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Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
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Starship Troopers (original 1959; edition 1987)

by Robert A. Heinlein

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8,123122391 (3.9)230
Member:sylviawrigley
Title:Starship Troopers
Authors:Robert A. Heinlein
Info:Ace (1987), Mass Market Paperback, 263 pages
Collections:Your library
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Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (1959)

  1. 193
    Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (5hrdrive)
  2. 163
    The forever war by Joe Haldeman (goodiegoodie)
  3. 122
    Old Man's War by John Scalzi (goodiegoodie, jlynno84)
  4. 00
    War Stories: New Military Science Fiction by Jaym Gates (dClauzel)
    dClauzel: Des instantanés de guerre, avec des super soldats humains et des technologies déshumanisantes… ou est-ce l’inverse ? Bonus : des extra-terrestres.
  5. 11
    All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka (dClauzel)
    dClauzel: Both Starship Troopers and All You Need Is Kill have the same intensity, with brief periods of strong violence during a quest for sense.
  6. 11
    47 Echo by Shawn Kupfer (tottman)
    tottman: This book reminded me of Starship Troopers, without the aliens. A fun, quick, military romp with a healthy suspension of disbelief.
  7. 01
    Even Peons are People: Interplanetary Justice by D. Pak (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Interesting thought on the military and their responsibilities in a space travelling society.
  8. 01
    The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (sturlington)
  9. 01
    Kris Longknife: Mutineer by Mike Shepherd (jlynno84)
  10. 01
    Brothers in Arms by Ben Weaver (infiniteletters)
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English (115)  French (5)  Italian (1)  All languages (121)
Showing 1-5 of 115 (next | show all)
Another Heinlein novel often criticized for its political point of view, but I didn't find his politics so controversial...there is something relevant and--I am sure-- attractive today in his idea that one must take responsibility for a society if one is to exercise the right to vote or govern. Unfortunately, the political discourses in this novel did get tedious in this novel. What I think gets lost in arguments over Heinlein's political philosophy is his protagonist being an ethnic minority character--I certainly did not remember this from my first reading of the book, decades ago. I also wonder too what extent Heinlein's "Bugs" inspired Orson Scott Card. ( )
  nmele | Apr 27, 2015 |
Leave it to a former Navy man to botch a sci-fi novel about Army pukes. Heinlein managed to write the most boring military novel ever! This was terrible and I regret wasting the time on it. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
A macho classic. Somewhat provocative, but I wouldn't recommend it to folks who aren't already fans. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Everyone goes down! Everyone fights!
  Hack | Jan 18, 2015 |
Starship Troopers has a great first chapter, one that feeds you information about the setting and main character gradually and skillfully, without beating you over the head, and simultaneously gives you an exciting story. By the end of the first chapter you not only have a good idea of what the mobile infantry is, you have a sense of its ethos and the tone of the rest of the book as well.

The rest of the first half of the book seems largely dedicated to undermining the best qualities of this first chapter.

While the first chapter gives you small details that let you piece together what role the mobile infantry fills on your own, the next several chapters don't attempt this organic story telling, instead relying on the far less skillful practice of info dumping. While the first chapter allows you to absorb the ethos of the mobile infantry through the actions they take, the next several chapters instead feature preachy speeches in abundance (not as bad as those in Stranger in a Strange Land, but uninteresting nonetheless). While the first chapter ends with a line that subverts your expectations and hammers home that this isn't going to be a story glorifying the military, but one that highlights the sometimes tragic and absurd nature of military life, subsequent chapters use the same ending structure to the point where the effect is substantially reduced. If the book had ended after the first chapter I would have been left impressed and wanting more. Instead at the end of the book I was left thinking that it clears the low, low bar set by similar books The Forever War and Old Man's War, but that overall it was only a moderately successful work.

There are several good qualities to this book. For one, Heinlein's writing, while not that technically impressive, is visceral in a way that makes you feel and care about the action occurring. This story is one of frayed nerves and confusion as often as it is one of regimented order, and Heinlein's writing makes you feel both. Also of note is that there are actual characters here. Rico, the narrator, is the only one that gets fleshed out, and he's not particularly intelligent or thoughtful in a believable way. Other characters, though not given substantial arcs or attention, often have personalities that are more than just archetypes. Compare this to later books in this subgenre like Old Man's War, populated with characters I would call cardboard cutouts except that would be an insult to cardboard. Starship Troopers is a cut above. Finally, Heinlein does a good job crafting this world, and isn't afraid to leave some elements of the universe- "a memory man, a telepath, a senser, or a lucky man"- unexplained and up to the imagination. This isn't a writer that introduces every element, then explains it with some lengthy paragraph immediately after, and the book is better for it. The reader is left not knowing exactly how all the pieces of this universe fit together, but in a way that makes the book feel realistic, not incomplete.

Despite these positive qualities, this is a solid work but no masterpiece. When Heinlein has a character spout his pet theories of crime, rights, and war as if it were the foundation of the most effective society in human history, it's hard not to roll your eyes. Heinlein was no expert in these fields, despite his military service, and his understanding of these issues struck me as overly simplistic, if not downright foolish. Much of the book is taken up by Rico's training, and it's clear that Heinlein was drawing on personal knowledge for this, but unfortunately this isn't the first story of bootcamp I've read. As Heinlein himself wrote, "You can take descriptions of most any sort of weather out of an almanac and stick them in just anywhere; they'll probably fit.” To me the same is true of bootcamp stories. Go watch the Band of Brothers episode Currahee instead of chapters 2-7 of this book, and you'll have experienced an essentially identical narrative (Band of Brothers does it better, actually). After the excellent first chapter, none of the rest of the book reaches that level.

Some people would love this book, but I didn't . It's a notch above the terrible competition in the military sci-fi genre, and definitely read this over The Forever War or Old Man's War. Overall, however, I can't call Starship Troopers anything better than solid, despite the impressive first chapter. ( )
1 vote BayardUS | Dec 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 115 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert A. Heinleinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davies, Gordon C.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, LloydNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundgren, CarlCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warhola, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To "Sarge" Arthur George Smith - SOLDIER, CITIZEN, SCIENTIST - AND TO ALL SERGEANTS ANYWHERE WHO HAVE LABORED TO MAKE MEN OUT OF BOYS. R.A.H.
First words
I always get the shakes before a drop.
Quotations
Anyone who clings to the historically untrue-and thoroughly immoral-doctrine that 'violence never settles anything' I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedom.
"The noblest fate that a man can endure is to place his own mortal body betwen his loved home and war's desolation."
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In one of Robert Heinlein's most controversial best-sellers, a recruit of the future goes through the
toughest boot camp in the Universe--and into battle against mankind's most frightening enemy.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0441783589, Mass Market Paperback)

Juan Rico signed up with the Federal Service on a lark, but despite the hardships and rigorous training, he finds himself determined to make it as a cap trooper. In boot camp he will learn how to become a soldier, but when he graduates and war comes (as it always does for soldiers), he will learn why he is a soldier. Many consider this Hugo Award winner to be Robert Heinlein's finest work, and with good reason. Forget the battle scenes and high-tech weapons (though this novel has them)--this is Heinlein at the top of his game talking people and politics.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:57 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

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