8.31.2009

Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers

starship troopers first edition cover

They say that this novel is a controversial classic of Military Adventure. The book is actually more on the description of a Militaristic future (80% of the whole story) than Adventure. And being militaristic, it bombards you with the hierarchical structure of the military, and the dualism of serving humanity (citizen-civilian). Heinlein being a Right-wing Republican, created the enemy-the Bugs as communal beings of the galaxy without ideals or sense of nationalism. The bug colonies are compared to the working structure of termites and ants.

From the opening chapter to chapter 11, you’ll get tired of Heinlein’s detail on the process of the protagonist’s entrance to the mobile infantry and his relationships with his division comrades (the Roughnecks) but reading chapter 12 up to the final chapter is pure joy.

From the early chapters, you’ll get the hint that Juan “Johnnie” Rico is neither American nor Caucasian and in the end he will reveal that he is a proud Filipino. Well, a little clue is given when Johnnie described his father in the beginning of chapter 12;

I turned to see the speaker, flicked my eyes over his sleeves, saw that it was a small, slightly stoop-shouldered corporal, no doubt one of our-

“Father!”

His father is indeed Filipino and his mother is an Argentinean (Buenos Aires).This book was written during the height of Magsaysay’s international recognition in the subjugation of the Hukbalahap movement. In chapter 13;

“Ramon Magsaysay,” I explained. “Great man, great soldier-probably be chief of psychological warfare if he were alive today. Didn’t you ever study any history?”

And here’s more about Johnnie in the same chapter;

”Sorry, Bernardo. Just an old saying in my own language. I suppose you could translate it, more or less, as: ‘Home is where the heart is.’"


“But what language was it?”

“Tagalog. My native language.”

 
My rating: 3 starships out of 5
Genre: Science Fiction

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