SF Masterworks Spotlight: Starship Troopers

Have you enjoyed James Cameron‘s Aliens? Did you love the reboot of Battlestar Galactica?  Do you have a soft spot for anime series Mobile Suit Gundam? Are you a fan of John Scalzi‘s Old Man’s War series or Harry Harrison‘s Bill, The Galactic Hero?  Do you think Joe Haldeman‘s The Forever War is one of the best SF novels of all time?

Hey, us too!

Which means we all owe Robert A. Heinlein a debt of thanks, because without Starship Troopers, none of those books, movies or TV series we love would exist. ‘strue. Starship Troopers, winner of the 1960 Hugo Award for Best novel, is as good a candidate for the military science fiction ur-text as you’ll find. It’s also a terrific read, in its own right.

Starship Troopers

‘The historians can’t seem to settle whether to call this one ‘The Third Space War’ (or the fourth), or whether ‘The First Interstellar War’ fits it better. We just call it ‘The Bug War’. Everything up to then and still later were ‘incidents’, ‘patrols’ or ‘police actions’. However, you are just as dead if you buy the farm in an ‘incident’ as you are if you buy it in a declared war.’

5,000 years in the future, humanity faces total extermination. Our one defence: highly-trained soldiers who scour the metal-strewn blackness of space to hunt down a terrifying enemy: an insect life-form known only as ‘Bugs.’

This is the story of trooper Johnny Rico, from his idealistic enlistment in the infantry of the future through his rigorous training to the command of his own platoon. And his destiny is a war that will span the galaxy.


Starship Troopers is available as an SF Masterworks hardback. You can find more of Robert A. Heinlein’s work via his Author page on the SF Gateway website, and read about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.