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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

  • Hugo Award, 1960

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Story
  • B. Cox
  • Pennsylvania
  • 10-12-13

Bad overdubs

Any additional comments?

Recording was mostly good, except for occasional sentences or paragraphs that were overdubbed and sounded awful - muffled, and possibly even a different narrator.

33 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 08-20-08

Well Aged Heinlein

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.

48 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • East Peoria, IL, United States
  • 06-28-06

My favorite book ever

This is my favorite fiction book ever, and the only book that comes in a close second is Ender's Game. I loved "Starship Troopers" the first time that I read it at 13 years old, and I really loved listening to the audio recording 14 years later at 27. I drove around and wasted exhorbitant amounts of gas just so I could continue listening to it. It was nice. I reccommend this book to any person 13 years of age or above.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Cather
  • Cumberland, VA, United States
  • 11-18-05

A Science Fiction Classic

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.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jason
  • Tustin, CA, United States
  • 03-29-11

Incredible book! Incredibl(y bad) narrator!

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.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gerald
  • United States
  • 10-25-08

5 Star Story 1 Star Interpretation. 3 Overall

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.

46 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

My favorite Heilein Book

Any additional comments?

This is just a great book. There are a lot of interesting points of view given and even if you don't agree with them they are still thought provoking ideas.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lisa
  • Whiting, IN, United States
  • 02-16-03

DON'T see the movie, listen to this instead!

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.

67 of 78 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Wonderful, but hold your fire on the narrator

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.

32 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Book / Great Reading

This is an excellent story - thought provoking but amusing and engaging. It was also an excellent reading. The narrator did a great job with it. It is easy to listen to and appreciate.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Jason
  • 08-24-08

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • roger
  • 04-04-12

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-13-08

Great Book

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.
Great book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-16-06

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.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Paul
  • 09-24-07

Thoroughly enjoyed!

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!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Andi
  • 06-03-15


Starship Troopers is a true classic, an enjoyable, epic read or listen.
Highly recommend it!

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Paul Russell
  • 07-02-14

Once more in the breach and damm those torpedoes

If you could sum up Starship Troopers in three words, what would they be?

Damm good book

What did you like best about this story?

The training of the Mobile Infantry.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When John Rico went over the hump, both physically and mentally.

Any additional comments?

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.

  • Overall
  • Mr
  • 03-12-13

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.

  • Overall
  • Jernau Gurgeh
  • 12-06-07

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.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Walter
  • 10-26-07

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.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful