Thanks for the birthday present, Bob

Starship Troopers first edition cover

It’s my birthday this week, and before you ask ‘How many?’ I’ll give you a clue. I was born a little over two months before the first publication of one of the greatest-ever science fiction books: Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein.

In December of 1959, this remarkable and sometimes controversial book broke the mould constraining ‘military sf’ and dragged it kicking and screaming into the modern era, thanks to the talent of its now-legendary author and his own military experience.

If you’ve only ever seen the 1997 film of the same name, do yourself a favour and buy the real thing – there are worlds of difference within those covers.

And even though you may not always like Heinlein’s politics, which are a product of their time, you will have to admit there is a reason why he is always considered one of the ‘big three’ of science fiction – the other two being our own Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov.

Coincidentally, Starship Troopers is the first true sf book I ever read, in 1969. This week I am reading it again, and in that way celebrating not only my birthday, but a lifetime’s fascination with the literature of the future and worlds beyond.

Thanks for the wonderful gift, and for the inspiration, Bob Heinlein.

A. Stuart Williams

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