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Laura 'ad astra' Sack writes...

I finally got around to reading Starship Trooper. I'm not entirely clear how involved a story editor is on an overall series versus a producer, so please forgive me if I ask questions that don't apply...

Roughnecks was clearly based on the hoaky movie, though without the hoakiness and restoring some of the most glarring ommisions - most obviously the exosuits that made fighting with the bugs the least bit sensical. Other aspects of the book could enter in simply by virtue of the time to do so, like the Skinny's. Like in the movie; Rico, Dizzy and Carl (& Carmen) form the nucleous of characters instead of it just being Rico's story. Dizzy and Carl aren't dead. (In general the troopers have way better survival rates.) His father is dead. Dizzy is female as are many infantry troopers. (And there are probably a lot more male pilots than the none I remember in the book; just a mention that men were physically inferior for the job.) etc. The choices make sense- you can't build off of a franchise popularity by ignoring the franchise. Also, the book covers decades of Ricos life and development and often not in chronological order.

I still love the series but and think it was really great military storytelling (and I apologize for relying on years old memory here) but I don't really remember much of Heinlein's philosophy of citizenship and responsibility and, for lack of a better term (because he clearly thought Carmen qualified), 'manliness' coming up. Browsing through the archive I see that Heinlein is one of your favorite authors and that you 'tried to slide in a few' controversial ideas but there were limitations of formate that got in the way.
1- a clarification- it was the time and pace limitation of a 30minute show versus that of a prose novel and not controversy that was the main impediment, right?
2-if you can still recall at this point, where and when did the urge to slide in the ideas come up? specific events or in general.
3-a stretch: The idea to wound one trooper and have his son be sent in his place- was that all an attempt to capture a little of the interaction or at least themes between Rico and his father?
4-what are you personal thoughts on Heinlein's ideas?
5-do you have outlines or summaries of the concluding episodes that never were produced that could be posted here?

Greg responds...

1. Yes. But we did address the "citizenship" thing in the flashback episode to Rico's senior year in high school.

2. I think those ideas informed the series. Where we had room to spell them out, we did.

3. I don't think so. We just wanted to show the realities of a long war, while giving our characters great fodder. It felt right, mostly.

4. Some of them are appealing on some level. But mostly, I wouldn't want to live in that world.

5. I have scripts for sure. Maybe outlines. (Although, I don't have ANY of it HERE in my WB office.) Don't know about posting them. I'll think about it.

Response recorded on December 30, 2010