Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Starship Troopers, by Robert A. Heinlein


Excellent book. The only thing that keeps it from getting five stars is that it doesn't really end. Or at least, the ending doesn't really provide closure. There is a significant battle toward the end of the book, but it's not significant in the sense of establishing a winner or loser in the overall war humanity is fighting. Rather, the battle has significance to the narrator and his development as a true soldier and officer (indeed, the whole book is less a story of the war and more a story of the narrator's journey from civilian to recruit to soldier to cadet to officer). But the final battle doesn't resolve anything in a cosmic sense. Which I guess makes sense, since life (and war) don't always have tidy endings.

The story and writing are very reminiscent of Ender's Game (or, I suppose, Ender's Game is reminiscent of Starship Troopers, since it was written a good 25 years later), though the soldiers are adults, not children, and the main character is not a messiah character but merely a capable soldier. (Also, Ender's Game provides an extremely clear and final "end", on a large scale, in a way that this book does not.)

This book is a classic example of science fiction that is about many different things--Heinlein has lots of interesting things to say about war, politics, voting, power, violence, morality, and a number of other topics.

An easy and engaging read (and not terribly long, either, by science fiction standards), this is definitely worth reading.

No comments: