starshipWho wrote this book and when?
Robert A. Heinlein published this as a book first in 1959; originally it was a magazine serial.

Has there been a film version?
Several, the most recent (and the most criticized) being in 1997. It’s nothing like the book except for the most basic of facts.

Who are the important characters?
Juan “Johnny” Rico – the narrator, a member of the Mobile Infantry of Terra (Earth)

What’s it about?
This is a little bit the story of Johnny’s enlistment into the armed forces and his experiences there. But mostly it’s just political and moral views of Robert Heinlein. This isn’t to say it’s bad.

Why is this book a classic/bestseller?
It espoused a lot of military ideas that were novel at the time and was one of the first books to outright say that violence can do a lot of good.

Do I recommend you read this book?
Yes, if you like science fiction and/or philosophy.

How did this book make my list?
It’s a Hugo Award winner.

Has it won any awards?
The Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1960.

Favorite quotes:
“But in general, powered armor doesn’t require practice, it simply does it for you, just the way you were doing it, only better. All but one thing – you can’t scratch where it itches. If I ever find a suit that will let me scratch between my shoulder blades, I’ll marry it.” – p 104

Anything else?
A large number of the military concepts and technologies in this book have been adapted (or are working on being invented) by the US Government; and this book is highly recommended reading for all of the armed forces divisions of the US Military.

Personal thoughts:
Completely different from the movie counterpart – this book is more of a military morality discourse than an action adventure story. I’m not complaining in the least bit, Heinlein raises good questions, makes good points, and still manages to entertain as always. I was a little disappointed that Rico was the only character we interacted with for more than a few pages. I was looking forward to seeing what the military was like from the pilots’ viewpoint and the technological viewpoints (like Carl’s). This doesn’t exclude it from being recommended, however.