Book Review – Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

Starship TroopersStarship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

Recently I saw Starship Troopers 3 on TV it actually showed Mobile suits for the first time, but it was all a world away from what Starship Troopers the book is about. It did though stir me into writing this review of Starship Troopers the novel.

First off forget the movies, the movies do an extremely poor service to what this book and its clever social commentary is all about. In fact the movie barely touches what the novel is all about. While the book has attracted controversy and criticism for its social and political themes, which some critics claim promote fascism and militarism.  The movie does nothing to explore the themes of the book and instead chooses to parody them.

The world of Starship Troopers is a military society, decision are made by veterans who have earned citizenship through Federal Service. This Federal Service isn’t just limited to Military service, but must include mandated by law anyone who has the will to serve. We follow Juan “Johnnie” Rico on his journey from civilian to citizen as he signs up for Federal Service more to impress a girl than through duty and we are with him every step of the way.

The book really breaks down into a series of set pieces and social commentary that examines society, why it works and what went wrong in the one, a society that closely mirrors I own that came before.  There are times you will find yourself agreeing with themes of the book, then scratch you head afterwards trying to figure out what that makes you. Certainly keeps me guessing and I read this book about once a year. The over arching theme seems to be about responsibility, to yourself, to your peers, to your civilization. The accusation of fascism is not supported by the book unless I am missing something, the movie sculpts a fascist society, but the book is more a promotion of rights and the responsibility you have to maintain them for everyone.

As I mentioned there is a lot commentary as follow Rico through his training and his first missions, some are flash backs, some long form discussions. Not a lot of action, we start with a drop into a war zone and the book ends the same way. The entire book is very deceptive and actually gives you a lot to think about. A very enjoyable piece of science fiction which is more than just its source.

4 Thumbs Up out of 5 

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About Nick

Just an Englishman lost in the USA who happens to write now and again... Anyone got a cup of tea?

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