Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

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Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

Postby Omphalos » Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:48 pm

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In the annals of military science fiction, one book has always stood apart in my mind as the epitome of excellence. That book is Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. A controversial book to say the least, its also one of the best coming-of-age novels that SF has to offer. It may also be one of the most storied novels in the history of our genre as well; the controversy surrounding its submission by Heinlein to Scribner's is legendary. So legendary in fact that it would be a horrible waste of time for me to go over it yet again here. But the debate over the purpose of this book has raged quietly since it was first published in 1959. Most readers take this book as an exercise in jingoistic excellence, as full of the polemic of military virtue as a book of three hundred odd pages can possibly be. One thing though that it is actually surprisingly light on, at least by today's standards, is blood and gore, which is odd for a military-themed work. The reality of war is presented well: Dead civilians, crippled infrastructure, nuclear blast craters and dead comrades are sprinkled liberally throughout the book, and topics such as terrorism and the targeting of noncombatants are presented without the amorality being questioned at all. But by far the bulk of the text is dedicated to deep discussions of what it means to be an adult, and the ways that real men and women care for society, and make decisions about the use of force as an instrument of foreign policy. Without ever sounding preachy or descending to pandering or nagging, Heinlein did an excellent job of describing exactly what that meant within the framework of a military dominated government. If you ask me this book is clearly focused on the military and sociological themes, but what the book becomes is nothing short of a utopia tale. It is definitely another one of those ambiguous utopias, but Heinlein presented a society here that chose to focus on a military way of life to avoid certain problems that crop up in a society like our own where freedom is a birthright and rights are granted before people have a chance to consider the burdens of citizenship. As it happened, after that particular course was chosen for the ship of state an interstellar war broke out, so throughout the story the military government was just doing what it was designed originally to do; make war on an enemy...Please click here, or on the book cover above, to be taken to the complete review..
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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Re: Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:27 am

I love reading your reviews, especially the more recent ones compared to the older ones. I think your "voice" is becoming both very clear, but very subtle.

Anyways, this book was a massive dissapointment for me. I did enjoy the strange feeling of often agreeing with the philosophy of a cleary rightwing extremist, but I was expecting a story and did not get it.

This review makes me think I should go back and give this one another chance, now that I'm not expecting plot I think I might actually enjoy it.
I deleted some of your posts because they were derailing the topic and not focusing on the issues asked, and instead going after the authors or their material. That's why. ~ BM
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Re: Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

Postby Omphalos » Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:33 am

Thanks, man. I can't even read the old ones anymore myself. They just suck.

And it only took me 300 or so to become half-way decent! Score!
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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Re: Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:37 am

It's easy to check your own grammer, it's not easy to make it sound like you aren't squeezing the words out of your ass. I would have already posted some of my writing here, but the writing is just so damned terrible I can't bring myself to do it yet!
I deleted some of your posts because they were derailing the topic and not focusing on the issues asked, and instead going after the authors or their material. That's why. ~ BM
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Re: Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

Postby Omphalos » Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:55 am

I do worry about that when I post something, but to tell you the truth, there is nothing more motivating then having a hundred or so people view your posts. Gives you incentive to get better like nothing else, even if most of them are kind and dont knock you for your various stupidities too much.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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Re: Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

Postby Robspierre » Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:30 pm

Not bad Omph. One quibble. One didn't just earn a franchise by joining the military, it was government service that earned the franchise, the military just earned it way faster.

Something else people forget to mention. When on active duty, military personnel cannot use their franchise. A lot of the fans of the novel on the right ignore the concept of service, only focusing on the military.

Rob
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Re: Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

Postby Omphalos » Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:02 pm

Robspierre wrote:Not bad Omph. One quibble. One didn't just earn a franchise by joining the military, it was government service that earned the franchise, the military just earned it way faster.


True. Thought I had it qualified in there. Must have been taken out in a redraft accidentally.

Robspierre wrote:Something else people forget to mention. When on active duty, military personnel cannot use their franchise. A lot of the fans of the novel on the right ignore the concept of service, only focusing on the military.

Rob


I didn't think that worth mentioning, but you are correct. Though I think I did say that military service was a way to earn a franchise, which at least implies its the path, not the destination.

To tell the truth I was more focused on writing on this book as a utopia piece, which I think is something that most critics ignore.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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