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'How We Made Starship Troopers' (theguardian.com) 589

The Guardian quotes Paul Verhoeven, the director of Starship Troopers: Robert Heinlein's original 1959 science-fiction novel was militaristic, if not fascistic. So I decided to make a movie about fascists who aren't aware of their fascism... I was looking for the prototype of blond, white and arrogant, and Casper Van Dien was so close to the images I remembered from Leni Riefenstahl's films. I borrowed from Triumph of the Will in the parody propaganda reel that opens the film, too. I was using Riefenstahl to point out, or so I thought, that these heroes and heroines were straight out of Nazi propaganda...

With a title like Starship Troopers, people were expecting a new Star Wars. They got that, but not really: it stuck in your throat. It said: "Here are your heroes and your heroines, but by the way -- they're fascists."

The actors weren't even clear on what the giant arachnids would look like, since their "Bug" battles were filmed entirely with green screens, remembers one of the movie's stars, Denise Richards. Instead Verhoeven "would be there jumping up and down with a broom in the air so we would have a sense of how big they were."

Verhoeven told one interviewer that he never actually read Robert Heinlein's original book. "I stopped after two chapters because it was so boring. It is really quite a bad book."
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'How We Made Starship Troopers'

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  • by steak ( 145650 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @12:52PM (#56015259) Homepage Journal

    "he never actually read Robert Heinlein's original book"

    well not that shocked.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Distan ( 122159 )

      Hollywood is pathologically incapable of making a movie that conveys a conservative message. I doubt we will ever see a faithful interpretation of any golden age Heinlein novel.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ph0rk ( 118461 )
        Maybe it is because most in Hollywood find conservative messages to be dumb.

        Or: you completely forgot all the Action movies from the 80's and 90's. Possibly both are presently now true.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by quonset ( 4839537 )

        Hollywood is pathologically incapable of making a movie that conveys a conservative message

        Wall Street and The Wolf of Wall Street don't convey the conservative message of private industry championing over government interference, where free markets know best, where those who takes risks are rewarded, where personal responsibility takes hold?

      • Yeah... I remember the scene where Rambo put on a tie dye shirt, stuck some flowers in his hair and sang campfire songs with the police before they all went out for locally sourced fair trade frozen yogurts....
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 27, 2018 @02:47PM (#56015895)

        I know it's popular to assume Heinlein was conservative, but that's usually coming from people like Verhoeven who couldn't get through the set up chapters and get to the philosophical pay off. Stranger in A Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress include themes of strong secular humanism, anti-authoritarianism, and ecological responsibility along with libertarian economic concepts. I don't think it's correct to assume Heinlein advocates extraordinary conservative views in Starship Troopers (i.e. flogging as punishment) when you could more easily interpret those passages as critical when put in context of his other books.

        It's unfortunate that Verhoeven didn't read the book, and that no one associated with the movie seems to have read any serious critics of the book either. One way you know Heinlein wrote a great book is that there are so many interesting critical insights linked to 20th century culture from wildly different perspectives. The movie lacks the exploration of asexual masculinity, elitism, and technology that give the book depth and complexity. Why is the power armor both so appealing to us and horribly savage? Why does (book) Rico find women "fascinating" but never express a desire for any kind of relationship? The quintessentially American ideal that freedom requires sacrifice is tested in an extreme case, raising questions about what "freedom" and "sacrifice" mean. This is what science fiction should do.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 )

          Flogging was a legal punishment in the u.s. as late as 1972.

          Flogging isn't a conservative or liberal issue in my opinion. When I was a boy, very strong spanking was still a permitted punishment in junior high school.

          Corporal punishment is more of an anacronism/holdover from medieval times. It's also an outcome of needing to discourage behavior but being unable to afford to take people out of production for days, weeks, months, or years. Corporal punishment is a lot cheaper than putting someone in jail.

          • by dryeo ( 100693 )

            You make some good points about flogging. The reason it is now conservative is the idea that things were better in the old days and those things included corporal punishment. Along with the conservative mindset of punishment rather then rehabilitation.

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        I think Hollywood is incapable of intentionally making movies that might offend people it needs to watch them.

        Hollywood is basically squishy. It'll appeal to non-controversial middle-of-the road sentiments, like patriotism or respect for minorities, but don't expect it to challenge its audiences.

      • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @03:11PM (#56016019) Journal

        Hollywood is pathologically incapable of making a movie that conveys a conservative message. I doubt we will ever see a faithful interpretation of any golden age Heinlein novel.

        Hollywood could almost make Stranger. It's mostly hippie nonsense after all. I say almost because they'd never convey how Heinlein despised new reporters - literal "newsclowns",

      • by sheramil ( 921315 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @03:36PM (#56016183)

        Hollywood is pathologically incapable of making a movie that conveys a conservative message. I doubt we will ever see a faithful interpretation of any golden age Heinlein novel.

        Given the current socio-poltiical climate in Hollywood, I would think they could make "I Will Fear No Evil" quite handily.

      • Batman: The Dark Knight - a movie that tells us how spying after people is good when it is done to FIGHT TERRORISM, and how we can always trust private enterprises with power to do the right thing and not abuse this survelliance technology. The whole movie tries to tell us that there are absolute good and evil, and in face absolute evil, absolute good should be allowed to violate some rights. This sounds like many right wingers I got to talk with lately.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The book was infinitely better than the film.

    • by drnb ( 2434720 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @02:26PM (#56015771)

      "he never actually read Robert Heinlein's original book" well not that shocked.

      Verhoeven had an agenda and searched for a vehicle to present that agenda it just so happened the name of the book seemed a good vehicle for him.

      From wiki: "Ken Macleod argues that the book does not actually advocate fascism because anybody capable of understanding the oath of Federal Service is able to enlist and thereby obtain political power. Macleod states that Heinlein's books are consistently liberal, but cover a spectrum from democratic to elitist forms of liberalism, Starship Troopers being on the latter end of the spectrum. It has been argued that Heinlein's militarism is more libertarian than fascist, and that this trend is also present in Heinlein's other popular books of the period, such as Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966)."

      *** Spoler Alert *** Verhoeven also injects racism where there is none, again part of his agenda that has nothing to do with the actual book. John Rico, aka Juan Rico, is not white, not an "aryan", he is of Philippine descent if I remember correct. He is obviously portrayed as Hispanic on the book cover in pre-movie printings.

      • by Boronx ( 228853 )

        Don't you have to complete your enlistment to obtain political power? If so, then anyone can enlist but only those who conform are enfranchised.

        • by drnb ( 2434720 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @03:06PM (#56015995)

          Don't you have to complete your enlistment to obtain political power? If so, then anyone can enlist but only those who conform are enfranchised.

          Conformance was only required during service. After service no conformance was required, an enfranchised citizen was free to believe and vote however they cared to. And society would go in whatever direction the majority of the enfranchised citizens believed to be best. The voters were in control. That fact that voters had to demonstrate they would risk their lives for others, through military or hazardous construction service, is not evidence of fascism. Elitist is really a far better description. Fascism dictates what is proper to believe, what direction government will go. The enfranchised elite were under no such limitations, they had "earned" the right to believe whatever they chose to, their majority had "earned" the right to direct the government.

          • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @03:37PM (#56016189)

            Yep. Moreover, IIRC, you didn't get your franchise until after releasing from the service, which is the exact opposite of what the movie suggested. In the movie, society is run by the "sky marshals" - active military leaders - whereas in the book the military doesn't get a say at all; the direction of their society is determined by voting citizens.

            It takes an incredibly thoughtless person to read "fascism" into that.

          • Indeed - and the book makes clear that the franchise had been limited precisely because democracy in the hands of an electorate that had no skin in the game, that was willing for others to sacrifice but unwilling to make any sacrifices themselves, had ended in disaster. It was the veterans of the war voted on by people who paid no price themselves for their errors who established the rules after that war. All citizens in that world had the same rights except one: only those who had proven their willingness
      • "Libertarian" \= Liberal. It's more akin to anarchist day dreams in that the only way to defend your rights is with a gun, you are entangled into never ending circles of HOA like agreements and insurance contracts from everything from building roads to compensation for the pollution factory next door to you pouring their waste stream through your living room. Corporations get their way through intimidation and private militia's and anyone poor is pretty much fucked.
        • by drnb ( 2434720 )

          "Libertarian" \= Liberal.

          Yes, the quote is saying the book has elements of both, has portions that can be described as either. That both these labels, elitist liberal and libertarian, are more accurate than the third label of fascist.

      • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @03:11PM (#56016017)

        he is of Philippine descent if I remember correct.

        You do remember correctly. Juan explicitly said he spoke Tagalog, which is a native language of Luzon in the Philippines.

        Note that absolutely nowhere in the book was it suggested that Rico was American. For that matter, I can't think of any particular character that was American.

      • by drnb ( 2434720 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @04:11PM (#56016345)
        Answering a response made things a little clearer ...

        In Heinlein's Starship Trooper universe voting is an "earned" right, not a "birth" right. It is earned by volunteering and completing service that is hazardous, military or construction. Anyone may serve and ultimately attain the right to vote, accommodations are made for those with disabilities so that they may serve. The only obstacle to service is volunteering. The core idea is that through service you risked your life for others, this "earns" you the right to vote.

        Once honorably discharged from service a person now has the right to vote. They are free to vote in any manner they chose. The government will follow the majority of the voters. There is no fascist dictate from government. The enfranchised elite have "earned" the right to believe whatever they chose to in a political power sense, their majority has "earned" the right to direct the government. The voters are in control.
    • by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @03:17PM (#56016067) Homepage

      "I stopped after two chapters because it was so boring. It is really quite a bad book."

      Given this comment and the resulting film it is quite clear that he didn't understand the material he was working with ether.

    • by meburke ( 736645 )

      If Veerhoeven thinks "Starshiop Troopers" is about Fascism, then I contend that he probably can't tell the difference between Fascism and a funnel.

      After seeing the movie, I decided to read the book again; something I hadn't done since the '70's. Although I had read all of Heinlein's books a number of times, I had forgotten how controversial this book was when it first came out. It was a strongly worded allegory exploring the duties of a citizen to the nation that he belonged to, and the only nod to that con

  • Simple answer (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How did we make Starship Troopers?
    Like a piece of shit.

  • by Misagon ( 1135 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @01:03PM (#56015317)

    What a team, back in the day. Ed Neumeier was also scripitwriter on the Verhoeven-directed RoboCop and a lot of the tone in both movies can be attributed to him. I can definitely feel the same style of humour in both movies.

    Neumeier did not work on the RoboCop sequels, and I think a lot of that is why they were so different, without the same edge.
    And now there are rumours that Neumeier would be working on a stand-alone sequel to the original RoboCop, based off an outline that he wrote decades ago. We'll see...
    The Starship Troopers sequels weren't very good IMHO so I'm afraid that he could have lost it.

  • As a German, ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 27, 2018 @01:05PM (#56015329)

    ... it's always kinda funny, to see superhero movies being so popular in US culture...
    When they were literally invented as the US version of the German Übersoldat Nazi propaganda movies, and for precisely same reason.
    The Übersoldat (super soldier) was the image of the perfect, augmented through eugenics, soldier. The typical blond blue-eyed brainwashed monstrosity.
    My grandma actually met the real deal before the end of the war: SS soldiers from the Hitler Youth. She said, they weren't humans anymore. Their behavior and mannerism were inhuman, psychopathic, strange, and hence super-creepy. Kinda like real-life Daleks, without the theatricals, in human skins, with a friendly smile on their faces.
    In Germany, we would never dare to make movies glorifying anything even remotely close to something like that, given everything it implies.

    I guess that's the difference in perspective on war and augmented "master race" humans, between the losing and the winning side... *tips hat to congratulate you*

    Just... be careful, America.
    Your culture's vibe right now is just waaay to close to how it started over here, back then.

    Safety tips from a German: Make sure the jobs are safe, the pride in your country is healthy, and there's no scapegoat group, nor a feel that one is needed.
    And don't elect somebody who is good at rhetorics and tells you he'll make you great again, but has fucked-up plans. (That's precisely what Hitler did.)

    • In Germany, we would never dare to make movies glorifying anything even remotely close to something like that, given everything it implies.

      We don't do that here, either. Movies about that stuff are pretty much always cautionary tales. Hell, it's even a core plot of Star Trek, and they made an entire Wrathful movie about it. You have have heard about it... KHAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!

      Safety tips from a German: Make sure the jobs are safe, the pride in your country is healthy, and there's no scapegoat group, nor a feel that one is needed.

      BOHICA!

    • One large difference between your concepts. Generally speaking of super heroes... they are individuals who have dealt with their own circumstances. Self Made. Not State made and then controlled.
    • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @01:45PM (#56015559) Homepage Journal

      In Germany, we would never dare to make movies glorifying anything even remotely close to something like that, given everything it implies.

      Uwe Boll...

    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @02:45PM (#56015877) Homepage Journal

      I don't see fantasy as being intrinsically toxic; it's mixing up fantasy with reality that's dangerous.

      That includes de-humanizing the SS. The problem is that the SS were all too human. We call them "inhuman" because they violate our ideals about what humans are supposed to be like. But in fact what they did was far from historically unprecedented, except for the way in which modern organization and technology gave scope to their behavior, something that should give all of us a shudder of horror.

      Still, those ideals, while historically false, are important. As Terry Pratchett said, "Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape."

    • That's kinda ironic in that if Verhoeven had actually read the book and based the movie on it, the soldiers would've been "super" only because of the powered armor they wore. That is, all individuals start off equal (equally weak). You can choose to empower yourself (gain power armor), but only on the condition that you use that power to protect society. There is no master race, only certain people (who could be from any race) that choose to empower themselves (enlist) to protect others (willing to die to
  • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @01:12PM (#56015375)

    Verhoeven grew up in German occupied Netherlands during WWII.

    How did the studio think he was going to adapt a movie based on a book that glorified a militaristic society?

    Though it is a kind of fun concept. Now I'm kinda interested to see Romeo and Juliet from a director going through a nasty divorce or an SF thriller directed by a technophobe.

    • > a book that glorified a militaristic society?

      The original novel did not glorify the arachnids, at all.

  • by Khopesh ( 112447 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @01:27PM (#56015459) Homepage Journal

    The original article [archive.org], as saved by the Internet Archive, had a slightly different subtitle:

    ‘I borrowed from the films of Leni Riefenstahl to show that these US soldiers were like something out of Nazi propaganda. I even put one in an SS uniform. But no one noticed’

    (Emphasis added to highlight the text that was removed).

    The current version has a note at the bottom saying:

    The subheading of this article was amended on 23 January 2018 to remove a reference to US soldiers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The original article [archive.org], as saved by the Internet Archive, had a slightly different subtitle:

      ‘I borrowed from the films of Leni Riefenstahl to show that these US soldiers were like something out of Nazi propaganda. I even put one in an SS uniform. But no one noticed’

      (Emphasis added to highlight the text that was removed).

      The current version has a note at the bottom saying:

      The subheading of this article was amended on 23 January 2018 to remove a reference to US soldiers.

      Given that the characters were from Buenos Aires in the movie that does seem like a reasonable edit. Admittedly they did speak English but, well, it doesn't seem a bit unlikely that the soldiers in the movie were specifically supposed to be US soldiers.

  • The movie stands as an excellent counterpoint to the book. Anyone that can't handle that is obviously a bit more happy with the idea of managed democracy than they'd like to let on.
  • Except for the fact that the wrong woman died in it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 27, 2018 @02:01PM (#56015611)

    Paul Verhoeven misinterpets Heinlen's work as fascist and makes a movie that satirizes fascism, which in turn gets many people upset at Verhoeven for glorifying fascism.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 27, 2018 @02:14PM (#56015697)

    Paul Verhoeven; Robert Heinlein has a body of work that will always exceed Verhoeven's. Genre. Robert Heinlein was writing to teen boys to give them a vision of tomorrow taking many paths; some good some not so good. Read 5th Column for example. Or Stranger in a Strange Land. Not reading the book, then assuming the society Heinlein built was one where service to the state gave you a vote, was a concept for fascism? Funny. That was akin to the first thoughts of the 'Founding Fathers' of the United States. Landowners and white men only club. Was that fascist? No. They assumed education was the hallmark of a good society. They also built an adaptive structure.

    The underlining principle was 'put up or shut up.' Civilians could step up to the line and if they wouldn't, shut up. Even in the book no one was denied a chance to serve. Even a paraplegic could serve in some way, could earn their citizenship. That is fascist? They would find you a task to serve your people, so earn what you wanted. A vote.

    It was also why I found the movie so boring. The book was more interesting. Too bad he could not take a day or two in the preproduction schedule and read the material. Perhaps read a few more of Heinlein's works to get a better viewpoint. If I was his employer I would have fired him for lack of due diligence. I am sure there were other good producer ready and waiting.

  • by mfnickster ( 182520 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @02:25PM (#56015769)

    "I even put one in an SS uniform. But no one noticed."

    In the Hollywood press maybe. In the theater, my friend turned to me and exclaimed, "It's Doogie Himmler!"

  • by JeffElkins ( 977243 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @02:28PM (#56015787)

    Considered the last of Heinlein's juveniles, Starship Trooper is a Hugo winner and a true classic. Paul Verhoeven's movie is a travesty, raped the book, and doesn't deserve to carry the title.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @02:35PM (#56015817) Homepage Journal

    ... read Gordie Dickson's Dorsai!. Starship Troopers is something very, very different, and more difficult to dismiss. You can't put Heinlein in a neat box because he challenges you, and himself. That's what makes Heinlein a great writer where Dickson is merely an entertaining one.

    Don't get me wrong, I really like Dickson, he's just not on Heinlein's level.

    Now is Starship Troopers militaristic? Absolutely. Is it fascist? I think not, although I can see the appeal for the simple-minded fascist. It is a militaristic novel that questions the concept of fundamental individual rights.

    But I don't think Heinlein was a fascist, I think he was a ferocious skeptic. What if you organized a society around something other than inherent an inalienable individual rights? What's telling is the Heinlein makes this world neither a dystopia nor a utopia; it's just workable. Fascists are always selling a formula for establishing a kind of golden age.

  • Before we got to see Power Armor.

    The second movie reminded me of Screamers.

    The third movie wasn't bad, but I loved the line:

    "It's the wrong god."

    I saw the 4th one, I don't remember it...

  • by rbrander ( 73222 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @02:40PM (#56015845) Homepage

    The book should probably come with a warning that it may be too intense for adults.

    I read it as a kid, and devoured all the ideas, though, oddly, I did't become militaristic or in any way right-wing. Vietnam was going on, and you could see where real wars end up.

    The review by James Davis Nicol highlights the stuff that I thought was cooool as a kid, and gagged at as a grownup:

    https://jamesdavisnicoll.com/r... [jamesdavisnicoll.com] ...Rico is a very young war criminal in scenes where the "demonstration of firepower and frightfulness" (heh: now, "shock and awe") includes toasting a church congregation of the "Skinnies" with his flamethrower, and looking for the town's water treatment plant with his micro-nuke. (After a 25-year career with the local waterworks, I know that's germ warfare...)

    And it sinks in that the basic philosophy is that humanity must grow, must colonize forever, to live, constantly expanding through the galaxy, and that any species also wanting the same "real estate" must be fought. The word "liebensraum" does come into the mind.

    Heinlein had a few philosophies to expound, of course, and the whole rest of the book is built around having some reason to have a busy military with occasional heavy losses and routine light losses. Oh, and a need to assault planets from space with anything smaller than nukes.

    He wanted to look right inside the mind of a military volunteer who understands that this will likely enough cost his life or at least limbs, and accepts it as the noble thing to do, to sacrifice the, ah, One for the Many. It is made clear what the movie did even better, that Rico, while well-indoctrinated with the understanding of this nobility, that only those who have done this are worthy of voting rights, really joins to impress a girl. (In the promo book for the movie, writers said they asked actual Soldiers and vets if that was corny. They were told with grins that it is still common.)

    The key to the training section (classic military book structure: first bit is training camp, then on to the story of actual battles; see Full Metal Jacket, Dirty Dozen, etc) is that when Rico internalizes and accepts the noble reason rather than the girl reason, "The noblest fate a man can endure is to place his mortal body between his beloved home and war's desolation" (I just typed that from memory...jeez.), then the torturous training camp is suddenly almost easy.

    Heinlein's defense in "Expanded Universe" noted the book is "militaristic" specifically to the Army/Marines, rival services to his beloved Navy, where at least you usually die with a full belly and not frozen in a trench; that it's a love letter to the heroic sufferings of "the doughboy, the duckfoot....the thin red line of heroes". This is hardly more militaristic than the displays at most American parades and football games, and obviously, Veteran's Day. That's fine.

    It's setting up that story in a world where human expansion makes war with aliens inevitable, that's the problem. And the war-crime stuff. He could have set up his war-needing-environment with a need for pure defense of home, and outlined some rules of war descended from Geneva Conventions rather than the chapter "Caesar Chastens Gaul" of his memoir.

    That he was pushing out the endless-expansion thing instead is all the more problematic in that the Bugs were a pure Communism by nature, oddly enough, and the real geopolitical concern of the time was that the First World (us) was in a game of Risk with the Second World (communist countries) fighting over the rest of the global real estate. Tends to make anybody even faintly left look askance. I was mercifully unaware of all this, enjoying it at 11. (1970) And on re-reads though teen years. I missed Vietnam by both nationality (Canadian) and a few years of time; Boomer Americans were probably clearer on it.

    Salon.com seems to have lost the 1997 review that nailed the movie's total fa

    • by steveha ( 103154 )

      This Nicoll guy is a lively and interesting writer. His writing is opinionated (IMHO that's a plus). But he gets the facts of Starship Troopers unforgivably wrong.

      Rico is a very young war criminal in scenes where the "demonstration of firepower and frightfulness" (heh: now, "shock and awe") includes toasting a church congregation of the "Skinnies" with his flamethrower

      Nope. Some quotes from the book:

      It was getting to be less healthy to be anywhere, even moving fast. [...] Nevertheless the home defenses

  • He makes a movie where the heros are fascists, the problem is that they are still very clearly heros. So the movie is basically just nazi propaganda with "Slavs" replaced by "Arachnids", and "Jews" replaced by "non-citizens", and "Aryans" replaced by "Citizens". Their is nothing antifascist about that.

    I always thought it was a great film, and in particular complimented the novel well. While Heinleine's novel featured a society that was incredibly anti-militaristic, and anti-fascist these were not important

  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @03:00PM (#56015957) Homepage

    From Merriam-Webster:

    1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
    2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

    - https://www.merriam-webster.co... [merriam-webster.com]

    I keep hearing/reading about people who think the book Starship Troopers is about a fascistic society and I don't get it, especially when I compare the society expressed in the book to definitions of fascism.

    Juan Rico, who is revealed to be Filipino at the end of the book and we don't know where he grew up, joins up to win the ability to vote and is trained in a melting pot camp in Western Canada (I'm presuming that because of the name of the camp, Arthur Currie). There is no discussion, let alone glorification of a central "leader", nor is there any apparent racism.

    There is what we would consider brutal corporal punishment rather than incarceration, but this is a result of the society's "superior" (from the perspective of the book's characters) understanding of psychology. When the book was written, hanging was still a common form of capital punishment and public hangings had only ended about 25 years before.

    I've always read in the book as being set in a society that resulted after a terrible war and is presented by people who had that experience and perspective.

  • by kenwd0elq ( 985465 ) <kenwd0elq@engineer.com> on Saturday January 27, 2018 @03:37PM (#56016191)

    I'm a big Heinlein fan, and "Starship Troopers" is a GREAT book.

    The book is more philosophical than militaristic, the lead character was Juan Rico, a Filipino from Luzon. To cast Van Diem in the role simply proves that Verhoeven had never actually READ the book. In the book, all of the "Mobile Infantry" are men, but all of the starship pilots are women.

    The movie of "Starship Troopers" was a horrible movie. No "Mobile INfantry", no drop capsules coming in from orbit, no philosophy, no morals. Just guts and core. There;s one scene in which the M.I. troopers on the ship are having a mass, co-ed, naked shower scene, This was, frankly, the ONLY redeeming value in the entire movie.

  • by SEE ( 7681 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @05:24PM (#56016761) Homepage

    The fundamental problem people have with Heinlein is a mental defect that renders them unable to appreciate the difference between someone extrapolating a "what if" and someone declaiming a "we should".

    If you make them confront the fact that the same guy wrote (for example) Double Star, Starship Troopers, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, they suffer serious cognitive dissonance, which they can only resolve by retreating from reality into a fantasy simple enough for them to comprehend.

    From that safe fantasy world they then lash out at the scary author they cannot comprehend.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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