I was impressed by Robert A. Heinlein’s sci-fi war novella from the opening paragraph; by the end of the first page I was hooked. The book gets a little shaky in the middle, but it had enough character and style to keep me going. I’ve heard that some people think the movie is “better”, but the movie’s very different: it’s the book’s lobotomized, slightly handsome younger brother, dressed up in the other’s clothes but acting almost nothing alike. (Director and screenwriter Paul Verhoven apparently never even finished the book.)
Before reading Starship Troopers I checked out the controversy surrounding it, and I found some of it to be accurate: the book definitely has points where characters spout off what appear to be Heinlein’s personal opinions on war, socialism, and the human condition. But for the most part, that wasn’t a concern; it was just part of the book’s charm. I didn’t have to agree with all of it, or even any of it, but some of his points were thought provoking. Another supposed fault was that there was very little character development; the main character Johnny Rico stayed static from beginning to end. I didn’t see a problem with that, either. Rico’s a fairly unremarkable guy aside from the fact he’s a really good soldier: he sees the world in one particular way and that colours the rest of the book. It’s this non-intrusive personality that really brings this society and the action to life. Starship Troopers isn’t just Rico’s story. It’s Heinlein’s version of the future for the human race.
I’d definitely recommend Starship Troopers to even the most casual of sci-fi fans, if they haven’t read it already. It’s full of quasi-hard sci-fi, rollicking action, and it’ll make you think: can’t argue with that.