Jesse's Reviews > Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
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Jul 14, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: sci-fi
Read in July, 2008

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-person perspective, it gives more of the feel of a narrated third-person observation. The action is fast-paced, the conflicts are well-fought, and the reader is never disappointed, but a sense of detachment definitely forms. Heinlein does go into great detail on the futuristic technologies, exemplified by the description of a Mobile Infantry mechanized armor suit, solidifying the story's claim to the title of science fiction; at the same time, a fair job is done displaying the personal struggles that are all too real to any person of any time, and allow the reader to truly relate. The author even adds his own bit of personal experience to the novel, as one can clearly draw from his descriptions of recruit training that Heinlein was at one time processed through the military himself. At one point in the writing, he directly addresses the read with a comment that if you have never been through boot camp yourself, he doesn't expect you to understand - and having been through Army Basic myself, I can tell you he certainly got it right.

At the time of its release, Starship Troopers was one of the most controversial writings imaginable. That's because it's far less an action-adventure story than it is an intellectual political science debate. Many, many times in only a few hundred pages, Heinlein goes into great detailed explanations of the system of government employed by the Terran Federation, and compares and contrasts with many previous systems, including 20th century America. The controversy lies in the negative connotations: he repeatedly calls all 20th century governments failures, and at one point directly insults the very principles of democracy. Especially due to the circumstances of the time (1959, Cold War in full swing), many could have viewed his words as socialist, unpatriotic, or even treasonous; nevertheless, every point he makes is backed by a logical argument, all of which make a great deal of sense.

All in all, a great piece of work by a brilliant man; contained within is enough varied content to satisfy the adventure-seeker, the military man, the tactician, the logician, the political critic, and the typical sci-fi reader, whether die-hard or casual.
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Terence Gallegos very well said. couldnt agree with you more


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