©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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Avid SF reader/listener who writes code for a living, and writes prose for fun. Single, with 2 cats & a bad Wheel of Time habit.
Anyone who cannot see the philosophical similarity between these two marvelous SF authors is working hard to keep the blinders in place. To be sure there were also differences -- of the two, Heinlein holds the prize for a sense of ethics. Nevertheless, they both suggested political systems that were later branded as fascist by unthinking zombies who resemble (at least intellectually) the lead toadies in each book. As I said with "Atlas Shrugged," I say with "Starship Troopers," I do not agree with what he says, but his points certainly resonate...
As to the second half of this review, though the book was worth listening to, it wasn't because of the narrator (whose name wasn't worth remembering). The man was almost lethargic in his reading, his pacing was off, and I got the sense that he really didn't feel the lead character, Juan Rico. Get this book, and listen to it, but be prepared to be disturbed; Heinlein does not pull punches when it comes to social commentary. Get this book and listen to it, but not because the narrator is worthy of praise; this audio book succeeds in spite of his lackluster performance.
This is a great book, however, the narration is terribly bad. The tone is flat, w/o any emotion, like that of a first grade student learning how to read.
What can I say? Not only did they take one of the great sci-fi pieces of all time, they got BEN STEIN to read it! Sure, the site claims it was this "Lloyd James" fellow, but I'd know that dead flat, utterly emotionless drawl anywhere! I assume it's a pseudonym.
The book is a pinnacle piece of Military Science Fiction, and should be enjoyed by anyone even vaguely interested in the genre. It literally defines much of what we think of the genre (and has absolutely nothing to do with the utter tripe they released as a movie). This is on the must-read list of anyone who claims to be a SF-aficionado.
But the reader... dear God.
Why they couldn't get L. J. Ganser, Marc Vietor, Stefan Rudnicki, or even Mark Boyett (all readers who not only do Sci-Fi well, but have a particular talent in military pieces) to do the reading escapes me. What do we, Heinlein's adoring public, have to do to get a decent multi-media treatment of this book!? The movie was garbage, the audio's miserable... please won't SOMEBODY do this right? Honestly, Heinlein himself would have been a better choice for reader, and he DIED TEN YEARS BEFORE THE RECORDING!
5 stars for the book. 1 star for the narrator. 3 average. Sorry Mr. H. It's not your fault.
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