I have commonly heard that people think the lead is Filipino.

I read Starship Troopers and recall the main character living in Buenos Aires before shipping out for military service.

I recall later in the book there's dialog between Juan and another marine. In typical Heinlein style, it's not perfectly clear who's saying what because he doesn't use the "so-and-so said" style. In this ambiguous conversation it's revealed that one of the two's native language is Tagalog. From context, I just assumed that was the other marine since Juan has gone the whole book appearing to be from Argentina.

Can someone cite textual evidence from the book or word of Heinlein (ideally both) to support the notion that Juan is Filipino?

  • 2
    Jaun's mother was in Buenos Aires for a while (and Juan thought she was there when the bugs destroyed it). Jul 28 '18 at 3:48

There is no ambiguity in the scene where it is revealed Juan Rico speaks Tagalog.

I added something to myself and Bennie said "What did you say?"

"Sorry, Bernado. Just an old saying in my own language....."

"But what language was it?"

"Tagalog. My native language."

(End of Chapter 13)

  • 1
    This is the right answer, I suggest linking to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tagalog_language for those that don't know what Tagalog is.
    – gowenfawr
    Jul 28 '18 at 3:38
  • 3
    There is also Word of God on the matter in a published essay, though I can't recall what book it is in just now. Jul 28 '18 at 3:47
  • 5
    @WilliamGrobman The same passage is in the shorter version Starship Soldier which was published as a two-part serial in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in Oct.-Nov. 1959, and you can read it at the Internet Archive: archive.org/stream/Fantasy_Science_Fiction_v017n05_1959-11_PDF/…
    – user14111
    Jul 28 '18 at 3:55
  • 13
    You should have included the earlier part of this conversation, where Juan Rico says that they should have named a ship after Ramon Magsaysay.
    – user14111
    Jul 28 '18 at 4:01
  • 4
    He also mentions learning about Ramon Magsaysay in class, in case someone wonders if he grew up elsewhere but spoke Tagalog at home.
    – Davislor
    Jul 28 '18 at 22:00

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