Re: Starship Troopers

Michael Butler (
Wed, 24 Sep 1997 19:01:30 -0700 (PDT)

On Wed, 24 Sep 1997, Michael Lorrey wrote:
> In the "present day" of the story, its also explained that a "vet" is
> anyone who has been in government service, so its apparently grown to
> the point where its not quite government by bureaucracy.

Nope, but that's what Heinlein thought he had said when asked later (the
"veteran" quote). There is a theory that he was so pissed off by events of
the day (the test ban, among other things) that he banged it out and
shipped it off without a second pass. It is possible he meant to include
what we think of as general "government service" as an option, but it's
not what the book itself says.

The actual text never says bureaucratic work is an option--The
induction MD is a civilian contractor who tells Johnny the options are
"military duty, or a most unreasonable facsimile"--meaning, I take it,
that whatever you're doing to get the vote is still something entailing
significant risk to your life--"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori."

Being a smoke jumper, say. Or a Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer on
*frequent* call. Hazardous duty. With all training being, just like the
MI boot camp, "made as tough as possible, and for a very good reason."