We've had one divisive big-time feature film, a handful of shitty sequels, a better-than-you'd-think animated series — but nothing has lived up to the jingoistic brilliance of Heinlein's military-sci-fi classic.
It's influence can be felt through modern science fiction, from the exoskeletal Armored Mobility Platforms in Avatar to the star-stranded grunts of Joe Haldeman's Forever War. It's one of the rare works of sci-fi to be endorsed by the Armed Forces. And it's bloody cool. But no one has yet to do justice to Starship Troopers itself.
Robert A. Heinlein's 1959 novel follows Juan Rico — a new recruit in the Terran Federation's Mobile Infantry — through enlistment, training, commission, and to the front lines of a war against the "bugs," an alien species called the Klendathu. Controversal, at times, for it's stance in favor of the military — only those who have served have the right to vote, because only veterans have proven by example that they can put aside self-interest and choose for the good of the many — Starship is also a rich YA adventure story, with it's fair share of stunning set pieces and techno-shimmery toys. (For more on the book itself, Josh Wimmer's got you covered.)