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on May 12, 1997
Has it only been 15 years since ST was published? Nah, it has to have been at least 20. I know the renewed interest has to be because of the movie's coming out shortly. Well, it looks like they put the soldiers in Roman helmets (had to SEE the hero's FACE-right? I predict it will be a poorer rendition than the Puppet Masters). With dozens of reader reviews below, what's left unsaid? Well, everyone focused on the novel's sociology, but missed the technology (apparently the movie does too [but I haven't seen it, yet]). What a huge techical leap to put men into armored mechanized suits, making them the equivalent to an armored tank, but far more mobile and responsive. It is apparently an advance that the politics of our military has overlooked. But then so was the dive bomber, etc. The military is not much for innovation that necessitates changing its basic structure (army, air force, navy, marines). The innovation in Heinlein's book leaves only navy and marines (the navy's boats fly, and the grunts in suits do the killing and breaking of things). That's my counter-viewpoint. Read it, and share it with a friend! {Copyright 1997 Nathan Ray Stephenson
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on May 10, 1997
I'm 16, and I really don't see how ST could have
been written for adolescents, I've tried to loan
it to my friends and only some of them understand
it. The book really isn't high on action, only the
beginning and end have any actions scenes.
The real beauty of this novel is the political
statement, which is militaristic, right-wing, and
yet at the same time eliminates all of the(in my
opinion, of course) really annoying right wing
philosophies, mainly racism and over-religiousness.
Of course, that's just me, I agree with the thing;
I'm not qualified to say what you'll think of it
if, for example, you're Jesse Jackson. All I can
say is that the ideas are well written, woven into
the story, and supported. Oh, and one more thing:
ANYTHING AT ALL like the book. I'm seeing it
anyway, out of loyalty, same as I'm seeing Alien4,
despite the fact that Alien3 was the worst movie
in the history of the world. Aliens is the best
movie ever.
So just keep that in mind, and if the opportunity
presents itself, read the thing.
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on May 5, 1997
Read this book first in boarding school in early 1960s. What is memorable about it is the war (such as it is); the CLASSROOM COLLOQUIES -- which should have been a rather awkward way for an aging Heinlein to get his philosophy across but WORKED GREAT anyhow; a society in which the right to vote was given only to military veterans.... Ranks below TUNNEL IN THE SKY in the Heinlein oeuvre, but still a classic. (Until the very end, even bad Heinlein was great.) You can't attain to SciFi literacy without reading it (even if it is crypto-fascist; and let's not kid ourselves: NOT A FEW SciFi writers have had even more reactionary dispositions and agendas....)
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on May 3, 1997
Starship Troopers was quite interesting, and the action scenes, the relationships between characters, and the powerful descriptions were superb. However, I can niether like nor defend Robert Heinlein's radical political beliefs which he incoporates into the book. The concept of federal service in this oppressive society didn't bother me, but how Heinlein tried to justify it was. He tries to explain that nothing should be free, even basic civil rights, with absurd logic. The corporal punishment idealology and claims that democracy is a poor government were pathetic as well. Then again, Socrates, the well-respected Greek philosopher, thought democracy was a poor government as well, and people still think he was wise, just confused. I feel the same about Heinlein and Starship Troopers. If you can ignore Heinlein's political views, you'll like this book
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on April 30, 1997
I first read Starship Troopers about 3 or 4 years ago. I found that once I started I just couldn't put it down. Starship Troopers in this readerrs opinion is one of the best books ever written. I have worn my copy out from repeated reading. The conscious struggle that the main character goes through is so real from breaking away from his father to deciding that a military career is right for him. The relationships that he carries on throughout the book give real insight into his personalitiy. This book is truely one of the best books that this reader has ever read and I give it a resounding 10
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on April 28, 1997
I can barely describe my disappointment after finally settling down to read Troopers after 35 years of SF. Ninety percent of the "action" takes place in the protagonist's head; sorry, but boot camp ruminations are B-O-R-I-N-G. One hopes that the movie version will replace this right-wing proselytizing with an actual plot
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on April 27, 1997
I must admit that when I first heard ST was coming
out as a movie, I was filled with both excitement
and concern. This book has held a special place in
my heart since I first read it in junior high. My
ratty and slightly weatherbeaten copy of 'Troopers has
survived nearly 15 years and numerous applications of
clear acetate and duct tape- it now holds a special place
on my bookshelf. I guess, in many ways, it paralleled by
journey from young and idealistic suburbanite to airborne
ranger and from there to college student and corporate America.
I think it is interesting to see other veterans waxing poetic about
this book. I think, in many ways, it says what we want our
country to know- that love of country, honor and duty are
not simply words or traditions of the past. My copy of
troopers is also sentimental to me because it was passed
around my squad when things were quiet, in the field and
even sitting on the tarmac with 'chutes and packs attached.
Although I have what most would consider to be a full and
succesful life I miss those days the most- like Rico, I was
young, in shape and doing something that I believed in.
I really hope that the film doesn't cheapen the message
of the story.
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on April 26, 1997
"Shines the Name..."

A quick scan of the reviews already posted shows that Heinlein's Masterpiece remains controversial and thought provoking. How many science fiction novels survive in popular publication for thirty years?

As a novel of the science fiction genre, it was ahead of its time, and marked the beginning of what would be a trend for Heinlein; examining humanity and society from a perspective which differs from that of the audience.

Written as a Juvenile for Scribners and Sons, the rejection of this manuscript marked the end of Heinlein's relationship with that publishing house. While "Starship Troopers" does indeed work as a "juvenile" (I read it first at age 16), it is far more and works at many different levels.

At a basic level, "Starship Troopers" remains one of the best examinations of why men fight as part of national armies. This examination probably explains why it is the ONLY work to appear on the professional reading lists for all four of the United States Armed Forces, and is perhaps sufficient unto itself to secure this work a place on future lists of classic works of English Literature. But there is indeed more...

Heinlein also examines the philosphical underpinnings of our system of government, and posits that what we have earned too cheaply (unlimited free franchise) we indeed value (and practice) too lightly. These societal musings will cause even the most dyed in the wool pendants from either end of the political spectrum to pause for reflection. That Heinlein can do this in such a short novel is revealing as to his mastery of the written language.

While this book is indeed militaristic, it does not glorify violence. Neither, though, does "Starship Troopers" condemn violence. Rather, Heinlein brings home forcefully the point that violence is a fact of both human nature and the animal kingdom. "Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms."

A great read, and a work which will remain timeless until a more peacefull race decides that it "...ain't gonna practice war no more."
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on April 23, 1997
This is a great book it follows the adventurs of a space marine in the far future. Not as much action that i thought that it would have but what it had in story greately made up for it surley one of his best to be ranked with stranger and Time enough for love
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on April 22, 1997
Starship Troopers is arguably one of Robert Heinlein's most misunderstood novels. Fans and critics alike have often been guilty of grossly oversimplifying this deep and multifaceted work. What the author began as a simple action-adventure/coming of age story for a line of juvenile books mutated along the way into a very adult exercise in speculative sociology (and yet still reads well as action-adventure and coming of age.)
The central theme of Troopers is, "How would society be different if we had to earn our citizenship and right to vote instead of having it handed to us just for being born?" Note that Heinlein never advocates or denounces this idea--he merely presents it as something worth thinking about and asks the question "Is it any less rational that the system we currently use?"
The story follows the journey of Johnnie Rico--a high school graduate who impulsively enlists in government service to impress a girl. He initially has fuzzy visions of flying military spacecraft into combat and wooing the heart of his high school infatuation. Reality quickly comes crashing down around young Mr. Rico when he learns that the only thing he is qualified for is the Mobile Infantry--the hardest, dirtiest, most dangerous, and ultimately the most important branch of Earth's armed forces.
Because the story follows the adventures of a military recruit it has often been criticized for being "overly militaristic." Frankly this is like calling Moby Dick "overly nautical!" Obviously a book about a soldier in training is going to deal heavily with the workings of the military establishment. Starship Troopers has also often been criticized as being "fascist", "advocating military dictatorship" and "ultra right wing." All of these criticisms seem to ignore what is actually printed in the story. Military service is just one way of earning citizenship. Not only can those engaged in government service not hold political office, they cannot even vote until their service is over. Most of Earth's citizens (note that Heinlein is writing about a world government--the ultimate horror for the ultra right) are content to let a tiny minority do the dirty work of serving and voting--there is no compulsory service of any kind and ordinary people seem to enjoy as much or more freedom than do contemporary Americans.
Although the book can sometimes bog down when characters get preachy Starship Troopers is a must-read for any true fan of science fiction, or for that matter any reader who would likes to see a master imagineer play with ideas most people take for granted.
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