Starship TroopersDecember 11, 2012
This book deserves its classic status among sci-fi novel. It revolves around the live of Juan Rico, a Mobile Infantry of Terran Federation, future elite Earth federation fighting force. If you know this novel from the movie adaptation, you might get a wrong impression. It is nothing like the movie, except some part in the beginning. This book, even though it has some action part, mostly it is political philosophy commentary.
Heinlein is using three stage of the character’s life for the in depth discussion. The first one is his History and Moral Philosophy class in high school, the second is the hardship that he has to endure in boot camp, the third is in cadet class, which is also hard for his average brain. The lengthy conversation between his instructor and him might put off some more-action-orientated readers. But the gist of this novel IS the political commentary.
I’m not going to comment on the political statement in this novel, since this is a novel review, not a political essay. Enough to say that the statement is compelling, whether you agree with it or not. In some part I find it parallel with Falkenberg Legion series by Jerry Pournelle. It is not surprising because both of them write military sci-fi and have right wing tendency.
The elements that lack from this novel is story telling. There are not much story to follow, only fragments of military life. So if you want a good story, this one is not for you. The technology revelation is also not in depth, except for the military exo-skeleton. Even by all of this lacking, the speculation of a future global federation truly made this novel a classic one.
Personal note: I truly like that the future military officer should be also proficient in MATH! So Rico which is a bit slow get tutored by the skipper daily. I hope this is really happening, haha…
Several issue discussed in this novel: democracy, suffrage, death penalty, juvenile delinquency.