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Starship Troopers

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  204,802 ratings  ·  6,048 reviews
The historians can’t seem to settle whether to call this one "The Third Space War" (or the fourth), or whether "The First Interstellar War" fits it better. We just call it “The Bug War." Everything up to then and still later were "incidents," "patrols," or "police actions." However, you are just as dead if you buy the farm in an "incident" as you are if you buy it in a dec ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 263 pages
Published May 15th 1987 by Ace Book (first published December 1959)
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Chris Topher If you make broad assumptions about a person based upon their reading choices, my guess is you use uninformed, simplistic judgments to give yourself a…moreIf you make broad assumptions about a person based upon their reading choices, my guess is you use uninformed, simplistic judgments to give yourself an unfounded feeling of superiority to others. Disagree?

It's not hard to state a condescending opinion in the form of a question in an attempt to disguise it as a desire to spark conversation. It's much harder to start an intelligent discourse about a topic that you have a strong negative opinion of without making your opinion the topic of discussion.

In short, less ad hominem attacks, more book criticism. (less)
Rob I was in the Army and discussions about why soldiers need to train in hand to hand fighting as opposed to just blowing up the enemy from space were th…moreI was in the Army and discussions about why soldiers need to train in hand to hand fighting as opposed to just blowing up the enemy from space were the best explanation for the use of military I have ever heard in my life. Same for the cultural revolution that has led to parent being afraid to discipline their children. If you get nothing else out of this book you will still be so far ahead of people who have never thought about this stuff.
Should be required reading in all schools.

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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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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
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
A great work of science fiction.

This is not at all about action, and fighting bugs, it is a study of a man’s compulsion to fight and or serve his country, and a discussion about our society’s, and any society’s responsibility to its citizens and what is best for society. Like many Heinlein novels, it works well on many levels, the surface science fiction, and then the deeper, more complicated voice of the storyteller, speaking from his own experience.

This is a controversial book. Criticized for
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I first read Starship Troopers as an impressionable teenager. My dad had a lot of SF books around the house, particularly Heinlein's, and I read most of them, except the especially sexy ones that he hid from me. (I read several of them later and hated them. But that's a different story.) And I have vague memories of liking this book - a lot.

So when I decided to reread it as an adult, I was expecting some old-fashioned shoot-up-the-aliens classic pulp SF, like, say, The Puppet Masters.

What I go
Ahmad Sharabiani
Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein

The story is set in a future society ruled by a world government dominated by a military elite. The first-person narrative follows Juan "Johnny" Rico through his military service in the Mobile Infantry.

Rico progresses from recruit to officer against the backdrop of an interstellar war between humans and an alien species known as "Arachnids" or "Bugs".

Interspersed with the primary plot are classroom scenes in which Rico and others discuss philosophical and m
Paul Dura
Apr 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 08, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Leonard Gaya
Space exploration has always been the realm of engineers and the military. When Heinlein wrote this novel (the late 1950s), the US Armed Forces had recently won World War II. They were beefing up their nuclear arsenal against a potential strike from the USSR, sending troops overseas, starting an endless war in Vietnam, and sending the first uncrewed missions to the face of the moon!

Starship Troopers is mostly a Bildungsroman about the US Armed Forces (Robert Heinlein himself was a US Navy office
Peter Topside
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my guilty pleasures is comparing books to their movie adaptations. I picked up Starship Troopers, never realizing that it was originally a book, wanting to do the same. Aside from some very basic concepts and character names, the book is a completely different animal. There are a handful of action scenes, but the book is focused on Johnnie Rico, from his point of view. He begins as a privileged, upper class academic, but chooses to go on a different path by joining up in the armed service ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“Nothing of value is free. Even the breath of life is purchased at birth only through gasping effort and pain.”

Since NPH is one of the reasons Starship Troopers remains a favorite film of mine, I think I’ll let him express my sentiments on the paper version . . .

Houston commercial photography

I need to realize that sometimes it’s okay to not read the book. Starship Troopers is such a cult classic – it’s just soooooo bad that it somehow became great. The boo
Michael Finocchiaro
Starship Troopers was definitely a page turner and one did feel like he was on the ground with the Mobile Infantry, bouncing around killing Bugs. But. It was also incredibly pro-war and the middle development section got a little long. You remember how great Full Metal Jacket was, but that the great parts were at the very beginning and at the very end? Well, I felt that this book also started and ended with adrenaline rushes but that the middle was a bit flat. That being said, the reali
May 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Manuel Antão
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, 1996
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Word of warning. I’m going to discourse both on the book and on the Verhoeven’s movie.

He didn't include them as "grunts" probably because the training was sufficiently hard that most wouldn't have made it. If you read the description of the training it wasn't just 12 weeks square-bashing, it reads far more like Special Forces.

It might also have been because he was paying lip service to a society kind of modelled on 50s America where
Donna Backshall
Starship Troopers, the book, is one of my all-time favorites. This military sci-fi novel has all the aspects of hard science fiction I love: an honest and brave protagonist in a ridiculously dangerous situation, controversial politics, space adventures, cool gadgets, and unimaginable aliens.

By contrast Starship Troopers, the movie, is also one of my favorites, but for completely different (and admittedly shallow) reasons. The movie only vaguely resembles the book, but it has hot-hot-oh-SO-HOT ch
Apr 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
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.

The first book that I read by Robert Heinlein turned out to be a surprise in more than one way. I picked it because it seemed to be the short and fun story among them, and saved his other famous works for later.

The problem with many classics is that they are painfully tedious. The problem with many science fiction novels is that they are mindless entertainment in space. Starship Troopers is neither of these things. It is way more entertaining than the average classic and way smarter than the ave
Oct 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
"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
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the original Mil-SF classics!

I've read this before. Several times, even, back when I was a newb when it came to Heinlein or SF in general. You know, pick up the Hugo Award winners and see if I like the author enough to continue on. Twenty books later, (THAT YEAR,) I discovered something. I like Heinlein. A lot.

But not ALL of Heinlein equally. Starship Troopers seemed kinda preachy to me, a little slow, and RAH, RAH, RAH Civic Duty. :) Suffice to say, I liked it pretty well. Caveats: it di
Jan 17, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Ivana Books Are Magic
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When I say that Starship Troppers is a novel that has had a profound influence on me, most people look at me like I'm crazy. If they haven't read it themselves, I can see why it might not seem too promising, especially if one isn't a SF fan to start with. Nevertheless, I must stand my ground here. I’ve read this novel a number of times now and one doesn’t reread a novel that many times for no reason. This novel functions wonderfully on many levels. In my opinion that is what makes it so great. I ...more
Mar 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.


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


Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been years since I first saw the movie of the same name so it was about time I finally read this classic.

And boy, those two renditions of the story couldn't be more different. But more about that later.

We follow Juan Rico who enlists with the Federal Reserve and becomes an Infantry Man against his parents wishes. The book opens to one of his company's firefights (it's more a skirmish designed to disrupt the enemy rather than an actual battle). However, after that, as a flashback, we follow
Christopher Paolini
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Starship Troopers is the archetypal military sci-fi book. . . and yet it’s far more concerned with the politics and philosophy of its setting than so many of its successors. The action is almost an afterthought. The book also has a rather odd story structure that can take some effort to get into. But it is worth the effort, and though Heinlein often takes a different view of society than many of us do today, I still find myself wishing that more authors were willing to grapple with the questions ...more
James Corey
Dec 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Originally posted at

I've been wanting to do this for a while. Write a series of book reviews of the books that had the most direct influence on my writing, and on The Expanse series in particular. Hopefully, this is just the first.

Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein:

Starship Troopers moved onto my nightstand a couple of days ago. I always have a nightstand book, and it tends to be something I've read before. I'll read a few pages while my wife does her pre-bed puttering, an
Giant Bugs attacking Earth!
Brave people defending our planet!
Grand Science Fiction!

Johnny Rico wears tech-warrior mech-suit as a member of the Mobile Infantry on his path to become a Citizen. For only soldiers can take part in shaping society.

Quotes from the book:

"'You. What is the moral difference, if any, between the soldier and the civilian?' 'The difference,' I answered carefully, 'lies in the field of civic virtue. A soldier accepts personal responsibility for the safety of the body politic
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My main association with Starship Troopers is due to the 90’s movie, I’m sure that I’ve only seen bits of it on TV in the past and that may have clouded my judgement slightly.

The novel follows our narrator Johnny Rico and his experiences through Federal Service, with trials of military life at the forefront of this novel.

I think I was expecting more of action packed story like the reader is given in the opening section, though Heinlein raises some interesting aspects through Johnny’s formative y
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
R.S. Merritt
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this book. I was talking about it with my brother last night because he brought up an organization he's doing work for that looks to fund candidates who are community service oriented. One of their goals is to have half the House and Senate be veterans by 2020. I said i thought that was a great idea and that I thought we should go even further and demand all public servants have some sort of military service to achieve a high office. He disagreed and said it takes all types to be a leader a ...more
Nov 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, pre-80s-sf
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
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Instead of the military pamphlet I was expecting to come across, I read a book about the workings of a military regime.

This is a book with strong biases in favour of the Vietnam war :
- Starship Troopers was issued in 1959.
- In a poll spread by Galaxy Science Fiction on the continuation of the Vietnam war,
72 science fiction writers wrote, “We the undersigned believe the United States must remain in Vietnam to fulfill its responsibilities to the people of that country.”
On the anti-war side,
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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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