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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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2 of 2 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
3.0 out of 5 stars Famous Novel is a Very Mixed Bag, Sept. 16 2003
By 
Maggie (Austin, TX) - See all my reviews
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
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
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 (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 (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 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 (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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5.0 out of 5 stars it was good, March 30 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Paperback)
it was very goo
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars it is a very good and entertaining book+the price is good, Feb. 14 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Paperback)
It's grea
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5.0 out of 5 stars It is good, Feb. 14 1999
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Paperback)
very goo
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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 (Paperback)
Just plain great. The commentary on society is much better than the actual war story.
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Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (Paperback - May 15 1987)
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