Re: Starship Troopers

Michael Butler (
Thu, 25 Sep 1997 17:56:01 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 25 Sep 1997, Michael Lorrey wrote:

> > The actual text never says bureaucratic work is an option--The

> > *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."

> I recall that the main character's high school buddy who signed up with
> him went off to a secret research lab on Pluto. I wouldn't call most
> labwork hazardous duty, would you? Yet he was in the "military"

You have a very good point there. I think this is something--that the
analysis mentioned by someone on this thread recently *does* miss that
point--and I'll try to communicate that to the essayist.

Then again, doing research on Pluto might be considered to be roughly
equivalent to doing stuff at the North Pole. Hardly a walk in the park, at
least in the terms Heinlein wrote of the Pluto of his day (cf. _Have
Spacesuit, Will Travel_: cold, dark, Spartan, *cold*).

Also, though this is weak, it is worth considering that the job might
be crummy enough compared to working in industry (pay) or academia
(secret; no publishing == "perishing") that it is indeed hardship for
those reasons too. Consider NSA mathematicians.

As for physical hardship: living on/around Pluto for a two-year tour of
duty could be a real drag.

Now it may well be that with all the in-space experience we've logged that
seems to show that *overheating* in your suit is more of a problem than
*freexing to death*, *possibly* things on Pluto are not as dire as
he painted them; Venus is short on swamps and sapient amphibian life, too.

But you're still breathing your own socks, with no Sun (just a bright
spark in the eternal night sky), no parks, no pets (probably), and no or
few vacations. I'd guess that Heinlein envisioned it as akin to living in
a nuclear sub--that takes a special kind of person.

But as I say, you have made a strong point, directly related to the
text, which makes it better than Heinlein's "...veteran firefighter or
veteran schoolteacher..."

Thank you.


There's a fnord in your fnuture.