Superman never made any money for saving the world from Solomon Grundy

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Zillions of 'em!

Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers is the yin to his Stranger in a Strange Land's yang, the story of Johnnie Rico's redemption and self-actualization through military service and flogging. I liked the novel well enough when I was young, and in the seventies actually bought the Avalon Hill strategy game pictured on right. I never played the game much; those old-school cardboard-counter games required real dedication, what with all the pieces and their finicky setting-up and complex play calculations and whatnot. I didn't quite have what it took, and didn't have any friends that were nearly geeky enough to play with anyway.

I carry one lasting legacy from the novel; it is a quotation, and one that was immortalized on the game package. Towards the end of the story, Rico has advanced in rank and is commanding a platoon of high-tech infantry seeking to engage the insect-like aliens with whom Earth is at war. Exploring a network of tunnels, he sends a scout ahead to reconnoiter for the enemy. Shortly afterwards, the excited soldier comes running back, shouting his report on the enemy status:

Ever since I read this, it (or a slight variation) has become my stock reply whenever someone asks me "What's in there?" or "What can you see?", especially if the situation involves actual bugs, but often even when it does not. More and more often, people have no idea what I am talking about, but for me, this is a much catchier phrase than "I'll be back" or a dozen others you can think of.

Anyhoo, when I saw this box at Half-Price Books, it brought a lot of memories flooding back. But I still didn't buy the game. It has too many pieces. In fact... nah, that's too easy.

Here's the complete back cover. It's worth looking at close-up just for the pitch supposedly written by Heinlein himself.

Hey! I saw this game in the store and took pictures of it with my cool new phone and even emailed them to myself so I could put them in this blog post even though I am still out and about! How cool is that?


RAB said...

I honestly did laugh out loud.

As far as I can tell, that copy really genuinely was written by Heinlein. The typed original is in his archives, but besides that it's unmistakably in his style.

Walaka said...

Thanks, RAB!

It sounded like real Heinlein to me, too, but I didn't know about the online archives to help me check - now I do!