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Starship Troopers

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  • Starship Troopers

    This book has been heavily critisised as being pro military but has it ocured to anyone that it could be a warning like 1984. REH hasn't written any other pro military books and it did win the Hugo award for that year which indicates people at the time thought it was ok.

  • #2
    er, "Starship Troopers" is a sci fi novel by Robert Heinlein. REH is usually used as shorthand for Robert E. Howard, who wrote Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane etc.

    As for it being a warning, Heinlein was apparently (recieved wisdom warning) pretty well known for being a bit looney pro war. Suposedly got up on stage near the start of WWII to say what a good thing it was that America was involved in a war, because thew best thing that can happen to a country is to give the men the oportunity to fight for their women.


    • #3
      Starship Troopers was indeed written by Robert Heinlein. I read back when I was an adolescent, which was the age group Heinlein aimed it at. I suspect most of the philosophy it contains was Heinlein's own.

      The main tech focus of the book, is the atomic powered space battle suits, worn by the Star Ship Troopers. During WWII, Heinlein was involved in work, designing pressure suits, for high altitude flights for the US military.

      The high-tech gung-ho spirit evinced by Heinlein lives on in the US military industrial complex, to this day.


      • #4
        Starship Stormtroopers

        The 1997 movie adaptation directed by Paul Verhoeven was a real hoot and probably had Heinlein turning in his grave...or churning in his urn, as the case may be.
        Mwana wa simba ni simba

        The child of a lion is also a lion - Swahili Wisdom


        • #5
          Our main Starship Troopers thread can be found here for anyone interested.


          • #6
            i enjoyed starship troopers, but its gotta be taken with a grain of salt. heinlein has written some of the very best science fiction novels, and some of the very worst. at least starship troopers didn't have the constant rampant incest of something like To Sail Beyond The Sunset. and no, starship troopers wasn't a warning, he was in earnest.


            • #7
              Heinlein is RAH, the A for Anson, as opposed to Howard's REH.

              As for a lot of the criticism directed at RAH I can only give this link


              An article by Spider Robinson on Heinlein and the criticism directed at him. I first read this piece back in the late 70's early 80's in Galaxy. Spider is hardly those things that Heinlein is accused of being so he can hardly be accused of being in lockstep with those viewpoints that Heinlein supposedly espouses. All in all I think Spider sums things up way better than I ever could.

              Man spends his time on devising a more idiot proof computer. The universe spends its time devising bigger idiots. So far the universe is winning.




              • #8
                In case anyone's not read it, Mike's 1978 essay 'Starship Stormtroopers'.
                _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."


                • #9
                  16 years later, some more picture goers may be slowly coming round to the view that SS Troopers, the movie may have been intended as satire.


                  The comments section is interesting. Some take the book at face value and hate the movie, others take the book at face value and love the movie and still others think that the movie as satire riffs on Heinleins subtler satire, hidden in the book.

                  Still, Neil Patrick Harris's brilliant turn as a space age telepathic Gestapo officer, in full pantomime Nazi regalia did tip the wink to a few attentive souls.


                  • #10
                    I thought the movie was partly satire when it came out, as well as being an adventure story for eleven-year-olds. I don't want to be rude but I don't see how anyone missed it. I don't think Heinlein's book was satire.


                    • #11
                      Appreciation for the satire of the Starship Troopers movie seems to be a common subject right about now:


                      Originally posted by opaloka View Post
                      I thought the movie was partly satire when it came out, as well as being an adventure story for eleven-year-olds. I don't want to be rude but I don't see how anyone missed it. I don't think Heinlein's book was satire.
                      The writer of the article is in agreement with you about the movie's satire:

                      Verhoeven spends much of the essential commentary track on the Starship Troopers DVD making emphatically clear that the film is an anti-war satire, that fascism is “bad, bad, bad,” and that “war makes fascists of us all.” But intent means nothing if a work itself suggests a contrary reading, so I’d endorse another way of detecting the satirical elements of Starship Troopers: Open your eyes. There’s so much evidence onscreen—and in Verhoeven’s career, especially in Robocop, his other collaboration with Neumeier—that I don’t see how it could be missed, but a lot of intelligent people got it wrong nonetheless. Or maybe they just underestimated it: Big-budget science-fiction spectaculars like this one aren’t expected to have subtext...


                      • #12
                        Do you not think Starship Troopers is the Hollywood version of crystal meth? It doesn't really say anything, but appeals to everyone.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Old Vig View Post
                          Do you not think Starship Troopers is the Hollywood version of crystal meth? It doesn't really say anything, but appeals to everyone.
                          The first time I saw it in the bioscoop, in the Netherlands, I couldn't believe what Verhoeven had done. I thought that the Nazi uniforms would have been more of a give away, as well as the straight lifts from Triumph of the Will.

                          From the AV Club article quoted by Hersiologist:


                          Verhoeven was only 7 when the war ended, but his memories of German-occupied Holland obviously made a deep impression on him. Back when I interviewed him for Black Book, Verhoeven recalled a particularly harrowing incident when he and his family had to pass through a German blockade in order to get back home:
                          We were suddenly forced by the Germans to take another route to our house. They wouldn't allow us to take the normal way, and instead, we were forced to pass the bodies of Dutch citizens that were taken out of prison by reprisal, because some German officer had been killed on that street. The Germans would take something like 20 or 30 people out of prison—political prisoners, resistance fighters, sometimes just criminals—and they would put them on the road at the spot where the German soldier was killed, and they would execute them. And so that had happened in the street next to our house, and my father and I were forced to pass the dead bodies as an act of terror. Of course, the Germans were showing us that if we were, let’s say, naughty or bad, that they would shoot you and kill you.
                          I was even more amazed as to how few got the subtext, at the time. As others have said, Verhoeven was laying it on with a trowel. I've always thought that it was Verhoeven's riposte to his critics and to the Public, after the Showgirls debacle.


                          • #14
                            I may also have mentioned this formative influence before, from the same interview.

                            AVC: What stays with you?

                            PV: Well, very close to our house was a launching pad for the V-1's and later the V-2's, which were the big rockets that Wernher von Braun made. V-1 was a small one, maybe a little smaller than a jet fighter. But the big one, the V-2 that came at the end of the war, was a big thing. Ultimately, von Braun was secretly brought to the United States in October 1945 with all his colleagues to work on the rocket program. He later worked on the Saturn rockets that put Armstrong on the moon. That's the same guy who invented the rockets that were standing about one mile from my house and were fired toward London. These V-2 rockets were really gigantic, and they were going over our house, because the launch was close by. I remember the fire coming out of the end of the rocket, and this enormous sound. And sometimes when the rockets misfired, you saw them basically stopping, and then they would fall down and head—not close to our house, because they would already be on the other side of the city—but they would fall down on a quarter or some streets in the city I lived in, which was the government city, The Hague.
                            Verhoeven was at one end of the gravity's rainbow trajectory of the Nazi scifi terror weapons, Mike was at the other. Two youngsters who both grew up with a knack for creating dystopian science fiction with a scabrous twist of satire.