This post is part of a series on the Virginia Edition of Robert A. Heinlein’s works.
I have been excited to get to this book, not only because I have read (or rather, listened to) it before and enjoyed it, but also because it signals a run of much shorter books than the first two in this series – although, that doesn’t necessarily mean my reviews will be quicker in appearing here….
Starship Troopers is no doubt a controversial book, another of Heinlein’s “love it or hate it” stories. I’m definitely on the love it side, but regardless of one’s view of the book itself, there is little doubt that nearly sixty years on it is still one of the most significant works of science fiction ever written, influencing and inciting reactions from authors as diverse as Joseph Haldeman, John Scalzi, John Ringo, and even some whose names don’t start with J – not to mention a film that shares the same title.
The idea for Starship Troopers came to Heinlein in 1958, during a period of writer’s block while working on the early stages – of all things – Stranger in a Strange Land.1 Much of his writer’s block was due, it appears, to the Cold War–era politics being played out that year. In April 1958, upon seeing an advertisement by the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy encouraging President Eisenhower to discontinue testing of the nuclear bomb, Robert and Virginia Heinlein printed a full-page rebuttal in their hometown (Colorado Springs) newspapers, proposing the creation of a grassroots “Patrick Henry League” that would put pressure on the president to continue nuclear tests.2 Over the next several weeks into June, the Heinleins worked to promote their nascent League, but ultimately the effort failed, resulting in a mere 500 signatures for the petition they had put together. The frustrated Heinlein tried to return to writing, but found himself unable to gain any traction with Stranger.
Eventually, however, he picked up a new idea and began pecking away at it.
Feud with Alice Dalgliesh
On November 22, 1958, Heinlein wrote to Alice Dalgliesh – the founding editor of the Children’s Division at Scribner’s, the publisher of his previous juveniles – that he was working on a story tentatively called “Sky Soldier.” In truth, he had already finished the book, and in a letter to his agent Lurton Blassingame on the same day, Heinlein promised to deliver the manuscript after the new year “to give [Dalgliesh] the least possible time to have nervous-Nellie second thoughts about it.” Given confrontations over previous stories, Heinlein was afraid that she would want to change the story drastically. His fear, as it turns out, was justified.
The feud between Heinlein and Dalgliesh is outlined in Grumbles From the Grave, particularly Chapter 3 (“The Slicks and the Scribner’s Juveniles”) and Chapter 4 (“The Last of the Juveniles”). Basically, over the course of 12 years, Heinlein wrote 12 books for Scribner’s juvenile list, working with Dalgliesh for much of the time. In 1949, Dalgliesh stated that Red Planet, Heinlein’s juvenile to be published that year, needed “a good Freudian” to interpret portions of the book. A similar incident arose during editing of The Rolling Stones (1952) in response to the “pulsating parthenogenesis” of the Martian “flat cats” in the story. As his letters in Grumbles indicate, Heinlein did not take kindly to Dalgliesh’s comments in either case.
Sometime at the end of January or beginning of February 1959, Dalgliesh turned down Heinlein’s latest story, indicating that it needed “drastic revision” or possibly even a “complete rewrite.” On Feb. 3, Heinlein replied with a crisp, three-paragraph note indicating that Dalgliesh’s rejection was less than satisfactory, as it did not explain what she thought was wrong with the story. “As to your suggestion that I write and submit a replacement,” Heinlein complained, “don’t you think it would be rather foolish of me to do so when I have no idea why this one was rejected?”
Heinlein’s response to Dalgliesh sparked a lengthy discussion between the two about the relative merits and faults of “Starship Soldier” (as the title had by then been amended). One of Heinlein’s letters ran a full 21 pages of single-spaced typescript, and went into copious detail not only about his intent behind the story itself, but his philosophy of writing and ideas about the purpose of science fiction in general (fodder for a separate essay!). Heinlein also struck up a correspondence with another person at Scribner’s, “George McC” (whom apparently Virginia could not fully identify as of 1989 when Grumbles was published). However, the effort was ultimately in vain: On March 22, Dalgliesh replied cordially, “I respect your opinions but stand my ground!” With a final wish of “good luck,” Dalgliesh added, “We shall miss you and your books – perhaps they’ll come back to us some day…”3
They did not. In mid-February 1959, Heinlein learned that his story had been picked up for serial publication by The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (F&SF). Shortly thereafter, his agent secured a book deal for the story with another major publishing house.
Heinlein Moves to Putnam
According to Virginia, when an editor at G. P. Putnam’s Sons told the company president Walter Minton that Heinlein was looking for a new publisher for his latest juvenile, Minton said, “Grab it!” Heinlein was apparently just as eager, and he submitted his signed contract for “Starship Soldier” to Putnam on April 4, 1959.
William McMorris, the Children’s Books editor at Putnam, was as enthusiastic about “Starship Soldier” as Dalgliesh had been circumspect. McMorris gave Heinlein welcome news about how the publisher would promote the book:
The book will be published by the juvenile department, because we feel that it is basically a very fine teenage novel and will find most of its readers in this category. However, in format and jacket design the book will have all of the earmarks of an adult book, and it will receive promotion with titles on our adult list.
The company set a publication date of November 15 (later moved up to November 5), to take advantage of the serialization in the October and November issues of F&SF. In response to Heinlein’s solicitation for advice about revisions, McMorris again expressed an entirely different opinion than Dalgliesh:
I am curious to know what you think must be done to the book. I have never been in quite this position before, because usually I am begging an author to make revisions. In your case, however, I think you have done a hell of a fine job and we certainly would not hesitate to publish the book as it stands.
Nonetheless, after a phone call on April 22, McMorris followed up on the 28th with a list of relatively minor revisions, such as softening up the scene where a character gets flogged, shortening a “bombastic” discussion about Karl Marx, and adding some battle scenes. The final revisions were made and submitted in June.
Choosing the Title
Although the story was complete, it became clear that finding exactly the right title to publish it under was going to be something of a problem. Heinlein and McMorris ping-ponged ideas over the course of the summer and into the fall. Titles considered included:
- Starship Soldier (as Heinlein submitted it to Putnam)
- Starside Soldier
- The Starship Soldiers
- The Capsule Soldiers
- Shoulder the Sky – from the last stanza of “IX” in A. E. Housman’s Last Poems
- Better to Die – from a Horace Gregory poem
- Dulce et Decorum – from “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori“
- Cap Troopers
- The Sergeant/Sergeants
- Sky Trooper
McMorris really liked “Shoulder the Sky,” and for a little while his letters reflected that as the accepted title of the book. As it turned out, however, a book with that title was published by George Leonard in August 1959, effectively undercutting Heinlein’s ability to use it. “I am still crying in my beer over the loss of ‘Shoulder the Sky,’” McMorris wrote to Heinlein on Sept. 3. “It was exactly the kind of title that I wanted and everyone else seemed pleased with it also.”
It was sometime between September 2 – 8, 1959, while Heinlein was staying at the Shelborne Hotel in Miami, that the question of the title was finally settled. McMorris sent a fax to Heinlein with two possible titles that had been approved by Scribner’s sales and advertising managers. The first (and presumably preferred) title was “Soldier of the Stars,” and the second was “The Starship Troopers.” Obviously, Heinlein liked the latter, though the definite article was dropped before publication.
In a way, the reception of Starship Troopers was already played out by the microcosm of reactions that Heinlein’s editors – Alice Dalgliesh and William McMorris – had to the book. There were those who were upset by the middling plot, the lengthy discussions (some called them rants), and the perceived militarism/fascism; likewise, there were many who agreed with the ideas presented in the discussions/rants, and those who even thought that our present society should be modeled, at least partially, on the one Heinlein presented.
Two of the more interesting reviews came from the same person: Virginia Kirkus, founder of Kirkus Reviews. In the first review, Kirkus praises the book as a “weirdly credible adventure revolving around moral philosophy and entomology,” if “pretentious in style” and “slightly confusing to the non-aficionado.” However, shortly after publishing that review, Kirkus got in touch with McMorris to ask whether Heinlein’s book was a satire. McMorris replied that Heinlein was indeed serious in writing Starship Troopers,4 prompting an expanded review from Kirkus with some less-than-favorable sentiments:
Quite evidently, Heinlein is projecting his own justification of the moral validity of war, of a proper military order dictated by reason, of a moral philosophy which advocates capital punishment, military violence dictated by “older and wiser heads,” and a virtual reign of terror by force, but he attacks concepts and historic figures with vitriolic hysteria. Any realization of this as presenting characters engaged in philosophic discussion…is far from the truth.
In his response to McMorris covering a number of business matters, Heinlein calls Kirkus’ multiple reviews “odd,” but indicates that such reviews were not wholly unexpected. In particular, he seems bemused (and somewhat amused) by her claim that he attacked “historic figures with vitriolic hysteria.”
I checked most carefully through the book, page by page, to see what she could have meant. There are numerous references, quotations from, and naming of places and ships for historical and quasi-historical characters…plus references to Rodger Young throughout…. These are the only references to “historic figures” anywhere in the book.…
The single exception is page 114 & 115 where I discuss Karl Marx.
In the second volume of his biography on Heinlein, William H. Patterson, Jr., focuses on a number of other bad reviews, including from some of Heinlein’s friends. Fellow science fiction author Poul Anderson wrote a long letter disagreeing with many parts of the book (while at the same time advocating for conscription, a policy which Heinlein wrote against strongly, both in Starship Troopers and in his personal correspondence). Likewise, Heinlein engaged in a long correspondence with Theodore Cogswell – editor of the “fanzine for pros” Proceedings of the Institute for Twenty-First Century Studies – over a review by Robert McCrary that called Heinlein “a peddler of dangerous ideologies” and the philosophy espoused by Starship Troopers a “cult of violence.” Cogswell wanted to reprint McCrary’s review in his fanzine alongside a response from Heinlein himself, but Heinlein made it clear he had no interest in engaging publicly with his reviewers. Not to be dismayed, Cogswell nonetheless printed McCrary’s review along with portions of the letters Heinlein wrote to him, without the author’s permission. (Cogswell himself seemed to be okay with Starship Troopers as adult reading, although he objected to it as juvenile material.)
While there were a number of unfavorable reviews, there were also those who came to Heinlein’s defense. Perhaps the most important was Schuyler Miller, who wrote a review for Analog which argued against much of the crit-fic finding its way into the other various reviews: “Surely any writer has the right to choose an unpopular theme, and develop it with all his skill, without being condemned—without being identified as the thing he writes!”
Given the criticism of the book, even Heinlein was surprised when Starship Troopers won the Hugo Award in 1960 (second was another military fiction story that came out a few months before, Dorsai! by Gordon R. Dickson). This was the first of his four Hugo wins (not including Retro Hugos, which came years later).
Today, the book has a solid 4 stars at Goodreads, and 4.5 stars at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Moorcock’s “Starship Stormtroopers”
Michael Moorcock is a blowhard whose ideas have somehow managed to influence some people. I have previously taken to task his rant against J.R.R. Tolkien and other fantasists (titled “Epic Pooh”). He wrote a similar article excoriating Heinlein in 1978, in particular focusing on Starship Troopers, calling the work “Starship Stormtroopers.”
As with “Epic Pooh,” “Starship Stormtroopers” wanders all over the place, sometimes making a few coherent points, but most of what Moorcock says is barely cogent. He addresses Starship Troopers in a single, oversized paragraph:
Starship Troopers (serialised in Astounding as was most of Heinlein’s fiction until the early sixties) was probably Heinlein’s last ‘straight’ sf serial for Campbell before he began his ‘serious’ books such as Farnham’s Freehold and Stranger in a Strange Land — taking the simplified characters of genre fiction and producing some of the most ludicrously unlikely people ever to appear in print. In Starship Troopers we find a slightly rebellious cadet gradually learning that wars are inevitable, that the army is always right, that his duty is to obey the rules and protect the human race against the alien menace. It is pure debased Ford out of Kipling and it set the pattern for Heinlein’s more ambitious paternalistic, xenophobic (but equally sentimental) stories which became for me steadily more hilarious until I realised with some surprise that people were taking them as seriously as they had taken, say, Atlas Shrugged a generation before — in hundreds of thousands!
Moorcock goes on to describe his disbelief as to how people could take writers like Heinlein, Tolkien, etc. seriously.
To start with, he gets several facts wrong. For one thing, Starship Troopers was not serialized in Astounding, but rather The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which was never edited by John Campbell. Nor, as I have shown above, did he write the story for Campbell – in fact, if the story stemmed from the Heinleins’ “Patrick Henry” campaign, it’s worth noting that Campbell refused to participate in that effort.5 Moorcock also misstates the learnings of the “slightly rebellious cadet” who narrates the story: While Johnnie (the narrator) does speculate about the inevitability of war, nowhere in the story is it stated or implied that “the army is always right.” Furthermore, any duty Johnnie feels “to obey the rules and protect the human race against the alien menace” is not indicative of others’ duties – in fact, as I will show below, the voluntariness of duty is a critical component to the story. Johnnie’s duty is tied to the decision he made to sign up. It is an entirely and explicitly individual duty, not a universal one.
Anyway, I mention Moorcock here because he is exemplary of the many critics of the book who choose to willfully misread it.
Perhaps more important than the contemporary reception the book received is the lasting effect it has had on science fiction over the last half century. Love it or hate it, there is little doubt that Starship Troopers helped to create an entire sub-genre of military science fiction that is still going strong.
Some of the literary responses to Starship Troopers have a lot of merit of their own. Joseph Haldeman’s The Forever War, published in 1974, is the most notable.6 According to fellow science fiction author Spider Robinson, upon meeting Haldeman, Heinlein said The Forever War “may be the best future war story I’ve ever read!” Indeed, The Forever War has gone on to have multiple expanded editions, sequels, and adaptations. Ridley Scott acquired the film rights to the story with continuing rumors of the movie’s slow progress over the last several years. It won all three major science fiction awards: the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Locus.
A more recent example is John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, which Scalzi says was explicitly modeled on the structure of Starship Troopers and incorporated lessons that he took away from reading the story when he was younger. Old Man’s War was nominated for a Hugo and spawned a series set in the same universe.
Other books written in response to Starship Troopers include:
- Bill the Galactic Hero (1965) by Harry Harrison – a satire that spawned six sequels (mostly with co-authors) in the late-1980s/early-1990s
- The Legacy of the Aldenata by John Ringo – a series that homages many of the themes in Starship Troopers
- Armor by John Steakley
Likely there are even more that were influenced (consciously or unconsciously) by the book. Some have suggested that Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is one such, given its use of a war against bug-like alien creatures; however, in 2000 Card denied the claim, writing, “One should keep in mind that the insectoid alien was a cliche in science fiction long before Heinlein used such creatures in ‘Starship Troopers.’ I assume that he used them for the same reason I did — because what mattered to the story was not the alien species per se, but rather the fact that humans were at war, so a generic alien would do.”
Beyond books, Starship Troopers has also influenced other media. The original Aliens movie incorporated elements from the book, and there have been several anime series that cite Starship Troopers as a source of inspiration as well. Various video games are thought to have been inspired by the book, including StarCraft and Outwars.
In addition to these influences, there has been a host of directly licensed adaptations, spin-offs and tie-in media. From the mid-1970s into the new millennium, there have been Starship Troopers board games, computer games, and even a pinball machine produced at various times. Dark Horse Comics licensed the story for a comic book series, but it has not yet been produced.
And then, of course, there’s the somewhat infamous 1997 film “adaptation” by Paul Verhoeven, which is almost as inversely controversial as the original book. Some claim it to be cutting satire, critical of the original work, while others shake their heads and decry the shameful nature of its unfaithfulness to the original. Personally, I like the movie for what it is – which is something completely different than Heinlein’s novel – but then I was of a certain age when it came out.
A number of reviews and announcements that came out at the time the book was published described Starship Troopers as taking place 5,000 years into the future. As recently as 2008, a reviewer in the The Guardian restated this claim, despite the fact that there is nothing in the text of the story that suggests this.
It appears that these reviewers were relying on copy originally used on the back of the dust jacket. In a letter to William McMorris on Nov. 7, 1959, Heinlein discusses his dislike of some of the visual features of the dust jacket. In addition, he calls out the timeframe:
I noted one thing in the blurb material on the [d]ust jacket which I think warrants correction if and when you find it necessary to reprint dust jackets: “—story of combat 5000 years in the future.”
I suggest the deletion of “5000.”
This story can’t possibly be 5000 years in the future; there are too many temporal ties in it which place it in the near future, say about 2100 A.D. or so—about as far in the future as the American Revolution is in the past and with about as many changes as in the period since the Revolution. (After all, we have moved from horse & buggy to our first space ship, the X-15, in my life time—and I ain’t dead yet!)
Heinlein goes on to explain that he avoided dating the story exactly, so as to allow readers to “set whatever lapse of time [they] feel most comfortable with.”
There’s one textual possibility that could explain how “5000 years” ended up on the dust jacket (and in many subsequent reviews). In discussing the pedigree of the Mobile Infantry, Johnnie narrates:
We are the boys who go to a particular place, at H-hour, occupy a designated terrain, stand on it, dig the enemy out of their holes, force them then and there to surrender or die. We’re the bloody infantry, the doughboy, the duckfoot, the foot soldier who goes where the enemy is and takes him on in person. We’ve been doing it, with changes in weapons but very little change in our trade, at least since the time five thousand years ago when the foot sloggers of Sargon the Great forced the Sumerians to cry “Uncle!” [emphasis added]
Clearly, this is referring to the story’s past, not anything about in the future. Making this reference, Heinlein acknowledges that the story could reasonably be dated around 2250 A.D., since Sargon the First’s defeat of the Sumerians occurred around 2750 B.C. “But the exact date of Sargon the First,” he goes on, “is so indefinite that a century or so either way does not matter.”
Starship Troopers is the story of Juan (“Johnnie”) Rico, a young Filipino7 man who enlists in the Terran Federation infantry, to the chagrin of his parents, especially his father. During his training, Terra (Earth) is attacked by a race of insectoid aliens, who seem intent on destroying humanity for some unknown reason (though, Johnnie speculates as to the reason within the story).
The novel begins in medias res, at the commencement of a “drop” in which Johnnie and his platoon are being deployed on a mission. Much of the first half of the story, including Johnnie’s recruitment and training, is told through flashbacks, while the second half picks up with Johnnie’s rise in rank and eventual decision to become a career soldier.
Although a relatively short book, it covers a lot of ideas, many of which (as I have shown above) have taken a fair amount of flak. I don’t know that I can address all of those ideas, let alone their myriad criticisms, but I will speak to at least some of them below.
The Science of Morality
In a 1972 letter to Heinlein, Tim Zell – founder of “The Church of All Worlds,” modeled after its namesake in Stranger in a Strange Land – suggested that Stranger was “the epitome of a philosophical and ethical strain of thought” that Heinlein had developed in earlier works, including Starship Troopers. In a lengthy response, Heinlein stated that with Stranger he was “asking questions…not giving answers,” adding that Starship Troopers…
…is loaded with unanswered question[s], too. Many people rejected that book with a cliché—“fascist” or “militaristic.” They can’t or won’t read; it is neither. It is a dead serious (but incomplete) inquiry into why men fight. Since men do fight, it is a question well worth asking.
In the introduction to the Virginia Edition, Patterson indicates that Heinlein wanted to ask another question as well, namely, “Would it be possible to make a democracy that forced correct decisions out of its politicians, no matter what?”8 To do this, Heinlein created a fictional science: the science of morality. This science – and not the ships, high-tech weaponry or aliens – is the core of why Starship Troopers is a science fiction story.
There are a number of hints as to the scientific nature of morality within the story, given appropriately enough in the two History and Moral Philosophy (H&MP) classes that Johnnie takes – the first in high school and the second in Officer Candidate School (OCS).
In Johnnie’s high school H&MP class, his teacher offers an explanation of why previous governments had trouble keeping parks and streets safe for its citizens.
They had no scientific theory of morals. They did have a theory of morals and they tried to live by it…but their theory was wrong—half of it fuzzy-headed wishful thinking, half of it rationalized charlatanry. (Troopers 93)
The teacher goes on to explain that humanity’s “moral sense” is a development of evolution, “an elaboration of the instinct to survive.”
The instinct to survive is human nature itself, and every aspect of our personalities derives from it. Anything that conflicts with the survival instinct acts sooner or later to eliminate the individual and thereby fails to show up in future generations. This truth is mathematically demonstrable, everywhere verifiable; it is the single eternal imperative controlling everything we do…. (93)
And in the next paragraph:
A scientifically verifiable theory of morals must be rooted in the individual’s instinct to survive—and nowhere else!—and must correctly describe the hierarchy of survival, note the motivations at each level, and resolve all conflicts.
We have such a theory now; we can solve any moral problem, on any level. (94)
In the OCS version of H&MP, Johnnie muses about the department responsible for the class:
When I was a kid I thought it was silly for the course to be in the science department. It was nothing like physics or chemistry; why wasn’t it over in the fuzzy studies where it belonged? The only reason I paid attention was because there were such lovely arguments. (140)
The “lovely arguments” are, of course, the primary investigative technique of the science. A couple pages later, upon stating in class that even one prisoner is enough reason to start or resume a war, Johnnie is charged by the instructor with proving his assertion.
Speak up, Mr. Rico. This is an exact science. You have made a mathematical statement; you must give proof…. Bring to class tomorrow a written proof, in symbolic logic, of your answer to my original question. I’ll give you a hint. See reference seven in today’s chapter. (142)
Later, the instructor tries to get Johnnie and his classmates to understand the logic behind why their particular system of government works. He again appeals to the science of morality by using an analogy from physical science:
Both for practical reasons and for mathematically verifiable moral reasons, authority and responsibility must be equal—else a balancing takes place as surely as current flows between points of unequal potential. To permit irresponsible authority is to sow disaster; to hold a man responsible for anything he does not control is to behave with blind idiocy. (145)
As intruders on these scenes, readers are not given the mathematical details of these logical proofs – just as in many science fiction stories readers are not given details about the engineering design of a faster-than-light engine or some other gadget. But the science of morality nonetheless works like those unexplained FTL engines to drive the characters (and readers) to new places.
Analysis of the book isn’t the only evidence that Heinlein was attempting to create a science of morality. In a letter to Robert McCrary – the reviewer who called Starship Troopers a “cult of violence” – Heinlein wrote:
“Starship Troopers” is one product of an inquiry as to whether or not a code of morals could be devised, without resorting to revealed religion or unproved assumptions, which would serve a viable human society…
The search for a basic moral code is a very old one. But most such inquiries in the past have started with revealed religion, or with implicit teleological assumptions, or axioms. I wanted to see what could be done (if anything) using the scientific method, starting from observed facts, proceeding from induction to deduction, and checking all deductions against the real world.
I bring this up first because this morality seems to me to be the core scientific conceit of the book – and yet I have not seen anyone else discuss it (beyond Patterson’s brief mention in the introduction). Both critics and supporters of the book refer to the sci-fi trappings of spaceships, battle suits, and insectoid aliens, but none of them – so far as I can tell – acknowledge, let alone address, the science of morality around which the actions of the characters revolve.
That’s not to say one needs to agree that a science of morality can be developed, or that if one were, that it would lead to the same conclusions at which Heinlein’s characters arrive. One need not say that the Force exists or that a warp drive can be created, either, yet the factual non-existence of those things does not render their speculative worlds pointless. As Heinlein told Zell, he is asking questions and trying to work out their implications. It’s perfectly fine to disagree with the answers, but such a disagreement should consider the question actually being asked, and not some other question that does not come into play.
It seems to me that the inability to see the science of morality as the main scientific element of Starship Troopers may be one of the biggest failures on the part of those who dislike the book.
Anyone who claims that Starship Troopers promotes fascism either has not read the book or is confused as to the definition of “fascism.”
To be clear about what fascism means, here are some definitions from prominent dictionaries:
- OED: An authoritarian and nationalistic system of government and social organization which emerged after the end of the First World War in 1918, and became a prominent force in European politics during the 1920s and 1930s, most notably in Italy and Germany. (later also) an extreme right-wing political ideology based on the principles underlying this system.
- M-W: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
- Random House: a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.
The government in Starship Troopers is not authoritarian, autocratic or nationalistic. It is explicitly a constitutional federation, with democratically elected officials.
We know about the constitutional federation in several ways, but most succinctly from the pledge that Johnnie and his fellow recruits take:
I swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the Federation… (Troopers 27)
A couple paragraphs before that, we learn that the Federation is more properly known as the Terran Federation (26). It is a world government, possibly an inter-world government, which explicitly means it cannot be “nationalistic” in any sense that we would use it in our own world. (There is at least one reference to “Terran nations” in Chapter 12, indicating that the Federation is something different than simply a worldwide country.)
Furthermore, it is worth noting that there is more than one governmental structure within Starship Troopers. When Johnnie’s father tries to convince Johnnie not to enlist, he argues, “This planet is now peaceful and happy and we enjoy good enough relations with other planets” – indicating that, even if those other planets are colonies, they have at least some sort of autonomous governing structure. We don’t know enough about the governmental systems of these colonial planets to make a judgment, but assuming they have something of a similar structure to Terra, they are unlikely to be fascist either.
Elsewhere, Johnnie indicates that education is subject to variation. When expounding on the necessity of having an H&MP class in OCS, he explains:
I decided that the course must be a repeat for the benefit of those of us (maybe a third) who had never had it in school. Over 20 per cent of my cadet class were not from Terra…and of the three-quarters or so from Terra, some were from associated territories and other places where H. & M. P. might not be taught. (Troopers 139)
This sort of variance in curriculum is not something one would expect to find in a fascist (autocratic, nationalistic, authoritarian) society, especially for a class that critics of the book claim is meant to indoctrinate students.
Perhaps the clearest statement of the democratic aspect of the Terran Federation comes from Major Reid, Johnnie’s instructor in the OCS version of H&MP:
Superficially, our system is only slightly different [from former systems of government]; we have democracy unlimited by race, color, creed, birth, wealth, sex, or conviction, and anyone may win sovereign power by a usually short and not too arduous term of service… (Troopers 145–146)
It’s this last bit that tends to bother people, the “not too arduous term of service,” leading to the charge of fascism. But service for enfranchisement is not the same thing as fascism by any means.
If the central scientific conceit of Starship Troopers is the science of morality, the central social conceit is the limiting of suffrage to those who have completed at least one term (two years) of Federal Service. In fact, within the context of the story, this social conceit is even presented as a result of the scientific conceit – the logical conclusion to which the science of morality leads.
James Gifford has given perhaps the most complete explanation of the prevailing view of what the term “Federal Service”8 means in Heinlein’s story. In his essay “The Nature of ‘Federal Service’ in Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers,” Gifford cites myriad passages from the book, which he argues provide a preponderance of evidence showing that the characters within the story seem to consider Federal Service equivalent to military service.
I believe that the evidence in the text of Starship Troopers is overwhelmingly in favor of the “exclusively military and military support” Federal Service. The only contrary evidence is sparse, vague and subject to varying interpretation.
However, much of the evidence Gifford brings forward is likewise “vague and subject to varying interpretation.” For example, the first piece of evidence he points to is an off-hand comment by Johnnie’s father about boys who “join up and wear a pretty uniform.” Gifford argues that this clearly points to military service, “since uniforms are not commonly worn by general government workers.” While it’s true that many government positions do not require uniforms, one need barely stretch their mind very far to conjure a list of government jobs that, in fact, do require uniforms: police, firefighters, postal workers, security personnel (e.g., the TSA), park rangers, and so forth. There are also quite a few jobs that, although they might not technically wear a uniform, would require a particular costume or style of dress, such as justices, certain types of agents (FBI, Secret Service, etc.), and government-employed medical staff, including medical examiners and personnel at a VA hospital. The idea that putting on a uniform only refers to military service is preposterous.
One of the problems with Gifford’s overall argument is that he fails to address the importance of context. In particular, he employs faulty generalization by arguing that specific conversations about military service limit the definition of a broader class of Federal Service. Faulty generalization is the sort of fallacy that makes the argument, “I only see blue jays, therefore all birds are blue jays.” Since the vast majority of conversations in Starship Troopers are about military service, or in the context of such service, Gifford makes the assumption that military service is the only form of Federal Service available.
To this point, another example from Gifford that doesn’t pass muster is around the dialogue between Carmencita and Carl just before they enter the recruiting office with Johnnie.
“Are you going to be a pilot, too?”
“Me?” Carl answered. “I’m no truck driver. You know me—Starside R&D, if they’ll have me. Electronics.”
“‘Truck driver’ indeed! I hope they stick you out on Pluto and let you freeze. No, I don’t— good luck!”
None of these positions are exclusively military, although their context has already given them a military cast. Carmen and Carl are clearly qualified for the positions they are seeking, so their decisions don’t require any justification; Juan is clearly aiming for pilot based on its glamour, and to impress Carmen. It’s doubtful that anyone signing up would choose a dull “civil service” position, so perhaps there is little to be gleaned from this passage.
Again, Gifford’s reasoning here is questionable. The pilot of a naval ship isn’t a military position? How many navies in the real world have non-military personnel piloting their ships? And as for research and development, military agencies like DARPA might beg to differ as to the military-ness of their researchers and developers. What baffles me, however, is that even while acknowledging the context of the military discussion, Gifford fails to understand the implications of it. Given that the discussion has “a military cast,” there is no reason to think that any position the three friends might discuss would be a “civil service” type of job. That does not mean such jobs do not exist, or that they do not constitute Federal Service.
Gifford likewise neglects context with respect to the recruiting office that the three friends visit, asking, “If Federal Service is largely ‘civil service,’ why is the recruiting officer a gaudily-decorated soldier (just as military recruiters are in our own day)?” Actually, there is no reason to assume that the office is a recruiting station for Federal Service in general. Gifford’s point that the recruiting office seems very much like a military recruiting office is easily explained using the most obvious cause: because it is a military recruiting office. But again, the specific case does not necessarily obviate a more general case. In the U.S., not only are there separate recruiting offices for the various branches of the military, but there are also different recruiting offices (or at least different recruiting procedures) for other branches of federal service, such as the FBI, the TSA, the Capitol Police, etc. If Federal Service extends beyond the military, why would anyone assume that it would be handled in a catch-all recruiting station with a single amputee veteran as the doorward? It’s much more likely that specific recruiting stations would exist for the different types of Federal Service available, including but not limited to military service.
Another big problem with Gifford’s arguments is that he does not address the possibility of bias and unreliable narration. Certainly, the Fleet Sergeant who recruits Johnnie and his friends considers military service (and in particular, the Mobile Infantry) to be equivalent with Federal Service. However, the recruiter is himself a veteran of the Mobile Infantry, and he clearly has a bias for that branch of service. In the U.S. Armed Forces, there is something of a professional animosity between the various branches, such as the Marines and the Navy. It is not a stretch at all to imagine a recruiter for the Marines, for example, implying that his or her branch offers the only true form of serving one’s country; however, such an implication would not diminish the objective reality that other forms of service exist.
I point this out because context and assumptions change the thrust of the “evidence” that Gifford and others provide for their argument that the only Federal Service in Starship Troopers is military service. The recruiter scoffing at other types of service as “glorified K.P.” or indicating that “service isn’t a kiddie camp; it’s either real military service, rough and dangerous even in peacetime…or a most unreasonable facsimile thereof” are expressions of personal belief about what it means to serve. The recruiter doubles down on his bias when he tells Johnnie the Mobile Infantry is “the only choice. The Mobile Infantry is the Army,” clearly dismissing even all other military positions – including the two he just recruited! – as being, somehow, non-military. His prejudice is clear, but that clarity does not equate to correctness.
More so than specific conversations, however, it is important to remember that this entire story is told through the pen of a Mobile Infantry grunt. What exactly is the frame of this story? Is it the running thoughts in Johnnie’s head as they occur? Possibly, though the flashbacks seem a bit too lengthy and discursive to be flashes of thought in the heat of battle. It seems more plausible to me that the frame is something of a memoir, the result of a career grunt reflecting back on his term of service. The first-person narrative comes from someone who has already experienced the events described in the book – including all the training, life lessons and eventual decision to “go career” in the Mobile Infantry. This lens gives literally the entire story a military bias.
Which means that of course it looks like military service is the only form of Federal Service. Johnnie the Narrator is as unreliably biased as his recruiter, his H&MP instructors, and the entire host of military personnel we encounter in his story. This story, told by a military man, is about a military man’s service in the military. As readers, we can only see through the lens that the narrator holds up for us, but that doesn’t mean the lens is clear or without flaws.
Given the context and biases in the story itself, and the logical problems of assuming the general case equals the specific case, I don’t find the argument that military service is the only form of Federal Service ultimately convincing. However, neither is there any textual support that other forms of Federal Service exist. Therefore, at best we can say that the evidence is inconclusive. It might be the case that Federal Service and military service (including auxiliary service) are the same thing, but it might also be the case that other forms of Federal Service exist. One would need the full text of the Constitution of the Terran Federation, along with any applicable laws and case history, to make a determination. Since those do not exist, the most we can say, from a textual perspective, is that we simply don’t know.
Every existing democratic country has some form of voting limits. As Major Reid, Johnnie’s OCS H&MP instructor, says:
All systems seek to achieve [a stable and benevolent government] by limiting franchise to those who are believed to have the wisdom to use it justly. I repeat ‘all systems’; even the so-called ‘unlimited democracies’ excluded from franchise not less than one-quarter of their populations by age, birth, poll tax, criminal record, or other. (Troopers 144)
This is certainly true in the U.S. today, where the federal franchise is limited by:
- Age – one must be 18 years old or older (Twenty-sixth Amendment)
- Citizenship – one must be a U.S. citizen
- Residency – one must live in one of the 50 states or Washington D.C. (people who live in territories like Puerto Rico or Guam don’t get to vote in federal elections)
- Criminal record – almost all states ban felons from voting, in some form or another
Historically, franchise was limited in other ways as well: Not until the Fifteenth Amendment was passed did voting rights extend to non-white males, and many women in the U.S. weren’t allowed to vote until the 1920s. The Twenty-fourth Amendment eliminated poll taxes, which while technically not a limit on franchise, effectively kept poor people from voting. In practice, even though “everyone” (who meets the criteria above) is allowed to vote today, there are still restrictions that functionally limit the exercise of franchise, such as various laws around voter identification, early access, etc.
Which is all to say that the idea of limiting franchise isn’t necessarily controversial; any controversy tends to be around the limits set, and the implementation of those limits.
Many readers misunderstand the way in which the franchise is limited in Starship Troopers. I’ve seen reviews that make claims like “the military is in charge” or “only soldiers can vote.” This is explicitly not the case. Even 18-year-old Johnnie is astute enough to know this. When pondering why one might “go career,” he muses,
…if I went career, I was just as far away from the privilege of voting as if I had never enrolled…because as long as you were still in uniform you weren’t entitled to vote. Which was the way it should be, of course… (Troopers 128)
This information comes straight out of the H&MP class. As Major Reid states about as explicitly as possible in the OCS version of the class, “You and I are not permitted to vote as long as we remain in the Service.” Only those who have completed at least two years of Federal Service can vote, and they can vote only when they are no longer part of that service.9 Furthermore, if they return to the service, they lose their ability to vote.
I find this setup to be conceptually akin to real-world proposals like compulsory national service and mandatory voting laws, both of which are based on the premise that citizenship and responsibility go hand in hand. The service for franchise model has the same philosophical premise, but the implementation is flipped: Instead of citizenship and franchise being universally available, and then conscripting citizens to perform certain functions, Heinlein employs an explicitly opt-in solution for Starship Troopers. In fact, in an unsent letter to Alice Dalgliesh, Heinlein reveals where he first got the idea:
This system [of franchise earned through voluntary service] portrayed was suggested to me by Mark Twain’s CURIOUS REPUBLIC OF GONDOR. I twisted Mr. Clemens’ notion around in an attempt to formulate a system in which political authority would be equated with political responsibility, and wound up with the notion of a “poll tax”10 based on voluntary service. I don’t know, of course, how it would actually work out; it has never been tried.
The idea of an opt-in system is essential to Heinlein’s conception. He was adamantly opposed to conscription, and reiterated his opposition in letters to Alice Dalgliesh, Lurton Blassingame, Poul Anderson, and others. More importantly, Heinlein described the idea of voluntary service to “George McC” as critically important to his story:
You see, I regard our present system of conscription with horror; I think it is morally wrong, equivalent to human slavery at its worst, disgustingly unjust. Furthermore, I believe it to be so atrociously inefficient that I think it will lead to our destruction as a people and as a nation…. That is the main thesis [of Starship Troopers]: professionalism vs conscription; the half dozen subordinate theses are all chosen in consonance with that one—it is the main tent, the center ring.
The second part of the formula, that suffrage need not (and should not) be universal goes back to the very conception of the story that became Starship Troopers. On a set of cards where he jotted down his rough notes, Heinlein wrote,
The unalienable rights of the Decl[aration] of Ind[ependence] (+ of [the] const[itution]) did not include franchise. That came later. The “right” to a voice + a vote is not a born right; it must be earned…. Granting fr[anchise] to all adults led directly to the notion that teenagers could out-vote pop in “family councils.”
Combined, the ideas that franchise is not a natural right and that it must be earned through voluntary service reflect back on the development of morality as a science. After one of Johnnie’s OCS H&MP classmates fails to guess why the franchise system of Starship Troopers works better than other historical systems, Major Reid goes on to explain as follows:
No guessing, please; this is exact science.… We have had enough guesses; I’ll state the obvious: Under our system every voter and officeholder is a man who has demonstrated through voluntary and difficult service that he places the welfare of the group ahead of personal advantage. (Troopers 144)
For Reid, and presumably many others in the Terran Federation, this demonstration of “voluntary and difficult service” is the correct and inexorable outcome of the problem of franchise as solved by a scientific approach to morality. The empirical test that proves the morality of the approach is simple: It works. As Major Reid summarizes:
Many complain but none rebel; personal freedom for all is greatest in history, laws are few, taxes are low, living standards are as high as productivity permits, crime is at its lowest ebb. (Troopers 144)
The moral foundation, as Major Reid explains, is that franchise equals force: “To vote is to wield authority; it is the supreme authority from which all other authority derives” (Troopers 145). In giving the franchise only to those who have voluntarily chosen Federal Service, the potential dangers of that authority are countered by responsibility. Maintaining this equilibrium is where the science of morality kicks in:
Both for practical reasons and for mathematically verifiable moral reasons, authority and responsibility must be equal—else a balancing takes place as surely as current flows between points of unequal potential. To permit irresponsible authority is to sow disaster; to hold a man responsible for anything he does not control is to behave with blind idiocy. (Troopers 145)
As I said above, the failure to see a relationship between the science of morality, Federal Service and limited franchise seems to be where people get hung up with this story. These are the scientific rules by which the world of Starship Troopers operates. Being angry at them is like being angry at Asimov’s concept of psychohistory or the existence of dæmons in His Dark Materials. One of the reasons why I like the story is that Heinlein develops these concepts extremely clearly, even given the brevity of the book, and extrapolates them in a reasonable manner within the world he creates.
Yeah, But Do You Agree With Him?
People seem to like or dislike books based on whether or not they “agree” with them. However, when discussing fiction, I’ve never really understood what it means to “agree” with a book. Does it mean that I hold the same opinions as the narrator? Does it mean that I approve of something one (or more) of the characters says or does? Does it mean that I support whatever it is I think the author is “trying to say” through the book? Insofar as to “agree” with a piece of fiction means any or all of these things, I have never read a story that I agree with completely.
Insofar as whether I believe a science of morality can be developed, I am skeptical. I’ve long held the belief that there probably exists some sort of objective morality, but that individuals probably are too isolated in time, space and mind to identify what it is. Crowd-sourcing morality to discover it objectively seems to me like a thinly veiled version of utilitarianism, which is subjective and is vulnerable to zeitgeist and mass hysteria, among other things.
As for limiting the franchise to Federal Service – even an expanded version of Federal Service that I believe Starship Troopers allows room for – there are certainly plenty of problems with the concept. For one thing, stipulating the premise that responsibility is required to offset authority, there are many ways to demonstrate responsibility other than through Federal Service. Responsibility has nothing to do with one’s particular job or employer, or even the level of discipline one receives. (As Major Reid says, “nor is it verifiable that military discipline makes a man self-disciplined once he is out.”) The idea that somehow the military, or some other branch of government service, somehow makes people more responsible, or that such service is somehow more inherently attractive to responsible people than any other job, is unverifiable at best.
Philosophically, I think Heinlein’s premise that franchise is not a natural right is also flawed. He mentions in his rough notes that “the unalienable rights of the Decl[aration] of Ind[ependence] (+ of [the] const[itution]) did not include franchise,” but that is inaccurate, and possibly even disingenuous. Representation was undoubtedly a significant reason for the American colonies to declare their independence (“No taxation without representation”), and two of the indictments against King George III addressed the lack of representation [emphasis added]:
- He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
- He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people.
While it is true that franchise is not listed among the unalienable rights in the preamble to the Declaration, inclusion of these two indictments clearly indicate that a right to have suitable representation is considered a corollary to those unalienable rights. Disenfranchisement seems to me to be the epitome of non-representation.
As for the Constitution, it is worth noting that Heinlein wrote Starship Troopers before the passage of the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-sixth amendments, which eliminates the poll tax and sets the eligible voting age at 18, respectively. That is to say that the premises he was working under are different than those which exist today. Whatever he thought about these amendments (he was alive when each was passed), the story might have been different had it been written later.
So, as far as it matters, I actually disagree with quite a bit of the arguments made by the characters in the story, as well as any conclusions that seem to be made by the author. I suppose you can say I disagree with the book as a whole.
But I still really like it – kind of like how Tim Minchin still really likes Christmas.
1. For anyone who has read both stories, ponder the implications of this juxtaposition: Heinlein wrote a book that has been repeatedly called right-wing, militaristic, fascist drivel (Starship Troopers) in the middle of planning his hippy-adored novel embracing 1960s free-love culture (Stranger in a Strange Land).
2. The ad – titled “Who Are The Heirs of Patrick Henry? STAND UP AND BE COUNTED!” – argued that without continued nuclear testing, the U.S. would fall behind the U.S.S.R. and China with regard to weapons capabilities, since each of those countries had vast tracts of land that could easily allow them to surreptitiously continue testing nuclear weapons and ICBMs without U.S. knowledge. This situation, the ad projected, would cause the delicate balance of peace maintained by a policy of mutually assured destruction to become imbalanced. To prevent this state of affairs, the Heinleins proposed that all Americans should be ready to face “higher taxes, harder work, [and] grim devotion.”
This was not the first time Heinlein had written about nuclear weapons. In the 1940s, shortly after World War II ended, he wrote a series of nine articles “intended to shed light on the post-Hiroshima age.” Three of those articles – “The Last Days of the United States,” “How to Be a Survivor” and “Pie from the Sky” – were included, along with the text of the 1958 ad, in Expanded Universe, a collection of previously uncollected pieces (Vol. 31 of the Virginia Edition).
3. Sometime in 1959 or 1960, Dalgliesh left Scribner’s. Nonetheless, Heinlein had no intention of returning to the publisher, feeling that he had been treated poorly not only by Dalgliesh, but by everyone up the editorial chain to the top of the publishing house. “Yes, I do know that Miss Dalgliesh is no longer there,” Heinlein wrote to Blassingame in September 1960. “But my irk is not alone at her; it includes Mr. Scribner himself.” Heinlein made it clear that the way it was handled hurt him more than the rejection of the story itself. Given his history of twelve books that had all had good sales (and were still selling), he felt that he should have been given the benefit of the doubt.
4. “Recalling your own words about the intent of the book, I told her that you were serious and that the scenes in the classroom of the officers’ training school were not meant as satire. This touched off the second review in which she refers to the attitude expressed in this portion of the book as ‘brain-washing.’”
While acknowledging his part in triggering a negative review, McMorris was quick to add that he believed the review would do nothing to hurt sales.
5. In a letter to Lurton Blassingame on June 18, 1958, Heinlein wrote:
John W. Campbell wrote a long letter agreeing that atomic tests should continue but not signing the P. H. letter—instead he expounded a complex theory about how democracies were innately incapable of making correct decisions. (He may be right but it’s the only game in town; I had to file him under “Fence Straddlers.”) (Patterson Vol. 2, Note 47 to Chapter 11)
6. Although Haldeman based The Forever War on his own wartime experiences in Vietnam, he admitted in a 1999 online interview that he had read Starship Troopers several times and that it had influenced his book.
7. Heinlein’s revelation of Johnnie’s ethnic background is subtly, and I think expertly, done. Called “Johnnie” from the start, the first use of a non-English name comes in Chapter 6, when his mother affectionately calls him “Juanito” in a letter. The nickname “Johnnie” is used again until Chapter 12, when Johnnie discovers that his father has enlisted in the Mobile Infantry as well, that we are reminded of his given name. “Juan!” his father calls, “Juan! Oh, my little Johnnie!”
Given his name Juan, it’s easy to assume that Johnnie has a Hispanic background. However, a couple pages before the end of the book that we learn that Tagalog is his native language, indicating that he is actually of Filipino descent.
This gradual revelation was intentional on Heinlein’s part. In fact, the dust cover for the first printing of the book mentioned the narrator’s name as “Juan Rico,” a revelation which Heinlein asked his publisher to remove in subsequent printings.
I intentionally withheld his name and country until the latter part of the book because he is a prototype for all boys from anywhere on the planet, regardless of race or nationality.… I went to considerable trouble to disguise his name and nationality until the reader had had time to become acquainted with him; therefore I think we might well leave his name off the blurb, if a second dust jacket printing is made.
8. In the original draft of the story titled Sky Soldier, Heinlein used the term “National Service,” but then changed it to “Federal Service” in his handwritten edits (OPUS133-2, p. 29). This may be another clue as to the explicitly non-nationalistic (i.e., non-fascist) nature of the political structure in the final novel.
9. While there is no explicit age restriction for voting stated in Starship Troopers, one must be at least 18 years old to sign up for Federal Service – which means the youngest voters are 20 years old.
10. Reference to Federal Service as a “poll tax” is made by Major Reid in Chapter 12: “The unique ‘poll tax’ that we must pay was unheard of [in the unlimited democracies].” (145)
Note: Where possible, excluding volumes of the Virginia Edition, links are added to where the work is available online or to where it can be purchased. For materials cited from The Heinlein Archives, I’ve included the file number where the referenced document may be found.
Gifford, James. “The Nature of ‘Federal Service’ in Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers.”
Heinlein, Robert A. Expanded Universe. Virginia Edition. Vol. 31. Quebec: Virginia Edition Publishing Company, 2008.
——. Grumbles from the Grave. Ed. Virginia Heinlein. New York: Del Ray Books, 1989.
——. Letter to Alice Dalgliesh. 22 Nov. 1958. TS. [CORR333-09]
——. Letter to Alice Dalgliesh. 3 Feb. 1959. TS. [CORR333-09]
——. Letter to George McC. 13 Feb. 1959. TS. [CORR333-09]
——. Letter to Robert McCrary. 9 Jan. 1960. TS. [opus133-1]
——. Letter to Tim Zell. 20 Jan. 1972. TS. [CORR328-10]
——. Letter to William B. McMorris. 7 Nov. 1959. TS. [CORR332b-08]
——. Sky Soldier. N.d. TS. The Heinlein Archives. [OPUS133-2]
——. Starship Troopers. Virginia Edition. Vol. 3. Virginia Edition Publishing Company, 2008.
Kirkus, Virginia. “Starship Troopers.” Kirkus Reviews. Nov. 5, 1959. kirkusreviews.com. Sept. 25, 2011.
Liptak, Andrew. “Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers & The Cold War.” Sept. 12, 2013.
——. “Robert Heinlein’s ‘Starship Troopers’ & The Cold War.” Kirkus Reviews. Sept. 12, 2013.
McMorris, William B. Letter to Robert Heinlein. 10 April 1959. TS. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, New York. [CORR332b-08]
McCrary, Robert. “Heinlein’s Latest Science-Fiction Novel Is the Cult of Violence.” San Francisco Sunday Chronicle. Nov. 8, 1959. [opus133-1]
——. Letter to Robert Heinlein. 4 Nov. 1959. TS. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, New York. [CORR332b-08]
Moorcock, Michael. “Starship Stormtroopers.” Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review. 1978. Republished at flag.blackened.net.
Patterson, William H., Jr. Robert A. Heinlein, In Dialogue with His Century: 1948 – 1988, The Man Who Learned Better. New York: Tor, 2014.
Zell, Tim. Letter to Robert Heinlein. 18 Jan. 1972. TS. The Church of All Worlds, St. Louis, Missouri. [CORR328-10]