Starship Troopers

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In my opinion, Heinlein is generally pretty good. Starship Troopers is a classic science fiction work, and classic Heinlein. It is a classic science fiction work in that once you read it, chances are you will recognize elements of it in many other military science fiction works. It is classic Heinlein in that the writing is generally very good at creating a cohesive setting with characters who fit in very well, interesting, and compelling. However, there are also many pages of lecturing (literally, in-setting lectures) and philosophizing about why the only possible society is one that is paternalistic, libertarian, enmeshed in total war, denying representation to non-military personnel, etc. (Keep in mind, the first publication date of this novel is 1959.) There definitely were parts I found provoked thought, and parts which I found did not, or were thoroughly unconvincing in that they did not try to convince, but simply stated and assumed truths. So, quite simply: some people will love this, some people will hate this.

The story follows the life of a private of the Terran Mobile Infantry. It is a detailed depiction of the daily life and overall career path of a trooper, as opposed to a singular depiction of rare and heroic actions. I have no idea how accurate it is to the actual process of military training, but it feels quite realistic, albeit simultaneously idealized and romanticized.

Also, the enemy is a species of giant alien space bugs. This is a firmly established trope in sci-fi by now, and I think this is one of the works that launched it into prominence.

Cover Art Review: Aside from reminding me of a certain Star Wars prequel movie that was not terrible but not great, this is a pretty decent cover. I like that it is a full wrap, not just one image used on the front/back covers. There is also a lot of detail given on the military choppers, and the infantry being small and not in the foreground gives you a proper sense of scale. It sticks to its color palette a bit too much for my taste, though, and the font face clashes distractingly with the illustration.

Side Note:If you want to play Starship Troopers: Basically The Book But A Video Game That Only Has The Fighting Bits, Earth 2024 B-Movie Edition, then you should check out a video game that just came out called Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Terror. You play as a member of the EDF, fighting giant insects and alien robots that are invading Earth in 2024. Just saying, slaughtering giant ants by the hundreds, getting killed by scores of giant spiders, experiencing the joys of friendly fire… fun times!

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