When I was about 10, I read a fantasy/sci-fi book involving a male protagonist and his struggle against giant (alien-race?) bugs. Being 24 now, I barely remember anything about the book, but I know I enjoyed it immensely. I'd love to find that book again. I don't have much to give, but here is what I know:

  • I read it around or before 2003. I think it's very likely it was published in the 90's
  • It was a standard size (about 5" x 8") paper back book, probably about 150-200 pages in length
  • The cover was mostly yellow, and the front cover featured a man in a white helmet with laser gun, back to us, looking onward toward one or two giant bugs flying in front of him. My memory of it is hazy, but I know I would recognize the cover instantly if I saw it.
  • The target audience was probably preteen to mid-teen.

I know it's not much, but I'm hoping someone can help me out. Thanks!

  • 1
    This is hugely vague. Can you add any more details? Character names, anything about the technology used? – Möoz Sep 5 '16 at 22:40
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    This question is not too broad, due to the very specific cover. However, answers should probably include that aspect, otherwise there are far too many possibilities. – Adamant Sep 5 '16 at 22:52

With appropriate credit to @Merc Measley for suggesting Starship Troopers first...

Reading the OP's description of the cover (mostly yellow, man with laser gun, flying bugs), I immediately thought of the cover below. This is the edition I have - it's currently in a box in the garage :-)

It differs from the OP's description in a couple of ways: helmet is not white, soldier is facing the reader rather than facing away, but otherwise matches pretty well.

Starship Troopers Cover

(found at https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--S_36RLEN--/18lvwf9fvw4d4jpg.jpg via Google images)

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    Nice. Could you maybe edit this so it stands alone as an answer, though? – Adamant Sep 6 '16 at 3:54
  • The question clearly stated that the helmet was white, but that could just as easily be the OP's memory betraying him. There is a white bug, after all and the cover fits the description well enough! Also the length of roughly 250 pages fits the description. +1 for findig this! – Alexander Kosubek Sep 6 '16 at 6:44
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    Even if not the exact book looked for, Starship Troopers is definitely a classic worth the read. – Delioth Sep 6 '16 at 14:12

The description is still quite vague, however I have a strong feeling you're referring to Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

Here's an image of one of its covers:

Image of Ender's Game book cover
[src: http://www.sfreviews.net/large_covers/enders_game_ya.jpg]

Matching Points:

  • Male protagonist
  • "Struggles" against giant bugs (Alien race called the Buggers or Formics)
  • Published pre 90s
  • Audience is young-adult, however it has had a movie adaptation of the same name
  • Were you able to find a cover that matches? – Adamant Sep 5 '16 at 22:53
  • @Adamant No, however, the tone of all of the covers is very similar to the OP's description. – Möoz Sep 5 '16 at 23:00
  • I think Starship Troopers is the more likely match, however Ender's Game is definitely the better read. – aroth Sep 6 '16 at 14:00
  • I disagree. While his opponent is giant bugs he never really fights them as bugs--it's ship to ship combat. Starship troopers is mostly infantry combat. – Loren Pechtel Sep 6 '16 at 19:35

In addition to the other two answers, there's also David Gerold's A Matter For Men, the first book in his The War Against the Chtorr series.

It's from 1983, so definitely early enough; and does feature a male protaganist fighting against giant alien bugs. I also found this cover:


Which does seem to have a man in a space helmet, though I believe he's got a flamethrower rather than a laser gun. There's also this one, ably located by Dijkgraaf:


The book is also not targetted for a pre- or mid-teen audience, though.


Another possibility is Armor, by John Steakley (1984). The cover does not match the description, and the bugs are not flying, though. It is also geared towards a grown-up audience (or at least, late teen) given the highly violent and revolted tone of the book. It does however provide a good amount of struggling-with-bugs action (possibly even more so than Starship Trooper).

Armor cover 1st edition cover


I am not positive but this may be Starship Troopers.

It was published in 1959, not the 90's, but the story does revolve around a war between Earth and alien bugs.

There was a movie based of the novel released in 1997.

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    Would you like to know more? – rickster Sep 6 '16 at 7:25
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    I'm sorry but there was no movie based on Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Rather like there were no sequels to The Matrix. – bknights Sep 20 '16 at 23:42

This is an older book. But it fits with much of your description.

enter image description here

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    although the cover is a reasonable match (but the bug isn't flying ...), I think there's too much here that doesn't match. According to my memory and the Wikipedia description, there's not much correspondence between the Heinlein novel and the description above. The Martians aren't bug-like, and the struggle in the novel is mostly among humans, with the Martians involved mostly as a deus ex machina ... (Cover illustration also corresponds poorly with the novel ...) – Ben Bolker Sep 6 '16 at 14:51

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