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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 167

The most prominent theme of Starship Troopers, a Hugo award-winning novel by Robert A. Heinlein, is militarism. In fact, that very theme caused controversy for Heinlein when the novel came out. Critics viewed the militarism theme as pro-war, which is in direct contradiction with other writers who tend to depict war in order to criticize it, rather than glorify it.

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The other major theme of the novel is Heinlein's message of civic duty. In particular, the fictional world of the narrative requires that all citizens perform government service in order to qualify for citizenship. The setting of the story has a Spartan culture, adding to the militarism theme.

The other theme—which was mostly from the perspective of the book's critics—is fascism. The critics of the novel suggested that the political and social systems depicted in the story are examples of fascism or authoritarianism. Another theme, outside of the political subtexts, is the typical coming-of-age narrative, in which the main characters grow as the story progresses.

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Critical Essays