Presentation - Missouri Library Association

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Tom Pearson, Reference Librarian
Special Collections Department
St. Louis Public Library
Missouri Library Association
October 8, 2010
1
About Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers was first published as a
serial in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science
Fiction in October & November 1959. It was
entitled “Starship Soldier.”
2
About Starship Troopers
The serial title was the editor’s choice:
Robert A. Heinlein’s preferred title
was always Starship Troopers.
3
About Starship Troopers
Why Starship Troopers and not
Starship Soldier?
4
About Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers was originally written
as a juvenile title for Scribner.
5
About Starship Troopers
But Scribner rejected it, and it was
eventually published as a young adult
novel by G. P. Putnam’s Sons.
6
About Starship Troopers
Is Starship Troopers really
a young adult novel?
7
About Starship Troopers
Heinlein began writing novels intended
for the adult science fiction market
after this experience.
8
About Robert A. Heinlein
Born in Butler, Missouri, and lived for
some time in Kansas City.
9
About Robert A. Heinlein
Graduated from the
U.S. Naval Academy
in 1929.
10
About Robert A. Heinlein
Served in the Navy for six years,
first on the U.S.S. Lexington,
an aircraft carrier.
11
About Robert A. Heinlein
He next served on the U.S.S Roper,
a destroyer.
12
About Robert A. Heinlein
Forced to leave the Navy after
six years due to tuberculosis.
13
About Robert A. Heinlein
He never saw combat while in
the Navy (some later criticisms of
Starship Troopers focused on his
lack of combat experience).
14
About Robert A. Heinlein
In what ways did Heinlein’s
own military experience
influence the plot and themes
Starship Troopers ?
15
About Robert A. Heinlein
He did R&D work during WWII at
the Philadelphia Navy Yard
(he’d been referred to them
by Isaac Asimov).
16
About Robert A. Heinlein
Heinlein said that felt compelled
to write Starship Troopers after
seeing a newspaper ad that called
for unilateral suspension
of nuclear testing by the US.
17
About Robert A. Heinlein
Heinlein felt that Starship Troopers
clarified and served as a defense of
the political and military viewpoints
he held at that time.
18
About Robert A. Heinlein
Does Starship Troopers
function effectively as a defense of
the political and military viewpoints
Heinlein held at that time?
19
Plot of Starship Troopers
Novel follows the experiences of
Juan (Johnnie) Rico,
the narrator.
20
Plot of Starship Troopers
Rico enlists in the Mobile Infantry, and
participates in an interstellar war between
the Terran Federation and the Arachnids
(“Bugs”) of Klendathu.
21
Plot of Starship Troopers
It is narrated as a series of flashbacks,
and includes discussions by
various characters of political theory
and philosophical beliefs.
22
Why did Heinlein choose to tell Starship
Troopers as a series of flashbacks?
23
Plot of Starship Troopers
We learn that Rico comes from a wealthy
family. His father objects to his decision
to join the Mobile Infantry, but cannot
stop him from doing so.
24
Plot of Starship Troopers
Rico is trained as a Mobile Infantryman.
We learn as the book progresses that it
costs $500,000 to train, equip, and arm
a Mobile Infantry trooper.
25
Plot of Starship Troopers
Johnnie wanted to be a pilot,
because a girl he liked (Carmen)
requested that duty.
26
Plot of Starship Troopers
He is rejected for that training. His
alternate choices are any Navy job,
then a job in the K9 Corps, and finally
Mobile Infantryman.
27
Plot of Starship Troopers
He gets his last choice, of course—
Mobile Infantryman.
28
Why is Rico chosen to train as a
Mobile Infantryman?
29
Plot of Starship Troopers
Chapters 3-9 follow Rico’s training.
We learn that only 10% of trainees
finish MI training.
30
Plot of Starship Troopers
The other 90% either resign;
are expelled;
receive a medical discharge;
are assigned to less strenuous duties;
or die in training.
31
Plot of Starship Troopers
Fourteen of Rico’s fellow recruits die
in training; one is hanged.
32
What is the significance of
the high death toll in
training camp?
33
Plot of Starship Troopers
MI recruits learn to handle the armored
flight suits they wear, weapons handling,
and how to safely make jumps from
Navy ships onto hostile worlds.
34
Plot of Starship Troopers
Training is very demanding, and recruits
found deficient in their performance
can be legally flogged.
35
Plot of Starship Troopers
Rico is flogged as punishment for his
negligent handling of a simulated
nuclear weapon during
a training exercise.
36
Why does Heinlein subject his hero
to a flogging?
37
Plot of Starship Troopers
Chapters 10-12 focus on daily routine
aboard a Navy ship in transit, and on
the relationships between officers
and NCOs.
38
Plot of Starship Troopers
Rico decides to become a career soldier,
and attends Officer Candidate School.
39
Plot of Starship Troopers
He receives more rigorous physical training,
but also receives training in History and
Moral Philosophy (he had previously
received somewhat similar
training in high school).
40
Plot of Starship Troopers
Heinlein appears to be using
the instructor in this course
(Major Reid) to provide us
with some of the author’s
own political beliefs
and opinions.
41
Plot of Starship Troopers
Rico is commissioned a temporary
Third Lieutenant, commands his own
unit (under supervision) during
a military operation, and finally
receives a permanent commission
as Second Lieutenant.
42
Plot of Starship Troopers
The final chapter brings us full circle,
echoing the opening scenes of the novelbut this time Rico is in command of a
major strike against the Bugs
on their home world.
43
What is the significance of Rico being
his own father’s commanding officer
during this major strike against
the Bugs?
44
Characters of Starship Troopers
Juan (Johnnie) Rico.
Surname, Rico, means “rich” or
“wealthy” in Spanish.
45
Characters of Starship Troopers
Juan (Johnnie) Rico.
What is Rico’s nationality?
46
Characters of Starship Troopers
Carmencita (Carmen) Ibanez.
Surname is that of General Carlos Ibanez
del Campo, army officer and President of
Chile, 1927-1931 and 1952-1958.
47
Characters of Starship Troopers
Major Reid.
Surname appears to refer to General Sir
Alexander John Forsyth Reid, British Army
officer who attended Aberdeen Grammar
School and University (veterans first
take over civil government duties
in Aberdeen- Chapter 12).
48
Characters of Starship Troopers
Sergeant Jelal.
Surname refers to Jelal ad-Din, Persian
leader who was the first Muslim ruler
to oppose Genghis Khan (with
some success).
49
Characters of Starship Troopers
Camp Arthur Currie.
Surname refers General Sir Arthur Currie,
a pre-WWI civilian who went on to lead
Canadian Expeditionary Forces in Europe.
50
Characters of Starship Troopers
Camp Arthur Currie.
He was widely considered one of the
ablest military leaders on either
side during that conflict.
51
Characters of Starship Troopers
The Rodger Young.
A Navy ship. Name refers to a WWII Army
reservist who was called
to active duty.
52
Characters of Starship Troopers
The Rodger Young.
He demoted himself from Sgt. to Pvt.
because he thought his poor eyesight
and hearing would make him
a poor leader.
53
Characters of Starship Troopers
The Rodger Young.
On New Georgia, he pinned down
Japanese machine-gunners with
rifle fire and grenades long enough
for his platoon to escape.
54
Characters of Starship Troopers
The Rodger Young.
He was wounded twice by rifle fire,
then killed by machine-gun fire.
55
Characters of Starship Troopers
Camp Spooky Smith.
Appears to refer to Staff Sgt. Maynard H.
“Snuffy” Smith, an Army Air Corps ballturret gunner in a WWII bomber.
56
Characters of Starship Troopers
Camp Spooky Smith.
He put out fires, disposed of burning
ammunition, and worked machine-guns
long enough for his B-17 to
escape German
fighter planes.
57
Characters of Starship Troopers
Camp Spooky Smith.
As Smith’s B-17 landed back
at its home base,
it broke in half.
58
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
59
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
What is citizenship?
60
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
What is citizenship?
The political and legal rights
and responsibilities of persons
recognized as citizens by the
states in which they live.
61
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
What are natural rights and legal rights?
62
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
What legal responsibilities should citizens
reasonably be expected to shoulder?
63
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
What legal responsibilities should citizens
reasonally be expected to shoulder?
1. Obey civil and criminal laws of their
society.
64
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
What legal responsibilities should citizens
reasonably be expected to shoulder?
2. Pay applicable taxes.
65
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
What legal responsibilities should citizens
reasonably be expected to shoulder?
3. Register for service in the armed forces
if required, and serve if called to duty.
66
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
What moral and ethical responsibilities
should citizens be expected to
shoulder?
1. Participate to the extent possible
in activities that improve civic
and political life in one’s
local area.
67
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
What moral and ethical responsibilities
should citizens be expected to
shoulder?
2. Demonstrate commitment and loyalty
to one’s government and
fellow citizens.
68
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
What moral and ethical responsibilities
should citizens be expected to
shoulder?
3. Constructively criticize the conditions of
one’s civic and political life.
69
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Who should be eligible to become
a citizen?
70
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Citizenship has at various times been
granted based on:
71
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Citizenship has at various times been
granted based on:
1. Wealth/property
72
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Citizenship has at various times been
granted based on:
1. Wealth/property
2. Gender
73
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Citizenship has at various times been
granted based on:
1. Wealth/property
2. Gender
3. Ethnicity
74
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Citizenship has at various times been
granted based on:
1. Wealth/property
2. Gender
3. Ethnicity
4. Religion
75
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Citizenship has at various times been
granted based on:
1. Wealth/property
2. Gender
3. Ethnicity
4. Religion
5. Place of birth
76
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Who should be eligible to vote?
77
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Suffrage consists of:
78
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Suffrage consists of:
1. The right to vote.
79
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Suffrage consists of:
1. The right to vote.
2. The exercise of that right.
80
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Types of suffrage:
81
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Types of suffrage:
1. Universal suffrage.
82
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Types of suffrage:
1. Universal suffrage.
2. Manhood suffrage.
83
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Types of suffrage:
1. Universal suffrage.
2. Manhood suffrage.
3. Census suffrage.
84
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Types of suffrage:
1. Universal suffrage.
2. Manhood suffrage.
3. Census suffrage.
4. Equal suffrage
85
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Types of suffrage:
1. Universal suffrage.
2. Manhood suffrage.
3. Census suffrage.
4. Equal suffrage
5. Compulsory suffrage.
86
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Citizenship has at times been
denied certain persons based on:
87
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Citizenship has at times been
denied certain persons based on:
1. Age
88
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Citizenship has at times been
denied certain persons based on:
1. Age
2. Gender
89
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Citizenship has at times been
denied certain persons based on:
1. Age
2. Gender
3. Poverty
90
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Citizenship has at times been
denied certain persons based on:
1. Age
2. Gender
3. Poverty
4. Ethnicity
91
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Citizenship has at times been
denied certain persons based on:
1. Age
2. Gender
3. Poverty
4. Ethnicity
5. Religion
92
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Citizenship has at times been
denied certain persons based on:
1. Age
2. Gender
3. Poverty
4. Ethnicity
5. Religion
6. Literacy
93
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Citizenship has at times been
denied certain persons based on:
1. Age
2. Gender
3. Poverty
4. Ethnicity
5. Religion
6. Literacy
7. Mental health
94
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Citizenship has at times been
denied certain persons based on:
1. Poverty
2. Gender
3. Age
4. Ethnicity
5. Religion
6. Literacy
7. Mental health
8. Criminal convictions
95
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Crime and punishment.
Execution and corporal punishment
are both legal in the novel, and appear
to be viewed favorably by the
author himself.
96
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Military history and traditions.
Heinlein in the novel makes not so veiled
references to numerous previous wars,
especially WWI, WWII, and Korea.
97
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Military innovation and technology.
The armored exo-skeletons in the novel
have inspired real-life research projects
by the Department of Defense.
98
Major Themes of Starship Troopers
Military innovation and technology.
MI weapons, tactics, and training have
been studied by the U.S. armed forces:
Starship Troopers is still on reading lists
at three U.S. military academies.
99
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
“Not a well-written novel.”
Some literary critiques hold that
Starship Troopers is really just a vehicle
for Heinlein’s own political views.
10
0
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
“Novel is militaristic/pro-military.”
Some critics have called the novel
“a book-length recruiting poster.”
10
1
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
Typical elements of a militaristic society:
10
2
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
Typical elements of a militaristic society:
1. Governed according to concepts embodied
in its military history and culture
10
3
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
Typical elements of a militaristic society:
1. Governed according to concepts embodied in its
military history and culture
2. Order & stability best maintained by constant
preparation for military activity
10
4
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
Typical elements of a militaristic society:
1. Governed according to concepts embodied in its
military history and culture
2. Order & stability best maintained by constant
preparation for military activity
3. Military operations generally benefit society and
its individual citizens
105
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
Typical elements of a militaristic society:
1. Governed according to concepts embodied in its
military history and culture
2. Order & stability best maintained by constant
preparation for military activity
3. Military operations generally benefit society and
its individual citizens
4. Civilians subservient to soldiers
106
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
“Novel favorably depicts a fascist society.”
Some critics say the novel depicts a
fascist society, although its residents
appear to enjoy freedom of speech, freedom
of the press, and freedom of conscience.
107
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
Typical elements of a fascist society:
108
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
Typical elements of a fascist society:
1. Cult of action
109
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
Typical elements of a fascist society:
1. Cult of action
2. Emphasis on self-discipline/self-denial
110
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
Typical elements of a fascist society:
1. Cult of action
2. Emphasis on self-discipline/self-denial
3. Contempt for weakness
111
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
Typical elements of a fascist society:
1. Cult of action
2. Emphasis on self-discipline/self-denial
3. Contempt for weakness
4. Rejection of liberalism
112
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
Typical elements of a fascist society:
1. Cult of action
2. Emphasis on self-discipline/self-denial
3. Contempt for weakness
4. Rejection of liberalism
5. Rejection of differences of opinion
113
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
Typical elements of a fascist society:
1. Cult of action
2. Emphasis on self-discipline/self-denial
3. Contempt for weakness
4. Rejection of liberalism
5. Rejection of differences of opinion
6. Us against them mentality
114
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
“Novel depicts a racist/sexist society.”
Some critics feel that the novel depicts
a racist society, partly because enemy
soldiers are called “Bugs”.
115
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
“Novel depicts a racist/sexist society.”
However, this criticism ignores the fact that
Rico and numerous other recruits and NCOs
have clearly ethnic last names (and women
are said to be the best pilots by far).
116
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
“Novel depicts a utopian society.”
Some critics feel that the novel depicts
a political system that could not work
In the real world.
117
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
Is Heinlein’s society really
all that far-fetched?
118
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
Do veterans in fact already receive benefits
not enjoyed by all citizens?
119
Criticisms of Starship Troopers
Is it really inconceivable that
national service of some sort
might one day be a requirement
for suffrage/citizenship?
120
I hope you’ve enjoyed this class,
and that you’ll be able to start
an SF discussion group at
your school or library.
You can reach me at:
[email protected]
121
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