Robert A. Heinlein, 1959
Sir, Yes, Sir!
It is 5000 years in the future. The earth is in danger. Aliens, giant bugs from the planet Klendathu are trying to destroy the earth and we'd better stop them. Johnnie Rico, the main character, joins the mobile infantry after high school. He joined the army because he wanted to become a citizen, (Citizens, unlike civilians, have the right to vote.) and because his girlfriend Carmen did. She was going to be a pilot, of course she flies spaceships, not planes. The book shows you the tough training the recruits get. Disobey once and be severely punished. The training which 2009 recruits begin, is finished by 187 troopers. 1808 recruits quit, 14 die during the training. Because it's war, the troopers fights in the battle to save the world.
Starship Troopers is, of course, a Science Fiction novel. It was heavily criticized for its violence, militarism and for the extreme ideas it propagates. It's a good thing people notice that the ideas in the novel are wrong, but you could also say Starship Troopers is some sort of dystopia, the world is ruled by wrong ideas. Only there is nobody who disagrees with it but the you, the reader. In the movie this idea is further developed. In a very very succesful way. You are really disgusted by the way the army is glorified, the way the public is informed ("Do you want to know more ?") and, of course, that everybody thinks it's the right way. The movie is not what you'd like to call fun. It is so full of violence that some people leave before the end of the movie.
The movie is just based on the book and therefor very different from the book. For instance, in the book the soldiers land on the planet seperately in a special capsules, in the movie they are transported to the planet together with a spaceship. In the book the accent is on the army, how the soldiers are trained and what intelligent equipment they have. For instance the "power suit" (which is not in the movie). It is totally explained how it works. In this time and age you just expect giant spaceships and fantastic special effects. So in the movie the accent is more on the battle with Klendathu and how to save the earth. Of course, as always, the book is better than the movie, it is more detailed about the equipment and therefor more realistic than the movie. But this does not mean the movie is bad. Although there are some stupidities in it, (for instance: the armour is very incomplete, and it looks really pathetic, trying to kill a giant bug with a machine-gun.) it's a great movie with lots of militarism and violence in it. So if you want a bloody story, see the movie. If you want a Hugo Award winning science ficion story, read the book.
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