Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

Starship Troopers (1959) by Robert A. Heinlein is another of those supposedly-classic science fiction novels I had never read, until now.  But I did see the 1997 movie, which was enough to make me think I wouldn't like the book. I was right, but not for the reasons I thought. The book isn't really an adventure story, but a history of the military indoctrination of a young man in the future. It's filled with info-dumps giving arguments about service and citizenship, all of which (if followed) would likely lead directly to fascism. The movie jettisoned all this, taking a snarky tone, and concentrating on the war with the completely inhuman aliens called merely Bugs. It probably was the right choice for making an almost palatable film, but reading the book makes one feel that Heinlein's views of society are as diabolically twisted as Ayn Rand's objectivism (a candy-coated term for selfishness). Why either book is popular is beyond me, but they are book ends on the same bookshelf. Not a shelf I want in my bookcases. 

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