Join the Army and See the Universe. That is the motto of The Third Space War, also known as The First Interstellar War, but most commonly as The Bug War. In one of Robert Heinlein's most controversial best sellers, a recruit of the future goes through the toughest boot camp in the universe - and into battle with the Terrain Mobile Infantry against mankind's most alarming enemy.
©1959 by Robert A. Heinlein; (P)1998 by Blackstone Audiobooks
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
I had not read Starship Troopers in many years. Many of Heinlein's books have not aged very well, but this has aged quite well. This book has quite a lot of moral philosophy and social commentary, and a bit of humor, science fiction and action adventure. The main character is well developed, and the events interesting and fun. I enjoyed this listen quite a bit. This has little in common with the very bad movie.
Recording was mostly good, except for occasional sentences or paragraphs that were overdubbed and sounded awful - muffled, and possibly even a different narrator.
A well written space war story told with realistic characters and plot. This is a story of a young man who discovers himself and his place in a free society during an alien race war. Great action and character development with moral lessons that still hit home in the present. Questions like: Should everyone vote even if they don't care? What is the price of freedom? Is our way to handle youth violence based on any reasonable philosophy? Read this to enjoy a good tale or read it to think about human societies? It's good both ways.
I heartily agree with most of the comments above, but I'd disagree with the negative comments about the narrator. I've heard him read several things and he adapts himself - he's no raw youngster like Johnny Rico the supposed narrator, though he sounds exactly like one on this recording. So good was his reading of the book in this character that I really thought he was around 22. It was only when I heard him read other works that I realised how carefully he'd played the part, and that he is actually considerably older.
As for the book itself: wonderful. And the other comments are, IMHO, absolutely right - ie it knocks the film into a cocked hat. A very shallow cocked hat.
I love the story. It's well worth reading the actual book. But I cannot recommend the narrator for this one. And I was especially disappointed because the same narrator did such a GREAT job reading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. But for this book he had a very flat, unemotional voice. And he kept hesitating and pausing in the middle of reading when it was obviously uncalled for. It was almost like he was unsure of himself and kept pausing to figure out how to read the next part. It was very annoying. Read the book - it's full of great ideas. But don't listen to this one.
One of the crimes of this past century is the movie that was based on this classic novel. Someone ought to go to jail over that.
But this Blackstone audio production does real justice to this interesting novel. Don't get too caught up in the military aspect of it's plot. It's really a coming-of-age story. It's also a remarkably adult story. And of course, Heinlein gets on his soap box and finds space to put forward his rather unique conservative political positions. Agree with him or not, at least he will get you thinking.
If you are looking to share an audio book with a teenage son, this might be a good one. My 15 year old loved it, and it made for some interesting conversations.
If you've seen the movie, you NEED to read/listen to the ORIGINAL Starship Troopers, which is only loosely based on this book. This book is so much better than the movie. Enter a world that could easily be ours.
As other people have pointed out, the movie "based on" this book really wasn't. A few of the concepts made it into the movie, but only in passing. The real problem is that if you see the movie, you're expecting a sci-fi action movie of bugs and guns, and that's not what this book is.
This is a Heinlein novel, and he's doing here what he does best: take a concept, and explore it through fiction. Many people have assumed that Heinlein is a fascist because of the world he created here, but I don't think they got the point. Unlike many Heinlein novels, this is a book for adults, and it requires thinking about what's being said.
This only gets four stars because of the reading. I think Lloyd James does a pretty good job here, but the long pauses get annoying. I kept thinking I'd bumped my iPod. Still, I recommend it.
This story is both thought-provoking and highly entertaining. After almost 50 years, it is still an amazingly visionary piece. Although some reviews didn't like the narration, I thought it was perfect. It sounded to me exactly like a Soldier relating his tale.
At first when I watched the movie of the same name I thought, "Wow, Hollywood just didn't get this book."
But now I'm convinced that Hollywood did understand what Heinlein was saying, but are so opposed to his ideas that they decided to create a spoof to discourage people from reading this book.
Don't be discouraged. Read this book.
Both the book and the movie have soldiers, bugs and guns. But that is where the similarities end.
This book is a soldier's tale. Johnny Rico is a reluctant soldier. As we follow him though his training and battles we learn about him and the society that has helped to produce him.
One has to keep reminding oneself that Heinlein wrote this novel in the 1950s because the way he describes the "chaos of the past" (which is our present and his future) is incredibly accurate. When he talks about how people were afraid to go into a public park at night for fear that they would be robbed, beaten or killed by gangs of juvenile criminals, it was only speculation from Heinlein's point of view. But few of us today would venture into a public park after dark for fear of exactly what Heinlein described.
The world of Johnny Rico is much different from ours today. Heinlein paints a world that has conquered most of the social problems that we experience by a simple premise: There are civilians and citizens. Civilians enjoy all the benefits of society except they may not hold elected office or vote. Only those that have proven themselves worthy though military service can become citizens, hold elected office or vote.
Why? Well you'll have to read the book to find out. But I will say this, when you understand why a "juvenile" can never be a "delinquent", you'll be well on your way to understanding what Heinlein was trying to convey.
"A great take on a classic novel!"
This has always been one of my favourite stories from my youth, and Lloyd James has managed to present it perfectly *very much in the style of the original narrative*. Don't go expecting the movie - this is a far simpler story of a young soldier, in a futuristic setting, from his point of view. Heinlein had a lot to say about the society we are living in, and where we might be going. Listen with an open mind - and enjoy.
"An insight into discipline"
Having seem the film I wanted to read this book to see what the film missed. The film is very loosely based on the book and you can see why when you listen to it. I loved this book, even though the reader lacked expression the story made it all worth while. I think it is more about ideology than attacking bugs and I can see why it caused a stir when it was released. This book makes you consider how we bring up our children and why we do what we do. Very thought provoking.
Had always meant to pick up this book, after seeing the film a few years ago. I disagree with some of the other reviews, in terms of the narration. I enjoyed listening to this.
The story is great, and thought provoking in terms of the concepts presented.
"A truly terrible reading!"
I can't review the story because the reading is so unspeakably bad that I gave up on it after an hour and have no intention of putting myself through the rest of it. Lloyd James reads like he has never seen the words infront of him in his life before. He reads every sentence with EXACTLY THE SAME pattern and vocal inflections. He takes long pauses between mid sentence words and generally sounds like a total amateur. And most unforgivebly of all - you can hear rustling pages. BBC audio books this ain't! Please avoid this terrible reading.
I agree that the narration is certainly not the best you will find on Audible. The story, however, shines through! I completely enjoyed this book and would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone.
The book melds an enjoyable sci-fi story with a very interesting political essay on government and society in general.
In short, enjoyable Sci-Fi!
Starship Troopers is a true classic, an enjoyable, epic read or listen.
Highly recommend it!
"Once more in the breach and damm those torpedoes"
Damm good book
The training of the Mobile Infantry.
When John Rico went over the hump, both physically and mentally.
It was hard going to read the book years ago but when John Rico went of the hump, both physically and mentally in his training I felt good as the main character felt. The way the military was treated and respected in the book is better than the military is treated today and I would disagree with anyone who say this book is rubbish for any reason.
"top sci fi story"
the book is great and i have read it a number of times, great characters in a well put together and interesting universe. the audio books is well read no down sides at all. please please download it and give it a listen.
"Ruined by a terible reader"
Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein is one of the classics of Science Fiction. It is the forerunner of most if not all military sci-fi novels and I would recommend that anyone read it. Sadly I cannot recommend that anyone listen to this audiobook version. The reader manages to ruin a great book by droning steadily through everything; quiet times, training, the white heat of action.
"Great story poor politics"
The book describes a society with two classes. The 'citicens' who have served their term in the military and therefore have privileges, and the 'rest'. The author left me wondering if he really thinks this is a good solution or if he meant it as a warning.
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