Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽'s Reviews > Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
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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 got was a lot of this:
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Not much of this:
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And you can forget about this:
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Basically it's one long military lecture wrapped in a paper-thin science fiction plot. I was surprised by how little action there was, and how much pontificating on military strategy and training. More than half of it reads like a textbook. It's not as painfully tedious as the infamous 100-page John Galt lecture in Atlas Shrugged (what is??), but it's pretty bad unless you're actually interested in military theory, from a proponent's point of view.

As many reviewers have mentioned, this is one of those cases where the book has virtually nothing in common with the movie, other than the name and a few basic plot details. I'm pretty certain that Heinlein is rolling in his grave over Paul Verhoeven's satirical treatment of his military screed.

And I'm still confused why Teenage Me thought this was a great book ...
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
March 8, 2013 – Shelved
October 13, 2015 – Shelved as: science-fiction
October 13, 2015 – Shelved as: stole-from-dad
October 13, 2015 – Shelved as: dated-social-attitudes
October 13, 2015 – Shelved as: not-my-cuppa-tea

Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)

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Jana Teenage Me thought this was a great book, too. But don't ask Adult Me why, because she has zero answers!


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Jana wrote: "Teenage Me thought this was a great book, too. But don't ask Adult Me why, because she has zero answers!"

I find Teenage Me almost as confusing as my teenage children now!

This review started out as just a few thoughts on this book, but it grew long enough that I'm going to submit it as a mini-review for Fantasy Literature. :)


message 3: by Anne (new) - added it

Anne LMAO! Isn't this the one you wanted me to buddy read with you?!


Jana Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽ wrote: I find Teenage Me almost as confusing as my teenage children now!

This review started out as just a few thoughts on this book, but it grew long enough that I'm going to submit it as a mini-review for Fantasy Literature. :) "


I thought being a teenager would then make dealing with teenagers easier, but it absolutely did not. :P

Great idea! It'll be a good addition to the site.


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Anne wrote: "LMAO! Isn't this the one you wanted me to buddy read with you?!"

Nope - that one was The Puppet Masters, the one I mention in this review. You're still on the hook. :)


message 6: by Lily (new)

Lily Haha, always fun to revisit teenage favorites. I was sorting through some of mine recently. Eyebrows were definitely raised.


message 7: by Anne (new) - added it

Anne Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽ wrote: "Anne wrote: "LMAO! Isn't this the one you wanted me to buddy read with you?!"

Nope - that one was The Puppet Masters, the one I mention in this review. You're still on the hook. :)"


*frowns* I coulda sworn!


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Puppet Masters, I promise. I would not have inflicted a Starship Troopers BR on you. You would never forgive me. ;)


message 9: by Anne (new) - added it

Anne Oh, I'd forgive you eventually. I think... ;)
We planned on a read sometime near the beginning of next year, right?


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ I think that was the general idea. :)


message 11: by Evgeny (new) - added it

Evgeny I like Heinlein's juveniles. I do not agree with his views he shows in his adult fiction.


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Evgeny wrote: "I like Heinlein's juveniles. I do not agree with his views he shows in his adult fiction."

I pretty much agree, though I don't mind most of his adult SF until Heinlein let his inner dirty old man out, round about the time that he wrote Stranger in a Strange Land. His writings got more and more off-kilter as he got older.


message 13: by Evgeny (new) - added it

Evgeny Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽ wrote: "Evgeny wrote: "I like Heinlein's juveniles. I do not agree with his views he shows in his adult fiction."

I pretty much agree, though I don't mind most of his adult SF until Heinlein let his inner..."


Stranger made me stop reading his later works and also made me realize my understanding of excellent scifi differs from that of Hugo Committee by a lot. This in turn was the reason all the recent hoopla about Hugo left me completely cold.


Stuart It's a terrible book, but I did enjoy the black humor of the Verhoeven movie (just like Robocop). Stranger was a travesty, and things went downhill after that. We should classify his books into Early Fun Heinlein and Creepy Old Heinlein.


Elliot Jackson I'm listening to this one on audiobook right now, because one of the exercises in a writing book I'm reading depends on it. Also, classic. Can't tell whether I'm more bored or fascinated at this point. Is it possible to be both?


message 16: by Scott (new)

Scott I have no teenage me experience with this book, this is my first time trying to read it. I'm only 12% of the way into it, technically speaking, but I'm 0% into it emotionally speaking. Right now I hate it. If something doesn't change quickly, I'm not going to finish it. Life's short. Good books are plenty.


Michael *Windrunner* well said as always


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Michael *Windrunner* wrote: "well said as always"

Thanks, Michael! Have you read it?


Michael *Windrunner* I'm reading it now - a whole lot of nothing has happened.


message 20: by Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ (last edited Feb 14, 2018 01:41PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Michael *Windrunner* wrote: "I'm reading it now - a whole lot of nothing has happened."

Lol, that's pretty much the story of 95% of this book. And actually, you've inspired me to drop my rating from 3 stars to 2. I was too generous with my ratings back in my earlier GR days.


Coldbrian I've been doing a lot of re-reading of teen favorites: this one has actually held up for me. Yes, one could make a case that it's a lecture wrapped in a recruiting pitch, but it was more meaningful for me. (I admit part of the reason I enlisted out of high school was because of this book.) The pitch for civic virtue, that one should earn the right to one's vote by demonstrating one's willingness to put your life on the line for the country you want to control with your voting power, and of course the romance of being a "man in uniform" :) all contributed. Much of this still holds up for me, even if the difficulty of actually implementing such a form of government wasn't an issue. I also question the validity of some of the assertions as "mathematically provable" and the possibility of a system of morality where any question can be mathematically verified. (I would really like to see one though. :) )


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