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Starship Troopers

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  158,428 Ratings  ·  4,398 Reviews
With Earth embroiled in a vast interplanetary war with the Bugs, a young recruit in the Federal Reserves relates his experiences training in boot camp and as a junior officer in the Terran Mobile Infantry.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 1st 1963 by Roc (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…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)
Kendall Moore Well, that depends. If your expecting a slam-bang SF actioner you'll be disappointed because the story deals with the political implications of…moreWell, that depends. If your expecting a slam-bang SF actioner you'll be disappointed because the story deals with the political implications of individual responsibility in a philosophical tone. Basically, a lot of intellectual discussion and very little action. Don't let this dissuade you though because the themes are profound and the setting is interesting. Besides, when it does show action it puts the Awe in awesome. Read it. (less)
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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  ·  review of another edition
I first read this back in early high school, maybe 26-30 years ago, and over time my memory of the book had been diluted by memories of the film and by thoughts of a similar Hugo award winning novel, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman.

I’m glad that I re-visited this one, because in the 30 years since I first read it, I changed. I became a husband and a father, and significant to my appreciation of this work, went to boot camp, OCS, and Iraq. From this new perspective, I think I understand and valu
Paul Dura
Apr 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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 book, on
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
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
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
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
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
Starship Troopers is a military science fiction novel by U.S. writer Robert A. Heinlein. Written in a few weeks in reaction to the U.S. suspending nuclear tests, the story was first published as a two-part serial in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction as Starship Soldier, and published as a book by G. P. Putnam's Sons in December 1959. The story is set in a future society ruled by a world government dominated by a military elite. The first-person na
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.

Ivana Books Are Magic
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
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
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:


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
Nov 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pre-80s-sf, sci-fi
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
Melissa Rudder
Mar 03, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mr. Matt
Starship Troopers is a Military Science Fiction classic. It is also a cheesy movie. I watched the movie on Netflix, and then read the book. I'm happy to report that the book is much, much better than the movie.

The story follows Rico, a generic soldier in the Terran Infantry in the lead up to and the full fledged explosion of war against the alien "bug" species. The aliens are kind of like ants in that there is a Queen and a vast army or soldier and worker bugs dedicated to a specific role. These
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
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
Aug 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
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-
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Well, goodness, this was nothing like the movie *at all*. I came here for Diz!

And I came here for giant bugs!

Technically, both those things were in the book, albeit briefly, and I'm not totally hating on it for not being the movie. There were good things about the book, but I think the movie did a better job of streamlining it and pulling out the parts that are important to me--namely, character development.

Heinlein's story follows Juan (Johnnie) Rico as he joins and trains for the mobile infa
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
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Without a doubt. ‘Starship Troopers’ is immersive. The book takes you deep inside its subject matter and over-loading you with minutiae and the day to day. It’s just that the world it immersed me in was one I really didn’t want to be in.

Essentially a love letter to soldiering and the soldier, with space marines representing all that is good about Man and Mankind in the most gung-ho, no compromise fashion imaginable. If you’re someone who buys military magazines each month (or even ‘Commando’ com
Feb 03, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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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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
More about Robert A. Heinlein

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“Happiness consists in getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more.” 2943 likes
“There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.” 288 likes
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