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The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress (novel)

Robert A. Heinlein

Last modified: 2019-02-10 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
Keywords: the moon is a harsh mistress | heinlein (robert a.) | luna |
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In the 1966 science fiction novel the moon has been settled as a penal colony, but by the 2070s most settlers are free yet they are still ruled by a tyrannical Lunar Authority which they overthrow, declaring independence as the 'Luna Free State'.
Roy Stilling, 16 November 1995

Luna Free state

[blackfield, red diagonal bar, canon, Letters TANSTAAFL]
image by Roy Stilling and Eugene Ipavec, 26 August 2006

The LFS flag is described as (NEL paperback edition, p287):

black field speckled with stars, bar sinister in blood [red], a proud and jaunty brass cannon over all, and below it our motto: TANSTAAFL!

The meaning of the black field and stars are obvious, the bar sinister represrents the colonists 'ignoble' convict heritage and the blood red the 'martyrs' of the revolution. The other symbols are more tied up with the libertarian ideology of the novel - the brass cannon comes from a joke one character tells of a cleaner whose job it was to polish a brass cannon outside a courthouse, until eventually he saves enough money to by his own brass cannon and go into business for himself... TANSTAAFL! stands for "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch", a maxim frequently used in the book.

I attach my attempt to draw this flag (please excuse the poor representation of the cannon). I have always taken the "speckled with stars" to mean a random speckling of dots to represent the night sky, rather than the traditional five-pointed stars usually encountered in vexillogy. Roy Stilling, 16 November 1995