Just finished reading Starship Troopers, another great book by Robert A. Heinlein. I saw the movie a couple of years ago, but the book is very different from the movie, and as expected, a lot better. Like Stranger in a Strange Land, the author toys with a the idea of a new world society, this time one based on citizenship that is gained by doing voluntary army service. An unlike in Stranger in a Strange Land, here the system seems to work because there is a working world federation that has survived for long… So I guess Heinlein thinks that a world based on responsibility for your actions is more possible than a world based on love. I agree with him.
It was good to have read this two books together, to analyze the differences and the similarities. First of all, there almost no women in Starship Troopers, except from an occasional appearance. In Stranger in a Strange Land they are a central part of the story. But in both cases Heinlein shows how he considers women a beautiful thing, how we (men) do so many things because of them, how the interactions between men and women are so special. Completely against the theory that men and women are equal. Secondly, both books show us how we are so dumb that we don’t make the right choices even though they are obviously correct. In Starship Troopers the main character is enrolled by a mutilated man (wheelchair and others), telling him that this can happen to him if he goes to the army, how hard it is, how in can kill you in so many ways. But does this change his mind? Noooo sir, because that won’t happen to him, it will happen to somebody else. How stupid. Stranger in a Strange Land is more subtle, but present all the time in the monologues done by Jubal Harshaw.
All in all a great book, and worth every minute of reading (or listening in the car, as I lately do a lot). You can buy the book from amazon (and from now on I’ll stop saying that his contributes to this and that and that you are helping me and all of that stuff).