Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

Starship Troopers Heinlein Book Cover


Rating: 3.5 Stars

I always get the shakes before a drop.



Plot


Rico has a plush life. He’s the son of a rich businessman, destined to take over his Dad’s business. That is, until he joins the military. He didn’t really plan to do it, but he finds himself enlisted. He is assigned to the Infrantry, who unlike others, fight on the planets themselves, only powered suits between them and the enemy. And the enemy is a scary, spider-like race.


Review


I think it says something about the book that I have trouble remembering protagonists name. Rico? Was it Rico?

Doesn’t matter. I still liked reading about him. I liked the way he told his story.

I’ve heard it called a “strategic victory” – but I was there and I claim we took a terrible licking.



The action scenes were pretty good. They were fast-paced and well-written. All except the last battle that is, that one was confusing. But most of all, the atmosphere was great. It was a mixture of constant danger and hell yeah.

It’s better after you unload. Until you do you sit there in total darkness, wrapped like a mummy against the accelerations, barely able to breathe – and knowing that there is just nitrogen around you in th capsule even if you could get your helmet open, which you can’t – and knowing that the capsule is surrounded by the firing tube anyhow and if the ship gets hit before they fire you, you haven’t got a prayer, you’ll just die there, unable to move, hepless. It’s that endless wait in the dark that causes the shakes – thinking that they’ve forgotten you … the ship has been hulled and stayed in orbit, dead, and soon you’ll buy it, too, unable to move, choking.



However, there were some problems with the book. The main one being that I didn’t get to build up any connection to the characters. For the most part, they just remained names. They were introduced, they died. I didn’t care. Because I had no connection to them.

Breckinridge was one of them; the other was an Aussie boy I didn’t know. They weren’t the first to die in training; they weren’t the last.



Also, there were long tracts in between the action, the ones I called the History & Moral Philosophy parts that where basically musings on philosophy, life, war and ethics and those were incredibly dull.

What is ‘moral sense’? It is an elaboration of the instinct to survive. The instinct to survive is human nature itself, and every aspect of our personalities derives from it. Anything that conflicts with the survival instinct acts sooner or later to eliminate the individual and thereby fails to show up in future generations. This truth is mathematically demonstrable, everywhere verifiable; it is the single eternal imperative controlling everything we do.



What I also found incredibly odd was the father-son relationship in the book. Towards the end, the Dad suddenly joins the military and the son is happy he gets to serve in his own unit. I dunno… I found that kind of weird. Having your Dad as your fighting partner and comrade and being really really happy about that? Bit odd.


Conclusion


Fast, well-written action scenes but very little emotional connection to any of the characters.

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