Title: Starship Troopers
Author: Robert Heinlein
Review Summary: It does what it does well, which is just to be a book with some dry humor and a very military feel, but I prefer at least a little world building in my sci-fi.
The plot of Starship Troopers is pretty short and sweet, following the military career of a young man some time in the distant future. In this futuristic society, only those who join the military are allowed to vote. This decision is justified by the belief that those people willing to sacrifice them selves for the good of society are those who deserve to have the vote. However, our protagonist mostly joins up because all his friends are doing it and a big part of the book is how is abilities and interest in the military evolve.
As you might guess from the author’s premise that only those who join the military deserve the vote, Heinlein is very pro-military. Sadly this means much of the book is devoted to expounding on this philosophy. Although I found these parts made for an interesting thought experiment and didn’t mind reading them, some moralizing and a tiny bit of action does not a story make. Which is to say, that I didn’t mind these parts but they didn’t add much to the story. Since these parts plus the protagonist’s experiences in boot camp and a few fights are all there is to the book, I didn’t find it very entertaining.
There are very few characters we learn anything about and nearly all we learn about them relates to their attitudes towards the military. The future world this book is set in sounds potentially very interesting, but there are no descriptions except those that have to do with weapons and war. The tone is dry and military, which lends itself well to enjoyably dry humor but the funny bits are a very small part of the book. Overall, I was disappointed that the plot and the world building weren’t more fleshed out. To be fair, I think Heinlein achieved what he was trying to do and I know a lot of other people who were able to enjoy the book for what it was. It just wasn’t for me.