Follow TV Tropes

Following

History Literature / StarshipTroopers

Go To



* AnAesop: while by no means the focus of the story, the aesop that women can be integrated into the military without major problems, and in fact, even have some positive effects on it once in place is present.

Added DiffLines:

* AnAesop: while by no means the focus of the story, the aesop that women can be integrated into the military without major problems, and in fact, even have some positive effects on it once in place is present.

Added DiffLines:

** Later in the war, the Federation develops Nova Bombs said to be able to [[EarthShatteringKaboom crack open a planet]], allowing the Federation to just wipe out bug planets they don't plan to take for themselves. Klendathu is however excluded by the list, as they know there could be prisoners of war there and the Federation isn't going to kill their own soldiers like that.

Added DiffLines:

* PublicExecution: The deserter is hanged in front of the other troopers to show them that Mobile Infantry ''always'' takes care of the troopers-even if they have to execute them.


* NuclearOption: Among their other armaments, the Mobile Infantry can be supplied with mini-nuke rockets. They're drilled extensively to "get their money's worth" out of them, and taken seriously enough that Johnnie is flogged in boot camp for using eye-ball reckoning (rather than computer targeting) with a ''simulated'' one and getting one of his troopers caught in the simulated blast radius.

to:

* NuclearOption: Among their other armaments, the Mobile Infantry can be supplied with mini-nuke 2 kiloton rockets. They're drilled extensively to "get their money's worth" out of them, and taken seriously enough that Johnnie is flogged in boot camp for using eye-ball reckoning (rather than computer targeting) with a ''simulated'' one and getting one of his troopers caught in the simulated blast radius.radius.
** During the opening battle, Rico is issued two with orders to expend all the ammunition he has, but he comes ''very'' close to disobey his orders because he just can't find two targets worth of being nuked, only the one starship in the local spaceport, and is quite happy when he identifies a large water reclaiming facility, whose destruction would force the Skinnies to abandon the now unlivable city.


* PoliticallyMotivatedTeacher: A [[JustifiedTrope justified]] example. The History and Moral Philosophy class exists to implant pro-military beliefs, so the teachers naturally push these political and philosophical values on their students. Every student is required to ''take'' the class, but passing or failing is irrelevant.

to:

* PoliticallyMotivatedTeacher: A [[JustifiedTrope justified]] example. The History and Moral Philosophy class exists to implant pro-military beliefs, help students see the rationale behind their system of government and instill the values embraced thereby (e.g., value of service to society as a whole, balancing rights with responsibility for one's actions and decisions, etc.) so the teachers naturally push these political and philosophical values on their students. Every student is required to ''take'' the class, but passing or failing is irrelevant.irrelevant, and Rico's teacher did not seem to expect much of his teaching to actually sink in to his young pupils.


* InterserviceRivalry: There's a certain amount of this between the Mobile Infantry and the Navy, as Rico observes on one of his ships. The level of rivalry generally varies from hostile to friendly (after her AcePilot moment above, Captain Deladrier is feted and made an honorary Roughneck). As a general rule, it doesn't get ''too'' unfriendly, since there are a lot of cute girls in the Navy, which Rico suspects was a deliberate choice by Navy higherups. Also, in order to have a shot at Sky Marshall, a prospective candidate must have held major commands in the MI and Navy.

to:

* InterserviceRivalry: There's a certain amount of this between the Mobile Infantry and the Navy, as Rico observes on one of his ships. The level of rivalry generally varies from hostile to friendly (after her AcePilot moment above, Captain Deladrier is feted and made an honorary Roughneck). As a general rule, it doesn't get ''too'' unfriendly, since there are a lot of cute girls in the Navy, which Rico suspects was a deliberate choice by Navy higherups. Also, in order to have a shot at Sky Marshall, Marshal, a prospective candidate must have held major commands hold flag rank in ''both'' the MI and Navy.the Navy -- which is saying something in the case of the MI, because OCS only accepts people who have gone through Basic Training and survived boots-on-the-ground combat. (Given the political tone of the Federation, it seems safe to assume that the Navy has similarly stringent standards, but Heinlein never explicates on the matter.)



* NoEnding: [[spoiler:Rico graduates from OCS after his second try, and takes command of the Roughnecks.]] Where he goes from there, to say nothing of the outcome of the war, are left to the imagination of the reader.

to:

* NoEnding: [[spoiler:Rico graduates from OCS after his second try, and takes command of the Roughnecks.]] Where he goes from there, to say nothing of the outcome of the war, are left to the imagination of the reader.



* ARealManIsAKiller: Heinlein states through his AuthorAvatar that killing is human, and specifically male, nature, so the best thing a man can do is channel his natural blood lust into defending his family/nation/race.

to:

* ARealManIsAKiller: Heinlein states through his AuthorAvatar that killing is human, and specifically male, nature, so the best thing a man can do is channel his natural blood lust bloodlust into defending his family/nation/race.



* SelectiveObliviousness: Johnnie is able repeatedly to read the signs when the M.I. is grooming another cap trooper for advancement. He never seems to realize they're grooming ''him'' as well. When injured in boot camp, he spends his time as a company orderly, letting him see the military from the higher-up's point of view. Later, he is flogged for his negligence in a training exercise, something the M.I. is ''very'' rarely willing to do, as it would be easier to just kick him out, and when in the Roughnecks, in order to keep the squads together, Rico is moved to a leadership position over the heads of men senior to him. Ace all but has to whack him in the head and tell him "The Army wants you to be an officer, dumbass!" while the two are on shore leave, and Jelly has his reenlistment paperwork filled out and waiting for his signature.

to:

* SelectiveObliviousness: Johnnie is able repeatedly to read the signs when the M.I. is grooming another cap trooper for advancement. He never seems to realize they're grooming ''him'' as well. When injured in boot camp, he spends his time as a company orderly, letting him see the military from the higher-up's point of view. Later, he is flogged for his negligence in a training exercise, something the M.I. is ''very'' rarely willing to do, as it would be easier to just kick him out, out; and when in the Roughnecks, in order to keep the squads together, Rico is moved to a leadership position over the heads of men senior to him. Ace all but has to whack him in the head and tell him "The Army wants you to be an officer, dumbass!" while the two are on shore leave, and Jelly has his reenlistment paperwork filled out and waiting for his signature.


* MeaningfulName: Juan ''Johnnie" Rico, Johnnie Rich. He's a SpoiledSweet rich kid before joining the marines.

to:

* MeaningfulName: Juan ''Johnnie" Rico, Johnnie Rich. He's a SpoiledSweet pampered rich kid before joining the marines.


* InsectoidAliens

to:

* InsectoidAliensInsectoidAliens: The aptly-named Bugs. Exoskeleton, too many legs, tendency to invoke various phobias, HiveMind, WeHaveReserves, and yes, the trope-naming BugWar.


* AcePilot: Captain Deladrier, the CO of the corvette ''Rodger Young''. In the prologue of the book, the Roughnecks' shuttle is late to lift off because they're waiting to extract wounded; this causes them to miss the carefully preplanned & calculated rendezvous. [[note]]It is repeatedly stated that a shuttle docking with a ship is an extremely complicated maneuver requiring lots of calculations and planning; it's as bad as an actual shuttle launch.[[/note]] Captain Deladrier instead takes manual control of her corvette, and plots a flight course to dock her ship and the shuttle. On the fly. No calculations. By sight, instinct, and a steady hand.[[note]]Which, more than anything, betrays the book's mid-fifties origin; at that time not even sci-fi authors were guessing how pervasive and powerful computers would be in the near future.[[/note]]

to:

* AcePilot: Captain Deladrier, the CO of the corvette ''Rodger Young''. In the prologue of the book, the Roughnecks' shuttle is late to lift off because they're waiting to extract wounded; this causes them to miss the carefully preplanned & calculated rendezvous. [[note]]It is repeatedly stated that a shuttle docking with a ship is an extremely complicated maneuver requiring lots of calculations and planning; it's as bad as an actual shuttle launch.[[/note]] Captain Deladrier instead takes manual control of her corvette, and plots a flight course to dock her ship and the shuttle. On the fly. No calculations. By sight, instinct, and a steady hand.[[note]]Which, more than anything, betrays the book's mid-fifties origin; at that time not even sci-fi authors were guessing how pervasive and powerful computers would be in the near future.[[/note]]



* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Everyone drops, with generals and other officers first on the ground, and command suits have the speed of scout suits while still packing weapons for self-defence.[[note]] Unlike the movie, where the Sky Marshall was relieved after the Klendathu disaster, in the book he died while holding off bugs so the rescue shuttles could get clear.[[/note]]
* BadassArmy: The Mobile Infantry. A good example comes from what happened to Rico on a leave from training, when he and two fellow trainees got attacked from behind and by surprise by four sailors of the merchant fleet: Rico executed an OffhandBackhand on the one who attacked him, then realized they were being attacked and turned to help the others but sees that they did the same to their aggressors, with the short and shy 'Kitten' Smith stomping two of the aggressors (Rico's narration then says it's a good thing they are unarmed on leave and trained to fight to disable, as they had acted only through ''reflexes''). If unarmed trainees halfway through training can do this, then the fully trained and equipped M.I. ''rules'' this trope. [[note]]The narrative heavily implies that the merchant marines were all drunk when they jumped Johnnie and his friends, who were all sober.[[/note]] Johnnie states that a single M.I. private in powered armor could defeat a whole squadron of tanks, if anyone were stupid enough to send tanks against them.

to:

* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Everyone drops, with generals and other officers first on the ground, and command suits have the speed of scout suits while still packing weapons for self-defence.[[note]] Unlike [[note]]Unlike the movie, where the Sky Marshall was relieved after the Klendathu disaster, in the book he died while holding off bugs so the rescue shuttles could get clear.[[/note]]
* BadassArmy: The Mobile Infantry. A good example comes from what happened to Rico on a leave from training, when he and two fellow trainees got attacked from behind and by surprise by four sailors of the merchant fleet: Rico executed an OffhandBackhand on the one who attacked him, then realized they were being attacked and turned to help the others but sees that they did the same to their aggressors, with the short and shy 'Kitten' Smith stomping two of the aggressors (Rico's narration then says it's a good thing they are unarmed on leave and trained to fight to disable, as they had acted only through ''reflexes''). If unarmed trainees halfway through training can do this, then the fully trained and equipped M.I. ''rules'' this trope. [[note]]The narrative heavily implies that the merchant marines were all drunk when they jumped Johnnie and his friends, who were all sober.[[/note]] Johnnie states that a single M.I. private in powered armor could defeat a whole squadron of tanks, if anyone were stupid enough to send tanks against them.



** Earlier, Rico (a term lance corporal at that point) is given the job of assistant section leader, giving orders to squad leaders who are corporals. The officer in charge feels that it makes more sense to leave as many squads as possible with their squad leaders, since the MI mostly operates by squad, and things have been rough lately; the assistant section leader doesn't do a whole lot and is such a relatively safe place to put Johnnie. Rico is later promoted in due order, and bumped to sergeant shortly before leaving the platoon [[note]]Lieutenant Jelal also felt it'd be a nice sendoff for Rico to go to OCS as a Sergeant; Rico mentions that Ace will get the "real" promotion once he's gone.[[/note]]
** A subversion happens when Rico is at OCS. We find out one of his fellow officer candidates received a battlefield commission as a 1st Lieutenant some time prior. [[note]]Graduates of OCS start out with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, so Rico's classmate would actually be ''demoted'' after graduating.[[/note]] The reason he's attending OCS is to become an officer "properly" - as a battlefield commissioned officer (with no higher education), his chances of rising higher than 1st Lieutenant are very small. With Academy education and field command experience, his prospects are suddenly very good indeed.

to:

** Earlier, Rico (a term lance corporal at that point) is given the job of assistant section leader, giving orders to squad leaders who are corporals. The officer in charge feels that it makes more sense to leave as many squads as possible with their squad leaders, since the MI mostly operates by squad, and things have been rough lately; the assistant section leader doesn't do a whole lot and is such a relatively safe place to put Johnnie. Rico is later promoted in due order, and bumped to sergeant shortly before leaving the platoon platoon.[[note]]Lieutenant Jelal also felt it'd be a nice sendoff for Rico to go to OCS as a Sergeant; Rico mentions that Ace will get the "real" promotion once he's gone.[[/note]]
** A subversion happens when Rico is at OCS. We find out one of his fellow officer candidates received a battlefield commission as a 1st Lieutenant some time prior. [[note]]Graduates of OCS start out with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, so Rico's classmate would actually be ''demoted'' after graduating.[[/note]] The reason he's attending OCS is to become an officer "properly" - as a battlefield commissioned officer (with no higher education), his chances of rising higher than 1st Lieutenant are very small. With Academy education and field command experience, his prospects are suddenly very good indeed.



* IllPretendIDidntHearThat: During basic training, a recruit strikes a drill instructor outside of approved circumstances[[note]]Under certain conditions, most notably combat exercises against said instructor, the recruits are encouraged to try to hit the instructors, and are congratulated if they actually succeed[[/note]]. Though the instructor and later the base commander do their best to ignore this, the recruit makes it impossible for them to do so (saying point-blank that he did it during a formal legal procedure). He's instantly court martialed, found guilty, whipped, and dishonorably discharged which is actually a light sentence possible only through some deft legal maneuvering on the part of the commander, because striking a superior is a capital offense in wartime.

to:

* IllPretendIDidntHearThat: During basic training, a recruit strikes a drill instructor outside of approved circumstances[[note]]Under circumstances.[[note]]Under certain conditions, most notably combat exercises against said instructor, the recruits are encouraged to try to hit the instructors, and are congratulated if they actually succeed[[/note]]. succeed.[[/note]] Though the instructor and later the base commander do their best to ignore this, the recruit makes it impossible for them to do so (saying point-blank that he did it during a formal legal procedure). He's instantly court martialed, found guilty, whipped, and dishonorably discharged which is actually a light sentence possible only through some deft legal maneuvering on the part of the commander, because striking a superior is a capital offense in wartime.



* InsigniaRipOffRitual: Played dead seriously during the execution of a child murderer who deserted from boot camp. While the desertion is an offense ''de jure'' worth fifty lashes and a dishonorable discharge, it's one that would never be followed up, since service is voluntary and a deserter will never make a soldier (or a citizen). But, in every sense of the phrase, the M.I. takes care of its own. The actual ripoff ritual is described. The guilty man is trotted out to the gallows in full dress uniform, then everything that indicates it is infact a uniform is carefully removed. Pins, ribbons, insignia and even buttons (which have the M.I. insignia on them) are cut away until he's standing in what looks like a bad brown suit. ''Then'' he's hanged.

to:

* InsigniaRipOffRitual: Played dead seriously during the execution of a child murderer who deserted from boot camp. While the desertion is an offense ''de jure'' worth fifty lashes and a dishonorable discharge, it's one that would never be followed up, since service is voluntary and a deserter will never make a soldier (or a citizen). But, in every sense of the phrase, the M.I. takes care of its own. The actual ripoff ritual is described. The guilty man is trotted out to the gallows in full dress uniform, then everything that indicates it is infact in fact a uniform is carefully removed. Pins, ribbons, insignia and even buttons (which have the M.I. insignia on them) are cut away until he's standing in what looks like a bad brown suit. ''Then'' he's hanged.



* PsychicPowers: Not focused upon, but present; one "sensitive" is brought in to draw a map of a tunnel network near the end. It's the real deal, but Rico himself is skeptical. Rico also refers in passing to the "talents" assigned to Logistics & Communications (including "telepaths," "sensers," and "lucky men"). Even after the sensitive's skills are proven, Johnnie still doubts the guy is psychic. His theory is the guy might just have really good hearing[[note]] He's tracing the bug tunnels from above ground, and the tools bug workers use for digging and maintenance make a very distinctive sound. [[/note]]. Several comments made by the sensitive and his "handlers" would seem to back this up, but it's still ambiguous.

to:

* PsychicPowers: Not focused upon, but present; one "sensitive" is brought in to draw a map of a tunnel network near the end. It's the real deal, but Rico himself is skeptical. Rico also refers in passing to the "talents" assigned to Logistics & Communications (including "telepaths," "sensers," and "lucky men"). Even after the sensitive's skills are proven, Johnnie still doubts the guy is psychic. His theory is the guy might just have really good hearing[[note]] He's hearing.[[note]]He's tracing the bug tunnels from above ground, and the tools bug workers use for digging and maintenance make a very distinctive sound. [[/note]]. sound.[[/note]] Several comments made by the sensitive and his "handlers" would seem to back this up, but it's still ambiguous.


** [[spoiler: After Rasczak is killed, the soldiers propose to rename the unit Jelly's Jaguars, after their new leader. Jelly promptly shoots it down]]
** [[spoiler: At the end of the novel, the unit is now named Rico's Roughnecks.]]

to:

** [[spoiler: After [[spoiler:After Rasczak is killed, the soldiers propose to rename the unit Jelly's Jaguars, after their new leader. Jelly promptly shoots it down]]
** [[spoiler: At [[spoiler:At the end of the novel, the unit is now named Rico's Roughnecks.]]



* BadLuckCharm: Before going on his first training cruise, Rico is asked if he'll wear a set of officer's pips where all but one of the cadets who have worn them have flunked out due to various bad-luck causes. Rico reluctantly agrees [[spoiler: which pleases the Commandant: he was the first one to wear them, and wants to see the jinx on them broken.]]

to:

* BadLuckCharm: Before going on his first training cruise, Rico is asked if he'll wear a set of officer's pips where all but one of the cadets who have worn them have flunked out due to various bad-luck causes. Rico reluctantly agrees [[spoiler: which [[spoiler:which pleases the Commandant: he was the first one to wear them, and wants to see the jinx on them broken.]]



* DefectorFromDecadence: Johnnie, who joins the Mobile Infantry to prove himself instead of just climbing the ladder in his father's company. [[spoiler: His father does the same thing.]]

to:

* DefectorFromDecadence: Johnnie, who joins the Mobile Infantry to prove himself instead of just climbing the ladder in his father's company. [[spoiler: His [[spoiler:His father does the same thing.]]



* DuringTheWar+

to:

* DuringTheWar+DuringTheWar: About halfway through, Rico mentions in passing that, officially, what's going on the background to his experiences is a "police action" that the Federation is about to outright ''label'' a war. (He also points out that since you can die either way, and most of the "31 crash landings" still apply, the difference in label isn't very important.)



* EverybodyCallsHimBarkeep: Rico's platoon sergeant. [[TheReveal Revealed]] at the end of the book to be [[spoiler: Sergeant Zim.]]

to:

* EverybodyCallsHimBarkeep: Rico's platoon sergeant. [[TheReveal Revealed]] at the end of the book to be [[spoiler: Sergeant [[spoiler:Sergeant Zim.]]



* NeverFoundTheBody: What happens to most men who enter Bug tunnels [[spoiler: but not Rico's platoon at the end.]]

to:

* NeverFoundTheBody: What happens to most men who enter Bug tunnels [[spoiler: but [[spoiler:but not Rico's platoon at the end.]]



* NoEnding: [[spoiler: Rico graduates from OCS after his second try, and takes command of the Roughnecks.]] Where he goes from there, to say nothing of the outcome of the war, are left to the imagination of the reader.
** [[spoiler: Although the epilogue does have them dropping down on Klendathu, the bug home world.]]
*** [[spoiler: In some editions, there's an afterword that briefly mentions him making Captain, [[DownerEnding and dying]].]]

to:

* NoEnding: [[spoiler: Rico [[spoiler:Rico graduates from OCS after his second try, and takes command of the Roughnecks.]] Where he goes from there, to say nothing of the outcome of the war, are left to the imagination of the reader.
** [[spoiler: Although [[spoiler:Although the epilogue does have them dropping down on Klendathu, the bug home world.]]
*** [[spoiler: In [[spoiler:In some editions, there's an afterword that briefly mentions him making Captain, [[DownerEnding and dying]].]]



** Dynamic is more of Jelly being a TeamMom while Lt. Razcak is an aloof TeamDad. Jelly is explicitly compared to a strong willed mother keeping the family (the platoon) together [[spoiler: after Razcak's "real estate deal"]].

to:

** Dynamic is more of Jelly being a TeamMom while Lt. Razcak is an aloof TeamDad. Jelly is explicitly compared to a strong willed mother keeping the family (the platoon) together [[spoiler: after [[spoiler:after Razcak's "real estate deal"]].



** The identify of Rico's [[EverybodyCallsHimBarkeep unnamed]] platoon sergeant: [[spoiler: Sergeant Zim]].

to:

** The identify of Rico's [[EverybodyCallsHimBarkeep unnamed]] platoon sergeant: [[spoiler: Sergeant [[spoiler:Sergeant Zim]].


** Lt. Col. Dubois in spades. He lost his arm and both legs in combat, got medical retirement and went to teach Humanity and Moral Philosophy for Johnnie's high school. Johnnie doesn't even learn he is a veteran until he is almost ready to graduate from Basic, whereupon Dubois informs him that he himself was an M.I. trooper. And a lieutenant colonel, which is no mean feat. Even Sergeant Zim idolizes the man.

to:

** Lt. Col. Dubois in spades. He lost his arm and both legs in combat, got medical retirement and went to teach Humanity History and Moral Philosophy for Johnnie's high school. Johnnie doesn't even learn he is a veteran until he is almost ready to graduate from Basic, whereupon Dubois informs him that he himself was an M.I. trooper. And a lieutenant colonel, which is no mean feat. Even Sergeant Zim idolizes the man.

Added DiffLines:

* BadassTeacher: Many examples:
** Every single military service instructor is a combat veteran of their given trade, from the lowliest boot sergeant to the commandant of OCS (who is a retired ''general'' that came back to service to foster new generations of young officers during the war). Most of them are fully capable of kicking ass as well as taking recruits to school on a wide variety of subjects.
** Lt. Col. Dubois in spades. He lost his arm and both legs in combat, got medical retirement and went to teach Humanity and Moral Philosophy for Johnnie's high school. Johnnie doesn't even learn he is a veteran until he is almost ready to graduate from Basic, whereupon Dubois informs him that he himself was an M.I. trooper. And a lieutenant colonel, which is no mean feat. Even Sergeant Zim idolizes the man.

Added DiffLines:

* OrbitalBombardment: Subverted in that the fleet ''could'' just reduce the surfaces of bug planets like Klendathu to a sea of radioactive glass, and this would kill most of the soldier bugs on them to be sure, but it wouldn't reach the queens and brain bugs deep underground who would just rebuild and breed new armies, thus making the entire effort pointless. The war would still be on, and all the Federation would have done is waste resources.


* InsigniaRipOffRitual: Played dead seriously during the execution of a child murderer who deserted from boot camp. While the desertion is an offense ''de jure'' worth fifty lashes and a dishonorable discharge, it's one that would never be followed up, since service is voluntary and a deserter will never make a soldier (or a citizen). But, in every sense of the phrase, the M.I. takes care of its own. The actual ripoff ritual is described. The guilty man is trotted out to the gallows in full dress uniform, then every pin, ribbon, and button is carefully removed until he's standing in what looks like a bad brown suit. ''Then'' he's hanged.

to:

* InsigniaRipOffRitual: Played dead seriously during the execution of a child murderer who deserted from boot camp. While the desertion is an offense ''de jure'' worth fifty lashes and a dishonorable discharge, it's one that would never be followed up, since service is voluntary and a deserter will never make a soldier (or a citizen). But, in every sense of the phrase, the M.I. takes care of its own. The actual ripoff ritual is described. The guilty man is trotted out to the gallows in full dress uniform, then every pin, ribbon, and button everything that indicates it is infact a uniform is carefully removed removed. Pins, ribbons, insignia and even buttons (which have the M.I. insignia on them) are cut away until he's standing in what looks like a bad brown suit. ''Then'' he's hanged.

Showing 15 edit(s) of 280

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report