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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting experiment (look up Rodger W. Young) on the net.
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...
Published on Oct. 2 2006 by bernie

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars STARSHIP TROOPERS
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...
Published on Aug. 22 2002 by K. Jump


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More padding than a 14 inch mattress., Nov. 12 2010
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)
I finally had a chance to read this book. I had heard a lot of hype about it being a Seminole Sci Fi book. Do yourself a favour and skip it. I have read a number of other good Sci Fi books, not a ton, but most of them are far more entertaining. Dune, Rendezvous with Rama, Gap Series(highly recommend that one), Hitchhikers Guild, Do Androids..., 1984, etc. But this book is short and boring. Halfway through the book and all you have been told is military jargon about his boot camp, and Heinleins views on how great the Military is. Even his description of the combat suits was only OK but nothing incredible. Perhaps for when it was written but passe in our time. The word 'Bounce' is in this so much it gets very tiresome. It is a multiuse word. Action is nearly non existent in the first half, unless you consider several pages about how he was "chewed out again" as action.

Heinleins views on philosophy in this book are tragic at best. A world where militarism is the only way to having a democratic vote. Most notable was also a very american world view, even if parts are set in Canada. His Quotes are from american generals and presidents and the feel of only the Terran Federation(America is implicate as the source of it military might even if not stated outright)Military as capable of taking on the threats of other worlders. Xenophobia is certainly rampant in the writers mind. You are nothing if you aren't a soldier is the main theme derived from the book. Despite the fact the writer never served during a wartime period.

All of which could be forgiven if the book went somewhere or did something. I couldn't even be hooked long enough to read more than 30 pages at a time. Perhaps that is the worst sin of this book. Its too boring for too long. If you liked the first 25 minutes of Full Metal Jacket but want every action described in minute detail spanning 150 pages this may be the book for you. Its 1st person as if reading Juan "Johnnie" Ricos Diary of everything down to exactly what he ate. When the moral of the story in the book takes over from plot and character development you know its not enjoyable. You don't really know or care about the character. The plot is nearly bare, more like a check list of things the military does.

To be fair it was probably imaginative for its time. The suits are interesting and you can see them in books, films and games(Elementals in Battletech, or Space Marines in Warhammer) But it leaves you wanting. It was like watching a poorly made movie where you don't really care if anyone dies. They are all teenagers that deserve to be chainsawed for wandering into the old deserted house at the end of the dirt road. Maybe a quick shag before getting offed by the bad guy wah wah.

If you want a good technical Sci Fi try Rendezvous with Rama. If you want one with interesting(even disturbing) characters and an interesting plot, try Stephan R Donaldsons Gap Series.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, May 15 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)
Just plain great. The commentary on society is much better than the actual war story.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Preconceptions galour, June 25 2003
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Hardcover)
Well, for starters, let me say that the reason this book got a mediocure score from me is that I, unfortunately, had a lot of preconceptions and misconceptions about this book when I first picked it up. You see, Starship Troopers is one of my all-time favorite movies and that sole reason is what gave me the determination to plow through this rather dense, at times, book. The book standing alone (without the hinderance and blessings of seeing the movie beforehand) would receive about a 2. It's really compelling at times (with its insightful views into moralities and political philosophies) and at other times down right dreadful. The scarce battles seem to be an afterthought, with not much care or effort put into them. The biggest bust is the very anti-climatic way the story is resolved. And then there's the nagging sensation you get whenever the author plows away on another seemingly irrelevant tangent, though, in fairness, it sheds some much needed light on the story in the end. All in all (as much as it hurts to say), the movie was much better (even though the book preceeded it). I never thought it possible that a movie based on a book could be better than the book itself, and in some ways it's not fair to say that it is because the movie couldn't exist without the book, right? Well, I now stand corrected and it can be done. If you liked the movie, you might just want to read this to compare and contrast, or if you're interested in political philosophies, but otherwise, steer clear of this one.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forget the movie!, May 18 2004
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)
If you thought you knew what Starship Troopers was about because you saw Verhoven's horrible abomination of a movie, forget everything you think you know.
Starship Troopers is a thoughtful exposition of Heinlein's views regarding freedom, natural rights, social responsibility, and the necessity of violence in defense of civilization. Whether you agree with his positions or not, this book forces you to at least confront them. Thinking about them is your responsibility.
In addition to the exposition, Starship Troopers is a slam-bang action novel that hovers on the more realistic fringe of space opera, and is responsible for introducing some of the things we now consider standard concepts, like personal battlesuits.
If you're into military SF action, you'll enjoy this book. If you're into political exposition, you'll enjoy this book. If you like both, you'll be ecstatic.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Famous Novel is a Very Mixed Bag, Sept. 16 2003
By 
Douglas Moran (Austin, TX) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Hardcover)
Standard Heinlein Disclaimer: Heinlein is a frequently-polarizing figure in American literature. The people who dislike his work (e.g., A. Panshin) seem to *really* dislike his work, and often for reasons that seem to me spurious. The people who like his work are in many cases blind or too forgiving of Heinlein's problems as a writer. I like Heinlein's work quite a bit, and find all but two of his novels consistently enjoyable, but I would not rate any but one or possibly two of his books as being the "best of the SF genre." They are for me, however, always enjoyable, and that is no small thing to find in an author.
Still reading?
This novel is almost the quintessential definition of "mixed bag." Heck, not only is it a mixed bag, but if you don't like Heinlein/think he is a fascist/think he is a libertarian/think he glorifies war/think he wishes he were Hemmingway/think he is unbelievably egalitarian, by God this book will give you plenty of ammunition (sorry) for your point of view. Which is, I'm sure, part of its enduring appeal.
This book is really two books rolled into one (and in less than 200 pages!). The first book is, as the author himself admits, a celebration of military service, a glorification of the common G.I. (although in the book he's more of a space Marine than an Army regular). As such, it's a slam-bang adventure story told in a first-person, very spare style. It follows the by-now classic arc of aimless civilian, harsh boot-camp (think Louis Gossett in "An Officer and a Gentleman"), and difficult-but-rewarding service in a tough war. It's a hell of a yarn.
The other book is really the problematic part; an argument in favor of (indeed, pretty much a polemic for) the franchise being earned rather than granted gratis to everyone. In the case of the book, this is earned through "federal service," and there are lengthy discussions and debates as to why this is a good system. And in the end, it is this assumption--that a better government would arise out of requiring federal service prior to being given the vote--that causes all the outrage (or plaudits) from readers of this book.
But the question is, does it make for a good book? And the answer is, not always. The blend of political jerimiad and coming-of-age war story is often jarring, and occasionally irritating. The blatant speechifying by "older and wiser," whether you agree with it or not, frequently comes across as thinly-viewed authorial lecturing. And is that what you want in your books? It's up to you, honestly.
That said, *I* like this book, and I have re-read it a number of times, but I am certainly not blind to its faults. Not Heinlein's best, but perhaps one of his more influential books, and certainly one of the two (the other being, of course, "Stranger in a Strange Land") that generates the most discussion. The choice is yours.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Baaaaad hardcover, Jan. 11 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Hardcover)
I bought the hardcover because I thought it would be nice to have in my collection. However, the one I bought was an "econoclad" book which seems to mean a paperback with a poorly glued on card-board cover. Hardly what anyone would consider a real hardcover. Still a good story if you are not judging it by its cover... but not for the collector looking for a real hardcover.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars At times interesting, but confused and boring..., July 10 2000
By 
D.W. Desmond (San Diego, California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)
I probably should have read the book before watching the movie and the excellent TV series. I guess it's my fault...but I still found a lot of problems with the book that I probably would have noticed anyway.
First, there's not much character development. You think that maybe, just maybe, Heinlein might give us a set of characters which to identify with, but no -- he kills off (or simply forgets about) friends/acquaintances of the main character, Johnnie Rico, before they get a chance to develop into story "regulars."
Secondly, Heinlein's writing style is confusing here. Or, perhaps, it wouldn't have SEEMED so confusing if he had kept the ENDLESS "battle" scenes interesting. I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to keep focus when I'm bored or bogged down by endless details. One minute Heinlein will take the story one direction, then he'll retract and go back on it. I just don't understand it.
Also, there isn't much of a storyline to begin with. While Heinlein, naturally, is a very inviting writer (the only redeeming value is the way he makes you feel as if he were conversing with you personally), there is no concrete plot here, and almost no frame of reference -- oh, and did I mention he threw a massive bug war in there somewhere? You would hardly be able to tell. Aparently Heinlein doesn't know that story comes first, lectures and political views second (not the other way around). This book doesn't seem like an attempt to tell a story, rather an excuse for R.A.H. to share his ideas with us. Again, story first, political views second. To see a decent example of a good way to write a story, look at any work or horror author Stephen King -- sure, he throws his political views in, and as much as I disagree with his liberal standpoints, I admire him for making the plot top priority. If R.A.H. had this knowledge of proper story structure, he clearly hasn't displayed it here.
On the upside, as I said earlier, Heinlein's natural narrative is inviting and interesting despite aforementioned negatives. His future world is valid and interesting, as are his political views. This is the saving grace of the book -- Mr. Heinlein makes some valid points here. If you're a liberal and afraid of the truth, you may not like this book at all. But if you want some interesting insight into the mind of an obviously conservative writer and his ideas, read on. Just be prepared for some incoherence.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lamest classic ever?, Oct. 20 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)
Mission Brief
Starship Troopers is not about powered armor. If you want a story about fighting bugs in powered armor, check the amazon.com additional reading list for Troopers and skip the novel itself. Or read the chapters I, XIII and XIV as a moderately engaging short story about a young man fighting in a big interstellar war against a faceless enemy. However, if you like political philosophy and groove on, or love to hate, Nietzsche, Lenin, and Buckley, read the whole book. If you do read it, you get . . .
The "Classic"
Troopers seems to have been a very influential book. Aliens is Troopers without the moral philosophy, the powered armor, and the Navy. "Everybody drops". Star Trek is Troopers with Roddenberryesque soft-headedness and no Marine Infantry - the Navy (aka StarFleet) has gotten its way with things, and the dirty ground wars are kept to a minimum.
Troopers society is a lot like Trek society in many ways. I can almost see Roddenberry sitting with a well-thumbed copy of Troopers, building his own shiny happy version of the Federation. Troopers society is multi-ethnic. It's open to members of quite a few religions. It's got opportunity for poor people and wealthy people alike. But it is not multi-cultural. Everyone who matters has the same socialization. Troopers society is characterized by a hegemonic military culture which holds all the real power. StarFleet is way subtler than the Federal Service, but the concept of the superiority of the gentleman officer citizen is the same. Classic Trek, during the reign of Gene, could have been stolen rant for rant from Troopers.
Pilot Babes and Comfort Girls
Women officers in the contemporary U.S. military can't rise as fast or high through the ranks as men because they can't serve in combat. It seems women in the Federal Service still have the same problem, centuries later. They appear to be prohibited from serving in the M.I. and thereby aspiring to the highest military rank, Sky Marshall.
This is odd, because Heinlein's women are put on the front lines in combat, when they are sent to retrieve their manly counterparts from their manly predicaments. Heinlein never explains why women capable of fighting on the front lines, capable of sustaining higher g forces than men, and capable of guiding fast, complex machinery more accurately than men, aren't also better than men at fighting in powered armor. My guess is this is mathematically provable, so why doesn't the M.I. boot camp and recruiting strategy take this into account? After all, the author states that if your armor gets hit bad enough to disable, you almost always buy the local back forty unless someone else picks you up. There doesn't seem to be much call for stripping down and knifing bugs, hand-to-hand, or humping hundred-pound packs fifty miles. And, while it's implied that men can be pilots, there are clearly no pussies in the M.I. Maybe that really stands for "male insecurity", or just "military incompetence".
Women are the most obvious example of Heinlein's fuzzy logic (this is also true in Number of the Beast). His instructors may spout off about how military service is the only way to ensure a person is a true citizen, but, as the protagonist/narrator Juan Rico states, the only good reason to fight is women, not country. The same book, written now, would no doubt be more direct about this, and call them, huh huh, babes. But Heinlein is oh so unprintably cagy, he lets slip only one reference to the inevitable prostitution rings ("fleshpots") catering to our officer gentlemen. Uh, Robert, can we have a real female character please? For that matter, can we have some characters of any sex or species?
Mein Kampf
Most of the book centers on Heinlein's concept of scientific morality, and the preposterous idea that joining a male-only fraternity based on loving your M.I. buddies more than anything else will make you a better citizen. That he never gives moral weight to the actions of the protagonists compounds his fallacies. Of course, grunts just follow orders when they go around nuking stuff. But, like, orders from whom? Their officers. And they just follow orders too. But from whom? The politicians, of course. And who are they? In Heinlein's world, the politicians are military men. So Heinlein denies his own pet gunslingers the blame-the-politicians strategy that has served officer gentlemen and their admirers so well throughout history.
The author's complete inability to emotionally invest the reader in anything his characters do, especially when they're nuking cities and wantonly destroying people's lives for no apparent reason, makes his limb-hanging pseudo-moral political rhetoric all the more repugnant. It's ironic Heinlein criticizes Marx for not getting it right, when he is making the same mistakes he claims Marx did.
The Really, Really Bad Novel
Heinlein's style in Starship Troopers is that of a competent political essayist. Overall, Troopers is a lot like Moby Dick, but without the beautiful use of the English language or the extra 600 pages. It's a spartan, barren, humorless, ugly rant. The characters are from Central Casting's War Department. The ships, planets, boot camps and other settings are fully generic. The novel glorifies soldiers without making them into heroes we can care about. It wallows in gear-head army talk of all sorts without being inspiring, clever, or clear. It never lets us appreciate either the scope of the events it deals with, or the insularity of the soldier's life, on a visceral level. The book is summed up for me by the protagonist's reaction to his mother's death. What reaction, you say? Well, there you go.
From a literary perspective, Troopers demonstrates a grade-schooler's inability to show rather than tell. When the reader is not suffering interminable political speeches and helpful summaries by the narrator, the battle scenes that bracket the novel read like a commander's log book. If you want to visualize what is happening, break out your lead miniatures and your military encyclopedia.
Perhaps Heinlein is not up to the demands of a first person narrator. His protagonist's voice is never well developed or consistent. Instead, Juan Rico spouts the same kind of rhetoric his commanders do, interspersed with unimaginative descriptions of things. There's no vigorous use of vernacular, and the elegant exposition Heinlein lavishes on his political diatribes is not applied to the rare moments of real-time first-person action.
What makes Troopers worthwhile for the student of science fiction literature is the political and cultural morass through which Heinlein's skinny imaginations wander, and the very fact of the book's fame and influence. It gives one pause, almost as much as . . .
The Spanking Fetish
Heinlein's moral philosophy seems to hinge on the need for repeated spankings of young children. Funny, I always figured my code of conduct was based on empathy and understanding. Poor Bobby boy, did your parents spank all the poetry out of you? Or are you just too hung up fantasizing about whipping one of those spandex-clad pilot babes to spin a good yarn?
Moments of Glory
There are a few good conversations and some well-thought-out military detail buried in this critter. A more mature writer, possibly even Heinlein himself (yeah, right), might have gone easy on the pages of political rhetoric and shown us more in the resulting skeleton. Even characters from Central Casting have some potential, and if one of them had been developed beyond a well-worn stereotype, or into a powerful symbol, the novel might have been worthwhile. A few details, like playing the transport ship's fight song to summon its passengers, were almost good enough to rise up and grab me, but they were lost too quickly in the tumult of rhetorical battle.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Classic Heinlein - interesting ideas, bad writing, Jan. 28 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)
Okay, after reading every one of the reviews posted here, I'm going to write my own review of this book and try not to repeat what others have said already.
I have to start by saying that although I don't particularly like Robert Heinlein's works, I also disagree with the Amazon.com review for "Starship Troopers", which smacks of simplistic knee-jerk liberalism.
When I was a teenager, I loved to read science fiction. Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke were my favorite authors, and I read every work of science fiction that the two of them had ever written. Robert Heinlein's works were there on the same bookshelves at the local libraries, and I read about a half a dozen of them, such as "A Moon is a Harsh Mistress", "Orphans in the Sky", and "Stranger in a Strange Land". Once I became familiar with Heinlein's writing style, I skimmed through his other books at the libraries, and then basically avoided them. I chose not to read "Starship Troopers" at the time.
Recently, I went and saw the movie "Starship Troopers" and was entertained enough to take another look at the book (I'm not saying that this was a good movie - many other reviews have already addressed the flaws in this movie, and I agree with them). Reading the book immediately brought back to me the memories of why I chose not to read the book some twenty-five years ago.
Heinlein's writings all pretty much share this one fatal flaw, in that many of his leading characters fit the mold of this stylized nearly perfect human - selfless, noble, all-wise, and all-knowing. Seeing these characters appear time after time in his works basically ruined the stories for me. One of the underlying premises of science fiction writing is that the author is creating a fantasy world with certain parameters changed, but the people in them (unless they are specified to be a new breed of humans) still behave like real contemporary human beings. Heinlein would try to pass off these perfect Heinlein-beings (a special race of mankind?) as normal people, and of course they would always do just the right thing, for themselves, and for the people around them. They would also get very preachy and launch into these long-winded monologues on various topics such as free love, cannibalism, the meaning of TANSTAAFL, etc., etc. "Starship Trooper" is just packed full of these perfect Heinlein-beings, always doing the right thing, at just the right moment. GGAAAAAGGHH!!!
That is basically why a world like that created in "Starship Troopers" could not function as Heinlein intended unless human beings were somehow first genetically engineered to become perfect, like angels in Heaven. The neat and perfect behavior demanded of the ruling class in this world would quickly disintegrate into the usual self-seeking greed which is still one of the strongest forces underlying all human behavior. The ruling elite would inevitably use their power to increase their advantages in society over those not in the ruling elite, thus undermining Heinlein's simplistic assumption that the non-citizens of his future world could maintain all of their rights and privileges in society while constantly lacking the power to vote. The ultimate expression of this class division would be the development of a slave class in such a society. It is worth noting that the quasi-democracies of the Greek city-states, the Roman Republic, and the early United States (in which only land-owning males had the power to vote) all maintained a slave class.
I want to also address the various comments on freedom, democracy, fascism, and communism/socialism, which have been brought into this discussion of "Starship Troopers". The terms have been rather carelessly thrown about in these various reviews. I don't believe that ANY of these forms of government are perfect. They exist mainly because of a combination of prevailing economic or social forces at work within a country. All of these forms of government have an inherent tendency to favor certain classes or certain types of people within their societies.
Democracy certainly is not the best form of government under all situations. At its very worst, democracies can be highly chaotic, inefficient, and prone to producing either imbalances or compromises in society that could ultimately result in chaos and the destruction of that society. The freedom of a pure democracy works best for those people that have the discipline, talent, and wherewithal to find a place for themselves in society. People without this ability tend to drop into the lower classes and suffer.
In times of societal chaos, or the presence of an external threat to society, fascism is far more efficient in terms of its ability to organize and solve immediate problems. Fascism has an inherent appeal to the upper classes, and sometimes the middle classes, in its promise of providing stability and order in times of chaos. Ultimately, however, fascist societies become corrupt, since it is humanly impossible to have total control of the economy without also succumbing to the temptation of extracting a fortune from those that need government to do business. These "control points" of a fascist society can become serious economic bottlenecks, since no government authority can have the wisdom to accurately predict the success or failure of any particular enterprise, and yet, in a fascist society, the government will be called on to make these sort of decisions.
Communism/Socialism has its greatest appeal for the downtrodden and the lower classes, since it promises to provide for their most pressing needs. The obvious exchange is that people under these governments have to allow the state to make all the decisions for them and therefore give up much of their freedom. For someone starving to death, freedom might not be the most pressing need, and communism would seem to be an ideal form of government. The ideals of communism have never meshed with the reality, however. Under communism, the worker or peasant classes are supposed to be the ones in charge of society, but in fact what always happens is that only a ruling elite emerges. As a result, communism always devolves into a mirror image of fascism. Socialism is the milder strain of communism, and most democracies have inoculated themselves with a version of socialism in order to take care of the suffering of their lower classes; in this way the democracies are protected against a full-scale attack of communism.
As we approach the next Millenium, democracy is breaking out everywhere, and fascism and communism are in serious retreat. Why? The rise of democracy as a superior form of government has basically coincided with the onset of rapid technological changes first started by the Industrial Revolution about two hundred years ago. It has also coincided with the emerging dominance of capitalism and market forces as the main economic engines driving all industrially advanced societies. Technological changes have been so rapid and so unpredictable, that only a free and flexible system, in which bad ideas are allowed to fail quickly, and new ideas are allowed to see the light of day rapidly, could have accommodated such a rapid advance of technology. Joseph Schumpeter, in his classic work "Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy" describes this constant cycle of destruction and creation of companies, ideas, and laws.
No real-life ruling elite could ever be so wise and all-knowing, as the Heinlein-beings were, to accurately predict the societal changes brought on by any particular technological advance and to anticipate what the appropriate laws and other societal adjustments would be needed. Under a true democracy, the widest possible numbers of people in society have access to their government in order to address these needs. Under a democracy, ideas or laws that fail are exposed as failures, and those in charge either have to make the appropriate adjustment or are ousted.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Has nothing to do with the movie, Aug. 2 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)
I am a great fan of ST and its action, but this book has barely a few pages of combat. I understand now that the movie was inspired by this book and nothing more.

For 300 pages, you get 5% of fighting the bugs at the beginning and another 5% at the end of the book. The rest is filled of training stories and millitary procedures.

The only characters that are intact in the movie are Zim (almost) and Shushumi. The others are very altered. Carmen is not his girlfriend. Raschek is only his millitary superior but not his teacher and dies miserably. it is Dubois who plays the role of the veteran teacher. Ace dies quickly too. Dizzy is a guy. No Zander.

I did not appreciate this book and I would say that Davidson, Sammon and Verhoeven did an awesome movie with a good 1959 book that had potential.

And by the way, the bugs have guns! How about that?
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Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (Mass Market Paperback - Jan. 11 2002)
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