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[ Books ] Matter (Iain M Banks), Starship Troopers (R Heinlein) - Echoes of Flavio's Ghost Dreaming — LiveJournal
[ Books ] Matter (Iain M Banks), Starship Troopers (R Heinlein)
In trying to avoid reading 'Infinite Jest' by David Foster Walace, which is the book marked for discussion on the next bibliogoth meeting -book which I'm finding extremely tiresome to read, I have been reading or re-reading a few other books, including a couple of the Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch, the whole Merchant Prince series by Charlie Stross, re-reading 'Matter' by Iain M Banks, which was the first Culture book I read and finding that I had missed so much detail and reference the first time round, and also now 'Starship Troopers' by Heinlein. Have enjoyed all of these in different ways; Aaronovitch books present bits of London that are part of my life in a different light; the Stross series is yet another Parallel Worlds story but a very well told one -and although it is a bit late it is nice to see G W Bush and Cheney dispatched like that, at least in prose. 'Troopers' is a slightly different case. I'm enjoying reading it but I can see I wouldn't be able to see eye to eye with Mr Heinlein on practically any social or political issue, I find him profoundly reactionary, the society he depicts borderline fascist. It is a good read, though.

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hairyears From: hairyears Date: November 29th, 2015 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Starship Troopers was written, quite deliberately, as a militarist dystopia...

Perhaps too well.

I generally give Heinlein a pass on this: he was ahead of his time on attitudes to women, gender and sexuality; and he *tried* to be progressive in his attitudes to race, despite the unexamined racism that is often just below the surface.

In short, he is a white and middle-class American who grew up immersed in the founding fathers and frontiersman myths - and the prejudices - of his society.

He recognised that a better society was possible and wrote toward that end; sometimes successfully, even to the modern reader; and sometimes not.

Also: 'well ahead of his time' meant he wrote at the forefront of whatever he could publish and actually sell. By the time that he could write as he pleased, into a liberal society with a large and open-mindedly progressive readership, he was past the peak of his abilities as a writer.
flavius_m From: flavius_m Date: November 30th, 2015 11:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Interesting . Maybe I'll have to look a little more into this. I relayed my impression from reading the book. Since then I've seen many contradictory opinions about Heinlein's stances on those matters.

Interesting counter-point between reading that and watching the Amazon adaptation of 'The Man in the High Castle' by PKD, which I thought was very good... until the last scene, which I found quite disappointing, or my first reading of it was. Don't remember that much about the book so will have to read that again.
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