Top: Starship Troopers (SST), the novel.
I just finished reading Starship Troopers
(SST), the novel and what a great book it is. SST was a groundbreaking novel in its time and is arguably the first book to describe many sci-fi memes
including power armor
and insectile aliens. But beyond the entertaining science fiction
story is much of what really earned Robert A. Heinlein
his name: a very intriguing discussion of current social conditions and how future societies may deal with them, which is at the heart of sci-fi
as literature. It's where Isaac Asimov
made much of his name as well. Reading SST, the novel, really can inspire one to consider current questions of nationality, citizenship, civic virtue, education, military organization, and many others. And SST certainly wasn't the first novel in which Heinlein
examined American society
... many of his other novels question education, social values, and many other cornerstones of societies around the world. In fact, much of the writing reminds me of the philosophical writings of Edmund Burke
Here are some ideas that SST examines through the guise of science fiction
:- The basis on which a successful State establishes citizenship.- What is civic virtue and how should it be instilled in succeeding generations.- How should successful military leadership function.- What the ratio between teeth (the fighting edge of an army) to tail (logistics) in a successful military should ideally be.- How to inspire the fighting man.- One way how to solve the natural rivalries that often exist between different branches of a military.
It's amazing just how much SST, the novel, has inspired in the way of pop culture
Link to the Wiki article for the book here:
Link for Edmund Burke here:
TOP: The first SST film was relatively well received. TOP: The second SST film was widely panned.
SST has spawned two films and a third is coming out. I recommend enjoying the first for entertainment value although with the knowledge that the underpinnings of the novel and film are like night and day. The film is more about fascism and a negative critique of existing democracies at heart with the central message of destroying them while the novel was much more about a critique of Western-style democracy with an idea of reclaiming what is good about democracies. The second film was universally panned and very few have had anything good to say about it. I found it rather mediocre although I enjoyed it with the caveat that I'm a dedicated sci-fi fan.
Wiki link to the first SST film here:
Wiki link to the second SST film here:
TOP: This SST cartoon series later inspired a miniatures game.
The first SST film inspired the above Roughnecks animated series, which did fairly well and went on to later inspire a miniatures game. The animated series was definitely made with a younger audience in mind and avoids blood, gore, and death, which more or less emasculates the novel. While the computer animation is stunning, don't expect much from the storyline. And if you decide you want to buy a copy of the series, go for the multi-DVD compilation set rather than trying to collect each plot arc individually.
Wiki link to the animated Roughnecks adaptation of SST here:
TOP: The original 1976 SST wargame was and is quite popular. TOP: The 2005 Mongoose Publishing SST game never picked up in my area.
The classic Avalon Hills 1976 SST game is a classic and still fun to play. It can be picked up relatively cheaply on the secondary market although I've seeen it fetch relatively high prices on the secondary market. The newer 2005 28mm SST minis game from Mongoose Publishing never really picked up in my area and the latest 2007 SST Evolution game hasn't either. I've played both games and had a small part in playtesting the Evolution rule set and I like them, but I prefer sci-fi skirmish gaming above the company / small squad level so apart from enjoying the odd game at gaming conventions, I haven't extensively played the game. There's a relatively small group in the Bay Area that plays it, but I almost never see it local to Sacto anymore. And if you prefer the novel to the film, you're better off with the classic 1976 SST game from Avalon Hills, which IS based on the novel, rather the Mongoose game, which is based on the animated series.
Link to the SST minis game here:
I certainly haven't done more than touch upon the many pop culture
forms that SST has taken... It's also appeared as a graphic novel, in several Japanese anime
series, and elsewhere, but I endeavored in this post to cover a rough selection of what's out there that may be on interest from a gamer's perspective.
Keep on gaming!
Have a great Friday!
Notes regarding photos / pictures / videos: These are not all my images and videos. I am using various images and videos from around the web, mostly from public sources and/or private sources used with permission. I have tried to include only images and videos under public domain, creative commons, or fair use. If I have inadvertently violated any copyrights, please inform me and I will remove your image/s (if it is indeed an infringement).
Labels: 28mm, Animation, Miniatures, Mongoose Publishing, Novels, Robert Heinlein, Sci-fi, Starship Troopers