Books I Love: Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
One of the first (and in my opinion still one of the best) examples of the military sci-fi genre, Starship Troopers pits the Mobile Infantry against the Bugs in the First Interstellar War. If you’ve seen the movie… well, to be honest, I enjoyed the movie (guilty pleasure) but it went more for an Aliens vibe than what the actual book did. But don’t let the movie influence you on reading this book. To risk sounding cliche, the book’s way better than the movie.
So why do I love it? It was one of my first introductions to the more philosophical and moral side of science fiction, the idea that it can be used as a tool to explore social and political structures and critique them. It’s also a classic military coming of age story and follows (or maybe establishes, I’m not sure) the trope of “enlist, basic training, combat experience, officer training, burden of command” that you see in a lot of sci-fi. I’m a fan of tropes; it’s like fast restaurant chains. Sure, I know what I’m going to get, but I also know that I’m going to like it. And, perhaps my favorite part, the action blends infantry tactics with the power of armored cavalry (e.g. tanks) giving you an image of a ground war that is exciting and evocative. I think it’s a must-read for any fan of science fiction in general and, of course, I’d argue that it’s one of key novels in the foundation of military science fiction.
So, there you have it. Another book I love. I realize most of the books I’ve written about are older (some positively ancient by the standards of younger readers). I promise I’ll get to more modern books (there are plenty of those that I love as well). But right now, I’m just going with the books that stick out most in my mind, and those are the ones I read when I was younger and that shaped my love for all things sci-fi and fantasy.