There’s a movie supposedly based on this book. The movie has the same title, but that’s where the similarities end.
The movie is an action adventure story about a bunch of very photogenic co-ed soldiers who land on a rocky world filled with giant bugs. They proceed to get regularly surrounded while trying to battle these creatures with archaic weapons and idiotic tactics that would have made General George Custer proud. The movie is asinine, but I still liked it because it had action, sex, and romance, and sometimes that’s all that’s necessary. Actually, most times. But I’m here to talk about the book.
The book is largely about philosophy and politics. It’s a narrative given by a rich kid named Johnny Rico who volunteers for the Mobile Infantry. The story focuses on the meaning this has for him, and the significance of soldiering in society, and the way this significance filters down to society’s smallest elements while acting as one of its key foundations.
There’s not much action and only a few real characters. Author Robert Heinlein has a lot to say, and he often uses Johnny’s training instructors as his mouthpiece. I don’t mean in a symbolic sense, but in a “soapbox” sense. They lecture Johnny (and the reader) quite a bit.
I’m not even sure why I liked this book, but I did. Maybe it was all the depth and thoughtfulness. I felt like I was immersed in a quality piece of writing.