Today I would like to talk about two topics, Science Fiction and the Military. Together we often see how the military is portrayed in the future, and at times it seems impossible to imagine a future without a military. But instead of talking about the; would’ve, should’ve, could’ve of science fiction as it relates to and is portrayed by Science Fiction, I will talk about how they came together.
Science Fiction and the military came together in the Author Robert A. Heinlein. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis on 1929, and served in the United State Navy until he was discharged due to a medical condition in 1934. In 1939 he began writing science fiction stories in order to pay the bills, and quickly became one of the most prolific writers in the field. During World War II he tried to return to active military status and was denied due to his medical condition. The rejection by the Navy to return him to active duty, never agreed with him, and wanting to due his part he did aeronautical engineering for the United States Navy at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Pennsylvania. During World War II he didn’t produce any science fiction, but after the war he started putting out more and more copy, stepping out of the short story market and breaking into novels.
Robert A. Heinlein gave us classics in the genre; Stranger in a Strange Land, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers, etc. In many of his books the military is nothing more than a side note, but in Starship Troopers the military takes center stage and it is in this book the combination of a master writer with his military background gives a plausible example of the military in the future. The book moreover gives a framework of what people should do in order to make the country strong and resilient; it also gives an example of what the country should do for the people.
It is a very sad day in American history when Science Fiction has lost the allure of the future, and become disconnected from the Military. They both need one another, and we need another shining example of an amalgamation of Military and Science Fiction.