About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Currently reading Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

It is many, many years since I read this novel, which is one of Heinlein's most loved and most reviled works. Starship Troopers won Heinlein a "best novel" Hugo Award, but it is despised by most academic critics and many others.

From my viewpoint, it is a key novel in Heinlein's oeuvre, but also in science fiction's tradition as a literature of ideas. Does that mean I actually agree with its ideas? No. There is much, I think, to view with horror! Yet, this book is written off by many people who seen unwilling to grapple with its merits, it philosophy, and its complexities. Up to a point, it can reasonably be viewed as militarist propaganda. But at the same time, it is an important and thoughtful didactic novel that deserves careful, imaginative engagement and some nuanced discussion. I have about 50 pages to go, and I'll give it some sort of review very soon.

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