Marty falls in love with Carys and becomes determined to save her during this damnation game !

This is a great novel and reading this again was a treat . It’s a Faust-like tale mixed with Clive Barker’s distinctive blend of fantasy and body horror . Now saying that , this novel is not for the squeamish . It’s brutal and downright depressing but the prose is fantastic . Check it out , if you dare !

The Strange Island of Dr. Nork by Robert Bloch

” The Strange Island of Dr. Nork ” is a science fiction short story by Robert Bloch , originally published by ” Weird Tales ” magazine .

This story starts off with our narrator , a reporter , gets sent to an island and to learn about the mysterious Dr. Nork and what experiments he is performing there . The first thing he finds on the island is a bottle with a note in it stating ” To whom it may concern : Dr. Nork is a mean , nasty old thing , so there ! ” and the second thing he encounters is a talking ape ! Enjoy this tale of a mad scientist , zombies , and … comic books ?

This story is actually a parody of a story by H.G. Wells called ” The Island of Doctor Moreau ” and it is honestly one of the funniest things I have ever read . It knows how to play with expectations and subvert stock characters . The humor in the tale surprised me because the only other Robert Bloch story I’ve read to this point is ” Psycho ” which is a totally different type of story . It’s fun and creative , if you can find it then read it .

Twilight Eyes by Dean Koontz

Twilight Eyes is a suspense horror novel written by Dean Koontz , published in the 1980’s .

This novel starts off the same year as the Kennedy assassination . The main character is a 17 year old runaway named Carl Stanfeuss (but since he goes by the name Slim Mackenzie most of the novel we’ll just go with Slim ) . Slim has a special ability , he can see the future to an extent and he can see through some people and see goblins . These goblins are creatures of pure evil intent who feed off the suffering of us humans and Slim has made it his mission to kill any of them he can . Slim joins up with a traveling carnival to get some money and sanctuary . He works under the cold but beautiful Rya and begins to fall in love with her almost immediately . Things get intense though as he has visions that something bad is going to happen at the carnival . Get ready for a tale involving sabotage , carnys , goblins , psychics , betrayal , and that is just the first part !

This book was recommended to me by a friend of mine and I can’t thank them enough . It reminds me a lot of another book of his called ” The Funhouse ” , at least aesthetically , which was also pretty good . The time frame , the traveling carnival , cool side characters , a strong protagonist , a revenge plot , and a romance in a horror story that I can actually buy , all combine together to make one hell of a good read . Get it people !

Who Goes There ? by John W. Campbell , Jr.

” Who Goes There ? ” is a science fiction horror story written by John W. Campbell , Jr ( as Don A Stuart ) , originally published in the 1930’s .

A crew of scientist are on an outpost in Antarctica . They find an alien creature and it’s ship frozen in ice . Naturally curious , they strive to thaw out both . The ship is destroyed by accident but the creature survives and starts attacking the outpost dogs . The creature is electrocuted to death but the scientist discover something that instantly frightens them . The creature was turning into one of the dogs and one of the scientist admits to dreaming about the creature . In the dreams , the creature can not only change itself into any creature it ingests but it can also read minds and project it’s thoughts into others . Come read a tale of paranoia , murder , and survival .

This is a short story but it has a huge punch inside . It is one of the best uses of paranoia in a story that I’ve ever read . If the story sounds close to the John Carpenter movie ” The Thing ” , that’s because the movie is based on this story . I would recommend this story especially to people who enjoyed that movie as well as fans of old school science fiction in general .

Magic by William Goldman

Magic by William Goldman is a psychological thriller that was originally published in the 1970’s .

Corky is a successful magician but he is not yet ready to take the next big step . He goes back to his childhood city one day without telling his manager where he is going and why he is . He rents a house by a lake from an old crush of his . He spends his time trying to reconnect with her , reminiscing about his family life there , and talking to his ventriloquist dummy . You know , normal stuff . Can you imagine things start going wrong ?

I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll just say this . This is a great thriller , it keeps you guessing , keeps a sense of humor , with a sense of dread throughout . Read it folks !