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
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A poor man's "Forever War"
I received the book while participating in a book swap years ago, but never got around to reading it, although I was familiar with other books by Heinlein. When I saw the movie, I thought, "Yep. This is one of Heinlein's stories." I dug out the book, and was very disappointed. It is a pretty good book in its own right, but having read "The Forever...
Published on July 23 2000 by Steve Herr
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5.0 out of 5 stars A controversial novel--is it Heinlein's best?,
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)I've read nearly everything Heinlein ever wrote. I like to group his novels into three general categories. They are:
1. "Youth" novels such as the excellent "Citizen of the Galaxy", "Tunnel in the Sky" and "Podkayne of Mars." These feature young heroes or heroines in challenging situations.
2. "Future History" novels, such as "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress","Time Enough for Love", "Methuselah's Children", "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" and "Friday."
3. Novels with metaphysical or philosophical leanings such as "Stranger in a Strange Land" and "Starship Troopers."
You could put "Starship Troopers" in the category of a youth novels. Rico, the young hero of the novel is barely out of high school when he volunteers for military service in order to win citizenship privileges--and impress pretty fellow student Carmen. She's volunteering for service, hoping her mathematics talent will gain her a pilot's seat.
Wait! Citizenship privileges--what's that? Aren't we all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the vote? Well, not in John Rico's world. There, citizenship is earned by military service, and it isn't all flowers and pancakes, either. If war breaks out, your short stint becomes...indefinite.
So why would anyone risk life and limb, plus some very unpleasant times in boot camp, just to be able to vote? That's the philosophical underpinning of "Starship Troopers." Heinlein creates a republic based on a sort of responsible freedom, where liberty is granted, but the right to direct it is earned by those who paid in a stake.
So, is this book a boring political rant? Heck no! In amongst the lectures on liberty and good government a la Heinlein is an incredibly action-packed adventure. The Bugs are an alien race bent on destroying the Earth. And Earth armies have little idea how to stop them except they know they must do so to survive.
The scenes in boot camp are gripping. The battle scenes are realistic. The "special effects"--the armored suits the infantry wears are amazing "seven-league boots" that impart near-Superman powers on the soldier who wears it. The film that was based on this book caught the excitement of a society at war with a deadly enemy, but the book has more action than the film ever could have...and a lot more explanation of what motivates each character.
If you haven't read this, you are in for a real treat. This is, in my opinion, one of Heinlein's best novels, along with "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" and the rambling but brilliant "Time Enough For Love." It's so good that I almost make a fourth category for just "Starship Troopers" by itself. It's my favorite of Heinlein's works.
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for any service-member,
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" offers one of the most accurate portrayals of military life (especially basic training) that I've ever encountered in a work of fiction, even taking into consideration the sci-fi genre. Although it is somewhat of a political diatribe, it is nonetheless wonderful to read. Hollywood didn't do it justice with the film...it could've been much more than flashy f/x and mediocre acting. Read it yourself...
5.0 out of 5 stars Missing the Point,
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)This is probably the most reviewed of all Heinlein books, and most are split between a "Utopian" (positive) or "Fascist" (negative) opinion. There has been so much said of it being a "Political" or "Military" book, but these labels miss the point... this is a book about a boy becoming a man and facing life...and death. The political and military sides are just normal Heinlein; these were the things he believed in. They set the stage to view the journey of Juan Rico from unthinking boy to leading the Roughnecks, and framed what he became, just as life frames us all... e.g., Sept 11th. It's not about the right to vote, or militarism, or killing bugs....It's about Juan growing up. The movie was unwatchable to this long-time Heinlein reader, but see "The Puppet Masters".. this is a fine movie which follows his book almost exactly.
4.0 out of 5 stars Have many of the reviewers actually read this book?,
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)I was going through ST again and decided to look at the Amazon reviews. I've seen various comments that it is about fascism and glorifies the military. Have you all actually read the book or just parroting something you heard? In the ST universe, everyone has equal rights except for the right to vote. It is restricted to those people who have proven a willingness to take responsibility for themselves and others, as demonstrated by their willingness to serve. And that service takes the principal form of military service for two reasons: first, because the government is itself extremely limited in nature and extent (comparable to the original intent of the United States Constitution); and second, because the story itself deals with person who goes from being a boy only interested in himself and impressing a girl to a man who realizes that there are things more important than himself, namely his comrades and his duty. That theme certainly has no fascist undertones, as it has been a central theme of fiction since humans began telling morality tales in the form of myth over campfires millenia ago.
As for Heinlein's depiction of how our society failed and was replaced, I was amazed that he accurately predicted many social phenomenon that were practically nonexistent in his day: juvenile gangs "wilding" through cities, social workers explaining away their actions, etc.
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT FASCIST!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)George Orwell once said that for many the word 'fascist' has no meaning except 'anything that I don't like or don't agree with'. Anyone who says that 'Troopers', 'advocates fascism' or that it 'sounds alot like Mein Kampf'...either doesen't understand Heinlein, or doesn't understand fascism, or both...Now, on to my review: In brief I will say that Starship Troopers is a compelling, highly readable work of moral and political philosophy with a little bit of adventure thrown in at the end. His description of boot camp and the military life rings true to any veteran, and his ideas, agree with them or not (and I must admit, I found myself agreeing more often than not) are compelling, and well argued. If you are looking for an adventure story, like the movie which is allegedly based on this book, then I suggest that you look elsewhere. But if you want to read a book that will cause you to re-think your whole philosophy of life then this book is highly recommended.
4.0 out of 5 stars Forget the movie; read the book,
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)the movie was entertaining, but the book is exactly what you want from science fiction: fantastic, though-provoking, surprising and a great read. heinlein is philosophical, as usual, but he also shines creatively in this book. if you are a science fiction reader interested in "hows" and "whys," this will be a satisfying read. plus, he's not nearly as annoying about women in this book as he is in others.
5.0 out of 5 stars Heinlein's black sheep classic,
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)Starship Troopers is one of those books that you have to read over and over to fully get everything that goes on in it. It's a thinking man's book that is as entertaining as any work of popular fiction. Troopers is really philosophical/social/political novel. Unlike the film version, there isn't much war in it. Mostly Heinlein waxing philosophical.
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book ever written!!!!!,
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)This is the best book that I have ever read! While I prefer the Bugs of the 1997 film, everything else in Heinlein's book is modivated and patriotic. I mainly liked this book because of two characters: Drill Sergeant Zim and history teacher Jean Dubois. Zim's the kind of man who, as they say in the game Half-Life: Opposing Force, will make you "eat danger and crap victory". And the philosophical debates about our society today in Mr. Dubois' class made me think "That's a good point! Why haven't we tried to figure that out?" I admit that I skipped over the first chapter because I didn't think it was interesting, but once you get pass that hurdle then you can sit back a REALLY enjoy the novel. Although Heinlein is no longer alive, I'm certain that his book will be thoroughly enjoyed by future generations. And for those in this generation I recommend that you read this book.
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic flawed by pontificating,
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)Starship Troopers is an essentially utopian novel. Yes, there is a brutal war going on, but this is really the tale of what Heinlein considers the ideal society: a militaristic regime where the truest source of social virtue is in service to one's country. These utopian ideals lead to several rather preachy sections that distract from an otherwise good story; it's not that I disagree with the ideas - although, to some extent I do, I am perfectly willing to enjoy a novel with political views different from my own - it's just that the presentation of the ideas disrupts the flow of the story.
The story itself deals with a future Earth society at war with an alien race referred to as the Bugs. The first half of the story deals with the basic training of Johnnie Rico in this futuristic army; the second half deals with the war he fights. Since it is a war that humans are losing, Rico rises through the ranks as much by attrition as by ability. The plot is rather simple, but Heinlein can make things move quickly.
The politics I referred to previously figure prominently in Rico's development. Although Heinlein seems to embrace these ideas wholeheartedly, many will find them simplistic and disturbing, and as mentioned before, sometimes it seems Heinlein is less interested in the story than in commenting on contemporary society. (Ironically, for a writer as obviously anti-communist as Heinlein, this story is about forsaking individuality for the benefit of a group and the idea that national service is better than money...both rather socialist ideas.)
Overall, however, this a good book. I would recommend it for science fiction fans as one in a trilogy of human versus alien war novels that are classics in the genre. The other two are Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. All three novels are award-winning and cover the same subject in different manners.
5.0 out of 5 stars It actually meant something!,
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)If you saw the movie that was similarly titled but haven't read this book, you need to. This is much better, has more meaningful content and cooler action scenes. I really can't imagine why they changed any of it, but that's Hollywood for you.
I am very glad that I have a copy without any references to "The Bug Movie" on the cover.
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Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (Mass Market Paperback - Jan 11 2002)
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