Trooper in a Strange Land

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

I did not realize that Heinlein was in the middle of writing his “hippie” classic, Stranger in a Strange Land, when he decided to write his “fascist” classic, Starship Troopers:

When Robert A. Heinlein opened his Colorado Springs newspaper on April 5, 1958, he read a full-page ad demanding that the Eisenhower administration stop testing nuclear weapons. The science-fiction author was flabbergasted. He called for the formation of the Patrick Henry League and spent the next several weeks writing and publishing his own polemic that lambasted “Communist-line goals concealed in idealistic-sounding nonsense” and urged Americans not to become “soft-headed.”

Then Heinlein made an important professional decision. He quit writing the manuscript he had been working on — eventually it would become one of his best-known books, Stranger in a Strange Land — and started work on a new novel. Starship Troopers was published the next year, and it quickly became perhaps the most controversial sci-fi tale of all time. Critics labeled Heinlein everything from a Nazi to a racist. “The ‘Patrick Henry’ ad shocked ’em,” he wrote many years later. “Starship Troopers outraged ’em.”

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