Skip to comments.All I Ever Really Needed To Know About Citizenship, I Learned From Starship Troopers
Posted on 04/09/2010 6:49:45 PM PDT by Publius772000
Ask most people about Starship Troopers, and, if they recognize the name at all, theyll link it to the over-hyped 1997 film directed by Paul Verhoeven. This is unfortunate, as the film did no justice to the Heinlein text. My first acquaintance with the book came in 2003 when I found a 1959 copy in a flea market in Indian Springs, GA for the tidy sum of $5.
Id never read the book before buying that copy, but I consumed it in a day. The writing was aimed at a young adult audience, but its themes resonate today, regardless of age.
The book, like the film, focuses on the exploits of Juan Johnnie Rico, a young high school graduate who decides to gain his citizenship through Federal Service. Heinleins post-20th century world is governed by a military republic where citizenship is attained through some form of service, primarily in the armed forces. Rico finds himself funneled into the Mobile Infantry, where he is trained to be a cap (capsule) trooper. During his training, the Earth enters a war against the bugs and the skinnies, two alien races. The book chronicles Ricos journey from his entrance into Federal Service through his rigorous training and his time in officers school. Unlike the film, much of the book is set in Ricos various classes throughout his training, most notably his courses on History and Moral Philosophy, which discussed the reasons behind conflict in general and the organization of the government in Ricos time.
Heinleins book, which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1960, was both praised and criticized by the science fiction community. Some argued that Heinlein, who was a 1929 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was recruiting for the military...
(Excerpt) Read more at theconstitutionalalamo.com ...
Book is fantastic, I’ve read it probably 20 times. Movie was stupid.
Being a government slave for a while will sure be a great benefit to liberty.
The movie had its moments, but the reason it was stupid was that it tried to make the world some sort of fascist propagandist dictatorship, which is not what Heinlein envisioned. I reread the book a couple of weekends ago in preparation for next school year’s discussion with my AP Gov’t class. I’ll likely read it again a couple of times over the summer as well.
You probably don’t need suggestions, then, but if I were assigning, I’d make sure the kids read the following, in order:
The Door into Summer
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
They are all from the pre-Stranger period, which I vastly prefer.
Completely agree. I was uber disappointed and disgusted that they took a deeply philosophical book and turned it into a horrible action movie.
Really? I prefer to watch rocks move!
I love Heinlein. Great writer.
The most conservative/libertarian, pro-war version was part 3, NOT 1.
1) The govt in the middle of the war, kills the anti-war protestors who were doing everything in order to stop the “illegal” war between the insects and humans.
2) It was proven in the end that those “anti-war protestors” were actually lackeys of the media, which portrayed the troopers as killing insects “indiscriminately’.
2) Mostly Christian themed..believe it or not. Even the scene of “angels” coming down in 1 scene.
3) That the looney Christian, whom the others disrespected, was actually correct in the end. YeS, i said CHRISTIAN.
How this movie got past the censors and liberals in Hollywood is beyond me.
All great suggestions, but I also have to balance my summer reading requirements with those of the English classes, so I usually get one shot. I own a copy of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, and have worn it out. It’s a relatively new copy, though, unlike my old copy of Starship Troopers, which I have to baby and, in fact, had to repair during my last read. I may have to break down and buy a new copy and retire my 1959 edition to the classics shelf.
Simak’s “CITY” is one of my top 5 favorites .
I never watched the 2nd or 3rd films after the ridiculous first movie. But I’ll take the suggestion into consideration ;)
The book was boring, the movie was hilarious and had excellent nudity. Do you want to know more?
That is so yesterday.
I think he wrote a short story about a gun shop. A great moral story on the right to bear arms.
In part 2, Kelly Carlson from Nip Tuck is fully nude in it. I hope that makes you consider..XD
I read Starship Troopers first, and absolutely loved the book.
I read Stranger next. It was good. It built really well, but I was somewhat disappointed in parts of it.
I'm trying to get into Time Enough for Love, but just can't get there. I think it's spring fever.
I'm just looking for book reviews on his other works. Suggestions on what to read, and why.
Considering your post, I highly doubt you’ve read the book.
Because then I’d be all for forcing “federal service” to the state in order to get citizenship?
Movie was okay, if a bit too campy. Sequel sucked royally.
Having been a "government slave" for many years, I'm disappointed in your apparent sarcasm. There is nothing like the thoughtful consideration that our military gives to military ethics, to the meaning of the Constitution, and to the other concepts that I had to master (ignoring the technical side of my job) to teach an appreciation for freedom and for our history.
To those who have grown up in a society of entitlement and the progressive ideal of nearly universal franchise, it can be tough to wrap your arms around the concept of service-based citizenship. In Heinlein’s book, you had freedom of speech, religion, assembly, etc. without service. However, if you wanted to vote or hold office (translation = legislate and change society), you had to be willing to put your life on the line. This inherently brings value to the vote and makes one have respect for that power. How different is that attitude compared to what we have in 2010, when groups like ACORN, or whatever its groups will call themselves now, are registering homeless people and political parties are offering them drives to the polling places and free donuts in exchange for their vote? The franchise has been cheapened, and the election of a group of Marxists has been the result. In my opinion, Heinlein was prescient.
I view ANY forced servitude to the state as slavery.
So when High Schoolers are forced to join Obama’s new Domestic Army as a way to get college loans, they will learn about the wonders and omniscience of the mighty One!
Yes. The book was very good. The movie was was absolutely stupid.
Depends upon where you live... Recently in Chile, Haiti, and Mexico the rocks have been moving too fast!
“You read the same book 20 times?”
Well in my defense I’ve had the book for 20 years.
Re-read the book. The service was not forced. It was a precondition of voting or holding office, not of any other rights of a citizen.
As for the real world, I oppose the draft in this country, not that I care about the whiner babies who would doubtless get doctor's notes that they have ingrown toenails or some other trivial problems and can't serve, but because I care about the military. Our armed services deserve the best, which is volunteers. I volunteered, and I am both proud and glad that I did.
You will most likely be interested in his “Juveniles”. His juvvies books are not at all taking the reader for an idiot. The only differences are that there are no sex scenes, and the main characters tend to be teenagers. For instance, take “The Puppet Masters” (another Heinlein book butchered by the movie adaptation). There are very few changes between the original edition, marketed as a Juvenile, and the modern one. Mostly, one sex scene was removed, another toned down.
So read “Have Spacesuit, Will Travel”, “Citizen of the Galaxy”, and “The Puppet Masters” — the adult version has the main character wake up next to a woman, whereas the original has him alone.
Now for the “adult” books.
Read “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” and any Heinlein short story collection your can get, especially “The Man who sold the Moon”. “Farnham’s Freehold”, “Friday” and “Glory Roads” are great classics you'll love.
As for “Time Enough for Love”, I'd suggest to keep it for after you have read these other tomes. The reason is that Heinlein wrote his later books at a time when he was sick and wanted to explore completely different themes — immortality, sexuality and human consciousness among others. Far away from the potent themes of his earlier books. He was running out of time and wanted to get them out, and sometimes they lack a good polish.
“They are all from the pre-Stranger period, which I vastly prefer.”
Me too, the stuff after is disappointing.
Hmmm, are you firm on that?
The Door into Summer, 1957
Stranger in a Strange Land,1961
Farnham’s Freehold, 1964
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, 1966
As I recall from the book (it’s been thirty or so years), the term ‘citizenship’ being used here really stands for ‘the franchise.’
Did not the inhabitants of the country who chose not to serve nevertheless enjoy all the other rights and protections of citizenship, the one exception being the franchise?
The director never read the book. Movie = bad, book = MUST READ.
What I don't know, I have never shared.
Then those who don’t serve should not be paying taxes either.
Denise Richards,Blake Lindsley, Brenda Strong, and Dina Meyer were pretty hot in that movie.
>>I think he wrote a short story about a gun shop. A great moral story on the right to bear arms.
I think you are thinking of The Weapons Shops of Isher, by A.E. Van Vogt.
That sounds about right.
Another interesting point - ONLY combat vets were allowed to work as cops. Why? - they knew what happend when you pull the trigger...
Brought out concepts now seen as MECHA (powered armor)
Liberal use of TacNukes.
Liberal use of public whipping for punishment
Yup, the RAH was quite the rabble rouser.
Best piece - Short story “Searchlight”, a Novella in 1000 words.
For today - his “Take back your Government” has a lot to say.
I had just sold my first story to ASTOUNDING that year. John Campbell, the editor, invited me to sit at his table during the Hugo awards. Heinlein was there at the table also.
When ST was announced as the winner, I ran back up to my hotel room, grabbed my copy, and got Heinlein's autograph on it right after he accepted the award. That copy is one of my most treasured possessions. I don't lend it out.
In the sixties, when Stranger was all the rage, many hippies were greatly disappointed when they went on to read Starship Troopers and The Moon is A Harsh Mistress.
So I went out and read them, and was thrilled, especially by the latter, which I ought to read again. What I loved about Starship Troopers was the absolute respect it demonstrated toward women. One very moving part was about the cadet who went AWOL during training, and took a little girl hostage in attempting to avoid capture and killed her. They took him back to his unit, stripped him of all his military insignia down to his fatigues, then hung him by the neck in front of his former unit.
Very, very cool story...
And what’s interesting about that particular episode in the book is that Rico views it with very different emotions than he does the public flogging of the recruit that struck Sgt. Zim during training.
The movie: based on the back cover of a novel by Robert Heinlein.
Great book, first novel I ever read.
I have read it a dozen times, at least.
The best description of the movie I’ve ever read... I may steal that in the future. :D
This was the tragic fallacy which brought on the decadence and collapse of the democracies of the twentieth century; those noble experiments failed because the people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears.
Nothing of value is free.
What a prophet, that Heinlen. Collapse of democracies of the 20th century. OK, he missed by one century."
I agree. Great book. Every guy that reads should read it. A great guy book and I think women could get something out of it as well, but not really one aimed at women, IMHO. I don't agree with the premise that only those willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country should be the only ones to vote or hold office, but it is based on a sound general principal.
You have to have some skin in the game to make a sound decision. There is a reason poke is played with money. No money, and everybody plays out every hand, bluffing on every hand. What do they care. Add money, and you have to think long and hard if you want to raise the bet and go on. You need skin in the game. Tax payers have that. Property owners have that. Small business owners have that.
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