Ric's Reviews > Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
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really liked it

Been reading a lot of military SF lately and thought it would be neat to calibrate the contemporary works with this classic by the SF grandmaster. However, it's been a while since I read Starship Troopers, and I'd forgotten that I didn't really "like" it the first time around.

The novel starts out with a thrilling action sequence, then follows this with some boot camp vignettes, now almost obligatory in the grunt-driven books of the genre. So much promise, then the narrative devolves into Heinleinian diatribes and proselytizing, and the intensity dissipates. Perhaps, this was just how the author intended the novel to be, a type of avant garde exercise in non-sequential and non sequitur story-telling, filled with profound symbolism, such as the son, now an officer, encountering his father fresh out of boot camp. The indefinite ending certainly hews more to style than substance and leaves one longing for the elegant resolution of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

And yet ... and yet, it all seems to work, the novel delivers far more subtle messages and paints far more eidetic images, far more than what a slam-bang action-driven short-but-neat-n-sweet forgettable cliche might have done. The end product is a somber-toned exposition of the vagaries of war, and the dismantling of heroic soldiers into basic elements of fear, muscle memory and dumb luck. There aint no such thing as a real hero, Heinlein is saying. And there aint no such thing as a just war.

On the subject of the movie version, it strikes me that the movie makers shot a film of what the novel should have been about --- bugs, telegenic soldiers, intergalactic warfare and big guns. And seeing how badly that failed, it seems a vindication of what Heinlein chose to write, a work not quite what one expects. Classic.

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Reading Progress

October 2, 2010 – Shelved
May 9, 2015 – Started Reading
May 9, 2015 –
20.0% "Been reading so much military Sf lately that I though re-reading this classic novel would help re-calibrate expectations."
May 10, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Banner Good review. I've been hesitant to reread Heinlein, for fear of major disappointment. They seemed more exciting and less preachy in my teen years. If I were to reread it would be this one.

message 2: by Ric (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ric Thanks. Fair warning - the best I could give this was 4 stars, mostly for the SF elements.

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