I am trying to find a story that I read as a teenager in the 80s about a girl who lives on the Moon and is running a company which requires her to do a lot of Maths with her boyfriend (who calls her "decimal point"). Also, there is a hangar on the Moon which you can go to, rent some wings, and fly like a bird. The girl hates her one trip to earth because she weighs a tonne and there are lots of bugs, which she is not used to. As a result, she spends most of her time sitting in the bath and is very glad to get back to the Moon. I think the author was a woman and have tried searching on-line, but cannot find this story again. Please help.

  • Yes! Thank you so much! That's definitely it! Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 16:14

2 Answers 2


I'm pretty sure this is Robert Heinlein's The Menace From Earth.

Interesting though how people remember different details - the story's main plot revolves around the flying and the heroine's dislike for a visitor from Earth whom she sees as a romantic rival for her friend (not, at that point, boyfried). The trip to Earth is only mentioned in one paragraph, but it's there (which makes me certain this is the correct story).

Tourist question number six . . . I said, "I've been to Earth," and let it drop. Two years ago Mother made me visit my aunt in Omaha and I was miserable—hot and cold and dirty and beset by creepy-crawlies. I weighed a ton and I ached and my aunt was always chivvying me to go outdoors and exercise when all I wanted was to crawl into a tub and be quietly wretched. And I had hay fever. Probably you've never heard of hay fever—you don't die but you wish you could.

The story is online at Baen Books.

  • 1
    That's it all right, the silly nickname "Decimal Point" nails it. That bit about a tourist from the moon being disappointed with the earth looks like a recycled idea from Heinlein's earlier story "It's Great to Be Back".
    – user14111
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 18:37

The Menace From Earth by Robert Heinlein.

From wikipedia:

The story is set in the near future, when the Moon is colonized with people living in underground cities. The "menace" of the title is a beautiful woman tourist who visits the Moon colony and is assigned a young guide named Holly, a 15-year-old girl and aspiring starship designer who is the first-person narrator of the story. Her best friend Jeff develops a crush on the "groundhog" visitor, Ariel. As Jeff spends more time with Ariel, Holly becomes jealous and begins to doubt his friendship.

Living in an underground city on the Moon, Holly and Jeff's hobby is flying with strap-on wings in a great cavern, made possible because the gravity field is one sixth the strength of Earth's and the air pressure in the cavern is kept high enough. Ariel wants to try flying, and Holly, in order not to appear jealous, offers to teach her. However, during her first flight, Ariel loses control at a great height, falling toward the ground. Holly swoops down and saves her life, breaking both arms in the process as she cushions Ariel's fall.

In the hospital afterward, Ariel gently explains some things to Holly. She, Ariel, could never be interested in Jeff, being twice their age. In addition, Jeff is not in love with her but with Holly. After the accident, Jeff rushed up, stepping over and ignoring Ariel to cradle the unconscious Holly in his arms, sobbing. Ariel tactfully leaves when Jeff arrives. After some embarrassed banter, he kisses Holly for the first time.

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