Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers

by Robert A. Heinlein
4.5 311

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Starship Troopers 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 311 reviews.
Cyreenik More than 1 year ago
"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.
SNUSooner More than 1 year ago
Although the movie was loosely based on this book, it is not the same. It is amazing to me that it was written in the 50's but is such a social commentary on our world today. When I was in the Army, I used to make my soldiers read it and give me a report about what it meant to them. Awesome read!
Graeme1949 More than 1 year ago
This is a very interesting and thought-provoking book on several levels. There is the military level, the science level and the political/social level. (The 1997 movie, by the way, has practically no relation to the book.) Military: I first read this book in the late 1960s, when I was on active duty in the Marine Corps. Then, it was a good future-war book with some outlandish science thrown in. Science: with the simple passage of time, much of the science has become more real. Many of the far-out things RAH described in 1959 are now in actual use in the military - if not directly, then as recognizable equivalents. Laser range-finders. In-helmet displays that show the full tactical situation from many sensors. Communication systems that can link every soldier. Directed energy weapons (although they are not man-portable yet.) And now the military is developing a powered exoskeleton for soldiers - only the armor needs to be added to make "now" match Heinlein's vision of 1959. Political and Social: I did not really discover this level - which I now believe is the most important - until the early to mid-1970s, when I was a Political Science major at the University of Maryland. It resonates for me because I am an immigrant, and Heinlein's political thesis could be taken from the Oath of Allegiance that every naturalized citizen takes. It is (mostly) a concise statement of the obligations of ALL citizens. "I hereby declare, on oath, that I ... will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; ..." In the world of Starship Troopers, the United States (and all other countries) are unified into a single world government. In that world, everyone has the right to do as they please with their life in every area except political. You cannot vote unless you are a citizen. (There is no citizenship at birth.) How does one become a citizen in that world? By doing the things required since 1920 of all US Citizens in our Oath of Allegiance: bear arms on behalf of the government, or perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces, or perform work of national importance under civilian direction. This is all voluntary - you are not drafted (at the beginning of the book, at least). A person in this world becomes a citizen by enlisting in the military or working in government civil service for a period of time. Usually that term is only a few years, you leave it as a citizen, and have earned the right to vote. However, there is the little catch - and it was there when I enlisted in the Marine Corps (before I became a US citizen, by the way.) My term was six years, unless I was directed to stay longer by order of the President because of war or national emergency. For the characters in the book, a war happened to break out while they were in training ... Even though it was written in 1959, this book is still relevant today. For me, now, it is mostly relevant as a reminder of how far science has come in a little over 50 years - and how close to today's reality Heinlein's vision was. I also review it for the political thesis, which is always worth thinking about - the concept that one thing, the ability to help select those who govern - must be EARNED rather than handed out at birth.
JGolomb More than 1 year ago
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.
TisHerself1999 More than 1 year ago
Heinlein wrote ahead of his time and speaks from the past regarding many of today's social views. This book is timeless and the story spun by a master.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
AegiusRex More than 1 year ago
I've read reviews stating, "The book is nothing like the movie" or "The movie is better than the book", etc...well, in my own way of thinking, as the book came first, everything should be in comparison to as how accurate "X" is to the original, i.e. the Book. The book has been and always will be a classic on military and ethics. When I first read it, it had only been around for 15yrs. It's still relevant today as it was back then. Now that it's in an eBook form, no worries about lending it out and never getting it back (lost 3 copies that way :/ ) Anyway, I give it 5 stars.
Mary_T More than 1 year ago
Robert Heinlein was in the middle of writing his seminal Science Fiction classic, "A Stranger in a Strange Land" when he happened to see youngsters on television protesting against serving in the Vietnam War. Furious, he wrote about what happens in a near-future pacifist society when they're attacked by an overwhelmingly hostile alien culture. His point: we need a strong military because some day we may REALLY need it. From this premis he crafted one of the most exciting hard sf novels of all time (which - alas - was made into a mediocre film). Heinlein is the only author who can put together space ships, battles, creepy aliens, mind powers, awesome technology, and great characters into a mind-blowing book that you will never forget. That's how you win a Hugo! - - Mary Tills, Barnes and Noble, Frederick, Maryland.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Starship Troopers is a must read for those who wish to discuss politics, the philosophy of accountability, and the rights of an individual. Do not read it for action, because it hardly exists.... but it is great literature for curing the disease of liberalism that is ruining the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Presents the possible development of a global state and its approach on law, including who should be able to vote and how criminal punishments should be handled. Very interesting!
Alex Weltmann More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book a lot. There is a lot of talk about government and political theory which i thoroughly enjoyed. This book appeals on many levels and i definitely recommend it to any military fiction fan or anyone else for that matter.
Ian Field More than 1 year ago
This story spoke to me as a young child and related a sharp focus to personal duty. Now that I am older i reflect on the parts of Starship Troopers that i hadn't grasped in youth and they strike even coser to home. For this i will always hold Heinlein's books closest. As young man lost in the world this book provides focus to goals not yet realized.
youngandreckless More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While not my favorite book by any means, Heinlein¿s classic *Starship Troopers* provides a humorous and contemplative romp through a future in which the earth world, ¿Terra,¿ must defend itself from ¿bugs,¿ foreign invaders that seek to destroy life on the planet. It¿s lightly enjoyable as a work of fiction, especially in the beginning as we learn about Juan Rico and his sincere journey into citizen and soldier-ship (the first chapter is rough though ¿ keep going) suspending disbelief and jumping into this oft cheesy yet slantedly-serious work are not without a few imaginative reader-rewards, although by the end of the book, I felt as if the drift of the book had long been established and we were continuing to fight a battle at a loss to what little substantive plot was present. The personal first-person ¿gist¿ kept it tolerable and Heinlein¿s theories on the role of soldiers and civilians felt heartfelt enough to initiate a second thought about what the one-world responsibilities he proposes. My problem with the story (other than the writing style which was as attractive as tobacco spat), is that the human truths of the book fell off the planet in honor of Heinlein¿s ¿lock-n-load,¿ adolescent rambling panache. By the end, the reader is sifting through a sea of masculine, gung-ho grit to get to the substance, and there was ultimately little of that to hang your hat on (or your powered armor, if that¿s more your thing). I was admittedly glad to see it end. It¿s in your face comradeship, and represents a forced kind of ¿internationalized¿ Americanism that¿s probably best enjoyed by armchair warriors and adolescents.
Anonymous 6 days ago
Anonymous 3 months ago
Love it!
Anonymous 5 months ago
One of the best science fiction stories ever written.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Good book. Mostly focused on training and prep, very little actual war in it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A captivating story that while set in the future, captures the nature of the soldier or marine. As with most of his novels he entertains us in another world while making us analyze our own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Carter_Mitchell54 More than 1 year ago
Robert Heinlein's story-telling genius is on full display in this novel. A combination of action/adventure, political and social commentary, the author astutely hones in on many of the social ills that had been manifesting themselves when this book.was written. Starship Troopers is a must read for Heinlein fans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dissapointing preview none of the story and way too many reviews by folk who no one knows! I know the book is good Iread it years ago, was trying to show it to my grand daughter will have to wait now till I can buy it.