Despite some excellent commentary on Starship Troopers's subtleties, I've not seen anyone specifically address the differences between Heinlein's novel and Verhoeven's film, which I believe add to the depth and sophistication of possible readings of both. The bio information posted sofar identifies Heinlein as a man with strong militaristc and patriotic impulses, which naturally in light of the milieu (1959)include anti-communism. The novel is a pro-military, gung-ho, unrepentant, patriarchal propaganda rag. I underlined a great deal... But it's a fascinating read for many reasons; ST won a Nebula in '60, is one of the few examples of 'bootcamp SF' translated into film, Heinlein's significance within SF (industry dominated) is immense -- he won the first Grand master Nebula Award in 1975. Two strains of discsussion are prevalent regarding Verhoeven's ST, these separate strains have been noted in previous posts, and roughly break down to (1) ST is a shameless glorification of war and death (2) ST deliberately presents images of war and death in a context encouraging ironic or oppositional interpretations. I susbscribe to the latter; a quick look at one of the central quotations from the novel might help to illuminate the issue. Heinlein uses a highschool 'History and Moral Philosophy' instructor, Mr. Dubois (Rasczak, Rico's unit commander, in the film another intersting change), as the primary didactic, pedagogic, father-figure vehicle for expounding ethical and moral principles. Just as Rico's (our innocent protagonist)bootcamp comes to a close and he 'crosses the hump', or decides to committ fully to voluntary military service, he recounts a discussion on the nature of citizenship and morality which Dubois concluded with, "Liberty is <i>never<i> unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it <i>always<i>vanishes." Heinlein speaking through Dubois is of course paraphrasing Jefferson's "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants" here, but in omitting the key phrase 'and tyrants', Heinlein changes the meaning entirely. Without delving into questions of political philosophy on which I am unqualified to provide comment, I take Jefferson's meaning to be that some degreee of self-correction (possibly violent) must occur in any nominally democratic system, as much as it must be defended against external threat. I argue that Heinlein's omission implies that in a democratic society (The United States of America, specifically) such threats are only external in origin, and consequently youth are sent elsewhere to die for their country and earn the right to vote (ST posits a multi-world mono-state in which citizenship is earned by military service). Tyranny by one's own government is conceptually impossible, and simply ignored. The many devices Verhoeven uses to suggest otherwise -- summable as an extremely ironic tone toward the images, events, and characters on-screen -- seem to restore the absent half of the patriot/tyrant opposition by encouraging question of the overt content of the news/info presented. Naturally the film text and the relationship of the film to the novel in audiences' expectations and perceptions merits more attention; I'll mention a few issues that struck me. Heinlein's Troopers are suited in enormously powerful and independetly mobile armor that amplifies the violence any one infantryman can bring to bear, and permit units to cover large ares in dispersal; Verhoeven presents soldiers little different from contemporay rifle-carrying grunts, who are depicted as (IMHO) nearly naked and defenseless in direct confrontations with the heavily armored, massively powerful arachnid bugs. As a consequence, death in Verhoeven's ST is sudden, brutal, frequent, and sweeps through small clusters of disorganised humans like wildfire, in exact opposition to Heinlein's narrative. When Rico enlists immediately after graduation, the recruiter has an artifical arm and no legs, he shakes Rico's hand with his automated prosthesis and congratulates him on joining the infantry, which "made me the man I am today". An officer addresses Rico and his friends as "fresh meat for the grinder", a comment borne out by the extremely violent ways in which Troopers are torn to pieces by articulated jaws, pincers, etc. Yet in Heinlein's book, the recruiter appears to Rico whole and undamaged just moments later, explaining that his dismemberment is a charade used to discourage the weak-hearted, and the one death described is mild; other casualties are mentioned with military detachment. Rico remains in the M.I. in the novel as a confirmation of his manhood. Verhoeven places this decision in a wholely differnet context by presenting Rico packed and ready to withdraw from bootcamp when he receives a video call from his parents supporting his decision to join the military -- during which they are killed as Buenos Ares, his home, is struck by an pseudoarachnid-launched asteroid. In Verhoeven's ST official intelligence (the fantastically campy Doogie-Howser as uberbrained military intelligence colonel in Naziesque leather [I had to laugh, repeatedly]) beleives the bugs dumb and instinctive, the movie develops as a quest to discover the mysterious source (brain caste bugs) of their 'smart' actions as explanation for the dramatic defeats human forces suffer in the beginning of the narrative. Heinlein assigns the arachnids superior tactical savvy and coordination from the beginning, arming them with beam weaponry and intelligence. In short, Verhoeven's alsmost sarcastic rendering of some central events/elements in Heinlein's novel implies that ST is intent on undermining exactly the sort of ideological sermonizing that consitutes its source novel, and much of the adervtising/news/progaganda disseminated by the institutions and organizations that might assemble the contents of a nominally viewer-directed information broadcast. This is just to braoch such issues; I hope this enumeration of some of the major dissimilarities defining the relationship between novel and film is helpful. Joe Lamantia ---- Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the University of Alabama.