[LMB] OT: Yankee in Space

Louann Miller domelouann at gmail.com
Sun Oct 24 15:14:33 BST 2021


On Sun, Oct 24, 2021 at 8:46 AM WILLIAM A WENRICH <wawenri at msn.com> wrote:

> There has been a lot of criticism on list about how SF has just been about
> Americans. How much of that is from the reader’s expectations? Juan Rico
> was not an American.
>

At the time, that was probably noteworthy and/or startling. I don't know
much about the initial fan reception of "Starship Troopers." But aside from
a passing mention that his parents sometimes talk Tagalog at home,  Rico
doesn't *act* Filipino in any way. He isn't even called Juan much in the
text; people who don't call him Rico mostly call him Johnnie. His worldview
is in every way exactly what you'd expect from a middle-class or
upper-middle class American white kid in the 1950s.
Heinlein was kind of trying to have it both ways, at least by modern
standards. He daringly incorporates the idea that the US is not the entire
planet Earth. But he doesn't push the envelope by  expecting his intended
readers to identify with anyone who was, in any way, not acting and
thinking like them. Doesn't make him a bad man, or a bad author. But like
Count Piotr, the science fiction community has long since left him in the
dust on a trail he helped mark out.


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