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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon October 2, 2006
As with any good sci-fi the story and descriptions of the latest gadget are important; however this is just the window dressing or vehicle to carry a message or concept to you with out sounding too preachy.

Basically this book is not fascist like the movie. It suggests that people should be responsible for their actions and have a stake in what they make decisions on. Never did it say that these people were smarter or better, just that when you have a vested interest your decisions tend to work or you will pay.

I was intrigued in the process that Johnny Rico was going through in the story. The movie does not phase me as it looks like cartoon hype. But the book was too close to home. I hope my memory is flawed as I remember every one of the people types that he described. Actually I think with the volunteer Army today it is closer to the book than was Vietnam where conscripts looked on it this as slightly preferable to prison. I know that this story is not about the military but it is too real to be ignored as just the story.

You could have floored me with I found out there were no naked women in the book. Dizzy Flores must have had a great Swedish doctor. This could have been a genuine attempt to update the story; however it distracted from the original purpose.

Basically after school Johnny Rico is whisked into the military by peer pressure and to finds out if he is more than just the factory owner's son. While going through boot camp he learns of different cultures and the intricacies of military life. Naturally he makes mistakes and learns from others mistakes. As he grows he learns what make the world the way it is. I will not contrast this book with the movie because I think you enjoy the story more if you find out what happens as it unfolds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2002
Less a slam-bang action-fest than a gutsy personal analysis of what makes for a realistic and attainable utopia, Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" fails to achieve great heights not because of the author's political agenda (the reason this book is continually labelled controversial), but simply due to poor pacing and a less than fully developed plot.
Told from the perspective of Juan Rico, one of the Terran Federation's armored Mobile Infantrymen, Heinlein's novel follows Rico's journey from listless graduate to raw recruit to battle-hardened warrior. Along the way we are treated to numerous socio-political asides on why the story's right-wing form of government works and why previous ones failed. Rico's military training is explored in convincing detail, and is in fact the backbone of the book.
Therein is some of the problem--Heinlein's never-ending seminars tend to get repetitive toward the end of the book, and Rico himself seems to run out of anything new to say. Other characters, including Rico's would-be sweetheart, Carmen, are barely developed and are only rarely shown interracting with the narrator. Moreover, despite its billing as a first-rate adventure yarn, there are only a few battle scenes and what we do get are over quickly and often only vaguely described--except for the opening scene, easily the most exciting part of the book and after which everything else is a slow letdown.
None of which makes "Starship Troopers" a bad book. The military and political evaluations are genuinely interesting FOR AWHILE and the whole is leavened with Heinlein's inimitable quirky sense of humor. If only Heinlein had developed the plot and its characters a bit more, this would have been a truly fine novel. As it is, it's still worth a look as long as you know what to expect: this is a political commentary, not sci-fi excitement. At the very least, it's better than the movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2004
I must admit that I did not get around to reading this book until after I'd seen the movie. I liked the movie, and so I figured "why not read the book" well... the Book, aside form being dang near a compleatly diffrent story from the movie, was, in my humble oppinion, way better. I am a big fan of the war based sience fiction type books.
I think the Bigest thing that Cought on me about this book was that its not telling the story about a guy that joins the millitary, and goes off to fight some aliens, It's telling you a story about how joining the millitary and going off to fight some aliens has changed from a once dumb civilian, into a soldier, and a citizen. It's about how Juan Rico, evolves from a boy to a man, and from a follower into a leader.

I particularly liked the use of technology, and how for as cool as it is, it's not even an issue in the book. The book didn't get all carried away with fancy weapons and armor, but instead gave you a basic outline and let your own imagination fill in the rest.
There were a lot of Socialistic idiologies, in this book, but I still liked how their govenment was set up, and I think it's too bad we couldn't make a system like that work in today's sociaty.
It's definatly a deep read, with a lot of questions that you may find you ask yourself, but that's part of the joy I found in reading it. so if your looking for some straight "balls to the walls" action like you saw in the movie, this might not be your book, but if your in for some real Sci-Fi that'll keep you woundering what'll happen next, and just who Rico will become in the end, this is your meal ticket!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2000
Using a supposedly futuristic setting, ST attempts to advocate a certain vision of a practical utopia. This utopia is essentially a simple blend of Kant, Hobbes, Spartan ideals, Roman citizenship and American values, washed down with a double dose of testosterone. Now there's nothing wrong with that. Some of those are philosophical giants and time-tested ideas. And I actually agree with a lot of the things ST was trying to say. But the way ST package these ideas are thoroghly boring, unoriginal and junvenile.
About 200 of the 263 pages of this book is about how tough these REAL MEN are supposed to be. But there's no fist pumping actions like you see in the movie, instead you read over and over again how the recruits are put through the grinder with heavy workout, martial art practice, shooting practice, sleep deprivation, wilderness survival etc etc. I can see why some REAL MEN would enjoy reading pages after pages of training. But not for me thanks!
There's absolutely no plotline to speak of. There's a half-developed conflict between the hero and his father, which was concluded by having the father becoming a private under the hero's command. The supposedly main plot of the book is the mental conflict within the hero on wether he wants to serve mankind or not, which was resolved by the hero deciding to ACT instead of to THINK.
If it weren't for the fact that I was researching ST and similar science fictions, I wouldn't not have get past page 40. The worst part is, there's nothing in the rest of the book that's not already been said in the first 40 pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 1999
This book ranks high (or low?) among the WORST books I have ever read! I reccommend it to no one at all!The book has a number of basic flaws, which are covered fairly well in the reviews prior to this. However, for those who don't have the gumption to read all 300 or so of them, I will list what I consider to be the basic problems with the book.1.The characters in the book are all perfect autononoms who do only what Heinlein wishes them to do. They have no real character development, don't deal with the issues raised by thier surroundings, and are perfect (sprung fully formed from the head of Heinlein).2.The plot is essentially boring and long. I don't think that a book has to be non-stop action to be interesting, but this one certainly held a promise of it for me, which I was sorely dissapointed to find was basically not true. The battle scenes are few and far between, and when they come up they are basically unintersting.3.The society which Heinlein bases this in is brutal, fascist and irritatingly macho. I'm a guy, and I think it was too much!4.This final complaint is (I believe) actually new. It is essentially that while Heinlein does bring up some interesting ideas (SOME, not many), he pays no real deep attention to them. Instead, the book flutters about from plot point to plot point, first talking about politics, then suddenly sociology, then human nature, then this then that... yuck! I kept reading the book to the end in the hopes that Heinlein would finally address some of the issues he had brought up in depth, and actually make me think instead of accept on faith. I was sorely dissapointed.In conclusion, this book is essentially boring, the ideas it brings up are usually stupid, and when they aren't, the author never really explores them. My advice to everyone is DON'T BOTHER! And if you do bother to try reading it, and you find that it's boring, then just put down the book, because it will NOT get any better. A poor excuse for a novel, let alone a "classic." Read Ender's Game if you want to read a book about a war with another species. Everything that Heinlein did wrong, OS Card did right.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 1999
It's hard to believe that some readers draw inspiration from this book. To be sure, it presents interesting philosophical arguments, but the conclusion leaves little room for hope -- life is all about war and war is inevitable. The most you can hope for is to stay a step ahead of the other species trying to conquer the universe...for a while at least. But it isn't so much the philosophy I take issue with (I don't buy the argument but I'm not sure that Heinlein believed it himself, and I don't judge the quality of a novel by its philosophy). My issue is primarily with the fact that the book does not explore the ramifications of such a world-view and such a society. The hero, Juan Rico, whom we follow from his ad-hoc decision to join the army to his thorough indoctination into the Mobile Infantry as an officer, never has to grapple with the brutality of war, the deaths of his comrades, and relatives, the seemingly endless and pointless blodbath in which he participates every day. His psyche is never damaged, he never questions his sanity, he never has a serious problem with the notion that to prove his "manhood" he must kill others. And, conveniently, the enemy he fights is so (litarally) inhuman that he never has to face the horror of knowing himself to have destroyed others' lives and societies. This book is pro-war propaganda which fails to propose any real alternatives to a life of fighting, and does not dwell on the implications of its choices to deeply. Just sing to the glory of the infantry, and everything will be fine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The thing I've always loved about speculative fiction is its inate ability to touch on the human condition by placing people in extraneous positions that illustrate the relation we have we each other, with the world or in the best cases with reality itself. This book is populated with inhumanly perfect composite characters that are unrelatable (at least I hope so for your sake) that bounce around a comic-book world and face conflicts you couldn't care about. The post world war themes run rampant. Heinlein couldn't have believed in the workings of this neo-nazi facist planet that would illustrate a huge jump in human mental devolution or maybe he did. The problem is I couldn't care. Heilein covered character development with the advent of this society that would have read better as a thesis than a story. If you like militant hooplah or maybe believe that every human should put country before self then this book maybe right down your alley. If you would really like to read a story about a facist society read "The Man in the High Castle" by Philip K. Dick (or anything by Philip K. Dick for that matter since even his worst evokes more thought and emotion than this story). Sure science fiction is supposed to evoke new concepts and explore possible futures or realities but only to the point of exploring our current existance. "Starship Troopers" is like reading over a set of blueprints rather than absorbing a piece of the author laid bare. I guess it's all what you want out of reading that makes the difference and for me this book was just boring. (I won't even get into the movie).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 1997
Perhaps the problem is that I just didn't know what to expect. I was expecting a gritty, character-based drama with some good action, cool aliens and interesting technological concepts. While I got some of the latter, most of the book is relegated to Heinlein's / the narrator's diatribe about a future society in which mankind has achieved peace through spanking and capital punishment. I'm not arguing the relevance of his ideas, I just wish Heinlein would thin his sermons with some story. The characters spend all this time training and preparing, and yet I think there are maybe three battles in the entire book, and the narrator spends the climax unconcscious. If all this wasn't bad enough, the book is terribly dated, with dialogue bits like "crummy" and "shucks". While some of Heinlein's predictions prove surprisingly accurate, he gives us no characters to associate with, and ultimately no resolution to the story. Boooo!
Luckily, I found all the things I was intitially looking for in a brilliant book (with a similar concept) by Joe Haldeman: "The Forever War". Read this book and compare for yourself!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 1997
I wish allowed you to rate a book 0, because that's what I'd like to give Heinlein's Starship Troopers, probably the worst book from this tedious authour.
Although I've only read a relativley small number of his books (Friday, Stranger in a Strange Land, Farnham's Freehold - a search here at Amazon reveals 96 other titles from this hack), I've not enjoyed a single one. They've all been juvenille in every respect - plot, characterization and action. He succumbs to every foible of the hard SF authour. There is no irony, no subtle breath of life in any of the characters. Heinlein's books just plod along like a Frankensteinian horror - no feeling, no signs of life, no anything. And Starship Troopers is the very worst of the lot. Some claim this to be a book geared towards youth, but I'd be hard-pressed to find a difference between this simplistic mush and any other of Heinlein's work.

So stay away from this one. And from Heinlein in general. There are many, much better authors of SF available.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2004
I thought this book was a little superficial in its treatment of the "Hero" archetype. Contrary to the first reviewer I would say that this book is anything but rational. The archetypes and myths employed in this book have been examined much more closely by non-fiction authors such as Joseph Campbell, Jung and Freud. Heinlein has just taken an old myth and covered it with a sci-fi veneer. Nevertheless, it is entertaining.
For those of you with honorable tendencies I recommend "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius. Aurelius recorded the thoughts collected in this book while on campaign with the Roman legions. He was also emperor at the time. His ideas are morally courageous, well thought and grounded in practical experience.
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