The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress

I was looking at writing a little thing about the Robert Heinlein novel, a favourite of my teens, when I came across a song with the same title: ‘The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress’ by Jimmy Webb, who also wrote the lovely ‘Wichita Lineman’.

It seems that Webb did consciously borrow the title from the book, and wrote to Heinlein for permission to use it, though I don’t believe you can actually copyright a title.

Apart from the title, the song has nothing to do with Heinlein’s book, but it’s a very beautiful song.

There actually is a song that uses one of my titles – The Holy Machine – and that pleased me very much.  I would love to be a songwriter – there is something wonderfully perfect and self-contained about a good song which very little else can match – but I think this is about as near to it as I’m going to get.

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