Robert Heinlein: Starship Troopers

Shell_Kracker

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I enjoyed the movie far more than the book - it was perhaps the most genius satire of extremism ive ever seen on film.
 

Connavar

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I dont see why people see the movie as satire.


I saw it almost a decade before i read the book and even knew who RAH was.


To me it looked like a very stupid and bad movie. No parody at all. Thats even more clear
when i read the book.


They took the simple, sexier things about the book and like the flogging,the military stuff,the bugs and made an empty movie out of it.

I see why some people like space military thing but not why some see it as a satire. Like hollywood ever cares about a book that much to make a satire.....
 

Shell_Kracker

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I dont see why people see the movie as satire.

I saw it almost a decade before i read the book and even knew who RAH was.

To me it looked like a very stupid and bad movie. No parody at all. Thats even more clear when i read the book.

They took the simple, sexier things about the book and like the flogging,the military stuff,the bugs and made an empty movie out of it.

I see why some people like space military thing but not why some see it as a satire. Like hollywood ever cares about a book that much to make a satire.....

I thought the parody of jingoism was blatantly obious to be honest. Im not sure how you missed it.

It sounds like you have mis-interpreted what people mean by 'satire' - the film isnt a satire of Robert Heinlein's book - it is a general political satire, not unlike 'Dr Strangelove'.

It is a witty dystopian commentary on extremist 'us vs them' tribal behavior, complete with the standard mass hysteria threat to our 'way of life' (bugs = communists, niggers, jews, terrorists, witches, etc).

They nailed everything, right down to the 'infotainment' broadcasts, with their ludacris one-sided parody of modern 'political commentators'.

Im not sure what your political beliefs are, if any, but perhaps the reason you see no satire in the film is because those beliefs are what are being subject to parody?

Take this example - at one point in the film, schoolchildren are encouraged in cheesy 'Triumph of the Will'/'Birth of the Nation' style propaganda, to collect bugs and stomp on them - these bugs dont even have anything to do with the alien threat, they are an Earth species - this is a satire of mindless victimisation of minorities being encouraged during wartime - i.e. American concentration camps for Japanese Americans who had nothing to do with their war, portrayal of Japanese people as subhumans in comics of the period, etc.
 

Connavar

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Oh that kind satire.


I thought you meant parody of the book.


Yeah even though its been long time, i rememer some of things you mention. Yeah some of the things was very clear. Other things arent easy to remember cause it wasnt a memorable movie. Except the huge bugs hehe.

Thats the problem when other people say satire in some of the other forums i have seen. They dont explain so its easy to misunderstand.

Also its clear some people dont remember anything but the bug killing things they liked.
 

Shell_Kracker

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The people who only watched the movie as an 'action movie', and didnt notace the political commentary tend to not like the movie (afterall, they have missed the point of the film entirely) - on the other hand, those who did see the commentary tend to think it was one of the best political send-ups ever, and a very potent anti-war movie.

I think you might like it more today, now that you are older (I get the impression you watched it when you were young, from what you are saying). Its like watching 'Team America: World Police' - I bet some young people actually thought the movie was seriously advocating obnoxious militarism, and missed the entire blatently obious point of the film, i.e. taking the piss out of jingoism.

There is one bit in the movie that is a hilarious satire of selective journalism and political commentators who spend more time spinning news than actually reporting anything (like Bill O'Reily lol). The human treatment of the bugs is a clear send-up of human prejudice. Viewed after 9/11 the film becomes even more powerfull, because it managed to predict the course of the 'War on Terror'.
 

Connavar

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Yeah i was alittle too young then and i was disgusted by the bad acting of Casper Van something.

I got some of the things like the tv stuff.

Most time of time i saw only a horrible action movie.

Would be interesting to watch it now not only i will get more of the satire but also i know the story they make the movie of.

Funny enough i love the book and i get annoyed when i read criticts and readers dissing it cause it was glorifiying military. I think then did you read the same book?

Sure he had love for military but you have to see his ideas instead of complaining of the most obvious thing.

I almost laughed out hard at how current the book was. How little things have changed since he wrote the book.

Specially about the thing about the juvinile criminals. Here i always felt we are too easy on them. Then you see experts on tv complaining about they turned out to be dangerous criminals. Only one of the many things i liked about his ideas in the book.
 

Connavar

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Trust me i have read everything people have said about ST.

I dont see why people react that hard. You either think he told his ideas in a good way or not. Only cause the military view is alot more real than the usual "lets conquer Mars story" that people react to book alot, in a good or a bad way.

The most important thing people have something to say about it.


Me i didnt agree on most of his views but i like that he told them in intellegent way.

I was alittle suprised how well liked he is by the military. How ST is a required read in Military schools. Its although very understandable Astronauts adore the book though.
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]

Even though it scares me, this idea makes some sense. I like the fact that the commander-in-chief of the U.S. military is a civilian, but all the corruption in our government, gets me thinking, "Hmmm ... maybe I would trust my president more if he had risked his life for our country to earn his right to hold office."


[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]From your link.

I thought thats one of the questions that made the book a very interesting read.


[/FONT]
 

Urien

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I enjoyed the movie on two levels. It's an excellent special effects battle movie, the bugs were fabulous. The clear fascist overtones complete with gestapo, symbols and glorification of homeland were very well done.

I felt sorry for the bugs, they clearly didn't stand a chance. Had nobody in that particular future heard of tanks?

In the book (which I read a long time ago), the bugs are more equiv to us, an intelligent species using technology that happened to evolve from bugs.

Similiar in mood is a great book by Glen Cook called a "Passage at Arms" (I think). Think The Forever War meets Das Boot.
 

Connavar

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In the book (which I read a long time ago), the bugs are more equiv to us, an intelligent species using technology that happened to evolve from bugs.


Its that a bad thing?


I liked that they were an intelligent enemy, not some dumb beast that must be killed.
 

Urlik

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Heinlein is a bit of an odd one really
a lot of his views are very anti war and especially anti conscription yet he is also anti pacifist and believes that those who enjoy the benefits of a nation/society should be prepared to lay down their lives to defend it.

in some ways his point of view strikes me as anarchistic, but realistic.
laws are there to let him know what the risks are, and they are followed or broken depending on whether they suit his purpose or not.

there is an almost parallel setting in one of his short stories (can't remember the name but I'm sure it is in The Man Who Sold The Moon) where you can wear a gun and get privaleges or wear a brassard and be a 2nd class citizen.
those with guns have to be extra polite as they can be challenged to a duel to the death if they offend yet those with brassards always have to give precedent to those with guns yet are safe from being challenged.

that simple bit of background is a brilliant illustration of the old dilema; peace or freedom

Heinlein, like the other greats, is a master of giving depth character to alternative societies with very few words so that the story has context yet the social/political issues of today are called into question
 

Connavar

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Good post.

Seems like you have read enough to RAH to see what kind of writer he is.

I have only read one of his works so far but by the way you described that short story/novel it sounds to me like a typical RAH story.
 

Shell_Kracker

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Not everyone who is anti-subscription and anti-war is a pacifist - most arnt, and believe in defensive war, and defensive voluntary armed forces.
 

Urlik

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Not everyone who is anti-subscription and anti-war is a pacifist - most arnt, and believe in defensive war, and defensive voluntary armed forces.


most sane people are anti war

but with RAH there is the theme that killing is wrong yet it is something you should be prepared to do to protect your freedom.

there is also the theme that in societies where everyone is armed and has the freedom to kill, people tend to be more polite and there is less crime

these themes spawn numerous questions
mainly, at which point does the killing go from retail to wholesale and go from fighting to defend yourself and property on a personal level to fighting a war to defend your society/nation and way of life?

oh what a lovely can of worms RAH has left for us to open :D
 

Shell_Kracker

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I personally find the 'fight to protect freedom' idea juvenile - because even seemingly posetive idealism turns into fanaticism - and one's own idea of what freedom is, is not definitive. No doubt Lenin thought he was protecting freedom (in his own way) for example. The German people were convinced that their freedom was under threat from the 'international Jewry'. No doubt todays terrorists and aggressive nationalists think the same thing.

The ideas presented in Starship Troopers were what I thought as a kid (human nationalism essentially), but I long since recognised that they are as unrealistic as any other fanatic ideal - whether it be racism or Maoism.
 

j d worthington

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I find it interesting that this novel is still stirring as much controversy as it did when it was first released (there was a very heated radio debate on it at the time; I've come across fragments of that in various histories of sf, or books on Heinlein, over the years).

And I wouldn't take this book as a summation of Heinlein's ideas on any of these topics; not only was this one of those books where he was wanting to gig people into discussing the topic (something which shouldn't be surprising, given the political climate of the time), but it was also the culmination of a development of various themes in his juveniles, so he was tackling a lot of issues there.

It's interesting that, the first time I read the book, I hated the thing. I was vehemently opposed to what it had to say, and reacted with a knee-jerk liberalism (but then, I was also quite young at the time). Since then, it has become one of my favorite books because it fundamentally questions a lot of my own biases, and I think that's always a good thing for helping to periodically reassess one's stance and measure how well it agrees with new facts, and/or how well such a stance has stood the test of experience....
 

Connavar

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I wonder how many people like you have hated the book the first reading and loved in second and then it became a favorit.


Will be interesting to read the other juvies and see how his ideas on these topics are. How different they are from one book to another.
 

Shell_Kracker

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I find it interesting that this novel is still stirring as much controversy as it did when it was first released (there was a very heated radio debate on it at the time; I've come across fragments of that in various histories of sf, or books on Heinlein, over the years).

And I wouldn't take this book as a summation of Heinlein's ideas on any of these topics; not only was this one of those books where he was wanting to gig people into discussing the topic (something which shouldn't be surprising, given the political climate of the time), but it was also the culmination of a development of various themes in his juveniles, so he was tackling a lot of issues there.

It's interesting that, the first time I read the book, I hated the thing. I was vehemently opposed to what it had to say, and reacted with a knee-jerk liberalism (but then, I was also quite young at the time). Since then, it has become one of my favorite books because it fundamentally questions a lot of my own biases, and I think that's always a good thing for helping to periodically reassess one's stance and measure how well it agrees with new facts, and/or how well such a stance has stood the test of experience....

The problem I find is that I have already questioned those knee jerk reactions before reading ST - and rejecting it always led to fanatical lack of perspective.
 

j d worthington

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The problem I find is that I have already questioned those knee jerk reactions before reading ST - and rejecting it always led to fanatical lack of perspective.

I think I'm missing something here on the second clause. Are you saying rejecting the novel led to a fanatical lack of perspective toward the novel, toward the issues, or toward RAH overall; and if toward Heinlein or the novel ... to the point where they could see nothing good about it or Heinlein, or the opposite? Sorry, but I'm just a bit uncertain of what you mean there...:confused:
 

Shell_Kracker

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I mean rejecting reasoned liberalism has always led to bad things, in my experience - no matter how rational the rejection seems at the time.
 

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