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CHARACTERS ↠ Starship Troopers Þ The historians can’t seem to settle whether to call this one The Third Space War or the fourth or whether The First Interstellar War fits it better We just call it “The Bug War Everything up to then and still later were incidents patrols or police actions However you are just as dead if you buy the farm in an inThe historians can’t seem to settle whether to call this one The Third Space War or the fourth or whether The First Interstellar War fits it better We just call it “The Bug War Everything up to. My first impulse is to dismiss it as an appalling piece of militaristic propaganda whose one saving grace is that it's at least much better than the movie But that wouldn't be doing the book justice With all its faults I simply loved it as a 14 year old and I'm in no way alone there Why is it so fascinatingLet me start by dismissing a couple of possible theories One reviewer wonders if it's deadpan satire I suppose when you see some of Heinlein's later books Stranger in a Strange Land 1961; I Will Fear No Evil 1970 you may get the idea that he's some kind of hippy New Age prophet and that Starship Troopers is poking fun at the militaristic right I don't think that idea stands up to serious examination Many of Heinlein's early books extol militaristic right winglibertarian virtues; Sixth Column 1949 is a particularly flagrant example From what I've heard the satire theory is in fact the reverse of the truth Stranger in a Strange Land was originally conceived as a satire; Heinlein was surprised to see that people liked it and read it straight and flexible than he's often made out he rewrote it that way and followed it up with a couple of similar booksMany people are taking Starship Troopers at face value and appreciate how it presents the military in a positive light Well there's clearly something to that But why does this book as opposed to many others do such a fantastic job of selling this particular point of view If you're a soldier yourself I can see that Heinlein also a soldier can make you proud of what you're doing But my parents were strict believers in non violence and I've never had any contact with that world at all I still thought it was greatSo on mature consideration here's another theory which I claim relates better to Heinlein's oeuvre as a whole By the way I'm only saying oeuvre because I know it would annoy him One theme that he keeps returning to over and over again in different forms is the relationship between the self and the rest of the universe Heinlein's metaphysics were distinctly odd he wasn't sure that he liked the rest of the universe much or even if it existed in the first place You can occasionally see this idea presented in a straightforward way In his short story They 1941 it turns out that the paranoid main character is completely right about what's going on He's the most important person in the world; everyone else for reasons never revealed is involved in a gigantic conspiracy against him whose main purpose is to prevent him from discovering who he really is In The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag 1942 we find again that things truly aren't as they seem and that all existence is illusory The world we learn at the end is a work of art and can be changed at any moment Hoag is in fact an art critic sent to judge us on aesthetic grounds And in the classic time travel story All You Zombies 1959 the hero discovers that he's his own father and mother As he says he knows where he came from; but where did all you zombies come from The final paragraph gives us to understand that other people may not exist at allAs we see Heinlein rather likes solipsism which when you come down to it isn't as ridiculous a philosophical position as you might think Wittgenstein the solipsist is saying something sensible but chooses an odd way to express it Heinlein has a strong sense of self and wants to erect a barrier as tangible as possible between him and the rest of the world A powerful metaphor for this barrier which he used many times is the space suit Have Space Suit Will Travel 1958 is not one of his best books but the descriptions of what it's like to walk around in a space suit are uite good I remember them clearly when most of the rest of the story has faded Similarly Space Cadet 1948 which I read at primary school is hastily written and uninspired; but again the only scene I can recall clearly is the one where the teenage hero throws up in his space suit after inadvisedly drinking a mint julep I was so impressed by this that I didn't dare try a mint julep myself until I was in my mid 40s I hope you see where I'm going What makes Starship Troopers so effective I claim is the space suit theme which here is taken to its logical conclusion The Mobile Infantry Suit simultaneously cuts off its wearer from the rest of the world and makes him almost invincible It's no coincidence that the stunning opening scene highlights the suit's amazing capabilities The hero is dropped directly from space onto a hostile planet and spreads mayhem with his high tech weapons while jumping a mile at a time in his jet propelled boots all without needing to touch anything directly or feel involved in the fates of the humanoid creatures he's killing by the hundred Fans of the book uniformly hated the movie for budget reasons Verhoeven took out the suits which were too complicated to render effectively After that everything felt wrong The most important part of the imagery was missing As already noted Heinlein wasn't writing a satire he appeared to believe in this stuff but I think he found a good way to dramatize what it means to be a member of the American military industrial complex The Suit gives its wearer superhuman technological powers while excluding the rest of the world to the point where it barely exists at all And the power the Suit confers isn't just military but also political and moral In Heinlein's world one only becomes a full citizen after serving in the military I don't agree that this is a desirable way to organize a society but Heinlein was describing what he saw in 1959 Eisenhower a former general was nearing the end of his second term and would be succeeded by Kennedy a decorated war hero Both were very popular Now of course things have changed and the military industrial complex is usually cast as the villain In Avatar I couldn't help thinking that the robotic exoskeleton worn by the evil Colonel uaritch in the final scene was rather like the Mobile Infantry Suit; the Colonel's defeat as many people have pointed out can be read as predicting the impending defeat of American Imperialism at the hands of a resurgent Third World I do wonder what Heinlein would have made of that


??s most controversial bestsellers a recruit of the future goes through the toughest boot camp in the Universe and into battle with the Terran Mobile Infantry against mankind’s most alarming enem. UPDATEDStarship Troopers was definitely a page turner and one did feel like he was on the ground with the Mobile Infantry bouncing around killing Bugs But It was also incredibly pro war and the middle development section got a little long You remember how great Full Metal Jacket was but that the great parts were at the very beginning and at the very end Well I felt that this book also started and ended with adrenaline rushes but that the middle was a bit flat That being said the realism and the imagination around the weapons and tech were pretty good I definitely see how influential Heinlein was on subseuent science fiction and it is impressive that this was written back in '59 The Bugs were never given any treatment to make them less of an enemy which seemed a bit like the vilification of say blacks or arabs by the extreme right I would almost give him the benefit of the doubt that this was a critiue of society but from what I have read that wasn't really his intention There is a lot of war theory in ST The purpose of war is to support your government's decisions by forcecontrolled and purposeful violence p 78 That the government's motivations could be wrong or misguided is never really addressed but then he is writing this after WWII and before Vietnam so my cynicism is perhaps too modern for this book The worldview in the book is pragmatic and brutal There is an old song which asserts 'the best things in life are free' Not true Utterly false This was the tragic fallacy which Brough on the decadence and collapse of the democracies of the 20th century p 117 Fortunately his pessimism has not yet been born out and there are still many who adhere to the 'best things are free' philosophy rather than the Ayn Randian determinism demonstrated here by Heinlein To be fair to the author he does mention some wartime abuses and in particular post traumatic stress syndrome in the tragic story of Dillinger and his murder of the little girl Barbara But even here the protagonist reserves almost no criticism of the military just some sadness for the misfortune my sympathy is reserved for Barbara Anne Enthwaite whom I had never seen and for her parents who would never see her again p141 and then back to business after the 30 day mourning periodOne sad aspect of ST's dystopian future is how citizenship is restricted to relatively few like in ancient Greece or Rome Anyhow it wasn't the process of voting that made a citizen the Lieutenant had been a citizen in the truest sense of the word even though he had not lived long enough ever to cast a vote He had 'voted' every time he made a drop p 207 Given the current attacks on democratic systems this is a kind of dangerous form of thinking IMHO If citizens are never given any choices and are limited to the elite the fundaments of democracy disappear No attempt was made to determine whether a voter was socially responsible to the extent of his literally unlimited authority If he voted the impossible the disastrous possible happened instead and responsibility was then forced on him willy nilly and destroyed both him and his foundation less temple p 234 Again I find this view too narrow and pessimistic Overall since I am a dove politically all the military camaraderie kind of put me off I read it because it is a classic and a reference but I prefer the Red Mars or if my aliens have to be insects District 9

Robert A. Heinlein ☆ 1 CHARACTERS

Starship TroopersThen and still later were incidents patrols or police actions However you are just as dead if you buy the farm in an incident as you are if you buy it in a declared warIn one of Robert A Heinlein?. I enjoyed this book greatly While I certainly can't be said to agree with Heinlein on every aspect of life politics or theologyI do appreciate where he's coming from in this book Remember it's a 1959 book before the idiotic handling of Vietnam became apparent There are thought provoking ideas in this book even if it is considered a YA book Agree or disagree it's a good read By the way I must say this It's often actually often than not true that a movie doesn't live up to the book In this case that would be like saying the Atlantic Ocean isn't exactly like Death Valley If your only experience with Starship Troopers is the movie of that name then you don't know anything about this book excepting the names of a few characters The characters in the movie don't resemble the characters in the book The universe and governmental structure in the movie doesn't resemble that of the book The main science fiction hook of the book isn't even present in the movie When you saw the movie some of you may have noticed a flaw in the soundtrack a whirring noise That was Robert A Heinlein spinning in his grave at high speed The movie by the same name as this book is so spectacularly bad compared to the book I sometimes wonder if wasn't an intentional hit piece Sosee the movie if you will but PLEASE don't confuse it with or miss the book The book is or less a YA bookthen called a teen book an easy and uick readand FAR FAR superior to the travesty of movie by the same name By the way my late wife summed up a lot about the movie when she observed it should have been calledBug Blasters Update They have been playing this thing the movie by the same name as this bookon several TV channels lately AD NAUSEAMit seems to be on almost every time I check the listings on the idiot box So since there seems to be a new push to legitimize this grotesue cinematographic attempt at science fiction I'm forced to revisit my review here Yes this is a YA or as it was called at the time a teen bookbut it's a good one Let me emphasize again the movie doesn't even resemble the book except in that the enemy vaguely resembles the one in the book the movie uses 6 legged insect type life forms the book refers to them as arachnids giant spider life forms and they use some of the same character names But the world the novel takes place in the actual characters the nature of the government the way the military worksit's all different they even get the heart of the actual story wrong For that matter the relatively minor romance angle is as portrayed in the moviesilly and will mislead The story in the book is peripheral and is to give insight into the worldcosmos than to be a love story This movie is terrible please don't confuse it with the book This is one of those movies that ticks me off in that I liked the book and this thing takes the book's title and gives us a perversion of that story29 2018Okay time for another updateThis has come up in the discussion of the book onin the Action Adventure Aficionados group and now in a comment here I'm aware but didn't mention it in the review above The movie was actually an intentional hit piece by the movie maker He gave the book a Nazi look through his interpretation in the movie The government pictured by Heinlein in the book is Libertarian Everyone is free to live do business etc as they choose The right to vote and send the military out however only rests in the hands of those who have themselves served in that kind of service thus the reasoning in the book that a panicked civilian can't order disastrous military action You may agree you may disagree but it's not a government anything like the one in the ridiculous movie