Logic of Empire

From Academic Kids

Logic of Empire is a short science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein.

Two well-off Earth men are arguing about whether there is slavery on Venus, and one of them gets shanghaied there. Upon his arrival, he finds his contract sold to a farmer. His discovery that it will take him years to work off his debt is compounded by his realization that he cannot get to sleep at night without rhira,an expensive local narcotic.

Ostensibly a tale about a man in the wrong place at the wrong time, and his struggle to free himself from the oppressive circumstances in which he is plunged, this story also serves to explain how slavery develops in a new colony.

One element making the story noteworthy is that it takes a very Marxist interpretation of slavery. We know that Heinlein, was a socialist in his early adulthood, later becoming a political conservative (actually a fairly commonplace transition among political thinkers of Heinlein's generation). In "Logic of Empire," there are no real villians; everybody's just doing their job, trying to maximize income in a capitalist system. Even the plantation owner who owns the hero is portrayed as a struggling—and failing—small businessman, whose main motivation is to secure a livelihood for his daughter.

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