On Reading Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” and Baen Books


Cover art for Robert A. Heinlein’s novel “Starship Troopers”

I suppose I should leave this alone, especially after taking quite a bit of criticism, mainly from conservative authors, when I suggested that the left side of the science fiction industry was using the “Baen’s Bar” incident, which I chronicled HERE and HERE, to paint all conservative authors and just plain all conservatives with the same unjust and extremist brush.

However, I also acknowledged that at least some of the things said (or allegedly said, since the accuracy and validity of Jason Sanford’s report has come under dispute) on the forum could foment violence, and this is where I triggered quite a number of people. At this point, the matter has become too muddied for me to make sense of, so I’m going to stop commenting on something I’m not nearly as emotionally invested in as both Baen’s supporters and critics.

Though if indeed, some undisclosed competitor of Baen’s is using up their bag of dirty tricks in an attempt to deplatform a publisher that is just as friendly to conservative science fiction writers as it is to more liberal and socialist authors, it’s a pretty low deed.

All that said, I decided to sample some of Baen’s wares, since I do encourage more open-minded and free speech supporting book makers as much as I condemn wanton hate and violence (no matter which political/social ideology employs it).

That’s where the Baen Books website and specifically its Free Library comes in.

I don’t have an infinite budget for buying books, which is why I like public libraries so much. However, Baen offers both recent publications and older material as free downloads in the format of your choice (mine’s MOBI).

I read Timothy Zahn’s Hugo award winning novel Cobra decades ago and instantly recognized it when it appeared on Baen’s “free” page. I snatched that up along with an item listing 2021 free stories by multiple authors.

Once they appeared on my Kindle Fire, I looked inside the latter and discovered three items listed in the Table of Contents. They were authored by Robert E. Hampson, Aaron Michael Ritchey, and A.C. Haskins. I am totally unfamiliar with all of them, but that’s temporary.


Baen books logo.

Assuming Baen isn’t actually evil, and that they have historically and are currently publishing good material, I thought I owed it to them to sample it.

My reading list is full right now. I’m beta reading a friend’s new novelette as well as re-reading (after many decades) Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. I guess that practically makes me a maverick given what’s going on about Baen just now, plus Heinlein’s “Troopers” historically being considered a “controversial” novel.

However, I’ll get to my recently downloaded books write reviews of all of them (including “Troopers”) here once I get the chance, so stay tuned.

And as much as it may bug (no pun intended given “Troopers”) some folks that I do my level best to see a situation fairly (though I certainly have my biases), I’m not going to let the “triggered” opinions and angst of the left or the right of science fiction (or anything else) define me.

If you don’t like what I have to say, no one is forcing you to read it.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep reading and writing as I see fit. To coin a phrase, Let’s Make Science Fiction Fun Again!

Oh, if there is a concerted and deliberate plot to defame Baen and to kill it as a publisher, and that effort has resulted in me reading more of their books, I wonder if the alleged conspirators’ plan may have backfired somewhat? Maybe a lot of people will remember Baen exists now and start reading their books, too. Isn’t that what you call ironic?

Addendum: One more thing. Assuming there are individuals or an organization behind this whole mess, I think this is part of what they wanted. Disinviting Toni Weisskoft from WorldCon. Maybe someone’s been waiting for an opportunity to show intolerance toward a publisher who is tolerant of writers from the left and right.


Screenshot from the internet