Summary (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
In addition to winning for Heinlein his first Hugo award, Starship Troopers put an end to the Scribner’s juvenile series. Heinlein wrote it for the series, but Scribner’s rejected it. That rejection was the beginning of years of controversy over Starship Troopers.
Many readers, and a majority of academic critics, objected to the overt militarism of the book. Despite the Hugo, science-fiction fans at conventions in 1960 distanced themselves from the book’s philosophy; a youth-oriented radio talk show on WMCA in New York even devoted its October 23, 1960, broadcast to a critique of Starship Troopers and its philosophy. There had been military settings in the juvenile series before: Space Cadet describes an interplanetary military; the protagonist of Between Planets joins a militia on Venus; Citizen of the Galaxy ends with its hero enlisting in the Exotic Corps. What is different about Starship Troopers is that it describes a society in which government service of some sort (though not always infantry) is an absolute requirement for full citizenship.
This system, often distorted by critics into a fascist nightmare, is what caused the controversy—and guaranteed sales. It is described through the experiences of the narrator, Juan (“Johnny”) Rico, who enlists in the Mobile Infantry and tells of his training. Much of the story is interrupted by his flashbacks to a high school...
(The entire section is 969 words.)
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