A reading club with a view to the future

590 Robert A. Heinlein: Starship Troopers

A military science fiction novel following the journey of Juan “Johnny” Rico as he becomes an infantryman and faces interstellar conflict.



"Starship Troopers" is a military science fiction novel set in a future society where citizenship and the right to vote are earned through military service. The story follows the journey of Juan "Johnny" Rico, a young man who enlists in the Mobile Infantry to become a citizen of the Terran Federation.


Title: Starship Troopers 

Author: Robert A. Heinlein 

Publishing Year: 1959 

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons 

Length: 9 hours and 51 minutes 

5 main ideas

  1. Citizenship and Military Service: The novel's society grants full citizenship rights only to those who serve in the military, emphasizing the importance of sacrifice for the greater good.
  2. Military Training and Discipline: The rigorous training of the Mobile Infantry highlights the values of discipline, resilience, and teamwork required in the face of interstellar conflict.
  3. Interstellar Warfare: Humanity's struggle against the formidable and enigmatic alien species known as the "Bugs," exploring the horrors and challenges of interstellar combat.
  4. Philosophical Aspects of Citizenship: Heinlein uses the narrative to ponder the responsibilities of citizenship, the defense of liberty, and the role of the military in a society.
  5. Leadership and Morality in War: The novel examines the complexities of leadership and the moral dilemmas faced by soldiers and commanders in times of war.

5 funny quotes

  1. "You don't need a parachute to skydive. You need a parachute to skydive twice."
  2. "Space may be the final frontier, but it's made in a Hollywood basement."
  3. "The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's no good reason to go into space."
  4. "Space is to place as eternity is to time."
  5. "You don't raise heroes; you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "The noblest fate that a man can endure is to place his own mortal body between his loved home and the war's desolation."
  2. "Morality is never upheld by compulsion; it is upheld by choice."
  3. "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity."
  4. "The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That's real glory."
  5. "Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst."

5 dilemmas

  1. The moral dilemma of granting full citizenship rights only to those who serve in the military, raising questions about the fairness and implications of such a system.
  2. The ethical dilemma of war and interstellar conflict, as humanity faces the challenge of combating an alien species while examining the nature of aggression and violence.
  3. The personal dilemma of Johnny Rico as he grapples with his sense of duty and loyalty to his friends, his love for Carmen, and his responsibilities as a soldier.
  4. The philosophical dilemma of defining the meaning of citizenship and the responsibilities that come with it, as portrayed through the experiences of Johnny and his comrades.
  5. The strategic dilemma of leadership in war, as military commanders must make difficult decisions with significant consequences, balancing the need for victory with the preservation of human lives.

5 examples

  1. Juan "Johnny" Rico - The novel's protagonist and a young recruit who joins the Mobile Infantry to become a citizen of the Terran Federation.
  2. Carmen Ibanez - Johnny's love interest and fellow Mobile Infantry officer.
  3. Boot Camp - The intense training facility where Johnny and other recruits undergo rigorous military training to become infantrymen.
  4. Klendathu - A distant and hostile planet, serving as the primary battleground against the Bugs.
  5. Lieutenant Rasczak - Johnny's commanding officer and a respected leader within the Mobile Infantry.

Referenced books

  1. "Bible" - Referenced in the novel, reflecting on the moral dilemmas faced by soldiers and the questioning of divine justice.
  2. "Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling - Referenced in the context of the protagonist's upbringing and the parallels between the "Law of the Jungle" and the military's principles.
  3. "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert A. Heinlein - Alluded to in the novel, highlighting the philosophical discussions on citizenship and humanity's place in the universe.
  4. "Gunga Din" by Rudyard Kipling - Referenced in the narrative, reflecting on the themes of camaraderie, duty, and heroism.
  5. "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" - A song from World War II referenced in the novel, echoing the sentiments of soldiers in combat.

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"Space is to place as eternity is to time."

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