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Starship Troopers (1959)

by Robert A. Heinlein

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,596194492 (3.86)298
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.
Recently added byprivate library, awisdom01, Lundberg, SugarThief, gluegun, KTylerKing, sharedpresence
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    Edge of Tomorrow by Hiroshi Sakurazaka (dClauzel)
    dClauzel: Starship Troopers et All You Need Is Kill ont tous les deux la même intensité, avec de brèves périodes de forte violence pour une quête de la recherche du sens.
  5. 10
    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.
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    The Lazarus War: Artefact by Jamie Sawyer (dClauzel)
    dClauzel: Des soldats dans l’espace. Des extraterrestres. Des armures de combat. Vélocité. Fatal.
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    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.
  8. 11
    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.
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» See also 298 mentions

English (187)  French (5)  Italian (1)  All languages (193)
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
Okay, I re-read this now as an adult; I originally had read it back in high school many moons ago. Then I thought it was a 4 star book. I am upgrading it to 5 stars. I think I got a bit turned off by the political philosophy that the main character ruminates on as he tells the story. I was looking for action and adventure, not a lecture. But now reading it as an adult I actually enjoyed hearing they 'why' of the character's thinking. It made him more of a person to me, because he definitely had opinions. It also mirrors the few former military friends I have attitudes toward many things. I know not everyone can agree with what the character says, but just like with the television series West Wing, you don't have to agree with the politics to enjoy it. I sure did. ( )
  GlenRH | Jul 26, 2021 |
Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein is widely considered a science fiction classic. Originally published in 1959 it clearly helped to establish the sub-genre of military sci-fi with the tropes of power armor, super soldiers, interstellar warfare, and hostile alien species. This book also has more that it’s fair share of critics who regard it as anti-Democratic propaganda due to it’s strong support of militarism. Regardless of the various sides, I found the book to be interesting and quite gripping.

Starship Troopers gives the reader a look into the mindset of a soldier, their fears, hopes and desires are clearly laid out and other than the fact that they travel by spaceship and fight a bug like alien species, these soldiers could be from any era. This isn’t just an action story, there is a great deal of introspection on the role of the soldier and how they are created. The author gives us a good balance of speculative philosophy and flat out action which keeps the book from becoming dull. We follow the main character, Johnnie Rico, as he makes the decision to join the military, his gruelling time at boot camp, and then his early years as a foot soldier in the Human-Arachnid War.

I found Starship Troopers definitely a product of it’s time. This book came out during the cold war and although it sticks to the soldier’s point of view, it is very obvious that the author is totally against communism. Personally, I don’t think this book has many lessons to teach us today, so I advise reading it simply for enjoyment and to gather a sense of history about the origins of science fiction. This book, along with other authors from the time period would give you a pretty good perspective. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jul 22, 2021 |
I can see why this book is on the USMC reading list. Totally not like the movie. I recommend this book to all veterans, and mostly to people that are about join or thinking of joining the military ( )
  JosephKingman | Jul 17, 2021 |
I remember when the movie adaptation of this book came out, and thinking that I would never see it. Then, it was on a pay cable channel and I watched it in spite of myself, and thought, "That was better than it had any right to be, given the cheesy title."

The title is bad, but probably wasn't for 1959. The book is much better, too, than I thought it would be, to a degree. By the time I got around to reading it, I had become more familiar with Heinlein, but this is the first novel I've read of his. For years, teaching first-year college students how to write, I used Heinlein's "rules" for simon-pure science fiction, as it was relatively simple and easy to understand. There was a no-nonsense feel to his rules, too, and as someone who has been a casual fan of science fiction, I felt that before we talked about a genre (at the time, I was teaching three mini-units on popular genres, including [b:Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep|7082|Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?|Philip K. Dick|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327865673s/7082.jpg|830939] because I love Dick (I've always wanted to say that!)) we should have some ground rules and my reading/watching wasn't extensive enough to have a set of my own. But I digress.

I liked this book, but it didn't have quite the impact I thought it would. Partly, it was my expectations. I know that Heinlein is one of the "bigs" of sci-fi, and perhaps I'm guilty of buying in to the cult of personality that surrounds him. Also, I am planning a Science Fiction literature course for the fall, and I wondered if this wouldn't be a good one to include. I don't think I will, but that my change. I'm truly ambivalent, and therein lies my problem with [b:Starship Troopers|17214|Starship Troopers|Robert A. Heinlein|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348024291s/17214.jpg|2534973].

The politics of this book are abhorrent. I suspect that this is one of Heinlein's early works, and the militarism may well be a consequence of his own service. However, the reverence in which he holds military service is a bit much to handle. In some ways, [b:Starship Troopers|17214|Starship Troopers|Robert A. Heinlein|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348024291s/17214.jpg|2534973] is a [b:Utopia|18414|Utopia|Thomas More|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348970806s/18414.jpg|2798280], as it is far to reflective on the nature of democracy (there isn't a true one in this futuristic world-- the only way to vote is to have successfully served in the military) and the military's role in that "democracy." Now, I'm a proud liberal, but not so stridently dogmatic that I can't enjoy a rouge cop now and then. I don't even have to agree with the politics of a work to enjoy it. I love [b:The Dark Knight|59960|Batman The Dark Knight Returns|Frank Miller|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327892039s/59960.jpg|1104159] series, and that's way to Reagan-esque for my tastes, but then I wouldn't set my world view up in accordance with Frank Miller. I get the feeling that Heinlein, at least the Heinlein who was writing this book, would like our views to be shaped by this book very much.

A lot of my attitude here is bullshit, I know. I generally disregard authorial intent as I couldn't care less what an author wants us to take away from his/her work. That's the job of the reader, constructing meaning. But there isn't a whole lot of anything else to construct with this novel. It is ostensibly about a battle with a bug-like race that's become rather aggressive with the Terran Federation-- what we're to assume is a much more unified Earth and her colonies on various planets. Fine, interesting even, but other than the occasional reference, that plot is relegated to the last chapter or so. The vast majority of the book is a detailed (very, very detailed) overview of Juan Rico's journey from high school student to Lieutenant. Don't get me wrong, I love to read about how things happen, and I get the impression that absent any discussion of "powersuits" and other advanced technologies, the narrative would sound like any recruit's experiences in basic training and beyond. Of course I'll never know and that's the great thing about literature-- I can read about it. But the dissertation on why a society is better served by a two-tiered system, where elections are for franchised citizens who have served and no one else? And Heinlein spends a lot of time discussing, in literally a Socratic method, the rationale behind this system, how it really is the only way to run things, and how the old way (our more familiar democracy, where everyone has the right to vote-- well, almost) was a disaster. [b:Starship Troopers|17214|Starship Troopers|Robert A. Heinlein|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348024291s/17214.jpg|2534973] is a disquisition, no doubt about it.

And that's fine. It was pleasant enough to read. I didn't agree with much of the political discussion and I don't feel like I had to. I suspect it isn't as blatantly political as Ayn Rand, but then I'll never know because that's a road I'll avoid walking down. I give this book three-stars because it was good in spite of the paucity of narrative, and good enough to seek out more (and perhaps more representative) Heinlein. ( )
  allan.nail | Jul 11, 2021 |
Heavy going. I get the idea. Not finishing ( )
  adrianburke | May 9, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (73 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert A. Heinleinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Caldwell, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, Gordon C.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haldeman, JoeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hickman, StephenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, LloydNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lehr, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundgren, CarlCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warhola, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, GeorgeNarratorsecondary 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.
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

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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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