Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers

by Robert A. Heinlein

Paperback(Tall Rack Paperback - Reissue)

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In Robert A. Heinlein’s controversial Hugo Award-winning bestseller, a recruit of the future goes through the toughest boot camp in the Universe—and into battle against mankind’s most alarming enemy...

Johnnie Rico never really intended to join up—and definitely not the infantry. But now that he’s in the thick of it, trying to get through combat training harder than anything he could have imagined, he knows everyone in his unit is one bad move away from buying the farm in the interstellar war the Terran Federation is waging against the Arachnids.

Because everyone in the Mobile Infantry fights. And if the training doesn’t kill you, the Bugs are more than ready to finish the job...

“A classic…If you want a great military adventure, this one is for you.”—All SciFi

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780441783588
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/01/1997
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 26,372
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.93(d)
Lexile: 1020L (what's this?)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Robert Anson Heinlein was born in Missouri in 1907, and was raised there. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1929, but was forced by illness to retire from the Navy in 1934. He settled in California and over the next five years held a variety of jobs while doing post-graduate work in mathematics and physics at the University of California. In 1939 he sold his first science fiction story to Astounding magazine and soon devoted himself to the genre.

He was a four-time winner of the Hugo Award for his novels Stranger in a Strange Land (1961), Starship Troopers (1959), Double Star (1956), and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966). His Future History series, incorporating both short stories and novels, was first mapped out in 1941. The series charts the social, political, and technological changes shaping human society from the present through several centuries into the future.

Robert A. Heinlein’s books were among the first works of science fiction to reach bestseller status in both hardcover and paperback. He continued to work into his eighties, and his work never ceased to amaze, to entertain, and to generate controversy. By the time he died, in 1988, it was evident that he was one of the formative talents of science fiction: a writer whose unique vision, unflagging energy, and persistence, over the course of five decades, made a great impact on the American mind.

Date of Birth:

July 7, 1907

Date of Death:

May 8, 1988

Place of Birth:

Butler, Missouri

Place of Death:

Carmel, California


Graduate of U.S. Naval Academy, 1929; attended University of California, Los Angeles, 1934, for graduate study in physic

Read an Excerpt


Come on, you apes! You wanta live forever?
I always get the shakes before a drop. I’ve had the injections, of course, and hypnotic preparation, and it stands to reason that I can’t really be afraid. The ship’s psychiatrist has checked my brain waves and asked me silly questions while I was asleep and he tells me that it isn’t fear, it isn’t anything important—it’s just like the trembling of an eager race horse in the starting gate.

I couldn’t say about that; I’ve never been a race horse. But the fact is: I’m scared silly, every time.

At D-minus-thirty, after we had mustered in the drop room of the Rodger Young, our platoon leader inspected us. He wasn’t our regular platoon leader, because Lieutenant Rasczak had bought it on our last drop; he was really the platoon sergeant, Career Ship’s Sergeant Jelal. Jelly was a Finno-Turk from Iskander around Proxima—a swarthy little man who looked like a clerk, but I’ve seen him tackle two berserk privates so big he had to reach up to grab them, crack their heads together like coconuts, step back out of the way while they fell.

Off duty he wasn’t bad—for a sergeant. You could even call him “Jelly” to his face. Not recruits, of course, but anybody who had made at least one combat drop.

But right now he was on duty. We had all each inspected our combat equipment (look, it’s your own neck—see?), the acting platoon sergeant had gone over us carefully after he mustered us, and now Jelly went over us again, his face mean, his eyes missing nothing. He stopped by the man in front of me, pressed the button on his belt that gave readings on his physicals. “Fall out!”

“But, Sarge, it’s just a cold. The Surgeon said—”

Jelly interrupted. “‘But Sarge!’” he snapped. “The Surgeon ain’t making no drop—and neither are you, with a degree and a half of fever. You think I got time to chat with you, just before a drop? Fall out!

Jenkins left us, looking sad and mad—and I felt bad, too. Because of the Lieutenant buying it, last drop, and people moving up, I was assistant section leader, second section, this drop, and now I was going to have a hole in my section and no way to fill it. That’s not good; it means a man can run into something sticky, call for help and have nobody to help him.

Jelly didn’t downcheck anybody else. Presently he stepped out in front of us, looked us over and shook his head sadly. “What a gang of apes!” he growled. “Maybe if you’d all buy it this drop, they could start over and build the kind of outfit the Lieutenant expected you to be. But probably not—with the sort of recruits we get these days.” He suddenly straightened up, shouted, “I just want to remind you apes that each and every one of you has cost the gov’ment, counting weapons, armor, ammo, instrumentation, and training, everything, including the way you overeat—has cost, on the hoof, better’n half a million. Add in the thirty cents you are actually worth and that runs to quite a sum.” He glared at us. “So bring it back! We can spare you, but we can’t spare that fancy suit you’re wearing. I don’t want any heroes in this outfit; the Lieutenant wouldn’t like it. You got a job to do, you go down, you do it, you keep your ears open for recall, you show up for retrieval on the bounce and by the numbers. Get me?”

He glared again. “You’re supposed to know the plan. But some of you ain’t got any minds to hypnotize so I’ll sketch it out. You’ll be dropped in two skirmish lines, calculated two-thousand-yard intervals. Get your bearing on me as soon as you hit, get your bearing and distance on your squad mates, both sides, while you take cover. You’ve wasted ten seconds already, so you smash-and-destroy whatever’s at hand until the flankers hit dirt.” (He was talking about me—as assistant section leader I was going to be left flanker, with nobody at my elbow. I began to tremble.)

“Once they hit—straighten out those lines!—equalize those intervals! Drop what you’re doing and do it! Twelve seconds. Then advance by leapfrog, odd and even, assistant section leaders minding the count and guiding the envelopment.” He looked at me. “If you’ve done this properly—which I doubt—the flanks will make contact as recall sounds . . . at which time, home you go. Any questions?”

There weren’t any; there never were. He went on, “One more word—This is just a raid, not a battle. It’s a demonstration of firepower and frightfulness. Our mission is to let the enemy know that we could have destroyed their city—but didn’t—but that they aren’t safe even though we refrain from total bombing. You’ll take no prisoners. You’ll kill only when you can’t help it. But the entire area we hit is to be smashed. I don’t want to see any of you loafers back aboard here with unexpended bombs. Get me?” He glanced at the time. “Rasczak’s Roughnecks have got a reputation to uphold. The Lieutenant told me before he bought it to tell you that he will always have his eye on you every minute . . . and that he expects your names to shine!”

Jelly glanced over at Sergeant Migliaccio, first section leader. “Five minutes for the Padre,” he stated. Some of the boys dropped out of ranks, went over and knelt in front of Migliaccio, and not necessarily those of his creed, either—Moslems, Christians, Gnostics, Jews, whoever wanted a word with him before a drop, he was there. I’ve heard tell that there used to be military outfits whose chaplains did not fight alongside the others, but I’ve never been able to see how that could work. I mean, how can a chaplain bless anything he’s not willing to do himself? In any case, in the Mobile Infantry, everybody drops and everybody fights—chaplain and cook and the Old Man’s writer. Once we went down the tube there wouldn’t be a Roughneck left aboard—except Jenkins, of course, and that not his fault.

I didn’t go over. I was always afraid somebody would see me shake if I did, and, anyhow, the Padre could bless me just as handily from where he was. But he came over to me as the last stragglers stood up and pressed his helmet against mine to speak privately. “Johnnie,” he said quietly, “this is your first drop as a non-com.”

“Yeah.” I wasn’t really a non-com, any more than Jelly was really an officer.

“Just this, Johnnie. Don’t buy a farm. You know your job; do it. Just do it. Don’t try to win a medal.”

“Uh, thanks, Padre. I shan’t.”

He added something gently in a language I don’t know, patted me on the shoulder, and hurried back to his section. Jelly called out, “Tenn . . . shut!” and we all snapped to.


“Section!” Migliaccio and Johnson echoed.

“By sections—port and starboard—prepare for drop!”

“Section! Man your capsules! Move!

“Squad!”—I had to wait while squads four and five manned their capsules and moved on down the firing tube before my capsule showed up on the port track and I could climb into it. I wondered if those old-timers got the shakes as they climbed into the Trojan Horse? Or was it just me? Jelly checked each man as he was sealed in and he sealed me in himself. As he did so, he leaned toward me and said, “Don’t goof off, Johnnie. This is just like a drill.”

The top closed on me and I was alone. “Just like a drill,” he says! I began to shake uncontrollably.

Then, in my earphones, I heard Jelly from the center-line tube: “Bridge! Rasczak’s Roughnecks . . . ready for drop!”

“Seventeen seconds, Lieutenant!” I heard the ship captain’s cheerful contralto replying—and resented her calling Jelly “Lieutenant.” To be sure, our lieutenant was dead and maybe Jelly would get his commission . . . but we were still “Rasczak’s Roughnecks.”

She added, “Good luck, boys!”

“Thanks, Captain.”

“Brace yourselves! Five seconds.”

I was strapped all over—belly, forehead, shins. But I shook worse than ever.

It’s better after you unload. Until you do, you sit there in total darkness, wrapped like a mummy against the acceleration, barely able to breathe—and knowing that there is just nitrogen around you in the capsule even if you could get your helmet open, which you can’t—and knowing that the capsule is surrounded by the firing tube anyhow and if the ship gets hit before they fire you, you haven’t got a prayer, you’ll just die there, unable to move, helpless. It’s that endless wait in the dark that causes the shakes—thinking that they’ve forgotten you . . . the ship has been hulled and stayed in orbit, dead, and soon you’ll buy it, too, unable to move, choking. Or it’s a crash orbit and you’ll buy it that way, if you don’t roast on the way down.

Then the ship’s braking program hit us and I stopped shaking. Eight gees, I would say, or maybe ten. When a female pilot handles a ship there is nothing comfortable about it; you’re going to have bruises every place you’re strapped. Yes, yes, I know they make better pilots than men do; their reactions are faster, and they can tolerate more gee. They can get in faster, get out faster, and thereby improve everybody’s chances, yours as well as theirs. But that still doesn’t make it fun to be slammed against your spine at ten times your proper weight.

But I must admit that Captain Deladrier knows her trade. There was no fiddling around once the Rodger Young stopped braking. At once I heard her snap, “Center-line tube ... fire!” and there were two recoil bumps as Jelly and his acting platoon sergeant unloaded—and immediately: “Port and starboard tubes—automatic fire! ” and the rest of us started to unload.

Bump! and your capsule jerks ahead one place—bump! and it jerks again, precisely like cartridges feeding into the chamber of an old-style automatic weapon. Well, that’s just what we were . . . only the barrels of the gun were twin launching tubes built into a spaceship troop carrier and each cartridge was a capsule big enough (just barely) to hold an infantryman with all field equipment.

Bump!—I was used to number three spot, out early; now I was Tail-End Charlie, last out after three squads. It makes a tedious wait, even with a capsule being fired every second; I tried to count the bumps—bump! (twelve) bump! (thirteen) bump! (fourteen—with an odd sound to it, the empty one Jenkins should have been in) bump!

And clang!—it’s my turn as my capsule slams into the firing chamber—then WHAMBO! the explosion hits with a force that makes the Captain’s braking maneuver feel like a love tap.

Then suddenly nothing.

Nothing at all. No sound, no pressure, no weight. Floating in darkness . . . free fall, maybe thirty miles up, above the effective atmosphere, falling weightlessly toward the surface of a planet you’ve never seen. But I’m not shaking now; it’s the wait beforehand that wears. Once you unload, you can’t get hurt—because if anything goes wrong it will happen so fast that you’ll buy it without noticing that you’re dead, hardly.

Almost at once I felt the capsule twist and sway, then steady down so that my weight was on my back . . . weight that built up quickly until I was at my full weight (0.87 gee, we had been told) for that planet as the capsule reached terminal velocity for the thin upper atmosphere. A pilot who is a real artist (and the Captain was) will approach and brake so that your launching speed as you shoot out of the tube places you just dead in space relative to the rotational speed of the planet at that latitude. The loaded capsules are heavy; they punch through the high, thin winds of the upper atmosphere without being blown too far out of position—but just the same a platoon is bound to disperse on the way down, lose some of the perfect formation in which it unloads. A sloppy pilot can make this still worse, scatter a strike group over so much terrain that it can’t make rendezvous for retrieval, much less carry out its mission. An infantryman can fight only if somebody else delivers him to his zone; in a way I suppose pilots are just as essential as we are.

I could tell from the gentle way my capsule entered the atmosphere that the Captain had laid us down with as near zero lateral vector as you could ask for. I felt happy—not only a tight formation when we hit and no time wasted, but also a pilot who puts you down properly is a pilot who is smart and precise on retrieval.

The outer shell burned away and sloughed off—unevenly, for I tumbled. Then the rest of it went and I straightened out. The turbulence brakes of the second shell bit in and the ride got rough . . . and still rougher as they burned off one at a time and the second shell began to go to pieces. One of the things that helps a capsule trooper to live long enough to draw a pension is that the skins peeling off his capsule not only slow him down, they also fill the sky over the target area with so much junk that radar picks up reflections from dozens of targets for each man in the drop, any one of which could be a man, or a bomb, or anything. It’s enough to give a ballistic computer nervous breakdowns—and does.

To add to the fun your ship lays a series of dummy eggs in the seconds immediately following your drop, dummies that will fall faster because they don’t slough. They get under you, explode, throw out “window,” even operate as transponders, rocket sideways, and do other things to add to the confusion of your reception committee on the ground.

In the meantime your ship is locked firmly on the directional beacon of your platoon leader, ignoring the radar “noise” it has created and following you in, computing your impact for future use.


Excerpted from "Starship Troopers"
by .
Copyright © 1987 Robert A. Heinlein.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Elegantly drawn battle scenes.”—Science Fiction Weekly

“A book that continues to resonate and influence to this day, and one whose popularity and luster hasn’t been dimmed despite decades of imitations.”—SF Reviews

“Heinlein’s genius is at its height in this timeless classic that is as meaningful today as when it was written...a fast-paced novel that never gets preachy. This is a definite must-have, must-read book.”—SF Site

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Starship Troopers 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 354 reviews.
Cyreenik More than 1 year ago
"Starship Troopers" by Robert Heinlein was the first science fiction story I ever read, way back in 7th grade or so (1960). That book was the first inspiring book I read by myself, and started me on a years-long devotion to reading science fiction. It was really inspiring. In 1990, I reread "Starship Troopers", and as I read it, I was surprised: it didn't feel like I was reading the same story. My impression the second time was of a "Sands of Iwo Jima in Space" instead of something entirely new and different. (and I was kind of shocked at how much living thirty years had changed my perspective!) Either way, the heart of the story was power armor, how to use it, and how its presence affected people's thinking. In this story Heinlein proposed that to become a citizen -- someone who voted on how to run the government -- a person needed to first demonstrate some responsibility to the community. .Sounded good to me, but for taking that stance many critics labeled this book as supporting fascism. In 1997 I saw the Starship Troopers movie, and saw that the director had missed the point of the story entirely by taking out the power armor. Without power armor, the soldiers were transformed into World War One "over the top" infantry who would be discouraged from asking "Why?" before they marched off into a do-or-die situation, and because of that, they lost any reason to be "responsible for the community" in the sense that Heinlein was emphasizing in his book version of the story. Unlike the book, the movie really was about a Fascist/Spartan "Come back with your shield or on it." mentality. These changes in what I read, and misinterpretations in what I saw depicted in the movie, inspired me to write my own version of the power armor story, and you can find it in my short story "The Ticket Out" in "Tips for Tailoring Spacetime Fabric Vol. 1" (Vol. 1 is about stories in space, and Vol. 2 is about stories on Earth). So in the end, I still found the book inspiring, but the movie a whole lot less so. Yeah, this is one of those "read the book, you'll like it a lot better"-cases.
SNUSooner More than 1 year ago
Although the movie was loosely based on this book, it is not the same. It is amazing to me that it was written in the 50's but is such a social commentary on our world today. When I was in the Army, I used to make my soldiers read it and give me a report about what it meant to them. Awesome read!
Graeme1949 More than 1 year ago
This is a very interesting and thought-provoking book on several levels. There is the military level, the science level and the political/social level. (The 1997 movie, by the way, has practically no relation to the book.) Military: I first read this book in the late 1960s, when I was on active duty in the Marine Corps. Then, it was a good future-war book with some outlandish science thrown in. Science: with the simple passage of time, much of the science has become more real. Many of the far-out things RAH described in 1959 are now in actual use in the military - if not directly, then as recognizable equivalents. Laser range-finders. In-helmet displays that show the full tactical situation from many sensors. Communication systems that can link every soldier. Directed energy weapons (although they are not man-portable yet.) And now the military is developing a powered exoskeleton for soldiers - only the armor needs to be added to make "now" match Heinlein's vision of 1959. Political and Social: I did not really discover this level - which I now believe is the most important - until the early to mid-1970s, when I was a Political Science major at the University of Maryland. It resonates for me because I am an immigrant, and Heinlein's political thesis could be taken from the Oath of Allegiance that every naturalized citizen takes. It is (mostly) a concise statement of the obligations of ALL citizens. "I hereby declare, on oath, that I ... will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; ..." In the world of Starship Troopers, the United States (and all other countries) are unified into a single world government. In that world, everyone has the right to do as they please with their life in every area except political. You cannot vote unless you are a citizen. (There is no citizenship at birth.) How does one become a citizen in that world? By doing the things required since 1920 of all US Citizens in our Oath of Allegiance: bear arms on behalf of the government, or perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces, or perform work of national importance under civilian direction. This is all voluntary - you are not drafted (at the beginning of the book, at least). A person in this world becomes a citizen by enlisting in the military or working in government civil service for a period of time. Usually that term is only a few years, you leave it as a citizen, and have earned the right to vote. However, there is the little catch - and it was there when I enlisted in the Marine Corps (before I became a US citizen, by the way.) My term was six years, unless I was directed to stay longer by order of the President because of war or national emergency. For the characters in the book, a war happened to break out while they were in training ... Even though it was written in 1959, this book is still relevant today. For me, now, it is mostly relevant as a reminder of how far science has come in a little over 50 years - and how close to today's reality Heinlein's vision was. I also review it for the political thesis, which is always worth thinking about - the concept that one thing, the ability to help select those who govern - must be EARNED rather than handed out at birth.
JGolomb More than 1 year ago
Recently, I've been reaching back through the decades to catch up on some classic Sci Fi. I reread Herbert's "Dune" which is as heavy and awesome as I remember. I discovered Miller's "Canicle for Leibowitz" and plan on reading H. Beam Piper's "Little Fuzzy" before John Scalzi's take on it is released this Spring. I've never read "Starship Troopers". My only previous exposure to the story was from the 1997 action film with the same title. The book has only the BAREST resemblance to the film. I think the film is cool. It's not great, but it's kind of fun in a blow-em-up action film sort of way. But the book is very different. The story follows Johnny Rico as he graduates High School and decides to enter the military. He doesn't have a great suite of skills to offer, besides strength, and as we find later in the book - leadership. So he ends up in the Mobile Infantry - sort of like the Marines. We follow him through basic training, a few battle interactions and then into officer training school before a final "bug battle". Each jump in his military career creates opportunity for Heinlein to introduce characters and events that provide a platform for his discourse on the evils, morals, and theoretic benefits of war, violence, punishment and education. It was like a 250-page lecture on the ethics and morals of war, violence and race. It's beautifully written and appears to include very realistic and detailed descriptions of what life is like in the military - specifically, boot camp and officer training (I say "appears" because I've not been in the military to judge first-hand). In terms of action, there's very little of it. The opening sequence shows off the capabilities of a futuristic battle suit that allows soldiers to run and "bounce" at speeds of 40+ miles/hour. It's cool. The last 30 pages or so is focused on a tactical battle exchange with the "bugs" that are the focus of the military's eye throughout much of the book. Both scenes are very detailed militarily. Heinlein's "Troopers" is a classic and understandably so, but it's a bit of a product of the era in which it was created (cold war), and reads more heavy-handedly than a more fun and high action-oriented military sci fi story like John Scalzi's "Old Man's War" series.
TisHerself1999 More than 1 year ago
Heinlein wrote ahead of his time and speaks from the past regarding many of today's social views. This book is timeless and the story spun by a master.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm going to be honest. I didn't know this book even existed until well after I had first watched the film. I am happy to say however that the book far surpasses the film in every way possible. The book is about a young man, Juan "Johnnie" Rico who decides to join the military. The novel is set against a futuristic backdrop and could be very well described as science fiction. But unlike a lot of other science fiction that I've read, this book never becomes cheesy. Robert A. Heinlein never tries to bash you over the head with futuristic technology. Instead he brings up themes ranging from politics to military tradition. This tale should be a must read for science fiction fans or military fiction buffs. The book wasn't a particularly long read, but days after finishing it, I am still thinking about it, and that is a surefire sign of success.
AegiusRex More than 1 year ago
I've read reviews stating, "The book is nothing like the movie" or "The movie is better than the book", etc...well, in my own way of thinking, as the book came first, everything should be in comparison to as how accurate "X" is to the original, i.e. the Book. The book has been and always will be a classic on military and ethics. When I first read it, it had only been around for 15yrs. It's still relevant today as it was back then. Now that it's in an eBook form, no worries about lending it out and never getting it back (lost 3 copies that way :/ ) Anyway, I give it 5 stars.
Mary_T More than 1 year ago
Robert Heinlein was in the middle of writing his seminal Science Fiction classic, "A Stranger in a Strange Land" when he happened to see youngsters on television protesting against serving in the Vietnam War. Furious, he wrote about what happens in a near-future pacifist society when they're attacked by an overwhelmingly hostile alien culture. His point: we need a strong military because some day we may REALLY need it. From this premis he crafted one of the most exciting hard sf novels of all time (which - alas - was made into a mediocre film). Heinlein is the only author who can put together space ships, battles, creepy aliens, mind powers, awesome technology, and great characters into a mind-blowing book that you will never forget. That's how you win a Hugo! - - Mary Tills, Barnes and Noble, Frederick, Maryland.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The epic science fiction novel ¿Starship Troopers¿, by Robert A Heinlein, is perhaps one of the most controversial books of its time. It follows Juan ¿Johnnie¿ Rico as he trains and fights his way across the galaxy with the Mobile Infantry, 'MI', attached to ¿Rasczak¿s Roughnecks¿. Though not a well written novel, in the literary or grammatical sense, ¿Starship Troopers¿ kept me hooked because of the political ideals that Heinlein introduces. These same ideals are also the main source of conflict between his critics and fans, 'I now identify myself with the latter group'. Johnny Rico is introduced after his High School graduation. As an 18 year old, he is faced with two choices, join the Armed Forces and become a citizen of Terra, 'an allied earth of the future', or live a normal and prosperous life, but never be able to participate in the government. In an effort to impress a girl, 'typically', our young hero signs up for the military. Though he lists many jobs and roles ahead of the MI when he enlists, fate was not with him. Stuck in a dangerous and seemingly glory- less position, he is sent to the hardest boot camp in all of Terra, with the highest attrition rate. Somehow, he survives through his hellish training, and becomes enthralled with his newfound occupation. So, when a war breaks out with the ¿bugs¿, or Arachnids from the planet Klendathu, he, along with the Roughnecks, is sent off to war, and the story unfolds from there. Throughout the book Heinlein promotes a governmental system where only veterans run the government. His reasoning is surprisingly sound. Veterans, in his, 'and my', opinion, are the obvious choice for leaders. They have already proven their dedication to the country by risking their lives to protect it. Heinlein reasons that Earth would be a more peaceful place if its leaders knew the costs of war. In Heinlein¿s system, all people had the right to free and happy lives. Crime however, was dealt with harshly. Instead of babying criminals in an ineffective prison system, first offenders are flogged, and second offenders immediately win a death sentence. Heinlein believes, 'correctly', that dealing harshly with crime will serve to eliminate it in most cases. In one instance, Rico has a flashback to his High School years, and they speak of our system as being inhumane, and make a surprisingly good argument. He also believes that revolutions would be non-existent in this system, because the most aggressive people, the ¿sheepdogs¿, 'if I may refer to LTC 'ret' Dave Grossmans article', are the leaders of the government. The¿ sheep¿, those people who would not be likely to take up arms against the government, are safely protected under the government¿s power. These are just a very few points that Heinlein brings out in his novel, I¿ll leave you to find out the rest, 'wouldn¿t want to ruin the book!'. Though his critics call him militaristic, Heinlein manages to weave a thought provoking tale of war, bravery, and tragic loss, and offers a novel that has gone down in history as one of the greatest of its kind ever written. Though your opinion may differ then mine, anyone can appreciate the Johnny Rico¿s and Terran Mobile Infantrymen that live on today through their real life counterparts. All in all, this book was one of the most powerful I have ever read, and it would do you good to pick up a copy and follow the adventures of the Roughnecks, as I have.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Starship Troopers is a must read for those who wish to discuss politics, the philosophy of accountability, and the rights of an individual. Do not read it for action, because it hardly exists.... but it is great literature for curing the disease of liberalism that is ruining the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Presents the possible development of a global state and its approach on law, including who should be able to vote and how criminal punishments should be handled. Very interesting!
Alex Weltmann More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book a lot. There is a lot of talk about government and political theory which i thoroughly enjoyed. This book appeals on many levels and i definitely recommend it to any military fiction fan or anyone else for that matter.
Ian Field More than 1 year ago
This story spoke to me as a young child and related a sharp focus to personal duty. Now that I am older i reflect on the parts of Starship Troopers that i hadn't grasped in youth and they strike even coser to home. For this i will always hold Heinlein's books closest. As young man lost in the world this book provides focus to goals not yet realized.
youngandreckless More than 1 year ago
the best thing about this book is its take on future government and culture. fantastic vision of future life, if only we could live like this.
KBroun on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Do not judge this book by the 1990s film, they share little more than the title. Robert Heinlein is one of my favorite authors of science fiction. His novels Stranger In A Strange Land and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress are both excellent examples of the science fiction genre. With this novel Heinlein does not disappoint. The descriptions of combat in the first chapter effectively hook the reader into the story.
ejp1082 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This stands out in my mind as Heinlein's best work.First and foremost, it's a book about space marines with high tech armor battling giant insects. How freaking cool is that?But more importantly, it's a book that challenges some of the most fundamental precepts of our society. The author paints (and defends) a society in which rights are not inalienable, where the franchise is not guaranteed, and where militarism rules the day. It's truly science fiction at its best.
phoenixcomet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's been years since I read Heinlein, so I'm glad to say that I quite enjoyed Starship Troopers, the story of high school graduate Juan Rico whose future has been laid out by his father - to go to Harvard for business and then into the family business. Instead, Juan, or Johnny as he is called, chooses to join the MI, 'mobile infantry' and go on the 'bounce' in outer space, defending the Alliance against the 'bugs', an arachnid species who destroys San Francisco and some other earth locations. In an unexpected turn, after Johnny's mom dies from a bug attack, his father joins the MI also. The book does not focus on the relationship between father and son although it does play a role and ties into the ending of the book. The book has a greater impact in its philosophical discussion on the merits of the military and in its discussion of societies that failed (loosely referencing our 20th century society). Overall, I thought the whole thing well done although my daughter would say, too much talk and not enough action.
RaceBannon42 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"I always get the shakes before a drop." Starship Troopers by Robert A Heinlein is a seminal novel of military Science Fiction. It won the Hugo for best novel in 1960 and has been sited or at least suggested as an influence on such award winning novels as The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, and Old Man's War by John Scalzi. It novel is the first person narrative of Johnnie Rico, a young man from the not to distant future, and details his experience in the Mobile Infantry. It follows him from recruitment, to boot camp, to action. From raw recruit to non-com to officer. Interspersed in the scenes of training, and a few sparse battle scenes are a number of philosophical arguments on subjects such as the nature of war, the rights and duties of citizenship, and the merits of various forms of government. Its these philosophical arguments that have made this book so controversial over the years. Heinlein was widely criticized for his belief in a meritocracy and what many see to be his anti communist views. This is a great book. Its strength lies in the storyline and the development of Rico as a soldier. The world building is rather limited, but the Heinlein does do a pretty good job in portraying both a future Earth society , as well as developing the alien society of the Bugs. I greatly enjoyed this book. Many of course criticize Starship Troopers as a propaganda vehicle for for Heinlein's personal views on society, and while that certainly is a relevant argument. I don't think it needs to detract from the reader's enjoyment of the book. I found it to be a quick read, and while its not a light read, and is filled with philosophical questions, one doesn't get bogged down in them as you can with other books. The influence of this book can't be denied. In fact the themes have been repeated so much in other works I almost felt like I'd read this book before. 9 out of 10
GregStevens on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Most reviews of Starship Troopers focus on two things: the politics and the differences between the book and the movie. The book is decidedly sympathetic to the military, and although it is debatable whether the tone presents war as desirable, it definitely presents the military as the best solution to an unavoidable need. The movie, on the other hand, is an over-the-top (almost comic) satire of militarism, and therefore is an anti-military statement of the tongue-in-cheek variety. Most "reviews" of Starship Troopers therefore end up as lengthy discussions of: Is it possible to be anti-military and enjoy the book? Is it possible to be pro-military and enjoy the movie? Should the movie be seen as a corruption of the book? Or an "update" of the book for a more modern time? Or a completely separate entity all together? And so on.Because you can find these discussions elsewhere—as engaging and interesting as they are—I will not include them in my review here. Instead, I will discuss the writing style.The story itself is engaging, although it suffers from the same symptoms of many of the books that Heinlein wrote during this period. First person narration allows Heinlein to get away with under-developing any characters other than the main character. The dialogue that should have been the emotional lynchpin half-way through the book, the conversation that the main character had with his father, felt forced and flat. By contrast, the "action" scenes and the descriptions of the settings, the weapons, the missions, and so on are vivid and masterfully done. Heinlein did a good job of fleshing out the backstory of the future he was depicting by "hinting" at the complexity of world politics rather than preaching or lecturing about it. So ultimately, it was the world—not the people—that made this book a good read.But throughout the story there was one stylistic element that prevented me from fully immersing myself in the story. It is arguably a small issue, but it nagged at me like a buzzing in my ear: the "voice" of the main character was inconsistent. The main character is explicitly described as doing mediocre in school, having an average IQ, not bothering to read much and not excelling in academics. And in some chapters, the first person narration seems to match the "jarhead" persona of the character, with a lot of slang and "this is what they tell me, but I don't really know much about it" kind of talk. But then, in other chapters, Heinlein seems to forget whose perspective he is writing from... or perhaps he simply is unable, as a writer, to resist the occasional flowery phrase. Either way, I found myself shaken by a zig-zagging narration style that one moment is "I reckon they just don't like it none" and the next moment describing the "myriad mental and moral shortcomings of the sergeants".I have read that Heinlein wrote this novel for political reasons, in a spurt of emotion on order to defend his passions and views from attack that he saw in the culture around him at the time. That's fine. But the end result does, in fact, feel like it was produced in a hurried and emotional way. This book feels to me like an unfinished gem: some good ideas that could have benefited had Heinlein made more meticulous use of the tools of his craft.
SnowSnake on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of Heinlein's top 5!
BruderBane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The classic military sci-fi novel ¿Starship Troopers¿ by Robert A. Heinlein even after all these years -1959- lives up to its controversial and cutting edge reputation. And while there were times that I felt that the story-arc was getting too bogged down with the mediocrity of rank and military brinkmanship, the overall sense of Mr. Heinlein¿s chronicle was refreshing. Mr. Heinlein¿s vision was obviously the building blocks for many future military sci-fi novels.
thomasJamo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book makes Heinlein seem kinda like a fascist. But I think it was intentional. It's a pretty good book. They made a movie of this book, but I'm not sure that the people who made the movie actually ever read the book. It was an absolutely abysmal film adaptation. Of course, movies made from books are never as good as the books, but they at least try to stay as true to the book as their time and budget will allow. This was not done in this case. This book was ok, I guess. However, if they had to pick a Heinlein book to make a movie out of why in the world did they pick this one. Oh, it's not an awful book or anything, but compared to his other work, this book is rather lackluster.
Radaghast on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Starship Troopers is not at all what I expected. It is nothing like the terrible movie that this book supposedly inspired. It isn't even like later military sci-fi it supposedly inspired.Heinlein is writing a philosophy here. A justification for a militaristic state, where freedom is universal, but franchise is limited only to military veterans. It is a utopia of sorts. Yet Heinlein is not writing with a blind eye. No doubt he is endorsing the state he creates, but it is not free of imperfections. It is a balanced and believable universe.How Heinlein managed to get away with it though, is beyond me. The first three quarters of the book are extrapolations of Heinlein's military philosophy and a flashback journey through a young recruit's experiences in boot camp and later in officer's training. The Bugs that he is preparing to destroy don't even make an appearance until over halfway through the novel. But inexplicably it works! Somehow Heinlein makes what should be a preachy and tell not show novel, believable and fascinating.This isn't coming from someone who agrees at all with what the novel is proposing either. Limiting franchise to strictly veterans is an abhorrent proposition. There is a mindless cruelty to some of the military's actions against the barely mentioned alien Skinnies. But Heinlein has created a fantastic argument for something I fundamentally disagree with (though there's always a measure of truth even in things you oppose). And when you finally get to the last portion of the book, when we see some true action, that works too.The one criticism I would give Starship Troopers is the abrupt ending. But that's a minor criticism of an excellent book.
kaionvin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like, and even love, some sci-fi on film. The best sci-fi uses the flexibility of the form to enlarge and illuminate aspects of human nature and society lurking under the surface of the present day. I am also incredibly ignorant about sci-fi literature. Sure I've read some of the requisites-Ender's Game, three of Asimov's Robots series, Hitchhiker's Guide- and some of the genre-crossers -Perdido Street Station, Brave New World, Invisible Man. But I'm game with a plan, to find that novel that makes it 'click' for me.... And this isn't it. In fact, I question why Heinlein sets this is a futuristic alien context at all. The beginning action scene that plunks us into the world of Terran Military Infantryman, Juan Rico, as he performs a terror mission on the 'Bug' world is attention grabbing, if as emotionally flat as a random video game slash-and-burn sequence. It's all just terribly generic, especially as it devolves into a boot camp narrative. This could easily be a story about Joe Schmoe in any army of today- except for that story would require more research and verisimilitude and a more forthright political stance. (In fact, given his clear fondness for the military lifestyle, I think Heinlein could write a much more interesting autobiographical piece.) I picked up some clues to the horrific harshness behind this facade, but a quarter of the way into this, and it hardly seems like there will be any real confrontation or political statement. I don't hate it, but extreme lack of conflict or reflection (both within the context of the novel or the main character) is making me yearn for better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.Maybe I should have gone with the more titularly apt Stranger in a Strange Land?
Karlstar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A scifi classic, and it deserves the classification. Short, simple and to the point. When the human planets are invaded by a species we cannot communicate with - giant bug like aliens our only option is to fight. The warrior of the future is heavily armed and armored, including nuclear weapons (now unthinkable). What makes this more than just a futuristic slugfest is the commentary on what might make a future society different, including the concept that only service to the country makes one eligible for voting. Plenty of action and lots of thought provoking ideas are why this is a classic, though it is not an epic in size or scope.