Review: Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers in one of the benchmarks of the science fiction cannon, as well as just about the most troubling book in it. This is the book that gave birth to proper military s.f; with everything from Aliens to Halo borrowing themes and idea from it. It’s the first and possibly the best book about an interstellar ground war.
But what makes the book so fascinating and problematic is the central philosophy that Heinlein is using the book to promote. That citizenship is not a right, but a priviledge that should be earned through service to the state. He plays fair with this at least, mostly. The chaos and horrors of war permeate the book, so he’s not trying to glamorize military service by any means. In fact every last veteran to appear in the novel is missing a limb or two. But on the other hand anything truly tragic happens off-screen.
It’s also impossible to think of this book without bringing up Heinlein’s follow-up novel, the legendary free-love masterpiece Stranger In a Strange Land. Heinlein is an incredibly hard author to pin down, but one well worth struggling with. Starship Troopers is one of the key pieces in that puzzle, as well as simply being essential reading for anyone in fandom.