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June 25 2008

Tim Minear's "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" Script. Tim's unproduced movie adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein's 1966 science fiction novel in .PDF format.

[ edited by zeitgeist -slight edit at Tim's request- on 2008-06-25 21:26 ]

Take that, mysterious B3-goer who wouldn't put it online! Heh.
Um, that would be Robert Heinlein's 1966 novel.
Good stuff...if only it could be made
I knew you'd be happy to see it b!X.
Thanks for catching the typo, oregon.

I asked Tim about some of the similarities to Firefly-such as the political dominance of North America & China. He said that there were several similarities between the world of Luna and the Firefly 'Verse- and that's why he thinks that he got the job doing the book adaptation.

I also am left wishing that this was something that would have been made. The script was a joy to read and full of Tim's great humor. I hadn't read this particular Heinlein book- but will definitely pick it up now.
Oh! Very cool! I've always been curious about his treatment of the book (which is one of my absolute favorites).
Oh, I must read this. I always imagined that the audience reaction to a The Moon is a Harsh Mistress movie would be "But when does the computer try to kill everybody?"
If someone from the SoCal Browncoats is reading this, please drop me an email at the address listed in my profile. Tim has a request for you.
I have emailed and been properly beaten for my transgression. Or happily complied with Tim's request.

Take your pick. :)
You've always loved a good beating as I recall, danregal ;) Wait... I don't and can't know that.
It's very reminiscent of his Buffy season 4 work. My wife is waiting with trepidation as she's a Heinlein scholar. So I shall try and get her to post her thoughts about it.
I'd love to hear her thoughts, Simon. I bet she will be excited to see this at last.

Since I haven't read this particular RAH book yet- I don't know which humor comes from Tim and which from Heinlein himself.

Either way- it had me laughing when I should have been working!

[ edited by MikeTMC on 2008-06-25 22:10 ]
Have you read the Heinlein book that Spider Robinson co-wrote? There's some classic Heinlein material to be had but some of the modern pop culture references jar horribly.
Cool. And totally guilt free too since Mr Tim Minear esq. actually wants us to read it.
Finally! I've been waiting a long time to read this. I loved the book, and as Tim is an excellent screenwriter (especially of genre) I was really looking forward to his adaptation. It's really a travesty that this won't get made. Heinlein deserves a good movie in his name.

Hmm... hope they don't notice that I printed this on the office printers. Hey, at least I did it double-sided, two to a page!
Umm, Simon, what Buffy season 4 work would that be? *wink*
I assume that the script being posted is very bad news. Is there no hope that it won't be made in a few years time, if other people get interested in it?

As a Tim-Minear-aside, I'm honestly completely distraught that Wonderfalls and The Inside were cancelled so early. 13 episode runs are fine if you know in advance that's all you have... at least Wonderfalls had something of a conclusion. Like many people, I'm still dying for The Inside to come out on DVD (I followed the recent news about another fan campaign, hopefully it'll bear some fruit this time). Now that Joss Whedon's involved with Fox again, could he maybe put in a good word?
I think this may break our no self linking policy so this entry quite possibly could disappear shortly.
What about Drive? Now we'll never know the mysteries behind the race, let alone who wins and how. :-(
I know people were waiting with baited breath on the judgement of Simon. But I stubbed my toe just there now and pain rather than rules become foremost in my mind. It can stay (the post not the pain) but I would remind people that if you have any doubts about whether your link may possibly infringe on our rules, drop us an email. We're really cheap approachable. Also we don't want our rival site to get the scoop on us.

What about Drive? Now we'll never know the mysteries behind the race, let alone who wins and how. :-(

Did you read the scripts at Some stuff got revealed from what I remember people saying. Not everything mind.
This is almost the coolest thing that has ever been made.
I've been waiting for this ever since Tim generously let it get Flanbéed - what, almost two years ago? (Thanks to the proud possessor for finally letting it out of the bag...)

I'm reading this when I'm supposed to be designing an ugly ad for Women's Wear Daily, which on a scale from none to lots doesn't even register as fun. This is just one of the many things that reading is good for.

*loves this book, and Tim's writing - is happy.*

Shhhh, all y'all, I'm reading... and many thanks for this, everyone involved.
Does Tim want this to be read?
Yep. Otherwise I'm sure it would be gone from here and the SoCal site.
Eh, nevermind. There's a funny story here but apparently I should not tell it.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-06-26 00:15 ]
Simon - can the post be edited to a different username? Any one of here would volunteer, I think, so we could keep the post and the comments. Cuz if you delete it for self-posting, I'll post it myself anyway :)

Note to above - so far the humor is mostly Heinlein's, with some Tim additions and some twists on the original.
As far as I know, not, CAB. But I believe judgment has been rendered, and the post stays. I should probably read the thing now, just to see if it really does match up to TM's Season 4 work. On whatever that show was called. ;-)
Excellent! I just won a Sony e-book reader and one of the few non-Sony things I can put on it to read are pdfs. Perhaps I will save it to read on the way to San Diego in a month.
Can I wait that long?
Nah! read it now, read it now! I had to take a break from it and do some actual paying work (I know - annoying, huh?) but I'm back at it again.

Oh, g'won, read it, read it! I'll send you other pdfs to read on the trip.

(The first one's free...)
Interesting... not as good as the book, but what would be? I had to object to the jab at the French near the end, though.
...My wife is waiting with trepidation as she's a Heinlein scholar. So I shall try and get her to post her thoughts about it.

Well, I am not sure I would call myself a 'scholar' but I have extensively read his work, and have every book he ever wrote in several different editions! Including Firsts!

That said...I've only had a chance to read the first couple of pages and honestly? I'm not impressed. No where in the book does Manny have a fight while out in space. No where in the book does RAH talk about the beginning of man.

RAH doesn't need embellishment. I don't think *any* of his books would make good movies. He was more than a scifi writer, he was, in some aspects, a philosopher. I enjoyed the movie Starship Troopers, but, even with dialogue directly lifted, it was *not* RAH's story of the same name.
Well, regardless, I think it's safe to say that we miss Tim's work.
I also miss Tim's work, but I've NEVER liked any adaptation of RAH's work. Starship Troopers was an OK movie, but bore very little resemblance to the book (even though much of the dialogue was lifted, the tone and philosophy was very different) and Puppet Masters was a disappointment. (but could have been worse).
No where in the book does Manny have a fight while out in space. No where in the book does RAH talk about the beginning of man.

This got to me too. I understand that adaptations don't and can't follow the book word for word, but this was unnecessary.

This is the danger all writers face when mucking around with classic stories by legendary authors. Sometimes it's better to leave well enough alone.
I liked it.

It wasn't the original. It couldn't have been, not in a 2-hour movie.

That said, I would prefer to see this done in a maxi-series format, like 6 hour episodes or something, to really get the layers Heinlein loaded in. But for the format it's in, this wasn't bad at all, especially when you consider that some of the amazing things Mike could do in the original novel would sound dated now. The changes and altered motivations didn't bother me and I could see why he made the choices that he did.

And now I'm going to go reread the book. Again.
Here's a older IGN article in which Tim discusses the adaptation (and that it's actually a second do-over script)

2005 Tim interview
This got to me too. I understand that adaptations don't and can't follow the book word for word, but this was unnecessary.

I've only gone through the first twenty pages, but I can see why Minear did this. Basically, page 7 of the script matches page 1 of the book, and the story is unchanged for the next dozen script pages. The first six pages are to set the environment for the movie audience. As much as I love reading RAH, the movie audience would be lost without some kind of introduction. And the exposition of the lunar history (penal colony/economics) would kill the movie momentum if it was done later (as it was in the book).

And I think Tim is being a clever SOB with the cavemen tossing rocks at the moon. Sets up the audience for one of the main story payoffs much later.
Okay, I've read the whole thing now.

Its an excellent story. But it is *not* Robert Anson Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

There is no way it could be. So much of that book is more or less a recipe for how to run a revolution if you have a self aware computer to help you. Or even how to run one if you don't. And while RAH's theories on this make interesting reading, it would be a fairly boring movie.

But what really bothered me was the way Minear twisted some *major* plot points that didn't need to be twisted in order to make this a movie.

The biggest one, which leads to a *huge* continuity error, is TANSTAAFL as it relates to women. In the book, women are sacred. There are 2M men, only 1M women on RAH's Luna. So women get to call all the shots. This is seen in Stuart's introduction to the Revolution. It is contradicted earlier in the script when Warden is humiliated by his wife's infidelity. According to Heinlein, he'd have no say in the matter. So not only did Minear dismiss one of the major points of RAH's story, he contradicted himself over it.

I could go on and on. And I might in my blog later. Suffice it to say that this RAH 'scholar' (to quote my husband) is not impressed. And is hoping that the reason it will never be a movie is because RAH's estate wasn't impressed either. But she doubts that's the reason after Starship Troopers. Of which they are making third one. ::shudder::
So I finally read it all. And bog damn it, I wish I could see this thing made. The script alone was compulsively readable, and did an amazing job at capturing the story and boiling it down to a two hour movie. I think the only area that really suffered was Stuart, all his character development happened off-camera, so his change was a bit surprising.

My Dad's favorite author is Heinlein, so I handed him the script to check out, and so far he is really loving it too.

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