Top positive review
There is a good reason why John Steakley’s “Armor” still
Reviewed in the United States on April 30, 2016
There is a good reason why John Steakley’s “Armor” still, after all these years is a common sight on the shelves of your local bookstore. From what I know about Steakley, he intended Armor to be a Starship Troopers with better action scenes. Well, what we ended up with was something much, much more. I rarely feel compelled enough to write reviews, but I still feel so strongly about this book that I could no longer hold myself back. This is a book that I recommend to friends, and have on more than one occasion given as a gift. And it’s never disappointed.
Armor is really two stories. The story of Felix the scout who has the fortune to be the lone survivor on many missions in the war against ant-like creatures on the planet Banshee. The other part is the story of Jack Crow, who is basically a notorious and infamous space pirate, who by the way simply must have been the inspiration for the Jack Sparrow character from “Pirates of the Caribbean”; the similarities are simply too numerous to be coincidental.
While Steakley clearly achieved his goal of making a Starship Troopers with better action scenes, this book really shines in its clairvoyance. If Starship Troopers is World War II, then Armor could easily be Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s an examination of the lifelong trauma that can come from battle, the cluelessness of military leadership, and somehow, a pseudo space western on a planetary outpost called Sanction, which is tangentially related to the Ant War.
Steakley’s writing style is direct. The action is very kinetic, and it totally works for me because it really paints an authentic portrait of the sudden and seemingly random nature of violence. This book also has a transition in it that does seem jarring at first, but is totally justified.
If you are science fiction fan then this is a must read. In my opinion, it’s to the science fiction genre as “The Catcher in the Rye” or “To Kill A Mockingbird” is to general literature.