Starship Troopers

I saw the movie a few years ago, and so I read this book on a whim. Its very different to the movie. The book is interesting, although it does have a tendency to slide into rants about the moral responsibilities which come with having an electoral franchise. The book is also very pro military in its stance, although that’s fair enough (an author without an opinion would be a boring author).

Overall, I thought this book was an enjoyable read.

Update 2013: I last read this book almost exactly four years ago. Its still a good read, and I didn’t find it as ranty as last time. I do think this is a better story than the movie, as it has more depth. Overall a good read, if not a particularly deep one.

Starship Troopers Book Cover Starship Troopers
Robert Anson Heinlein

In a futuristic military adventure a recruit goes through the roughest boot camp in the universe and into battle with the Terran Mobile Infantry in what historians would come to call the First Interstellar War

By Blood Alone

Maybe I’ve been reading too much combat fiction recently and need a change of scenery. Or perhaps its just that this book isn’t as good as the last two (Legion of the Damned and The Final Battle). The characters aren’t the strongest, and the plot is weaker than the previous two books. On the other hand, I did finish the book, and don’t regret reading it. Oh, the cliff hanger ending is annoying too.

[isbn: 9780441006311; 0441006310]

The Final Battle

I somehow forgot to make a note about this book when I read it, I suspect because I was travelling at the time. This book was as good as Legion of the Damned and an enjoyable read. The book continues straight on from the previous one, and possibly should have been inside the same volume. A fun read.

[isbn: 9780441002177; 044100217X]

Legion of the Damned

This is a quite good combat science fiction book. I’m not really sure how I discovered this series, but I’m glad I did. There are some new ideas here, as well as some that mirror John Ring (incompetence in command) and Keith Laumer (alien invasion). Overall and enjoyable read, and I’ll be reading more from this series.

[isbn: 9780441480401]

Hell’s Faire

The final book in the Earth based Posleen war series. This should really have been part of the previous book (When the Devil Dances), but that would have made it a 1,100 page book. I’ve seen some complaints that these two books needed editing, but I feel that’s not totally fair. They didn’t feel padded, and I’m not sure what’ you’d leave out of them. Sure, there are characters who are introduced in reasonable detail in order to then die, but isn’t war like that? I like that you couldn’t really guarantee that all the good guys would survive for once.

The remainder of the books in this universe are share cropped. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

[isbn: 0743488423]

When the Devil Dances

The humans are still getting their arse kicked, and it seems like the Posleen might be learning something approximating reasonable tactics. If this book was just that, then it would be a disappointing addition to the series (A Hymn Before Battle and Gust Front come before this book). However, there is also some interesting science fiction happening here. It seems there is some sort of conspiracy to control the humans, and there is certainly some dodgy human experimentation going on. Overall, a good book apart from the cliff hanger at the end — I would be annoyed if I couldn’t just pick up the next book straight away.

[isbn: 0743436024]

Gust Front

This is the sequel to A Hymn Before Battle, and its a better book to be honest. That’s fair enough given Hymn was Ringo’s first book. This book spends less time on the politics of incompetent officers (although there is a bit of that), and introduces a little bit more of the political intrigue running in the Federation. The combat sequences are pretty well done too. Overall its good to see Ringo developing as an author and I enjoyed this book.

[isbn: 0743435257]

A Hymn Before Battle

This is an interesting book in that it lays down a reasonably believable scenario and then doesn’t really resolve it. Its obviously setting up for a series, and while the local micro plot is resolved, there is clearly a larger story arc that wants telling here. The book isn’t happy or uplifting, it is downright depressing in places. Regardless, I still finding myself hanging out for the next one in the series.

[isbn: 0671318411]

The Forever War

I read this book mainly because multiple sites recommended it as a response to Starship Troopers. I’d actually read the start of this book already in the form of the short story “Hero”, which is included in Battlefields Beyond Tomorrow. At the time, I would have described it as an ok short story, but not the best in the book. That’s interesting, because the extended version in the novel is amazing. Its one of those books I had trouble putting down, and its gripping to the end. The book has a very different perspective on war from Starship Troopers and is more like some of David Drake‘s writing (they’re both Vietnam veterans). There is also a little bit of Bill the Galactic Hero mixed in as well, without being so over the top. I strongly recommend this book.

[isbn: 9780312536633; 0312536631]
[award: winner hugo 1976; winner nebula 1975]