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Starship Troopers

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  95,091 ratings  ·  2,662 reviews
In one of Robert Heinlein's most controversial bestsellers, a recruit of the future goes through the toughest boot camp in the Universe--and into battle with the Terran Mobile Infantry against mankind's most frightening enemy.
Mass Market Paperback, 264 pages
Published May 15th 1987 by Ace Book (first published December 1959)
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Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardDune by Frank Herbert1984 by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books
26th out of 4,447 books — 16,016 voters
Old Man's War by John ScalziStarship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinPandora's Star by Peter F. HamiltonRevelation Space by Alastair ReynoldsOn Basilisk Station by David Weber
Excellent Space Opera
2nd out of 280 books — 1,470 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Manny
My first impulse is to dismiss it as an appalling piece of militaristic propaganda, whose one saving grace is that it's at least much better than the movie. But that wouldn't be doing the book justice. With all its faults, I simply loved it as a 14 year old, and I'm in no way alone there. Why is it so fascinating?

Let me start by dismissing a couple of possible theories. One reviewer wonders if it's deadpan satire. I suppose, when you see some of Heinlein's later books (Stranger in a Strange Land
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Paul Dura
Starship Troopers is listed amongst the recommended books by the United States Air Force for a reason. For those who plan on pursuing a military career, this book exhibits the very ideals upon which our current military standards are based. Camaraderie, Sacrifice, and Responsibility are more than mere words to the protagonist. The distinction between a fighting man and a soldier is made. The distinction between a superior rank and a true officer is made. Johnny Rico is a soldier in more than mer ...more
Michael

Big nasty communist spiders are attacking Earth and all the planets it has colonized! It's a battle between man and bug, and who is to save us?

I'll tell you who! Guys with really fucking big guns, that's who! With spacesuits that make it so they can jump over buildings, and deflect bullets, and drop from spaceships to the surface of planets without getting hurt! That's who!

These guys get dropped onto planets with their spacesuits and their big guns, and they can incinerate some little brown peo
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Jeff
"What do you mean 'They' cut the power? How could they cut the power man they're animals!"

Aliens (sure it's the wrong movie, but a cool quote nevertheless)

The book has very little in common with the movie. The film is something that is ubiquitous on cable. You can probably see the entire thing in snippets just by changing the channels over the course of a year.

In both the film and book, the soldiers battle big bug thingies. The book is only bookended with battle sequences, the rest is training
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Mike (the Paladin)
I enjoyed this book greatly. While I certainly can't be said to agree with Heinlein on every aspect of life, politics, or theology...I do appreciate where he's coming from in this book. (Remember it's a 1959 book, before the idiotic handling of Vietnam became apparent). There are thought provoking ideas in this book even if it is considered a YA book. Agree or disagree, it's a good read.

By the way, I must say this. It's often (actually more often than not) true that a movie doesn't live up to t
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Lucas
Where do I even begin? For starters, I should let the reader know that I'm not basing my score on the politics of the book (as laughable as I think they are) but on the plot of the book, or rather the complete lack of a plot in the book. While things do happen, some of them pretty big, Mr. Heinlein has seen fit that we should not be party to any of those things. Instead, he saves the most loving descriptions for daily life at boot camp. Seventy, yes seventy, pages of a two hundred-odd page book ...more
Tom
Chock-a-block full of gung-ho jingoism, narrow minded fascist pipe dreams, and casual descriptions of institutional dehumanization as well as violence...basically everything you would expect from a book written in the perspective of a futuristic jarhead. I have never read a book in which I agreed with so little, but loved so much.

Jenny
Sep 19, 2012 Jenny rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
This was terrible and not interesting at all. This book is for people who are interested in the nuances of military training and organization and did not feel like classic science fiction to me. I guess technically it takes place in the future and in space but this is such a minor part of the book that it shouldn't really fall into the sci-fi category. As I entered the last 50 pages, I seriously considered stopping reading. I was confused by the military ranks and didn't care about any of the ch ...more
Dan Schwent
Against his family's wishes, Juan "Johnnie" Rico joins the Mobile Infantry and the war against the Bugs. Will he make it out alive?

Yeah, I don't really know what to think about this book. I picked it up solely because it was an inspiration for one of my favorite books, Old Man's War by John Scalzi. While the writing was very good, there was never an "I can't put it down" moment. I'd say ninety percent of the book was Juan Rico's military life. There wasn't a lot of action until the end.

I liked t
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Randy
If you have seen the movie- forget it. Besides the names, it shares very little with RAH's study on why free men subject themselves to a loss of freedom in order to ensure freedom for others.
This book greatly influenced me when I was a boy- and it still colors my thinking today- 35 years later.
This should be on the reading lists of every high school.

AFTERNOTE!

I would like to correct what appears to be a common misconception about the society described in Heinlein's book:

YOU DID NOT HAVE TO BE

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Apatt
I started reading sci-fi quite intensively in the 80s (as if my life depended on it) and if you had asked me at the time who my favorite of the Big Three of Science Fiction is I would have said Robert A. Heinlein. He was, I thought, the funniest, the liveliest, the least dry, and basically the most badass of the Three. In recent years have been re-reading a lot of classic sci-fi and my answer today would be different. I would place Isaac Asimov first then Arthur C. Clarke and Heinlein would be t ...more
TK421
No doubt that if you're looking at this review, you have probably seen the movie of the same name...not a bad movie, but not a good one either. I read this one in high school after having seen a green placard on I-90 that said "Movie Location: STARSHIP TROOPERS."

I thought that was pretty cool...not many cool things happen in South Dakota, so having a pretty descent (I thought at the time) movie shot in our Badlands made me even more interested in the book. Sometime later, I bought a copy at a us
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Jesse
If you're expecting a carbon copy of the movie in print form, you're in for a bit of a surprise. Heinlein was one of the greatest science fiction writers of his time, possibly one of the best ever - not the sort to write the cheesy jokes and poor dialogue the Hollywood version spouts. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy the film, as an action-adventure film, but the novel from which it derives is a much better piece of work.

The writing in this book is very technical. Though told from a first-
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Melissa Rudder
Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers did nothing for me. Its cover advertises controversy and boasts of the exciting journey of Johnnie Rico through the intergalactic military camp of the future. It sounded promising; unfortunately, I was not awed or entertained. If anything, I was pleased the novel was a quick read so that I could more readily set it aside.

To follow a character through the ups and downs of boot camp and warfare and to revel in his victories and sympathize with his failings, i
...more
Eric
Mar 21, 2013 Eric rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: A must for sci-fi fans
I had been meaning to read this for a while, and am glad I finally got around to it. I have a bunch of unrelated thoughts, which I'll just list below in no particular order of importance.

- I'm sure I am not the first to note this, but Starship Troopers is nothing like the '90s movie that shares its name -- not in plot, tone, or any other respect, other than a few of the main characters' names being left unchanged. The book is far, far superior.

- This book was very far ahead of its time, in terms
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Kat Kennedy
I watched Starship Troopers first. I found it amusing, gory, action based and fluffy. When I read the book I wondered if the directer/script writer had read the same one I had. Turns out that he never finished this book and made the story up as he saw fit. Suddenly everything made sense to me.

As far as pacing and plot go, you won't find any of that here. There isn't much of a plot to this book and the story arc, so to speak, is more like a low lying limbo poll. Straight and short.

What I absolut
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Andrew
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris
This book is controversial. Says so right there on the cover - "The Controversial Classic of Military Adventure!" A quick look at its Wikipedia page seems to support this, claiming that the book has been criticized for its literary merit, its support of the military, up to and including fascism, racism, utopianism, and gods knows what else. What is certainly true is that it's a book that is guaranteed to make someone, somewhere very angry.

In the unspecified future, humanity has taken to the star
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Sesana
Sorry, I just didn't like it. I'm not knocking Heinlein's skills as a writer. The one thing he does very, very well here is to make the main character's voice realistic. Reading this book feels exactly like sitting down to several long conversations with a combat veteran. The way he describes military service is likewise very realistic. That said, I found myself bored by the near total lack of action. The vast majority of this book is nothing by military training, which in most ways are absolute ...more
Hudson
I saw this movie more than once and always enjoyed the social satire as well as the sci-fi "shoot 'em up" fighting scenes with the bugs. I'm not really a huge sci-fi fan so I had no idea who Robert Heinlein was or that the movie was adapted from a book. At the end of the day this was a great find for me because I liked the book and I think I might be open to more sci-fi going forward (also just read The Martian coincidentally).

Here's the thing: in addition to the fighting scenes and sci-fi type
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Kirstine

At the moment I'm 1 month through my 4 month basic training program in the army. I volunteered for this, and when the 4 months are up I can continue with my life as though nothing has happened. But something has happened. I have, basically, been taught to kill, to fight, to function as decent soldier. And it puzzles me how we can teach young men and women how to do these things, and not at the same time teach them about morals, about ethics and about knowing what's right and wrong. I say teach,
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Jason
I wanted to like this book, but there was so little plot. The little plot that was given was only a segway to a rant on military living or very thinly vealed social commentary. I don't mind science fiction having social relevance, but it should no be so blatantly presented as a teacher's class room lecture. The book is only 200 pages long and I would say only about 45 pages of it had anything to do with a plot. The rest was a continuous rant. I didn't disagree with all of the authors objections. ...more
sckenda
This Hugo Award-winning 1959 classic by “the dean of American science fiction writ­ers” just happens to take place in the 22nd century and involves intergalactic warfare against insectoid monsters, but it nonetheless captures the feel of military service, and the ordeal of young recruits from basic train­ing to battle-hardness, with a vividness that will resonate for any serviceman in any era. Heinlein, a Naval Academy graduate, brings these things to life through the story of John­nie Rico, who ...more
Jon
Jun 26, 2009 Jon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jon by: Ron Andrea
Probably 3.5 stars but I'll round up since it did win the Hugo.

The beginning and the ending chapters were good. The middle was interesting, but not controversial. I believe Heinlein asked himself the question "What if our 20th century democracies collapsed? What if veterans picked up the pieces? What sort of government would result?" He answered with Starship Troopers. The Bug Hunt was just gravy.

Most of the philosophical dissertations intrigued me, probably because of the military slant. Even
...more
Michael
Nov 26, 2009 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sci fi fans, strategy buffs, Historians
Recommended to Michael by: Paul Verhoeven
First, let's get the old debate out of the way: Was Heinlein deliberately describing a Fascist society in positive terms? Yes. The positive proof comes on page 183, in which a teacher, praising the system in which only veterans have the right to vote, says the following: "To vote is to wield authority; it is the supreme authority from which all other authority derives - such as mine to make your lives miserable once a day. _Force_ if you will! - the franchise is force, naked and raw, the Power o ...more
Jonathan
A few things that come to mind that were different between the film and the book:

(view spoiler)
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Simon
My reading this novel was long overdue and I looked forward to it eagerly, especially after seeing how much controversy it still generates today. Now that it comes to reviewing it, one thing I don't really have to worry about is spoilers. This isn't a conventionally plotted novel, more a reflection of the protagonist's (Rico) military career.

What particularly makes this novel so controversial is that Heinlein is postulating, in his own inimical away, a utopian military led society. Furthermore,
...more
Stephen
4.0 stars. Classic Heinlein military science fiction that is well plotted and contains a memorable main character.

Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1960)
Alicja
rating: 3/5

Decided finally to listen to the audiobook (preferably while working out). Classic sci-fi so many people seem to love while others hate. It also spurs on political discussions galore so I chose to see for myself what all the fuss is about. And, oh boy...

Let's just make something clear, I love military/war types of fiction but in real life I am pretty left of the spectrum on most issues (moderate on others). So when I read this book I tried to keep an open mind and rate it based on fic
...more
Arun Divakar
The term 'soldiering on' attains a whole new meaning when you view it from the point of someone who has worn the uniform. People I know who have quit the service still fondly remember their days of being in there. But even then none of them as far as I know prefer war or even the skirmishes that lead up to it. In war rooms, the generals and statesmen make the decisions and the soldiers go out and do what they are told. When I once asked someone as to have you ever throught as to why you are aske ...more
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Robert Anson Heinlein was an American novelist and science fiction writer. Often called "the dean of science fiction writers", he is one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of "hard science fiction".

He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was the first SF writer to break into mainstre
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