Saturday, May 01, 2010

Book Review: Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein


Ace Books, New York, 1987 (1997 edition?), 263 pages


For those of you who may be familiar with the title "Starship Troopers", you probably will instantly think of the film. And if you know anything about the film, you'll likely also instantly think, "What the heck is Spencer doing reading THIS???"

Bear with me; first, the film is vastly different from the book and I'm going to have to ask those who are familiar with the film to completely forget about it for the duration of this review. Second, the only reason I picked this one up is because it is apparently on the reading list of the United States Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. That was something I simply had to check out.

I will tell you this right here and now: I got much more than I expected. This review is going to result in what may be one of my strangest positions on a reviewing subject I've yet taken.

This is Heinlein's most controversial work, often called militaristic, or even fascist. I approached this one with caution, yet interest. If it really was such a great military book, it might have some value to me...but then again, if it's got aliens (or worse?) in it, then perhaps it wouldn't be so great. There was only one way to find out!

Set in the future, the story centers around a young man named Juan Rico and his progression from boy to man in the Terran Mobile Infantry. The novel was short, but much more meaty than most fat books you come across these days. To the dismay of many novel readers no doubt, Heinlein's telling of the story is not chronological, hopping around with flashbacks (although it is written well enough to feel very smooth), and it can't quite called a character story either. Heinlein never sets aside a few pages to tell of Rico's likes or dislikes, his physical attributes, or anything along those lines. However, what I found so amazing was that, by the end of the book, you realize that the author has created a deep, compelling character without even really "creating" a character! Very well done, indeed.

Enlisting unexpectedly--almost accidentally--along with his best friend and a very fair young girl, Rico finds himself placed in what is called the "Mobile Infantry". Apparently it's all he's qualified for, even though it was pretty much his last choice as to the branch of service. From then on until about halfway through the book, it's all about training. Rico and his fellow recruits are put through what could be the world's harshest boot camp. Many do not make it. Many quit (long story short, anyone can resign). Others literally die. But a few, a very select few, make it through. Their biggest hurdle is themselves; Heinlein deals with what is called getting over the "hump" in depth.

Once past his hump, Johnnie Rico eventually takes part in interstellar wars against the "bugs" (spider-like aliens) and even against the "Skinnies" (humanoid aliens). He ends up going to officer school...and if I told you much more, I'd start spoiling some things.

So let's sum up this story here: it's all about the military. Rico comes from a curious, questioning teen to a firm, strong soldier. That's what this book is all about.

The book flashes back and forth frequently, from the vague present (I say vague because everything isn't really time-played as in "this is now" and "this was then") back to when Rico was in high school. As stated before, Heinlein weaves these seamlessly; for instance, we only go back to Rico's high school days in order to examine a point, usually one made by his History and Moral Philosophy teacher, Jean Dubois. Now, a few words about Dubois; you either love or you hate him, it seems to be. One of the book's (arguably THE) most polarizing characters, Dubois is a no-nonsense man who relentlessly hammers his students with what he sees as the facts, and he doesn't care about ruffling some feathers in the process, either. (If I told you more about his character, I'd be spoiling some more things.) It's also quite possible (or probable?) that Dubois is a channel for Heinlein's own views, so what this man says is subject to special reader analysis.

So, do I love him, or hate him? Well, I gotta say, I loved him. Allow me to present some direct quotes for to illustrate why.

P. 92, "...nevertheless the disheveled old mystic of Das Kapital, turgid, tortured, confused and neurotic, unscientific, illogical, this pompous fraud Karl Marx..."

P. 93, "...there is an old song which asserts 'the best things in life are free." Not true! Utterly false!...Nothing of value is free."

Beyond that, Dubois is the hardened military man; I loved that. While I did disagree with him at times (p. 117, "Man has no moral instinct. He is not born with moral sense."--simply not true), can you see why I liked him? (Seriously, anyone who says all that about Marx gets big points with me! And on p. 115 he also endorses spanking children; good for him!)

Another strong character was Camp Currie's Sgt. Zim, a fierce and strong fighter of a man who has the difficult job of whipping kids into order-obeying soldiers. Time is given to this character, and he's a good one.

For a moment, let's examine some more of the military aspects of the book. Heinlein served in the U.S. Navy years prior to WWII; therefore, he never saw actual combat. This fact fits with this book here, not because it portrays combat poorly, but because it is largely about military philosophy and the military overall rather than a book of shoot 'em up scenes. (The book opens with a raid on the home planet of the Skinnies. Besides being a huge grab scene to start a novel off with, the portrayal of a daring attack here was very well done, so we know Heinlein can do it.) I didn't mind this at all; other books portray combat and it's associated horrors and all that. This one didn't need to; it portrayed so many other things that I was refreshed and excited to see in a story. It's actually rather hard to describe, unfortunately, but truly, this is one amazing military work. (Or how about this, on p. 133, ...you don't win a war by defense but by attack...)

One of the huge draws for me was the futuristic aspect of it all. What's more, in no way was it unrealistic. On the contrary, on the one hand I see reality in Heinlein's ideas, and on the other, I see what should be reality. Originally written in 1959, our own military is more similar to the Mobile Infantry than it was back then. With an emphasis on highly-trained soldiers with their own mini arsenals, Heinlein's vision of the MI was one well worth examining. Transported by corvettes (i.e., spaceships) to their destination, they then climb into capsules (hence their nickname "cap troopers") which are then shot out of the ships (the whole process being called a "drop"). These capsules have many layers which eject, etc. as the capsule falls through the atmosphere and onto the planet. These ejected portions--as well as dummy caps--serve to confuse any ground defenders who may be attempting to shoot the troopers out of the sky before they land. Once free, a series of chutes gets the man on the ground. They are suited up in powered armor, replete with thrusters, large and smaller hand flamers, shoulder-mounted rockets, and even their own personal nukes. Each man is connected to his comrades via radio, and by merely biting down he can switch radio channels. How about some radar? Heck, he can even take a drink of water if he wants to! I could go on and on about these suits and all of this stuff, but I need to refrain from going off on a tangent here, don't I? The overall workings of the Terran Mobile Infantry are something our own military should take a look at. (I also liked the concept that only combat veterans can serve as officers.)

I must admit, however, that Heinlein does not approach warfare with moral questions, as in "Is this war just?" or anything along such lines. I also took exception with them raiding a Skinnie city--killing civilians and all just isn't my cup of tea.

Another plus was a conversation (pp. 178-179) that ends up causing Rico to state that to fight a war on behalf of one prisoner, or one soldier left behind, was worth it because you simply do not leave your comrades behind. A strong statement, much easier said than done, but I'm impressed with this and am particularly prone to this way of thinking.

Now let's look at some other issues. First, I'd like to show you yet another quote that made me want to yell "Booyah!" When a recruit bails from Camp Currie and later murders a little girl (the possibility of him being a pedophile is never mentioned), Rico analyzes the situation as such:

P. 112, Well, if there was no way to keep it from happening once, there was only one sure way to keep it from happening twice. Which we had used.

If Dillinger had understood what he was doing (which seemed incredible) then he got what was coming to him...except that it seemed a shame that he hadn't suffered as much as had little Barbara Anne--he practically hadn't suffered at all.

But suppose, as seemed more likely, that he was so crazy that he had never been aware that he was doing anything wrong? What then?

Well, we shoot mad dogs, don't we?

Yes, but being crazy that way is a sickness--

I couldn't see but two possibilities. Either he couldn't be made well--in which case he was better dead for his own sake and for the safety of others--or he could be treated and made sane. In which case (it seemed to me) if he ever became sane enough for civilized society . . . and thought over what he had done while he was "sick"--what could be left for him but suicide? How could he
live with himself?

And suppose he escaped before he was cured and did the same thing again? And maybe
again? How do you explain that to bereaved parents? In view of his record?

I couldn't see but one answer.


To borrow a quote from the film (yes, I know, and I'm sorry) "Kill 'em! Kill 'em all!"

The religion of the book? Little, other than mentions of a padre who any religious cap trooper might see before a drop (including followers of Islam). The Skinnies apparently have some form of a religion as well.

If you saw the film, something that may have struck you is the large amount of women in the ranks. While Heinlein in no way has a Biblical opinion on this topic, he has a far more appropriate view. While women can enlist, for the most part they serve in non-combat roles. Moreover, the male and female portions of the ships are strictly segregated, and when the officers dine together, all the men must seat the lady next to them. Also of interest is this opinion here:

P. 204, Besides the obvious fact that drop & retrieval require the best pilots (i.e., female), there is very strong reason why female Naval officers are assigned to transports: It is good for trooper morale....In a mixed ship, the last thing a trooper hears before a drop (maybe the last word he ever hears) is a woman's voice, wishing him luck. If you don't think this is important, you've probably resigned from the human race.

While Heinlein may not be illustrating the structure of a pontential Christian military, he certainly has a grasp on some truths that far too many people of our day have long forgotten.

No sex whatever is to be found in the book (besides one light mention of a dubious story where some soldiers claimed to have been able to use prostitutes). The only other associated references are a few respectful portions, such as where the starved soldiers absolutely love being near, or even seeing, a fine girl. Oh, wait, there is a kiss, actually....

To be honest, I've heard a lot about Heinlein's sometimes distasteful sexuality in his books, but as this is the only one of his works I have read I cannot and will not attest to anything other than what I myself have read. This book was perfectly clean, and that is all I can say on the matter.

Later on in officer school Rico would encounter a Major Reid, another important character, albeit a little less than Dubois, who may be a voice for Heinlein, also has an interesting point, while from an Evolutionist perspective, on population control:

P. 185, "Check of proof: Is it possible to abolish war by relieving population pressure (and thus do away with the all-too evident evils of war) through constructing a moral code under which population is limited to resources?

Without debating the usefulness or morality of planned parenthood, it may be verified by observation that any breed which stops its own increase gets crowded out by breeds which expand. Some human populations did so, in Terran history, and other breeds moved in and engulfed them."


And while on the topic of Evolution, Heinlein does speak of Evolution and he does believe the idea it would appear (in one part of the book, a colonized planet with little radiation results in a lack of human Evolution).

That same quote may bring up another oft-argued concept: that Robert Heinlein was a racist. Proponents of this theory take this book's usage of the words "bugs" and "Skinnies" as derogatory racial slurs. I do not concur. In a war, are you really going to say "Let's wipe out the Respectable Arachnid Residents of Klendathu!" Er, no.... Heinlein does not appear to be a racist in my opinion, judging from this book only. The Terran Federation is filled with people of every race imaginable, and none of them are spoken of in a negative manner whatsoever. What's the big deal?

Another big controversy claims that this is a fascist book betraying Heinlein's fascist ideas. I cannot concur on this opinion either. While fascist is technically a rather fuzzy word (attempting to define the word as synonymous with "Nazi" is a poor choice), and while I certainly do not approve of much of the political structure of the Terran Federation (I don't want a Federation, I don't want a massive government, etc.), I simply can't buy the idea that Starship Troopers is a fascist story. The director of the sham-film, Paul Verhoeven, would vehemently argue this point, but then again he himself admitted to not having read more than two chapters, didn't he? Again, what's the big deal?

Though to be fair, I have to admit I dislike the idea of only veterans being able to vote. Major Reid's take on why only veterans can vote:

P. 182, "Under our system every voter and officeholder is a man who has demonstrated through voluntary and difficult service that he places the welfare of the group ahead of personal advantage. And that is the one practical difference."

p.183, "To permit irresponsible authority is to sow disaster; to hold a man responsible for anything he does not control is to behave with blind idiocy."

A few other questionable concepts were the use of hypnosis to teach, train or even to create a code word that, when used by another, can cause someone to involuntarily fall asleep, genetically-altered "neodogs" partnered with a human (and also capable of speech), and a kind of specialist who can discover the bug's holes from above ground (Rico wonders if he simply has good hearing).

And now, I must bring forth for discussion my biggest and main issue with the novel: aliens. The "bugs" are mentioned just once, if I remember correctly, for the entire first half of the book. The Skinnies appear in the beginning and that is pretty much it for some time. Later, however, the bugs take a more prominent role.

I'm certainly not interested in aliens in my stories, to be sure. From a literary standpoint, though, there is seemingly something to be said for inhuman foes, but how to implement them on this grand of a scale and remain plausible and Biblical at the same time must be quite a task (never tried it).

From a biological standpoint, I did have some difficulties with the bugs. We are told that they are spider-like, with eight legs and a carapace. The structure of their societies is reminiscent of Hymenopteran insects; a warrior, worker, and royal caste (a brain caste also is present). They live in underground tunnels and chambers just like ants, but they also use machinery, spacecraft, and the warriors carry beam weapons. I found this rather hard to accept (for once, the film has a possibly better idea, although I'm inclined to say that perhaps the show Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles had the best portrayal of the bugs), but in the end it isn't of much consequence to me as I don't buy the concept of extraterrestrials period.

They certainly did not look like the bugs in the film version. These artistic representations are a bit closer, here and here. They also reminded me of the television show's jungle spiders, larger than the ones seen at here 6:10 and on, yet smaller than the one seen
here at 6:27 and on. Or, just check out this old cover art. That'll do.

I didn't really feel that this was an "alien" book though, to be honest. It seemed to me to be just that way Heinlein inserted an enemy figure in the story. While everyone here should know of my opinion on alien life forms, I'm not going to delve deeply into that here.

So let me just say this. I deal in absolutes. I find aliens to be grossly unacceptable from a Biblical standpoint, therefore, any form of fiction containing them is going to get an official negative marking from me.

However.... (Yes, there's a "however")

Heinlein's book has immense value. It's a tale of the warrior, it's a tale of manhood. It's a story about duty, honor, courage, valor, discipline, and all those great things that each man must find within himself in order to be called such. I listed a lot of my likes above; I need not list them again here. For a man, this is one good book to read. I might just make my sons read it some day.

Told you this was going to be a strange review.

Spencer

15 comments:

olde.fashioned said...

So is this a book that shows the "inner workings of a man's mind" would you say? Is it strictly a guy book, or, would your sister loathe it if she attempted to blitz through it in a day or two? ;-P

Fantabulous review btw. But then I'm sure you already knew that!

It's interesting how you mentioned making your sons read this book. I'm going to make all of my kids read Robinson Crusoe. ;-D

duva said...

Hmm... interesting, hadn't ever heard of this book before. First off a purely literal point:

"To the dismay of many novel readers no doubt, Heinlein's telling of the story is not chronological, hopping around with flashbacks"

Why would that cause any kind of dismay? Most interesting books I've read have a broken chronology I have to say. I find it harder to get interested in the straightforward ones ;)

But now on to morality and such...

" P. 93, "...there is an old song which asserts 'the best things in life are free." Not true! Utterly false!...Nothing of value is free." "

Without going too philosophical, how do you mean that? What is the prize of love or charity for example?

"And on p. 115 he also endorses spanking children; good for him!"

Do YOU endorse spanking children?

As for the fascism of it, I think the quote from p.112 was a prime example of that, especially "Well, we shoot mad dogs, don't we?". Comparing human beings, however mentally disturbed, with mad dogs is wrong on so many levels. But more importantly, in stating that certain people, certain "mad dogs" can be killed like that, one also has to ponder how to define the "mad dog", and who gets to do it. So a pedophile is a "mad dog", what about other norm-breakers? Rapists, burglars? Should they be shot down too? What about Communists, or homosexuals, or Muslims, potentially subversive, are they? Also the whole idea of killing handicapped people to spare them from their own "suffering" is really quite disturbing...

Just some thoughts.

The Warrior said...

OF: Yes, I'd classify this as a "strictly guy book". I don't think it'd have much for a woman, to be blunt and without trying to sound chauvinistic.

duva: Told ya it was controversial. ;-P

Without going too philosophical, how do you mean that? What is the prize of love or charity for example?

Well, I guess as Heinlein said that, and not me, you'd have to ask him exactly what he meant by it. :-)

Do YOU endorse spanking children?

Yes. When used as a proper form of punishment, it is an option, rather a necessity (Proverbs 13:24).

As for the fascism of it, I think the quote from p.112 was a prime example of that, especially "Well, we shoot mad dogs, don't we?". Comparing human beings, however mentally disturbed, with mad dogs is wrong on so many levels.

I understand your point; perhaps try to think of it in terms of the overall gruffness of the novel? Kinda hard to do unless you've actually read it I suppose.... All humans are exactly that, you are correct. I don't believe in dehumanization...but in the case of pedophiles and such, I must admit they appear to be more animal than human.

But more importantly, in stating that certain people, certain "mad dogs" can be killed like that, one also has to ponder how to define the "mad dog", and who gets to do it. So a pedophile is a "mad dog", what about other norm-breakers? Rapists, burglars? Should they be shot down too? What about Communists, or homosexuals, or Muslims, potentially subversive, are they?

Naturally; a valid concern. I liked this book's treatment of child killers (or pedophiles): get rid of them. But I also am always concerned with who defines who's bad or not; I feel with your concerns along with you on this matter. I would turn to Biblical law myself...I think that's the only safe way to conduct things. Otherwise...well, I did say in my review that I didn't want that big of a government, didn't I? (A massive, multi-planet Federation? God help us!)

Also the whole idea of killing handicapped people to spare them from their own "suffering" is really quite disturbing...

Of course it is, but I didn't take this quote to mean that.

Thanks for your considerations and discussion; this book is "on the edge", so to speak, and deserves deep analysis. Thank you for going further with me!

Spencer

olde.fashioned said...

Duva: I agree with you that flashbacks in stories are often highly interesting, but I've seen them used improperly and rather with the result of confusing and even boring the reader instead of informing them. Flashbacks should be used sparingly and only when absolutely necessary IMO, not as some artsy plot device in an effort to look all clever and whatnot. ;-P (I think a good rule is to have the flashback "triggered" by something in the present. Id est, a passing reference made by one character to another about playgrounds can send the reader off into a flashback, and so forth.)

Without going too philosophical, how do you mean that? What is the prize of love or charity for example?

Obviously I have no idea of knowing what Heinlein originally intended, but I think I have an idea of what he meant by "nothing [...] is free."

You mention love and charity -- love by definition is a selfless act on the part of the lover (forgive my use of that word, lol). Not to imply they never "get anything out" of loving (being loved back, e.g.), but love in the truest form can exist even without reciprocation. Love therefore comes at a usually great cost to the lover, even while free to the loved. Does that make sense?

I think charity is obviously something given freely of one's own volition for the benefit of a (usually disadvantaged) other party. Naturally giving "costs" the giver something... ;-P

Re: spanking: "Spare the rod and spoil the child." If God endorses spanking, who are we to judge? ;-)

Gravelbelly said...

Interesting review. Thanks.

Although Heinlein's values-in-general benefit from a lot of Christian influence, some of his other works show that he is suspicious of Christianity & favors a Masonic-type approach to religion as an alternative.

As to the concern about the execution of the pedophile, military discipline in the field must be swift & sure to prevent soldiers from abusing their power. The Germans were actually better at this during WWII than the Americans. American war movies to the contrary notwithstanding, the French hid their valuables & their daughters from the Americans who lacked discipline, while the old guard Prussian officers would not brook any abuses by the rank & file.

The Warrior said...

Although Heinlein's values-in-general benefit from a lot of Christian influence, some of his other works show that he is suspicious of Christianity & favors a Masonic-type approach to religion as an alternative.

Hmm...I can see that fitting with his overall philosophy, myself.

As to the concern about the execution of the pedophile, military discipline in the field must be swift & sure to prevent soldiers from abusing their power.

Indeed, you are correct. (But as to the story, it was when he was in boot camp. He went AWOL--which is actually something of a non-crime here--and was captured by police. The commander of Camp Currie asked for him back to convey to his men that, no matter what, once your M.I., you don't leave ANY of your own behind and even if one of them is a mess, it's the M.I. that cleans it up.)

Thanks, all, for participating!

Spencer

Nuttycomputer said...

I read this book about 2 months back and I couldn't disagree more about it being primarily a military piece. In reality it is a political piece and in some ways a satire.

Without giving too much away for those that read it, it comes pretty close on the how and when in it's prediction of the fall of the American Republic system. I can only hope maybe more read this book and rethink their current actions.

As for conscription being required to be allowed to vote or serve office I can not say I necessarily approve 100% but there is some obvious sense in it, especially given the history these people experienced. They saw their governments collapse at the beginning of the 21st century overburdened by political individuals who would not make hard choices despite them knowing the dangers. On the flip side they saw uninformed and privileged voters, those who have never seen true evil, letting the politicians get away with it.

In this respect giving the power of protecting liberty to those who had risked their life as true public servants makes a great deal of sense. These would also be individuals who would not go into war easily or give preferential treatment to others. Everyone is a soldier on the battlefield. Rank, Color, Gender, have little meaning in a bunker under fire.

"As for the fascism of it, I think the quote from p.112 was a prime example of that, especially "Well, we shoot mad dogs, don't we?". Comparing human beings, however mentally disturbed, with mad dogs is wrong on so many levels."

Why? Now I don't mean to de-humanize but are there not truly evil or mad people out there? I think we can easily say yes. If so do we murder them or lock them up forever? If the latter how is this different? We lock mad animals up as well until there is no room. Doing the same to humans, instead of murdering them, may be more palatable to the conscious but in reality it's no better/worse IF NO treatment exists to cure them.

You must also realize in Heinlein's future crime is extraordinarily rare as a result of small government, little interference from it, and the public display of what we would consider cruel and unusual punishment.

"While a judge should be benevolent in purpose, his awards should cause the criminal to suffer, else there is no punishment--and pain is the basic mechanism built into us by millions of years of evolution which safeguards us by warning when something threatens our survival. Why should society refuse to use such a highly perfected survival mechanism? . . . .

As for 'unusual,' punishment must be unusual or it serves no purpose."


So for an individual to commit the crimes that would constitute eternal prisonment or death in this future it is easy to see they must be mentally disturbed leading to two possible outcomes. Death at the hand of society or death at his own hand.

The Warrior said...

Hey, man. Thanks for reading this! I kinda need some help with my late entrance into sci-fi, so I appreciate the input from a veteran of the genre. ;-P

I understand your points about voting, and yes, it makes perfect sense...I just prefer the American system. :-) I like your points on the "mad dog" issue, of course....

Ever see the film?

So how've you been? All is well?

Hey...I was wondering, do you like Battlestar Galactica? I've been watching the newer series....

Spencer

Andrew said...

Interesting, I wouldn't have expected so much depth from a sci-fi novel called "Starship Troopers".

Nuttycomputer said...

I actually have not seen the film and don't care to either. I heard it was pretty much nothing like the book. I'm sure this is likely because they focused on the action side of it (of which there is little) instead of the political message.

Welcome to the sci-fi genre though if you enjoyed this book don't expect too much from the rest of them as most are not political satire such as this.

As for our voting system if we repealed Amendment 17 and had Senators voted as part of the legislature body and maybe define term limits as well it could clear up a lot of the mess we see with it.

I would also really like if they stopped doing those "Go Vote" commercials. Now it's covered under free speech obviously so I won't call for the banning of it. However if your going to vote I hope you pay attention enough to at a minimum know when and how to vote. If you don't know at least that much maybe it's your civic duty not to vote?

As for my points on capital punishment I will say this much. I would prefer not to have capital punishment. After all some individuals did some things that benefited humanity, even after behind bars. That said however our prisons are overpopulated because we want to have our cake and eat it to. We want to have people locked up, sometimes for life, that didn't hurt or trample upon the rights of anyone else but whose actions don't fit our moral framework (marijuana users, prostitutes, those who own firearms, etc.) - AND - we want to turn around and give the same punishment to people who willingly robbed individuals of their life.

Our prison system can't support both. So if you just want them jailed up for life - feeding off the system - let's let the people whose crimes had no victims go. After all - what incentive does punishment have when the punishment of getting caught 3 times (3 strikes laws) doing a drug less toxic then tobacco, beer, caffeine, and water is the same or greater than that of someone who molests a kid.

Johann said...

"Beware of strong drink; it can make you shoot at tax collectors...and miss." -Robert Heinlein

The Warrior said...

Nuttycomputer: Term limits. Indeed!

As to capital punishment, I'm all for it...but I do see your point. People like Martha Stewart see jail time, and our pedophiles are still breathing? Let's clear up the prisons by offing child molesters and rapists.

Johann: LOL!

Christopher said...

"except that it seemed a shame that he hadn't suffered as much as had little Barbara Anne"

So it was a slow death, the possibility is indeed mentioned. :P

Heinlein is an extraordinarily good sci fi writer, he's on my list of "must reads" and I've only read a few books by him. Disliked an ending in one of them so I stopped reading.

In regards to the futuristic part, we're actually not that far off. You've of course read up on the future warrior concept? With that gun I can't recall the name of.. Shoots 20/25cm (again, brain has died on me) explosives with and underslung mg. The idea of power armor is increasing, etc. Small, highly powerful squads is now replacing the idea of mass amounts of troops. Which is brilliant, we'll see some decent speed increase in the development of weapons. No personal nukes, but you know, that's slightly ahead of our time..

This may seem strange, but why do you uppercase the word "Evolution"? It's a valid scientific principle, if you don't turn it into a religion. So do you use the word as a religion "we all came from ameoba out of no-where" or science "things change, mutate, within their own forms". Well known facts, plants/bugs can adapt to an area. They become weak in another, but that's how it works.

In regards to the voting system of Heinlein's, that was one part of the book I liked very much. Giving a complete idiot control over me is something I strongly dislike. I'm almost an anarchist except without the government we'd all be dead.

So restricting votes to people who've proven themselves is a brilliant idea. The system itself may be exploitable so proven themselves may mean slipped through the cracks. Or proven themself in a flawed system, but it's still more checks than people get today.

The idea of controlled hypnosis is nothing new. I dislike the state, since it means complete openess to anything and everything. But hardcoding a word into a trained killer that makes them fall asleep is a very good idea. :P We build failsafes into every other destructive form. Emergency shutdowns, safety on a gun, pin on a grenade.

The specialist.. 'shrugs' We're working on altering the genetic code. Which if they do it right, means heightened senses is nothing strange.

Aliens.. Yea, that one I get. Even if the bugs are just insects, it's still odd.

I'll read a story with them, just keeping in mind they're not possible with my understanding of the Bible. Which is extraordinarily flawed just because I'm human, then because it's me, but you know, we do our best to understand.

The "mankind spread across the stars" works better as an idea for a concept than aliens.

Christopher said...

@duva

This may sound pretty bad, but there's several people whom If I ever met I'd like to kill. Slowly.

Rapists, pedophiles, etc. These people cause so much suffering. The leftovers are twisted beyond normality and struggle to function.

Comparing humans to dogs may seem wrong, but humans are so much more vicious and cruel than any animal ever will. And if a government ever lets it's citezens vote on torture for some crimes, mine will always be yes. If I was in America I could rape and torture my way across all states, and then when arrested, there would be people baying for my freedom. For my rights.

So rapists and pedophiles yes, kill them.

Handicapped..
"except that it seemed a shame that he hadn't suffered as much as had little Barbara Anne"

There's a case I found recently on Google, quite by accident really.

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-61259604.html

People like that are just.. 'shrugs'

Thou Shalt Not Kill. But daaaaamn. Some people..

Yes, in this case, the person was an extremely high danger to others. Read the passage in the article here (not the link I gave, if it's confusing), a logical reason of why the person should be killed was put forward.
We have two choices for mentally handi-capped people, imprison them for life or give them an injection where they'll go to sleep and never wake up. In this case, killing them is less cruel. Which I'd argue against, but you should know my view by now.

Off/on topic: The death penalty for child rape has been lifted in most US states. We lift penalties, and lift penalties, and end up anarchists. Lawless. I like my way better.

Note, mentally handi-capped in the book is used like most court cases, the person really isn't. If a person made it into the army, they're sane. In this case, I'd say it's much like being drunk. People know exactly what they're doing, they make choices. Live with them. Don't make excuses for anything you do.


Heh, I am so banned from this blog. :P

The Warrior said...

Edit: In my first comment, I stated "When used as a proper form of punishment, it is an option, rather a necessity (Proverbs 13:24)."

I must say that I meant to render it "...it is a necessity, rather than an option." Forgive the error!

Spencer