Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hugo Winner Review: 1960 Starship Troopers

Robert A Heinlein
Read 2/2013, reviewed 4/13/2013
3 stars

This book is exactly the reason I don’t enjoy war novels.  It’s filled with descriptions that I can’t relate to.  It contains military slang I don’t understand, and situations that I wouldn't put myself in, physically or intellectually. 

The book is well written, as is everything I've read by Heinlein.  From my browsing through the internet, it’s apparently the standard by which all novels of this genre are judged.  But I just didn’t enjoy it. 

Like all his novels, though, I love and hate his political and social soapbox scenes.  He writes them so well.  Usually, while I may not necessarily agree with him, like the poly-amorous structures in "Moon is a Harsh Mistress" and "Stranger in a Strange Land," I can buy into it being a premise of the novel.  Here, however, the constant proselytizing of war becomes offensive.  That and the fact that only veterans can vote becomes too much to take.

I give this book three stars because it is written well.  But I just didn’t like it.  Having read quotes by critics in Wikipedia (assuming they are true), I agree that the main character Rico is just a sounding board for Heinlein’s politics and philosophy.  There’s no characterization here.   He’s just an automaton of a military industrial complex that glorifies war and deifies soldiers.  I think I would have hated being Heinlein’s wife.

Oh yeah, and the book was better than the movie.

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