Tag Archives: heinlein

Starship Troopers

What a great read! I completely disagree with critics who say that this book glorifies war – I think, rather, that it glorifies the soldiers and acknowledges what they suffer through for the sake of country. Now, I haven’t seen the movie, which as I understand interpreted the novel quite differently from the way Heinlein supposedly intended… but the book is really great. I get the impression that if you liked the book, you may not like the movie.

A few things stood out for me:

  • The banality of war: Several times I noticed that Heinlein’s tone shows how desensitized Rico becomes to violence. Very scary!
  • Whoa, he’s Filipino? Kevin & I were talking once about how it’s wonderful that nationality could be just an afterthought – so often race is the most important identifier in literature and I just don’t buy it sometimes. Also, I wonder what he said in Tagalog…?
  • I was very interested in the idea of gaining full citizenship only through volunteering for military service. (I mean interested in the idea, not interested in actually having it implemented in our society!) Although I do wonder how it might work in a place like the United States. Very intriguing concept though.

Between Planets

This was a quick, fun read.  It’s a children’s scifi novel by Heinlein about a boy whose citizenship comes into question because his parents are from different planets and he was born in outer space.  When the planets declare war against each other, he is suddenly unwanted either way and furthermore is hunted by authorities everywhere.

While it was fun and easy to read, I was a little annoyed by how political it got so fast.  And obviously Heinlein is well-known for his political doctrines but this seemed a little excessive, especially for a young adult novel.

Stranger in a Strange Land

I actually finished Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein quite quickly – in about three late night reading sessions. Having read it, I strongly urge you to read the complete version – it was originally published with several thousand words cut out as per the publisher’s request – because I really think that it is truly complete the way it is.

Stranger is about this man Michael Valentine Smith who was born and raised in Mars, away from all human contact. When he is brought to Earth, he must cope with this strange planet with not only a different gravity and language, but strange ideas such as jealousy and love.

I understand a bit why hippies seem to love his work (being a teensy bit of a hippie myself) but I have never been able to come to grips with the idea of free love. It’s the one thing that I am most unable to fathom of all the socially liberal tendencies out there. I did, however, truly enjoy the discussion of total emotional and spiritual connections – the idea of “grokking”.

Read this book – there’s a reason why it’s famous!

Neverwhere

Neverwhere by possibly my favourite contemporary writer, Neil Gaiman, is about a reg’lar chap who lives a reg’lar life in London, complete with a normal job and a normal (if slightly, ok excessively, overbearing) fiancée. Then an injured girl on the street quite literally opens doors for him. All at once he finds himself in the London Below which is an entirely different and separate world from what he knows.

I really think that Gaiman probably has my favourite voice (and I don’t just mean when he speaks out loud, although in all fairness the man has won audio book awards) of all time. The main character, Richard Mayhew, is at first convincingly BORING to the point that you almost (but not quite) empathize with his domineering fiancée. And he continues to be quite unremarkable when facing a girl who can open all doors and create openings where there were none, and a hunter woman who is absolutely lethal. But he quietly and almost reluctantly wins battles on his own and starts to become the hero that he never knew he was.

This sort of character development really reminded me of Glory Road by Robert Heinlein, which I read recently. I’m quite sure I liked Neverwhere better, if only because I felt it had better characters; that is, more developed and just more interesting in general. Definitely exciting – I read it in just a few hours because I couldn’t put it down!

Glory Road

Finally reading again!!! I was quite busy with the last few weeks of school and technically I still am but I’m procrastinating on my senior thesis…

Glory Road by Robert Heinlein was a quick and easy read, but very enjoyable. It’s about this guy who basically plans out his life with the sole purpose of dodging the draft, but that fails. And his life after his tour is mostly purposeless, until he meets the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen and she takes him on a, ahem, wild ride. It’s pretty cool – she takes him quite seamlessly into other universes on a quest to obtain this heavily guarded “Egg”. And there are monsters! And dragons! And swordfighting! All very fun and adventurous.