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

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress

This isn’t Heinlein’s best work. The faux Russian grammar of the narrator is pretty annoying, and the story shallow. Its an ok read as entertainment, but I think it could do with more plot and fewer long rants about the dangers of big government. I’d like to know more about the cyborgs which seem to pilot everything important as well.

[isbn: 0425016013]

Beyond This Horizon

This book is only the second book I have failed to finish in the last few years. This is Heinlein’s second novel, and that’s the problem — its clumsily written in a style which moves at a lethargic pace. Its also pretty badly dated, and possesses that creepy EE “Doc” Smith eugenics theme that is so disturbing. I made it to page 67 before I stopped caring.

[isbn: 0743435613]

Saturn’s Children

I had trouble getting really into this book, although the story was interesting. I guess its mostly the Gibson-esque descriptions of a future world with plenty of assumed knowledge. However, I found the descriptions of the failed Mars missions deeply satisfying, and would love to see those covered in more detail.

However, the story gets better as you go along, and I found the second two thirds of the book to be really good. It probably helped that I have an engineering background, because some of the descriptions are quite technical.

[isbn: 9780441017317]
[awards: nominee hugo 2009; nominee prometheus 2009]


This is the first Heinlein book I have read in a long time — since High School in fact. I read this one simply on an impulse, as the back cover description made it sound interesting. Heinlein isn’t on the list of authors that I am pursuing at the moment, although I might consider changing that.

This book covers a more complicated Earth than the one we have right now, although in some ways its more simple. The main character Friday doesn’t ever seem to have trouble making friends, and portions of the book are just a series of her romantic entanglements. Most of the complexities are political. The story is mostly about a journey, both physical as well as emotional, and interestingly there isn’t a consistent opposing force. I suspect that might be unusual, at least for the stuff I read.

This book was good, even if the constant romantic entanglements seemed extraneous.

[award: winner nebula 1982; winner hugo 1982; winner locus 1983; winner prometheus 1983]
[isbn: 034530988x]

Battlefields Beyond Tomorrow

I read this anthology as a child, but when I found a copy on ebay that was cheap I couldn’t resist. This is a collection of short stories focusing on what war might be like in the future. It’s a good read, although a couple of the stories are out of place compared with the others.

  • Superiority (Arthur C Clarke)
  • Single Combat (Joe Green)
  • Committee of the Whole (Frank Herbert)
  • Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card): a classic, and in some ways I prefer the short story. I’ve read the extended series of novels a few years ago, but they’re probably worth revisiting at some point.
  • Hero (Joe E. Haldeman), later became The Forever War.
  • The Survivor (Walter F. Moudy): I have strong memories of this story from reading this anthology as a child. This is still a good story.
  • The Last Objective (Paul Carter)
  • What Do You Want Me to Do to Prove Im Human Stop (Fred Saberhagen): a Berserker story, also known as “Inhuman Error”.
  • Hangman (David Drake): this one is included in Volume 1 of the Complete Hammers Slammers.
  • The Night of the Trolls (Keith Laumer): this was a really good story about Bolos — good enough to send me out to buy some more Bolo books, which I will now have to add to my reading queue. This story was later expanded into The Stars Must Wait, which I didn’t think was nearly as good as the short story.
  • The Nuptial Flight of the Warbirds (Algis Budrys): this story was out of place with the rest of the collection, poorly written, and not very entertaining. I particularly didn’t like how it changed plot flow literally mid sentence without warning. I had to read that page three times to work out what was happening.
  • Mirror, Mirror (Alan E. Nourse)
  • The Miracle Workers (Jack Vance)
  • Memorial (Theodore Sturgeon)
  • Shark (Edward Bryant)
  • …Not a Prison Make (Joseph P. Martino): the ending came to suddenly in this story, but gosh its a good ending.
  • Hawk Among the Sparrows (Dean McLaughlin): this story reminds me strongly of the Axis of time stories from John Birmingham. This short story of course came first, and is a lot simpler in its examination of issues surrounding modern military hardware “falling through time” into previous wars.
  • No War, or Battle’s Sound (Harry Harrison)
  • The Defenders (Philip K. Dick)
  • In the Name of the Father (Edward P. Hughes)
  • On the Shadow of a Phosphor Screen (William F. Wu): this one didn’t really do anything for me — the premise that major corporations would be willing to solve disputes based on the outcome of war games seems very weak to me.
  • The Specter General (Theodore R. Cogswell): this story is awesome. Loved it.
  • Fixed Price War (Charles Sheffield)
  • The Long Watch (Robert A. Heinlein)
  • The Machine that Won the War (Isaac Asimov): included in Robot Dreams, as discussed in my list of Asimov Robot Stories.
Battlefields Beyond Tomorrow Book Cover Battlefields Beyond Tomorrow
Charles G. Waugh, Martin Harry Greenberg,
Science fiction, American
Random House Value Publishing