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Starship Troopers

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

18 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

Technofiction review of Starship Troopers

"Starship Troopers" by Robert Heinlein was the first science fiction story I ever read, way back in 7th grade or so (1960). That book was the first inspiring book I read by myself, and started me on a years-long devotion to reading science fiction. It was really inspiri...
"Starship Troopers" by Robert Heinlein was the first science fiction story I ever read, way back in 7th grade or so (1960). That book was the first inspiring book I read by myself, and started me on a years-long devotion to reading science fiction. It was really inspiring. In 1990, I reread "Starship Troopers", and as I read it, I was surprised: it didn't feel like I was reading the same story. My impression the second time was of a "Sands of Iwo Jima in Space" instead of something entirely new and different. (and I was kind of shocked at how much living thirty years had changed my perspective!) Either way, the heart of the story was power armor, how to use it, and how its presence affected people's thinking. In this story Heinlein proposed that to become a citizen -- someone who voted on how to run the government -- a person needed to first demonstrate some responsibility to the community. .Sounded good to me, but for taking that stance many critics labeled this book as supporting fascism. In 1997 I saw the Starship Troopers movie, and saw that the director had missed the point of the story entirely by taking out the power armor. Without power armor, the soldiers were transformed into World War One "over the top" infantry who would be discouraged from asking "Why?" before they marched off into a do-or-die situation, and because of that, they lost any reason to be "responsible for the community" in the sense that Heinlein was emphasizing in his book version of the story. Unlike the book, the movie really was about a Fascist/Spartan "Come back with your shield or on it." mentality. These changes in what I read, and misinterpretations in what I saw depicted in the movie, inspired me to write my own version of the power armor story, and you can find it in my short story "The Ticket Out" in "Tips for Tailoring Spacetime Fabric Vol. 1" (Vol. 1 is about stories in space, and Vol. 2 is about stories on Earth). So in the end, I still found the book inspiring, but the movie a whole lot less so. Yeah, this is one of those "read the book, you'll like it a lot better"-cases.

posted by Cyreenik on September 26, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

High expectations...

So i may have screwed myself way before I started reading this book... I have always been a huge fan of the first starship troopers film and knew that it was somewhat based on the book. Needless to say it is in everyway different and when I read quotes I found it diffic...
So i may have screwed myself way before I started reading this book... I have always been a huge fan of the first starship troopers film and knew that it was somewhat based on the book. Needless to say it is in everyway different and when I read quotes I found it difficult picturing the characters I am used to saying them. I also read the whole "Old Mans War" series which is extremely immersive universe with lots of high flying action and some great stories! I was expecting a combination of the two... I found this novel extremely hard to get through even with its sub 250 page count. I lost my interest multiple times and was bored mostly. Dont get me wrong, I love great stories but my god... 30 pages of great battle scenes.. 100 pages of boot camp or training... then same thing over and over again until the end... maybe 60 pages of action and the rest is Ricos experiance of learning how to grow up in life and in the M.I.

posted by 10178385 on January 12, 2013

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  • Posted February 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Military Sci Fi - Heavy on Military and Ethics

    Recently, I've been reaching back through the decades to catch up on some classic Sci Fi. I reread Herbert's "Dune" which is as heavy and awesome as I remember. I discovered Miller's "Canicle for Leibowitz" and plan on reading H. Beam Piper's "Little Fuzzy" before John Scalzi's take on it is released this Spring.

    I've never read "Starship Troopers". My only previous exposure to the story was from the 1997 action film with the same title. The book has only the BAREST resemblance to the film. I think the film is cool. It's not great, but it's kind of fun in a blow-em-up action film sort of way. But the book is very different.

    The story follows Johnny Rico as he graduates High School and decides to enter the military. He doesn't have a great suite of skills to offer, besides strength, and as we find later in the book - leadership. So he ends up in the Mobile Infantry - sort of like the Marines. We follow him through basic training, a few battle interactions and then into officer training school before a final "bug battle". Each jump in his military career creates opportunity for Heinlein to introduce characters and events that provide a platform for his discourse on the evils, morals, and theoretic benefits of war, violence, punishment and education.

    It was like a 250-page lecture on the ethics and morals of war, violence and race. It's beautifully written and appears to include very realistic and detailed descriptions of what life is like in the military - specifically, boot camp and officer training (I say "appears" because I've not been in the military to judge first-hand).

    In terms of action, there's very little of it. The opening sequence shows off the capabilities of a futuristic battle suit that allows soldiers to run and "bounce" at speeds of 40+ miles/hour. It's cool. The last 30 pages or so is focused on a tactical battle exchange with the "bugs" that are the focus of the military's eye throughout much of the book. Both scenes are very detailed militarily.

    Heinlein's "Troopers" is a classic and understandably so, but it's a bit of a product of the era in which it was created (cold war), and reads more heavy-handedly than a more fun and high action-oriented military sci fi story like John Scalzi's "Old Man's War" series.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2010

    Starship Troopers

    I'm going to be honest. I didn't know this book even existed until well after I had first watched the film. I am happy to say however that the book far surpasses the film in every way possible. The book is about a young man, Juan "Johnnie" Rico who decides to join the military. The novel is set against a futuristic backdrop and could be very well described as science fiction. But unlike a lot of other science fiction that I've read, this book never becomes cheesy. Robert A. Heinlein never tries to bash you over the head with futuristic technology. Instead he brings up themes ranging from politics to military tradition. This tale should be a must read for science fiction fans or military fiction buffs. The book wasn't a particularly long read, but days after finishing it, I am still thinking about it, and that is a surefire sign of success.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2008

    Excellent read

    The epic science fiction novel ¿Starship Troopers¿, by Robert A Heinlein, is perhaps one of the most controversial books of its time. It follows Juan ¿Johnnie¿ Rico as he trains and fights his way across the galaxy with the Mobile Infantry, 'MI', attached to ¿Rasczak¿s Roughnecks¿. Though not a well written novel, in the literary or grammatical sense, ¿Starship Troopers¿ kept me hooked because of the political ideals that Heinlein introduces. These same ideals are also the main source of conflict between his critics and fans, 'I now identify myself with the latter group'. Johnny Rico is introduced after his High School graduation. As an 18 year old, he is faced with two choices, join the Armed Forces and become a citizen of Terra, 'an allied earth of the future', or live a normal and prosperous life, but never be able to participate in the government. In an effort to impress a girl, 'typically', our young hero signs up for the military. Though he lists many jobs and roles ahead of the MI when he enlists, fate was not with him. Stuck in a dangerous and seemingly glory- less position, he is sent to the hardest boot camp in all of Terra, with the highest attrition rate. Somehow, he survives through his hellish training, and becomes enthralled with his newfound occupation. So, when a war breaks out with the ¿bugs¿, or Arachnids from the planet Klendathu, he, along with the Roughnecks, is sent off to war, and the story unfolds from there. Throughout the book Heinlein promotes a governmental system where only veterans run the government. His reasoning is surprisingly sound. Veterans, in his, 'and my', opinion, are the obvious choice for leaders. They have already proven their dedication to the country by risking their lives to protect it. Heinlein reasons that Earth would be a more peaceful place if its leaders knew the costs of war. In Heinlein¿s system, all people had the right to free and happy lives. Crime however, was dealt with harshly. Instead of babying criminals in an ineffective prison system, first offenders are flogged, and second offenders immediately win a death sentence. Heinlein believes, 'correctly', that dealing harshly with crime will serve to eliminate it in most cases. In one instance, Rico has a flashback to his High School years, and they speak of our system as being inhumane, and make a surprisingly good argument. He also believes that revolutions would be non-existent in this system, because the most aggressive people, the ¿sheepdogs¿, 'if I may refer to LTC 'ret' Dave Grossmans article', are the leaders of the government. The¿ sheep¿, those people who would not be likely to take up arms against the government, are safely protected under the government¿s power. These are just a very few points that Heinlein brings out in his novel, I¿ll leave you to find out the rest, 'wouldn¿t want to ruin the book!'. Though his critics call him militaristic, Heinlein manages to weave a thought provoking tale of war, bravery, and tragic loss, and offers a novel that has gone down in history as one of the greatest of its kind ever written. Though your opinion may differ then mine, anyone can appreciate the Johnny Rico¿s and Terran Mobile Infantrymen that live on today through their real life counterparts. All in all, this book was one of the most powerful I have ever read, and it would do you good to pick up a copy and follow the adventures of the Roughnecks, as I have.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 27, 2012

    The book is rather different than the popular sci-fi movie version

    The 1997 Starship Troopers sci-fi action movie is likely want many contemporary readers might first think of rather than this 1959 original book by Heinlein. While the running background plot of the "Bug War" is common, they are very very different stories. Whereas the movie focuses on the action of the war itself (and is very entertaining!) this book follows the life of Juan Rico from his entrance into the training program of the Mobile Infantry through his initial deployment and involvement in the Bug War, and his maturation as a young officer under battle. This story is very much a biography of Rico, told in the first person. It's a good read and those who liked the movie will find this a nice -- albeit much more "cerebral" -- complement to the movie storyline. Bearing in mind it was written in the late 1950s, there are some socio-political commentaries tossed in along the way that are very interesting viewed some 50 years later.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    great sociopolitical view

    the best thing about this book is its take on future government and culture. fantastic vision of future life, if only we could live like this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    Shelby is...

    BoredxP

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    Deanna

    Omfg i was not talking to u ashely i wa talking to the a.z.z who is being mean......

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Starship Troopers seems to have meant as a political essay as we

    Starship Troopers seems to have meant as a political essay as well as a novel. Large portions of the book take place in classrooms, with Rico and other characters engaged in debates with their History and Moral Philosophy teacher, who is often thought to be speaking in Heinlein's voice. The overall theme of the book is that social responsibility requires being prepared to make individual sacrifice. Heinlein's Terran Federation is a limited democracy, with aspects of a meritocracy in regard to full citizenship, based on voluntarily assuming a responsibility for the common weal. Suffrage can only be earned by those willing to serve their society by at least two years of volunteer Federal Service – "the franchise is today limited to discharged veterans" instead of, as Heinlein would later note, anyone "...who is 18 years old and has a body temperature near 37 °C". The Federation is required to find a place for anyone who desires to serve, regardless of his skill or aptitude (this also includes service ranging from teaching to dangerous non-military work such as serving as experimental medical test subjects to military service -- such as Rico's Mobile Infantry).

    There is an explicit contrast to the "democracies of the 20th century", which according to the novel, collapsed because "people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted... and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears." Indeed, Colonel Dubois criticizes as unrealistic the famous U.S. Declaration of Independence line concerning "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". No one can stop anyone from pursuing happiness, but the Colonel claims life and liberty exist only if they are deliberately sought and, often, bought painfully by great effort and sacrifice.

    It is one of Heinlein classics and an easy wonderful read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2012

    Nice

    Great book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2008

    Not what you would expect

    This book is an essay on civic duty. Heinlein brings to the surface a not too new, but very effective way of dealing with juvenile criminals. Heinlein, in telling a young mans story in military service, discusses our civic duty and who has the right to lead in government.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2008

    starship troopers

    The book Starship Troopers was written by Robert A. Heinlein who has also written the Expanded Universe and to sail Beyond the Sunset. This story is a sci-fi book that places hundreds of years from now. It stats off of a young man named Johnnie Rico who ignored his parents pleas and joined the military without hem knowing. Thinking that he is now eighteen he can do any thing he wants in his life. Thinking that training will be easy to do, he will be part of the military experience to have an adventure. Not knowing that this experience will be part of a war against humanity¿s enemy the ¿bugs¿. Now he is a junior officer and has many soldiers to lead and make sure that they all get back safely. This book is great for people who are into sci-fi stories and seen the movie starship trooper. The reader can see the drama, hatred, and tragedy in this story. This can be read by anyone who is thirteen and older to understand the story well. Ratings for this is 8 out of 10.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2001

    'Don't give up the ship!'

    Heinlein tries to argue his philosophy through the main character's Morals and Philosophy class but doesn't produce a stirring argument as I expected. In fact, the arguments were not that deep. Also, some dialogue and characters seemed corny, such as Johnny's mother (read her letter, you'll understand). Where Henlein does come through is in describing the military (if you overlook the fact that he's partial to the infantry). He shows you the difference between an officer and an enlisted and why a person joins and stays in. The book starts to surprise you little by little(in terms of character habits etc...) once you get to chapter 10 and it's a page turner from there. The big surprise is in the end. As far as science fiction is concerned...it's okay (as in 3 stars)-

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2001

    The Book

    Starship Troopers the book is great. The book is somewhat scary if you look at life from an ethnic point of view. The movie woud make Robert H. want to die twice... Just an opinion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2001

    Pretty good stuff

    I enjoyed the book. It was extremely easy to get into which is something that I think is really important in a book. Not to mention it was a heck of a lot better than the stuipd movie. The characters were vividly created and flawed. However I don't think it was all that deep and stuff like other reviews have said..it was simply ok. There was alot of insight into it, but if you're looking for insightful science fiction...

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    Posted February 1, 2012

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    Posted August 26, 2010

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    Posted September 16, 2009

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    Posted April 12, 2012

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    Posted June 25, 2011

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    Posted January 29, 2011

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