Response To Heinlein's Starship Troopers
I have always like Sci-Fi. I don't know why I did originally, it was just something my mother got out of the library, and I would read it, having no other choice of something to read. As I got older though, I grew pickier about my sci-fi. I grew away from Space Westerns, and started liking more "speculative fiction." Of course that didn't mean that I didn't still enjoy Space Westerns, just that I thought of them more as fluff. That's why I enjoy Starship Troopers so much. Not only is it such a good piece of speculative fiction, specifically with its all volunteer army, power suits, and a voting populace completely consisting of veterans, but it also has a number of scenes that make my inner fan boy squeal with delight. The first scene about destroying property on the Skinny planet makes for a great read about a "bad ass marine." More importantly to our class, was the scene at the end of the Skinny planet on pages 17-20. While the mobile infantry are taking care of their own, up in the sky, a woman pilot makes extremely difficult computations on the fly and manages to save their retrieval boat, even though it launched late.
Situations like this show Heinlein's respect for women in the context of a world that draws on the 1950s. Women make the best pilots, Heinlein says. They have better reflexes and are able to make the snap decisions that lead to becoming good pilots. Women have a very important role in the novel. The Mobile Infantry would be nothing without the ships that brought them to their combats, and this is alluded to throughout the novel. The navy, and the women, are working constantly on the ship, bringing Mobile Infantry men to their battles, where they fight for only the slightest amount of time, at least in comparison with the amount of time they spend on the ship. There is the argument that the women pilots do not fight, which is essential in a male dominated society to gain respect, but every scene with a female captain involves the mobile infantry paying her the utmost respect. The Navy also seems to do more than the Army. While it almost falls under the radar, the story tells about how the Navy takes out far more bugs than the Army with their planet smashing guns. In fact, the Mobile Infantry seems almost redundant with the weaponry that Heinlein says the Navy has. The ability to rip a planet into pieces is far more powerful than the specialized surgical strikes that the men of the Mobile Infantry have. Also, the job is almost as dangerous for the women pilots, as seen when two ships crash and kill all women Navy crew members. So in conclusion, even though women can be seen as "bus drivers", which is a relic of the 1950s time period, they are exalted bus drivers, ones that command most of the power. In his own way, Heinlein gives women more power to women than men.