Starship Troopers by author Robert A Heinlein
Like most people, my first experience with Starship Troopers was with the movie. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable sci fi action satire featuring the always lovable Denise Richards. I adore her, fight me.
The book that the movie is based on starts with a very action packed scene that got me very excited about reading it. And then, it was quite funny for a few scenes and I was really feeling it. And then, it just kind of stopped being any of those things and never picked up again.
Whether or not Starship Troopers is a good book depends entirely on whether or not you choose to take it seriously. I choose to read it more as a satire because if I try to look at it from a serious stand point I take several issues with the book’s morals and lessons. It’s extremely pro violence, pro war, pro fascism, pro execution, and many other things I personally disagree with. It’s much more tolerable to read all of this with a sense of irony.
But there are two sections of the book that must be taken at face value. These sections wax philosophical in long boring essays reminsicent of John Galt. If the book was 800 pages longer it would be easily mistaken for Ayn Rand. And these essay sections make it clear the book is not satire.
But just because I disagree with its core beliefs is not necessarily a reason to completely downgrade this novel. If you enjoy coming of age stories that happen to focus on a military career this book is spectacular for that niche. I know there are audiences out there for military fiction.
It’s interesting to follow the protagonist as he finds purpose within a futile war. A war that neither he nor the reader ever discovers the reasoning behind and we’re never meant to question it. Kind of like real war.
This book does not have any zany action, love interests, or long scenes of bug like aliens exploding grotesquely. If that’s what you’re looking for you will be disappointed. I know I was. But if you go in with the right frame of mind this can be an interesting take on the sci fi classic. It’s strange how much of a different direction the movie took but it is Paul Verhoeven and he is far from the beaten path.
It reads more like a history novel than an over the top sci fi. A military fiction complete with full discussions on ethical behavior expectations of young soldiers. If that sounds interesting to you, then please check this one out. But if you’d rather have exploding bug aliens, watch the movie.
3/5 bugs 🪲🪳🦗
For an even better action space wartime novel check out The Soldiers’ Perspective
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Buy it here: Starship Troopers
Buy the movie here: Starship Troopers (4K UHD)