Starship Troopers, by Robert A Heinlein – book and film

blacknorth

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I suppose it's each to their own really. But, to go back to Starship Troopers, I think it's a very entertaining read.
 

Toby Frost

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Well, I'm from the UK, but although I've no idea what the general view in Britain is, I agree with Iansales' point that the film is more successful as a film than the book is as a book. Leaving aside the politics of the book, I think it is not very well structured and doesn't make its case very well. I can think of people I disagree with who are very persusasive writers, and sadly Heinlein isn't one of them - at least in this book.
 

Connavar

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Well, I'm from the UK, but although I've no idea what the general view in Britain is, I agree with Iansales' point that the film is more successful as a film than the book is as a book. Leaving aside the politics of the book, I think it is not very well structured and doesn't make its case very well. I can think of people I disagree with who are very persusasive writers, and sadly Heinlein isn't one of them - at least in this book.

Have you read another book of his ?

There are some books of quality writers that i cant enjoy at all. No one writes good books every time.

I can say that he let the politics,ideas overrule the other elements in ST. That hasnt happened in the other books of his i have read. Even if it was a straight action,adventure military SF i thought Starship Troopers was quality. The military action was done very well the few scenes there were.
 

AE35Unit

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Re: Starship Troopers, by Robert A Heinlein – book and film

I read somewhere that this book alienated a lot of his fans when it was first published.
 

j d worthington

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I read somewhere that this book alienated a lot of his fans when it was first published.

I have trouble accepting that claim (not yours, but the source where you ran across it) as much of what is in there isn't greatly (if at all) different from things in his earlier books. I can believe that those who encountered him first through Stranger in a Strange Land, and took that to be "typical" Heinlein, would be alienated by Starship Troopers... though, to be honest, a closer examination of the two will reveal more similarities in philosophy than otherwise. I've encountered my share of hippies, ex-flower-children, and the like, who absolutely loved Stranger, and reacted like scalded cats (sorry, Nesa!:rolleyes:) to ST... but Heinlein hadn't changed; it was simply a different approach and a different type of book, that's all.

My suggestion: forget all the hype, good and bad, and read the darned thing. It's not exactly a very long book, so it won't involve a huge investment in time; and it's had enough printings to make it fairly easy to come across used. Read it, and make up your own mind; don't be scared off because of the controversy.

Myself... I quite like the book (though I certainly didn't when I first read it -- too many differences from my own approach), and I periodically go back for a reread to this day. My own take on it is that, as a didactic novel (the genre to which it belongs, really), it is actually rather well done; certainly, it beats many another such that I've read, whatever their other virtues, when it comes to tying the didacticism to some form of dramatic action or character development; and I enjoy the way this is something of the capstone to various themes developed in his juveniles (which are nearly all well worth reading... even Rocket Ship Galileo, despite being clunky here and there, has things to recommend it, IMO).

As for the film... while I can appreciate what he was doing, I'm afraid I feel it was far too heavy handed in general, where the irony simply became like a bludgeon where subtlety would have served much better to satirize what he was aiming at, and it also was far too farcical... and I've never been a fan of farce. Some nice things there, but I've never been able to actually like the film enough to sit through the entire thing (though I have seen it all in bits and pieces here and there)....
 

Connavar

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Thats why im so glad Starship Troopers was my first RAH book. I picked it up from the library and read it without knowing anything about except being a juvie and Heinlein was some important SF author heh.

Everything in the book was fresh to me. If i would read it now knowing the so called controversy it wouldnt be the same.
 

Toby Frost

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I've read two other Heinleins: Star Beast, which was entertaining enough when I was young, and The Puppet Masters, which I remember as being very good. I should point out that both of these worked perfectly well as books: my argument (here) is that Starship Troopers doesn't work very well as a novel, no matter its politics.

Though I agree that different facets of an author can appear in different books. It is a rare novel that shows the whole of its author, and probably not a good one.
 

iansales

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Other novels by Heinlein I've read - or at least I remember having read: Space Cadet, The Day After Tomorrow, The Puppet Masters, Starman Jones, Citizen of the Galaxy, Have Space Suit—Will Travel, Stranger in a Strange Land, Glory Road, Farnham's Freehold, I Will Fear No Evil, The Number of the Beast, Friday, Job: A Comedy of Justice, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, To Sail Beyond the Sunset and three or four collections.

And of those, I'd say the juveniles were easily the best. But later this year I plan to reread Stranger in a Strange Land, so perhaps we'll see what I make of that...
 

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