Sunday, April 3, 2011

Book Review: Starship Troopers

Robert Heinlein's controversial book was not what I had expected after watching the 1997 movie. The premise is that Johnnie Rico lives in a future where citizenship is gained by serving in the military, and you must be a citizen if you want to vote and have some other privileges. Through extenuating circumstances, Johnnie joins the military, right before Earth gets in a war with a race of bugs.

A cool aspect of this novel is the powered armor the soldiers wear (which never appeared in the first Starship Troopers movie but appeared in sequels, presumably to follow the book more closely). Now I know where Blizzard got their design for Starcraft. Heinlein makes the advanced technology accessible for the non-savvy, but also to the tech-whiz-reader.

Throughout the novel there are strong meritocratic themes and entire sections taken place in a classroom explaining various political philosophies. They seem to be setting themselves up on the far side of the spectrum from Karl Marx. They say that individuals should sacrifice for the benefit of the collective. The difference between the two philosophies is choice. A Marxist would not give the individual a choice.

Part Political Essay, part Novel, Heinlein's most controversial work will remain on my bookshelf so I can reread it again someday. I recommend to any right-wingers out there and anyone who needs to get their head screwed on straight.

Bookophile Rating: Excellent

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