The Forever War

Written by: Joe Haldeman

The Forever War Book Cover
The Earth's leaders have drawn a line in the interstellar sand—despite the fact that the fierce alien enemy that they would oppose is inscrutable, unconquerable, and very far away. A reluctant conscript drafted into an elite Military unit, Private William Mandella has been propelled through space and time to fight in the distant thousand-year conflict; to perform his duties without rancor and even rise up through military ranks. Pvt. Mandella is willing to do whatever it takes to survive the ordeal and return home. But "home" may be even more terrifying than battle, because, thanks to the time dilation caused by space travel, Mandella is aging months while the Earth he left behind is aging centuries.
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The Forever War Reviews

Kristijan
The Forever war (Večiti rat) je jedan od klasika ratne SF literature. U sebi nosi dašak Starship Troopersa i atmosferu koja podseća na jedan od najboljih SF romana - The Dispossessed Ursule LeGuin. Interesantno je da su i The Forever War i The Dispossessed objavljeni davne 1974. godine, i da su oba romana osvojila nagrade Nebula, Locus i Hugo, koje u svakom slučaju daju "težinu" ovim romanima.
The Forever War, iako napisan pre 40 godina, a smešten delimično u našoj prošlosti (koja je u vreme pisa The Forever war (Večiti rat) je jedan od klasika ratne SF literature. U sebi nosi dašak Starship Troopersa i atmosferu koja podseća na jedan od najboljih SF romana - The Dispossessed Ursule LeGuin. Interesantno je da su i The Forever War i The Dispossessed objavljeni davne 1974. godine, i da su oba romana osvojila nagrade Nebula, Locus i Hugo, koje u svakom slučaju daju "težinu" ovim romanima.
The Forever War, iako napisan pre 40 godina, a smešten delimično u našoj prošlosti (koja je u vreme pisanja bila još neizvesna budućnost) govori o itekako savremenom, rekli bismo i večitom, problemu - pitanju smisla rata i ratovanja.
Haldeman je svoja sećanja i iskustva iz rata u Vijetnamu reflektovao u budućnost, progovorivši o večitoj ljudskoj potrebi za hlebom i igrama, ali ne bilo kakvim igrama, već onim krvavim igrama u kojima se ljudi igraju životima drugih ljudi. U takvim igrama obični ljudi su večiti pioni i uvek ih pomera neko drugi (onaj ko ima novac, položaj, moć,...), bez obzira na ljubav ili porodicu. U ratnim igrama uvek postoje oni koji profitiraju i oni koji gube, a svi ostaju promenjeni usled situacije u kojoj se nađu. A ta i takva promena nikada ne može biti dobra...

Miquel Codony
Guardaba muy buen recuerdo de cuando lo leí por primera vez, hace años, y ha soportado perfectamente la relectura. En parte se puede hacer el ejercicio, curioso, de leerlo como ucronía (la guerra interestelar comienza en 1997, al fin y al cabo) y usar ese marco de referencia para ajustar la evolución tecnológica que propone. Para nada es “cifi militar”, pues casi no hay batallas y, en realidad, los soldados se pasan buena parte de su tiempo esperando, aburriéndose o en peligro mortal pero impote Guardaba muy buen recuerdo de cuando lo leí por primera vez, hace años, y ha soportado perfectamente la relectura. En parte se puede hacer el ejercicio, curioso, de leerlo como ucronía (la guerra interestelar comienza en 1997, al fin y al cabo) y usar ese marco de referencia para ajustar la evolución tecnológica que propone. Para nada es “cifi militar”, pues casi no hay batallas y, en realidad, los soldados se pasan buena parte de su tiempo esperando, aburriéndose o en peligro mortal pero impotentes. En ese sentido es perfecto como crítica a la guerra y a la mentalidad militar, aúnque a medida que la trama progresa y se despliegan las consecuencias de la “dilatación temporal” (maravilloso novum) derivada de tener que viajar a velocidades cercanas a las de la luz se amplía su horizonte especulativo.

En algunos aspectos acusa su edad, pero eso para nada le resta calidad. Muy recomendable y clásico indisputable.
Krbo
Fascinantno!

(GR me malo, malo udavi s prijedlogom da pročitam neki klasik žanra/podžanra ne znajući kako sam to davno apsolvirao. No barem me podsjeti da ažuriram portfolio)

1974? Ne, nikada ne bih to rekao, ovo je svježe ko jučer s pijace.

Svaka nagrada koju je roman dobio je 200% zaslužena i trebao ih je dobiti još 20.

Nevjerojatno dobro opisan besmisao rata - svih ratova s očito posebnom jačinom osobnih iskustava bivšeg vojnika (pisca Haldemana)

Posebno efektno istaknuto uporabom SF-a i paradoksa Fascinantno!

(GR me malo, malo udavi s prijedlogom da pročitam neki klasik žanra/podžanra ne znajući kako sam to davno apsolvirao. No barem me podsjeti da ažuriram portfolio)

1974? Ne, nikada ne bih to rekao, ovo je svježe ko jučer s pijace.

Svaka nagrada koju je roman dobio je 200% zaslužena i trebao ih je dobiti još 20.

Nevjerojatno dobro opisan besmisao rata - svih ratova s očito posebnom jačinom osobnih iskustava bivšeg vojnika (pisca Haldemana)

Posebno efektno istaknuto uporabom SF-a i paradoksa vremenske dilatacije.
Obvezno djelo opće kulture, nema tu veze što se spominju neki alieni- samo figura.

Čitati najmanje dva puta - prvi put na mah, a drugi s razumijevanjem :)
(uživati oba i sve ostala čitanja)
The Black Dahlia :: A Good Man in Africa :: دکتر نون زنش را بیشتر از مصدق دوست دارد :: Cómo ser una mujer y no morir en el intento :: El siglo de las luces
Charles
No spoilers here, just a review of the book:
What struck me instantly, was John Scalzi’s introduction, where he admits to not having read the book before he wrote Old Man's War, which has been fairly and unfairly compared to this one for similar themes. Scalzi says The Forever War is a classic for two reasons: “It speaks to the time in which the novel first appears,” and it “keeps speaking to readers outside its time, because what’s in the book touches on something that never goes away, or at the No spoilers here, just a review of the book:
What struck me instantly, was John Scalzi’s introduction, where he admits to not having read the book before he wrote Old Man's War, which has been fairly and unfairly compared to this one for similar themes. Scalzi says The Forever War is a classic for two reasons: “It speaks to the time in which the novel first appears,” and it “keeps speaking to readers outside its time, because what’s in the book touches on something that never goes away, or at the very least, keeps coming around.”
I absolutely agree. This is classic SF, and not just classic military SF. It has a universal theme—everyman drafted into military service, sent to fight a war he doesn’t understand, in faraway places he doesn’t want to go, against aliens he can't comprehend, with little chance of survival. And then, if by sheer luck he does survive, he will become an anachronism, a being trying to adjust to a society that has changed so dramatically during his absence that he becomes the alien, a stranger in a strange land.
I was somewhat taken aback by the beginning of the novel, which I felt dragged. But by page 19, he had me. And he took me compellingly along until I had to force myself to stop reading and get some sleep, until the next morning, when I eagerly picked the book up again.
The battle scenes, it goes without saying, are well done. Yes, it’s good military SF. He knows and shows what soldiers are like. But the science part, where the author explores the effects of wormhole travel, are brilliant, and, for the time the book was written, original. Due to time dilation during his spaceship travels, for the traveler, only ten years will pass, but on earth, seven hundred years will pass.
And everything will change there. In Haldeman’s forward to the 2009 edition, he notes that the middle section of the book, a novella called “You Can Never go Back,” was cut from the 1974 edition, and finally put back into this one. In that section, the theme of coming home to a dystopian world the forever war has brought upon society, is fully developed.
And he manages to include an emotionally charged love story (another similarity to Scalzi’s later work). It is a thoroughly satisfying, powerful experience.
Bookish
Who is William Mandalla? Throughout the first two (out of three) sections of the book, I found myself being frustrated by this question. I felt like the author wasn't giving me enough to really get to know this guy. He's a bit of a perv, a bit of homophobe (but that doesn't seem like the right word .. perhaps homo-sensitive?). He's a draftee and wouldn't have volunteered in the Army given a choice but did he consider testing those choices. I didn't really get a sense that he did. It was only as Who is William Mandalla? Throughout the first two (out of three) sections of the book, I found myself being frustrated by this question. I felt like the author wasn't giving me enough to really get to know this guy. He's a bit of a perv, a bit of homophobe (but that doesn't seem like the right word .. perhaps homo-sensitive?). He's a draftee and wouldn't have volunteered in the Army given a choice but did he consider testing those choices. I didn't really get a sense that he did. It was only as the third section started that I felt Mandalla's voice come through the narration rather than what was increasingly starting to sound robotic.

Who are the Taurans? I still have no earthly idea. Are we meant to know? Is the idea of subsuming their identity to nothingness meant to refer to how we treat 'the enemy'? Perhaps.

The novel is pretty tightly constructed and does a good job of showing us its vision of a futuristic Earth through the centuries, and how our social and cultural mores, and even biological impulses, might be turned about, this way and that, depending on who's in charge. And the novel does throw some fun, and repulsive, ideas out there. Just on the subject of sexuality, I found myself being disturbed by the expectation of sexual promiscuity (and it being a legal requirement) in female soldiers towards their male counterparts. Why on earth would you regulate sexuality in such a way? What does this mean in practical terms? How is this enforceable? I had to take a breather during a couple of instances where this resonated strongly with how female soldiers are (and have been) treated in the armed forces. Homosexuality is absent in the equation. Apparently the male soldiers can't be rotated to service one another. Shame. A little further on in the novel, Haldeman changes things up when the then current regime enforces homosexuality as the normal standard and treats heterosexuality as deviant behaviour. The spectrum of behaviour, and what is acceptable and isn't, continues to evolve but the novels treatment of sexuality, or more accurately, how society views sexuality is almost satirical at times, and it is this evolution and challenging of mores towards the end that I found quite amusing.

The element of humour is not absent, and the armed forces receives a heavy dose of irony for its practices. In fact, the novel is incredibly relevant when thinking back on how the army, just as one example, has used morally bankrupt (and almost Machiavellian) devices to retain its numbers including the 'subjective' treatment of time. The Iraq War alone could check the boxes Haldeman presumably draws on from his Vietnam experiences. Perhaps what surprised me most about The Forever War is how Haldeman manages to sketch the practice of war as the interconnected 'thing' it really is: how we treat one another in society generally, how we view 'the other' and who we choose to box into these categories, and what we are prepared to do to them either actively or passively. All this and much more.

However, I have to say that what stopped this novel from being truly amazing for me is that I wanted more with respect to its protagonist, and the Taurans - 'the enemy'.
Samuel Vega
When I started reading The Forever War I was kind of skeptical about whether or not it would be good. I tend to do this with all the books that everyone says are classics. It’s not that I don’t enjoy classic books, but a lot of time I think everyone gets hung up on the fact that it is a classic, rather than simply enjoying it because of the awesome story. I’m happy to say that The Forever War did not disappoint. In fact, I would suggest that you stop reading this review right now and try the boo When I started reading The Forever War I was kind of skeptical about whether or not it would be good. I tend to do this with all the books that everyone says are classics. It’s not that I don’t enjoy classic books, but a lot of time I think everyone gets hung up on the fact that it is a classic, rather than simply enjoying it because of the awesome story. I’m happy to say that The Forever War did not disappoint. In fact, I would suggest that you stop reading this review right now and try the book out for yourself.

Here’s the gist of the story: a man named William Mandella becomes a soldier to fight in a war that is hardly understood against an unknown enemy. That itself is highly dangerous, but what makes this more intriguing is that the war is fought in deep space, leaving the men and women at the mercy of time and relativity. So as Mandella experiences his months in space, many years are passing on Earth.

Due to my dedication to not spoil books for potential readers, I don’t want to say anymore than that in regards to the story. If you want to know more, READ THE BOOK. That is really the whole point of my rambling... to get you to read the book. Of course, I suppose you could just go read some other reviews that would be more than happy to give you spoilers.

Anyways...

The Forever War has many strong points, but I want to simply give you two that I think stand out among all the rest. First off, this story is not about some super human badass who is killing aliens with his bare hands and all that nonsense. No. What you have is a regular soldier, do some soldiery things, and surviving. That is not to say that the things that he does are not impressive. They ARE impressive. But Mandella is never an untouchable super hero who survives conveniently rather than reasonably. He is always vulnerable and real. I know that this story has a direct connection to Haldeman’s experience with Vietnam, which is more than likely the reason for the genuineness of Mandella.

The second thing that I really liked about this book is the progression of time. Einstein’s relativity theory is interesting on its own. It being used as a mechanic in this story made the book phenomenal. Mandella had to deal with the oddity of a future he never lived through. In a way, this leaves him feeling alien amongst his own kind. It gives the reader a unique perspective that never failed to keep me interested in the book.

As for the bad, I really can only say one thing. Sometimes, in the midst of all the Sci-Fi mumbling of technology and military terminology, I just became a bit lost. It didn’t happen often and I am not saying it to deter anyone from reading the book, but it did happen. It just kind of made me say, “what the hell did I just read?” But that was just a few paragraphs throughout book. Nothing to fret over.

This book is an experience of war that pulls together violent fights, corruption of power, and the hope for love. It is a great read; one that I hope survives the test of time, just as Mandella did.
Nicholas Karpuk
The early chapters of The Forever War really concerned me. Though well written, it had a distinct flavor of military fetishism that's carried on through sci fi into the concept of a Space Marine, the grizzled, thick-necked bastard who populates a ton of modern fiction, especially video games.

Only after Mandella returns home does the real heart of the book fully come out. The time dilation of his time spent fighting out among the stars has taken him out of sync with his own world, and he comes ba The early chapters of The Forever War really concerned me. Though well written, it had a distinct flavor of military fetishism that's carried on through sci fi into the concept of a Space Marine, the grizzled, thick-necked bastard who populates a ton of modern fiction, especially video games.

Only after Mandella returns home does the real heart of the book fully come out. The time dilation of his time spent fighting out among the stars has taken him out of sync with his own world, and he comes back into place with rules and culture unrecognizable to him. It's hard not to think of it in terms of a Vietnam metaphor. What really impressed me was how effectively it deflated all the military machismo many science fiction stories bring in. All the high tech gadgets and advance war gear didn't make human life any less disposable in war.

Wikipedia suggests that Haldeman was trying to take a jab at stories like Starship Troopers, which became the standard for science fiction with roughneck tough-talkers and stuff blowing up real good (I've only seen the movie, but I'm going to make a lazy assumption here). It seems like an understandable desire for a man who actually served in Vietnam and probably took a dim view of work that glorified combat after that.

While the book is pretty brutal and presents a downward spiral as war carries Mandella through the centuries, I found the ending a rather odd sidestep from the inevitable tragic conclusion. It's just a brief summary of a happy ending. It seemed like it would have been better to end on an unsure note or really address the aftermath of a man who's lived with war for so long.

Science fiction doesn't age gracefully, and a few of the wrinkles show up very clearly here. Since it was the 70's, everyone assumed crime would just go up and up until Robocops roamed the streets delivering violent justice. The attitude towards homosexuals is also quaint in that it's progressive but uncomfortably so, and a little weird in its discussion of a hyper-gay future that was necessary to avoid overpopulation.

But the bulk holds up surprisingly well. When I started, I thought this had inspired a generation of badass space fighters, but as it turns out, it was more a criticism.
Beth
The Forever War won the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel in 1975. In the introduction to the 1997 edition, Haldeman writes that an early version of the book was rejected by 18 publishers until St. Martin’s Press accepted it: "'Pretty good book,' was the usual reaction, 'but nobody wants to read a science fiction novel about Vietnam.'... Twenty-five years later, most young readers don’t even see the parallels between The Forever War and the seemingly endless one we were involved in at the ti The Forever War won the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel in 1975. In the introduction to the 1997 edition, Haldeman writes that an early version of the book was rejected by 18 publishers until St. Martin’s Press accepted it: "'Pretty good book,' was the usual reaction, 'but nobody wants to read a science fiction novel about Vietnam.'... Twenty-five years later, most young readers don’t even see the parallels between The Forever War and the seemingly endless one we were involved in at the time, and that's okay. It’s about Vietnam because that’s the war the author was in. But mainly it's about war, about soldiers, and about the reasons we think we need them."

Private William Mandella has been drafted into an elite military unit to fight in an interstellar conflict with a planet near Aldebaran, which is, as he says, "in the constellation Taurus, but since Aldebaranian is a little hard to handle, they named the enemy 'Tauran.'" When the surviving members of the unit are sent home, 26 years have passed on Earth, during which the world has become much more violent and strict rationing has been implemented. The Earth government here is definitely a dystopian one where human society has changed significantly as the government has used psychological conditioning (one of the most disturbing scenes in the book deals with this), propaganda and external problems to manipulate the population. Mandella and his girlfriend both reenlist for lack of any better options, and soon after that the couple is separated by different assignments.

The origins of the war aren’t revealed until the end of the book, so I’ll just say that Haldeman really captures the randomness of war and its tendency to perpetuate itself. This is a genuinely powerful and disturbing book.

Jay Allan did an excellent review at Tor:
http://www.tor.com/2016/01/20/the-pro...
Oscar
Nada más empezar ‘La guerra interminable’, conocemos al soldado William Mandella, un estudiante de física que es reclutado para luchar contra los taurinos, una raza alienígena que se ha convertido en una amenaza para la humanidad. Los seres humanos están empezando a expandirse por el espacio gracias al descubrimiento de los colapsares, especie de agujeros de gusano que permiten viajar instantáneamente. La novela se inicia con el típico entrenamiento militar a los nuevos reclutas para su inmediat Nada más empezar ‘La guerra interminable’, conocemos al soldado William Mandella, un estudiante de física que es reclutado para luchar contra los taurinos, una raza alienígena que se ha convertido en una amenaza para la humanidad. Los seres humanos están empezando a expandirse por el espacio gracias al descubrimiento de los colapsares, especie de agujeros de gusano que permiten viajar instantáneamente. La novela se inicia con el típico entrenamiento militar a los nuevos reclutas para su inmediata entrada en combate.

Pero los entrenamientos y batallas, aunque presentes, son una mera excusa que Haldeman utiliza para exponernos lo realmente importante, el miedo y la lucha interior de los soldados ante la guerra, y su posterior retorno como veteranos a una sociedad alienante. Esto se magnifica aún más en la novela, ya que la dilatación temporal en cada viaje colapsar, que para los implicados supone días o meses, en tiempo real se trata de años. Cada regreso a la Tierra tras la batalla, implica una evolución tecnológica y social que contrasta claramente frente a la mentalidad de Mandella, el narrador y protagonista. Y este aspecto es el que más me ha interesado del libro y donde la historia brilla con luz propia. Poco a poco asistimos, a través de los ojos de Mandella, a la sinrazón de la guerra.

‘La guerra interminable’ es todo un clásico de la ciencia ficción. Haldeman, bajo un trasfondo militarista, con un ritmo rápido y ameno, nos ofrece una visión pesimista de la humanidad, y una reflexión sobre la naturaleza del ser humano y el absurdo de la guerra.
Wanda
The cover reports that it was hard to get this book published because it was thought to refer to the Vietnam War. It is equally applicable to the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts and so retains it's relevance today.

I liked that it dealt more with the human details and less with the actual military tactics. My only complaint is that I had figured out the ending very soon into the novel.
Jack
After finishing this book, I realized that the well-known links between the themes and issues in this book and those of the Vietnam War, based on Haldeman's experience in that war, are slowly being relegated to a mere intellectual exercise, as the veterans of that war, as well as those who lived during that war and its long aftermath, are dying off. What was once first-hand experience to many readers will be assigned its place next to classics like All Quiet on the Western Front. A bit of melanc After finishing this book, I realized that the well-known links between the themes and issues in this book and those of the Vietnam War, based on Haldeman's experience in that war, are slowly being relegated to a mere intellectual exercise, as the veterans of that war, as well as those who lived during that war and its long aftermath, are dying off. What was once first-hand experience to many readers will be assigned its place next to classics like All Quiet on the Western Front. A bit of melancholy to end the day.
Zedsdead
The brightest and best that the Earth have to offer are drafted into the army to wage pan-galactic war against the only known sapient extraterrestrial species. Thanks to relativity and near-light-speed travel troop transports, the helpless conscripts keep bounding forward in time. The Forever War follows one physicist/trooper across centuries of warfare and loss, waste and stupidity.

It's not poetry but it is wonderfully well-written with lots of deliciously hard science. Haldeman uses the time d The brightest and best that the Earth have to offer are drafted into the army to wage pan-galactic war against the only known sapient extraterrestrial species. Thanks to relativity and near-light-speed travel troop transports, the helpless conscripts keep bounding forward in time. The Forever War follows one physicist/trooper across centuries of warfare and loss, waste and stupidity.

It's not poetry but it is wonderfully well-written with lots of deliciously hard science. Haldeman uses the time dilation to envision over 1000 years of social evolution from a more or less modern perspective. It's absorbing.

(view spoiler)[In the early stages of the war, it's mentioned in passing that casual sex among the male and female troops is all but mandatory. Which was jarring until I considered that within the parameters of the story, STDs were not a concern, pregnancy was impossible, and there was no stigma, no slut-shaming. Why WOULDN'T the hormone-filled not-long-for-this-world rank and file get busy at every opportunity?

A few decades later, the Earth government is pushing homosexuality HARD as a means of population control. A third of the planet is gay. Crime is at an all time high but at least straight-gay relations have never been better.

A few more centuries pass and not only is everyone gay (save the unusually long-lived protagonist and a few "uncurables") but childbirth and parenthood have been entirely replaced with laboratory "quickening" and creche government-raising. Those who can't let go of their heterosexuality are institutionalized for life, as are those who exhibit "sociopathy" by refusing to volunteer for combat when asked. The protagonist is referred to as the "old queer" by resentful subordinates and his fellow officers magnanimously allow that it's not his fault he's straight. "Besides" says one, "it's not like you're eating babies." So generous. Shades of White Man's Burden here, addressing social injustice by simply reversing it and waving it around. It's effective. (hide spoiler)]

Forever War is riddled with antiwar and antimilitary sentiment; impressively, Haldeman is able to pull this off without being preachy or reductive. He just tells a smart, thoughtful story and the message shines through. Awesome book.
Addendum: It occurred to me that in Haldeman's distant future where 100% of the population is gay and creche-born, there should probably be a pronounced rivalry between the sexes.

There are significant physiological differences between males and females. There are psychological and developmental differences. Social differences. That's a lot of dividers.

Haldeman strips out everything that ties them together. There's no longer any sexual attraction between males and females, no intersex family units. They have no children together. Males have no sisters or mothers, females have no sons or brothers. All male-female bonds have been severed. They share nothing but the planet on which they both live. Two very different tribes.

Seems like a recipe for friction and competition, if not outright conflict.
Mark Oppenlander
William Mandella is a highly intelligent, physically fit college Physics student who is recruited to fight in an interstellar war against the Taurans, a race that humans have never seen, but that have attacked an Earth ship out of the blue. Mandella and his fellow recruits are put through a rigorous training, first on Earth and then in space, and then thrown into battle against the Taurans on a planet many light years away. Due to time dilation, they return to Earth many years later only to find William Mandella is a highly intelligent, physically fit college Physics student who is recruited to fight in an interstellar war against the Taurans, a race that humans have never seen, but that have attacked an Earth ship out of the blue. Mandella and his fellow recruits are put through a rigorous training, first on Earth and then in space, and then thrown into battle against the Taurans on a planet many light years away. Due to time dilation, they return to Earth many years later only to find that the culture has changed drastically and they don't fit in well at all. After a time, Mandella signs up to fight again and goes back out to the vast reaches of interstellar space. But how strange will his home planet appear the next time he gets back?

This Hugo-award winning novel started a little slow for me. The first section was fine, but it read like so many other pieces of military-SF that I have read and, like so many others, seemed to owe a great debt to "Starship Troopers." But the further I got into the book, the better I liked it (and the further Haldeman got away from Heinlein). The time displacement that Mandella experiences creates fascinating scenarios and it is his "future shock" when confronted with change that really drives the themes and ideas of the book. As a reader, we are left to consider what human evolution is, can or should be. For example, the first time Mandella returns home, Earth is a more gritty and violent place where individuals hire personal bodyguards for protection and where homosexuality is being encouraged, in part to reduce population growth. Later societies reduce the uniqueness of the individual, a strategy which eventually leads to a race of clones. Is this progress? On the other hand, is perpetual war against an unseen enemy any better?

Haldeman wrote this book in 1974 in reaction or response to the Vietnam War (he himself was a veteran of that conflict and a Purple Heart recipient) and I expected to find some portions of this narrative dated. And perhaps, at some minor levels, it is out of date. I didn't really notice all that much, because the larger philosophical questions remain so relevant. And Haldeman's cautionary note about those war-like types among us who would exploit our fears to create a state of perpetual anxiety and conflict seems as relevant today as it did in the Watergate era. The nameless others may have changed from Asian communists to Middle Eastern extremists, but the rhetoric remains the same. Haldeman's title is oddly prescient.

Also, in case it is not clear from what I've said so far, this book is actually a well-written story. The action and the plot clip along pretty well, and overall it feels very tight. The edition I read clocks in at a mere 240 pages and Haldeman packs a lot of story into that space. This is a book of mind-bending ideas wrapped in great storytelling. And isn't that what science fiction should be?
Sheila López
Bueno, pues no. La guerra interminable, no es interminable. Aunque debido a la dilatación temporal y a los saltos interestelares si pasan siglos.
La guerra contra los taurinos llega un día en el que se termina. De hecho, en este libro, Haldeman nos va dejando ver de la absurdez de las guerras.
Una historia amena, que incluso se hace corta. Para aquellos que buscan acción abstenerse. O al menos cambiad de idea, porqué no va por ahí el libro.
De hecho, a mí particularmente, me ha parecido mucho más Bueno, pues no. La guerra interminable, no es interminable. Aunque debido a la dilatación temporal y a los saltos interestelares si pasan siglos.
La guerra contra los taurinos llega un día en el que se termina. De hecho, en este libro, Haldeman nos va dejando ver de la absurdez de las guerras.
Una historia amena, que incluso se hace corta. Para aquellos que buscan acción abstenerse. O al menos cambiad de idea, porqué no va por ahí el libro.
De hecho, a mí particularmente, me ha parecido mucho más interesante la sociedad que nos presentaba tras cada “regreso a casa” que la guerra en sí. Entre salto de colapsar y salto, la Tierra y la humanidad envejecen, mientras Mandella permanece “joven”. Y este precisamente es el punto más fuerte del libro.
Es admirable como Haldeman, retrata los avances tecnológicos de la Tierra (no olvidamos que es un libro que se escribió en 1974), tal que en un momento me llega a recordar a Matrix; los avances en ciencia y medicina, llegando a poder reproducirse extremidades de la nada y recrear cualquier órgano, llegando incluso en último momento a reproducirse la humanidad artificialmente a través de clones.
También habla sobre cuestiones controvertidas, como la superpoblación de la Tierra y sus consecuencias, por lo que en el libro se crea una adaptabilidad de la raza humana como mínima curiosa; una homosexualidad impulsada por el gobierno a modo de control de la natalidad.
Tampoco olvidar el mensaje de trasfondo de “La Guerra Interminable”, todas las guerras son absurdas. Punto y final.
“Me sentía disgustado con la raza humana, asqueado por el ejército y horrorizado anta la perspectiva de soportarme a mí mismo durante todo un siglo... Afortunadamente siempre se podía recurrir al lavado de cerebro”.

Resumiendo, ¿Recomendaría este libro? Sí, por qué no? Un space-opera muy entretenido y curioso. Viajes en el tiempo, naves espaciales, una sociedad distopica y también un poco de diversión.

“Así podría haber sido nuestro mundo si los hombres lo hubieran tratado con más compasión que codicía”.
Tina
I really enjoyed this one. It straddled the line between fun action and serious social criticism, and the pairing of the two prevented it from being either mindless fun or didactic argument. Particular aspects I enjoyed: the gender-neutral army - it never once came across to me that the author thought this was a bad thing (eg. the women weren't constantly dying or failing or something that would suggest that the equal society was illogical or a ridiculous concept for our future); the time-relati I really enjoyed this one. It straddled the line between fun action and serious social criticism, and the pairing of the two prevented it from being either mindless fun or didactic argument. Particular aspects I enjoyed: the gender-neutral army - it never once came across to me that the author thought this was a bad thing (eg. the women weren't constantly dying or failing or something that would suggest that the equal society was illogical or a ridiculous concept for our future); the time-relativity concept; and the different depictions of Earth. I really only had a problem with one thing, which was the stereotypical depiction of gay men. True, the author included an accepting future for the world, and even a world where being gay was "normal" and straight was taboo, but even then the gay guys were shown as effeminate and the narrator was still put off. He says he's "tolerant", but to me it was as if deep-down he was uncomfortable. I guess no one has to be comfortable with all kinds of sexuality, but I didn't enjoy the (often, not always) stereotypical manner the gay dudes were depicted. Maybe it was just William's character's opinion, but it happened too many times for it to be accidental that every gay dude was flamboyant or "fluttered his hands", William's perspective or not.
The prose was pretty standard - nothing to write home about, but it was fast-paced and the descriptions of future weapons/technology were fairly easy to understand.

Basically this book is a lot like Starship Troopers (the movie) but if replace the pro-military theme with one of time-relativity angst.
Kristel
The Forever War, published 1974, a science fiction of interstellar war with the Taurens, winner of the Nebula Award, Hugo and Locus. It is also on the npr-100 best SF. The main character is a physics student. He has been sent to war because the smartest are being sent. He does not want to be a soldier. The author wrote this in 1974 probably based on his own Vietnam experience. I was a young adult during this time and I think that the book really does reflect that war. The people going to war, no The Forever War, published 1974, a science fiction of interstellar war with the Taurens, winner of the Nebula Award, Hugo and Locus. It is also on the npr-100 best SF. The main character is a physics student. He has been sent to war because the smartest are being sent. He does not want to be a soldier. The author wrote this in 1974 probably based on his own Vietnam experience. I was a young adult during this time and I think that the book really does reflect that war. The people going to war, not wanting to go, no one really knowing why they are fighting and when they get a chance to leave the war, they no longer fit in the world because everything has changed so much. As with many SF books, I was impressed how the author writing in the seventies pictures the world in the 21st Century and beyond. The author not only captured the feeling of going to war for a young person, fighting far from home and not fitting in the world anymore without being preachy, he also captures some of the changing aspects of the current culture. I give this book 4 stars. Quite a bit of sexual content. Some compare this book to Heinlein's Starship Troopers but besides being interstellar war, the similarity stops there. Starship Troopers are volunteers and war is glorified. Forever War are draftees and war is not glorified.
Benjamin Nitschke
I read this book before I read Starship Troopers and came from a background of reading lots of Star Trek novels. I was immediately impressed with the way the story dealt with conventional warfare on a galatic scale dealing with limitations of no FTL travel. As a key plot-device of the story, it was very interesting to read SciFi about a war where there simply was no way to cross the vast expanse of space without going faster than light, while suffering from the disorienting effects of Special Re I read this book before I read Starship Troopers and came from a background of reading lots of Star Trek novels. I was immediately impressed with the way the story dealt with conventional warfare on a galatic scale dealing with limitations of no FTL travel. As a key plot-device of the story, it was very interesting to read SciFi about a war where there simply was no way to cross the vast expanse of space without going faster than light, while suffering from the disorienting effects of Special Relativity.

The story also has great social commentary about something the soliders who fought in the Vietnam War suffered from. It's not often that we see tales (conventional or SciFi) that deals with this subject. In The Forever War, the protagonist goes off to fight an alien threat. Due to the affect of time dilation caused by the near light-speed travel, after a single battle, he returns to a culture completely alien to him. Considering he's only been in a single battle, and feeling estranged by how much has changed and all the people he's lost, he heads back off to war. Each time he returns he's more ancient to the people he is fighting for, and more out of place. It's an awesome story element that I feel is not explored enough in SciFi or other war stories.

This is an excellent book and should be on the must-read list for any SciFi lover.
Florin Purluca
Sunt la a doua citire. Nu doar pentru ca e una din cele mai bune carti SF despre razboi, ci mai curand pentru ca am vrut sa alin dezamagirea dupa romanul Conexiunea PSI. Fara dubii, RE ramane de departe cel mai bun roman al autorului. Restul (pe care le-am citit eu) sunt cu mult mai slabe. Sper sa mai gasesc ceva scris de Haldeman care sa-mi placa la fel de mult ca RE. De fapt, imi amintesc, am mai citit ceva care mi-a lasat o impresie buna. O proza scurta publicata in antologiile Dozois. Tot de Sunt la a doua citire. Nu doar pentru ca e una din cele mai bune carti SF despre razboi, ci mai curand pentru ca am vrut sa alin dezamagirea dupa romanul Conexiunea PSI. Fara dubii, RE ramane de departe cel mai bun roman al autorului. Restul (pe care le-am citit eu) sunt cu mult mai slabe. Sper sa mai gasesc ceva scris de Haldeman care sa-mi placa la fel de mult ca RE. De fapt, imi amintesc, am mai citit ceva care mi-a lasat o impresie buna. O proza scurta publicata in antologiile Dozois. Tot despre razboi, cam aceeasi reteta. Pana una, alta ma scald in imposibilitatea de a pricepe de ce exista diferente valorice literar-artistice atat de evidente intre scrierile lui. Am sa mai caut alte traduceri. Vedem ce descopar si revin cu impresii. Desi, ca sa fiu franc, greu de crezut ca va egala RE.
P.S. Pacea Eterna e un soi de extindere a RE. Sau un soi de de alt soi. Aproape - spun aproape - cum se obisnueste pe la revistele de BD de afara - variant cover. In fapt, aceeasi Marie, alta palarie.
Cam asta ar fi, in mare, despre Razboiul Etern. Evident, si la lectura secunda, 5 stele.
Tomislav
second read - 07 February 2007 - This is the story of a reluctant soldier drafted into a conflict with the alien Taurans. Haldeman works through the consequences of time dilation on a single human lifetime which stretches over 1200 years of conflict. During that time, the Earth left behind goes through enormous cultural changes. For example, William Mandella's heterosexuality comes to be seen as perversion in an upsidedown homosexual world. But the real point is the folly of war, even as the sto second read - 07 February 2007 - This is the story of a reluctant soldier drafted into a conflict with the alien Taurans. Haldeman works through the consequences of time dilation on a single human lifetime which stretches over 1200 years of conflict. During that time, the Earth left behind goes through enormous cultural changes. For example, William Mandella's heterosexuality comes to be seen as perversion in an upsidedown homosexual world. But the real point is the folly of war, even as the story tension is due to the combat scenes.

first read - 25 February 1980 - Back in 1972, I was a teenager, and Analog Magazine was my first exposure to adult science fiction. The very first copy of Analog I bought back then started with the Joe Haldeman story "Hero". That and other stories were put together to form this novel, which then won the 1976 Hugo. Finally, I have read the entire story, as a novel.
Jan Priddy
This is one of the great ones. I read it early on in my SF explorations. There is humor and smart science here.

This was the book I could hand to only a few students—the ones who needed to be convinced about reading. A hilarious and misguided attempt to improve military morale usually got them laughing within the first few pages. From there, time dilation and society responding to overpopulation, lost resources, and war lead to fascinating, absurd, and often simultaneously intelligent and amusin This is one of the great ones. I read it early on in my SF explorations. There is humor and smart science here.

This was the book I could hand to only a few students—the ones who needed to be convinced about reading. A hilarious and misguided attempt to improve military morale usually got them laughing within the first few pages. From there, time dilation and society responding to overpopulation, lost resources, and war lead to fascinating, absurd, and often simultaneously intelligent and amusing struggles for the point of view character. The novel ends well, just so you know.

NOTE: In newer editions, the author reintroduced some passages that were cut in the award-winning version I first read. My son warned me against reading the re-release as having more violence than I would likely have a taste for. I read Forever Peace and was far less impressed.
Erik Graff
Although I've read thousands of science fiction novels and collections, there are very, very few I'd give the highest rating of. Joe Haldeman's The Forever War is one of those few.

Haldeman, a wounded veteran, has written a novel about the Vietnam war and all other modern wars from the perspective of an American infantryman. Primarily set at the far reaches of our solar system, referenced to a literally alien enemy, this story manages to capture the truth of our military incursions into SE Asia w Although I've read thousands of science fiction novels and collections, there are very, very few I'd give the highest rating of. Joe Haldeman's The Forever War is one of those few.

Haldeman, a wounded veteran, has written a novel about the Vietnam war and all other modern wars from the perspective of an American infantryman. Primarily set at the far reaches of our solar system, referenced to a literally alien enemy, this story manages to capture the truth of our military incursions into SE Asia without, in my case, setting off emotional alarms, without alienating me from the perspective of the American protagonist. Instead, I entirely sympathize with Mandella and his comrades and learn another aspect, a deeper one, of disgust at the machinations of governments.

Parts of this novel originally appeared in Analog magazine in 1972, '73 and '74.
James
Fighting a war, so far away that each tour of duty for you means centuries have passed back on Earth. On your way to the front your enemy has advanced their military technology far ahead of your expectations. Then, on your return home to find that everybody you left behind has gone, society has changed dramatically and you have to try and learn to re-integrate again. What else is left for you, but to sign up for another tour of duty...

The Forever War is a book of its time, influenced heavily by Fighting a war, so far away that each tour of duty for you means centuries have passed back on Earth. On your way to the front your enemy has advanced their military technology far ahead of your expectations. Then, on your return home to find that everybody you left behind has gone, society has changed dramatically and you have to try and learn to re-integrate again. What else is left for you, but to sign up for another tour of duty...

The Forever War is a book of its time, influenced heavily by the author's time in Vietnam, and I suspect a lot of the impact that led to its Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards has waned. Underneath that though, is a good, well thought out, novel exploring the social issues caused by the time differences and the ultimate purposelessness of war itself.
Enorax
Quite nice. Science-fiction story overall not that original, i.e. war between humans and alien species throughout the universe, using stargates, and a conclusion that can be expected after reading the first part. But the point of view is nice : first person, soldier perspective (always enjoyed that stuff since the Black Company). There are interesting parts on the evolution of Earth and mankind. The evolutions described are enjoyable (heterosexuality is a crime). It's nice to have a constantly-c Quite nice. Science-fiction story overall not that original, i.e. war between humans and alien species throughout the universe, using stargates, and a conclusion that can be expected after reading the first part. But the point of view is nice : first person, soldier perspective (always enjoyed that stuff since the Black Company). There are interesting parts on the evolution of Earth and mankind. The evolutions described are enjoyable (heterosexuality is a crime). It's nice to have a constantly-changing sci-fic environment, instead of a fixed future-like setting. Detailed scientific aspects (about space/time travelling) that readers with scientific backgrounds should appreciate, as well as fans of military stories. Conclusion: recommended if you enjoy good science-fiction.
AndrewP
Listed as a classic of Science Fiction and after reading it I can see why. It's a good book that works on several levels. You could read it as a straight space opera action story and it would be great. But, the real story here is how humanity changes over long periods of time. The main protagonist is sent on several missions that involve faster than light travel, but in accordance with relativity, the few months he spends in transit amount to centuries back home due to time dilation. A fascinati Listed as a classic of Science Fiction and after reading it I can see why. It's a good book that works on several levels. You could read it as a straight space opera action story and it would be great. But, the real story here is how humanity changes over long periods of time. The main protagonist is sent on several missions that involve faster than light travel, but in accordance with relativity, the few months he spends in transit amount to centuries back home due to time dilation. A fascinating story and well worth the read as it's an example of that perfect Science Fiction story that blends hard speculative science with the human element.
Katiarai
I remember reading this in high school and was absolutely fascinated about the temporal aspect of traveling faster than light. Very few authors I had read had really played up this aspect in military sci-fi, instead allowing for their versions of FTL to almost exist outside of time. I quite honestly think that was the most interesting part of the whole book. It just made you stop and think. What if you went away to protect a society and way of life that you believed only to come back and to find I remember reading this in high school and was absolutely fascinated about the temporal aspect of traveling faster than light. Very few authors I had read had really played up this aspect in military sci-fi, instead allowing for their versions of FTL to almost exist outside of time. I quite honestly think that was the most interesting part of the whole book. It just made you stop and think. What if you went away to protect a society and way of life that you believed only to come back and to find that it had all changed and left you and your fellow mates behind and forgotten you?
Josh
Wow! What can I say? Best book that I've read this year, I think. Very emotional, very powerful. It's right up there with Johnny Got His gun in terms of books that show the horrors of war.

Also, normally I wouldn't have liked the ending, but because of all of the horror William faces in his thousand years of war, I suppose he earned that ending. I am also glad that I decided to read Starship Troopers immediately prior reading this, as this was an excellent point-counterpoint combo.

I can't prais Wow! What can I say? Best book that I've read this year, I think. Very emotional, very powerful. It's right up there with Johnny Got His gun in terms of books that show the horrors of war.

Also, normally I wouldn't have liked the ending, but because of all of the horror William faces in his thousand years of war, I suppose he earned that ending. I am also glad that I decided to read Starship Troopers immediately prior reading this, as this was an excellent point-counterpoint combo.

I can't praise this book enough! A strong 5/5!
bsc
I had not read this sci-fi classic until now. I enjoyed it...a bit more than Starship Troopers. I have not read much military sci-fi but this has been the best of the lot (much better than the cheesy Old Man's War). I did expect it to be more explicit in the details due to what Haldeman experienced in Vietnam, but it was surprisingly tame. However, it still accomplishes its goal of showing the horrors of war, and in no way makes it look attractive (as Starship Troopers did).
Frank
Excellent military versus future history saga of a soldier traveling thru many centuries battling an extraterrestrial enemy.
The scenes I enjoyed best were the changes on earth over the years. The middle portion of the book was edited out originally, in which we glimpse in depth earth in the short term future, much of which hits home.
Timothy Boyd
Exceptional story and narrative of the veterans of a future war. Haldeman does an excellent job bring his personal military and wartime experiences into the personalities of the characters of the book. As a veteran myself I could identify with much of the attitudes and actions of the characters. Fantastic Sifi, I look forward to reading the 2 sequels. Highly recommended
Steph
What I learned from reading my first sci-fi book in English, is to never do that again, because English isn't my native language and I had a lot of trouble with certain words or descriptions that kind of disrupted my reading process. But otherwise I think this is a really important book about the senselessness of war, about what war does to soldiers and the sci-fi metaphor works really well. The soldiers travel through space and for every few months in space, decades pass on earth, alienating th What I learned from reading my first sci-fi book in English, is to never do that again, because English isn't my native language and I had a lot of trouble with certain words or descriptions that kind of disrupted my reading process. But otherwise I think this is a really important book about the senselessness of war, about what war does to soldiers and the sci-fi metaphor works really well. The soldiers travel through space and for every few months in space, decades pass on earth, alienating the soldiers even more when they return home and don't recognize the planet and the customes anymore. The most interesting thing for me was the time span that passed, starting in the 1990s and ending in the year 3143, and the main character is technically over 1100 years old since he was in space for the entire duration of the war. Earth and other new inhabitable planets changed a lot during that time and it was really intriguing to see these new changes in humans, in customs, in the government, basically a whole new world, the author created, with issues most of which are real fears nowadays and the author took them to the extreme and showed how the world could deal with these issues, like over population and food shortage. I probably missed a lot because of said language barrier and my missing sci-fi vocabulary but all in all it was a really interesting read.
Hai Quan
Some books just don't hold up well. While it redeemed itself in the end, the novel's misogynistic beginnings irked me. Sure, women are "equals" in the army now, but hell - they're also expected to put out every night. What?

Eventually, hetero-based society becomes a homo-based society, but the reader of the audio version of the book manages to pull out a good number of flimsy stereotypes, so that irked as well. While I suppose the concept was forward-thinking for its time, ultimately the question Some books just don't hold up well. While it redeemed itself in the end, the novel's misogynistic beginnings irked me. Sure, women are "equals" in the army now, but hell - they're also expected to put out every night. What?

Eventually, hetero-based society becomes a homo-based society, but the reader of the audio version of the book manages to pull out a good number of flimsy stereotypes, so that irked as well. While I suppose the concept was forward-thinking for its time, ultimately the question of sexuality and society and what drives humans to couple was... lost in favor of ... shock? Not sure.

I guess one thing that really did come through this novel was the complete absurdity of war. Centuries of war for no outcome other than economic development. Sounds too familiar. I suppose this is the human condition Haldeman was exploring. As a society we don't seem to think much of sacrificing our best and brightest for little more than markers on a map.

Glad I can check it off my "too read" list, but while it made me think a bit, it didn't change me.
Frances
I know that there's the rest of the Forever War series, and I'm honestly not super interested in reading the rest of them at this point.

This book, I want to preserve in amber and keep in my heart. I LOVED every visit back to the "present" and the ending was a delight and honestly totally unexpected.

It was clear he was writing this immediately after his experiences in the Vietnam War - you could easily see where it was coming from, the casual brutality, the confusion, boredom, and violence that I know that there's the rest of the Forever War series, and I'm honestly not super interested in reading the rest of them at this point.

This book, I want to preserve in amber and keep in my heart. I LOVED every visit back to the "present" and the ending was a delight and honestly totally unexpected.

It was clear he was writing this immediately after his experiences in the Vietnam War - you could easily see where it was coming from, the casual brutality, the confusion, boredom, and violence that he had to desensitize himself to. I'm still trying to decide how I feel about how he handled sexuality. Regardless, he was at least extremely self-aware.
David
Picked this one up on sale, greatly enjoyed it. Can definitely pick up on some of the theme of the time he wrote it (The Vietnam War) and its futility. Greatly enjoyed the author's travel through relative time thanks to time dilation to show how society might have 'evolved,' or in many cases, devolved. Just as enjoyable in 2017 as I imagine it was in 1975, which isn't always an easy feat for science fiction,
Juan
Libro interesante. casi que es una introducción a la ciencia ficción al tratar muchos temas, sin enfocarse en uno en específico. Una gran crítica a la tierra de Vietnam y sobretodo a las guerras en general. Vale la pena leerlo.
Por otro lado, el final me deja un sinsabor. Tiene unos aspecto que no me gustaron para nada pero otro detalle emocionante para un romántico.
D.J. Molles
Very good. But I found it very melancholy. I believe that is what the author intended, though, so I can't knock him for that. If I remember correctly, Haldeman had some wartime experiences in Vietnam, and this book definitely feels like he was exorcising some demons.
Ellen
I took a Science Fiction writing class from Joe Haldeman back at MIT, which is why I've been meaning to read this book for the last 15 years. (The class was one of my all time favorites.) I wish I'd read it back then, because I have some questions for him.

Haldeman, by the way, is a Viet Nam vet, and I think this is critical information for reading the book, which he wrote in the 70's, shortly after his tour was over, I believe.

The book follows William Mandala, a physics student who's been cons I took a Science Fiction writing class from Joe Haldeman back at MIT, which is why I've been meaning to read this book for the last 15 years. (The class was one of my all time favorites.) I wish I'd read it back then, because I have some questions for him.

Haldeman, by the way, is a Viet Nam vet, and I think this is critical information for reading the book, which he wrote in the 70's, shortly after his tour was over, I believe.

The book follows William Mandala, a physics student who's been conscripted into a war light years away against the mysterious Taurans (who, at the beginning of the book, no one was ever actually seen.) His (initially 3, then 6, then 10-year) tour of duty lasts for hundreds of Earth years due to time-dilation, allowing him to witness portions of the entire war and also to bear witness to the vast societal changes that take place over the time span.

The book is clearly about the dangers of facism and the fruitlessness of war. I realized by the end of the book, that what bothered me most about the book - that he minimally, if at all, described any of the characters and was incredibly stingy with personal information about any of the characters, including the narrator - was the point of the book. That in a government beaurocracy that relies on war for it's economy (at least the type of war that is described in the book), there is nothing precious about life and individual people are incredibly expendible - a concept that is very difficult for me to fully comprehend, given my proclivites to "catch and release" most bugs in my house and feel guilty when I spray ants in my kitchen. By the end of the book, Haldeman's taken the concept of the expendibility of the individual even further, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone who might read it.

Haldeman also explores the ways in which both sex and sexuality can be controlled by the government by including the concepts of government-imposed sexual promiscuity as a method of troop morale (at one point stating that female soldiers are not allowed to say "No," - but there are some internal inconstencies with this) and government imposed homosexuality as a means of population control. I also had to accept that the book was written in the 70's and had, I felt, a somewhat naive (or perhaps, more accurately, 70's-centric) view of sex and sexuality in general (i.e., there's no discussion of rape or STDs, or the obvious consequences of either of these). However, I found both these concepts thought-provoking, in at least, a sort of, "would that really work and why or why not" kind of way.
LindaJ^
The futility and stupidity of war is a key theme here. Drafted upon his graduation from college where he was a physics major, William Mandella finds himself training to do battle with an enemy no one has yet seen but who is said to have wiped out a few passenger space ships. William and his companions - male and female - are taught how to use their spacesuits. Quite a few die during training and then they are landed on a planet where they are the first earthlings to encounter alien life. They wi The futility and stupidity of war is a key theme here. Drafted upon his graduation from college where he was a physics major, William Mandella finds himself training to do battle with an enemy no one has yet seen but who is said to have wiped out a few passenger space ships. William and his companions - male and female - are taught how to use their spacesuits. Quite a few die during training and then they are landed on a planet where they are the first earthlings to encounter alien life. They wipe out the bear-like, non-sentient, animals and then the Tarrant. They are the first soldiers to return to earth (a couple of hundred years later due to relativity) and find it much changed. It is not safe, even for soldiers, to go around without a bodyguard. And the economy is bust. Things turn out real bad and William and his friend Marygay re-up. They had been told they would be officers and be assigned as trainers - well, that was only half true. They are soon back in combat and then back to a planet called Heaven. Upon recovering from battle wounds, it is back into the field with once again enhanced weapons and some from the middle ages. William is still in his 20s physically but in "real" time, he's hundreds of years old and quite out of touch with the new soldiers.

Ultimately, a few of the soldiers survive and return to find things once again dramatically changed.

This is a good book, especially knowing that it was written by a Vietnam vet basically as a protest. Yes, it is science fiction, and good science fiction, but at its heart its an anti-war book (or at least anti-stupid war book) that mimics the Vietnam vet experience. If you were a young person during the Vietnam era, you, in particular, will likely appreciate it from that standpoint. You will remember how the population changed during that time to become anti-war and to take out its sentiments on returning vets by treating them quite poorly. You will also know how stupid that war was and how stupid were the policies being carried out. And then you may think about how we got into the current wars in the Middle East ....

An excellent piece of political satire in the guise of a very good science fiction novel.
wally
apparently this is the first from haldeman for me...although i do know that there are stories i know i've read that i cannot find listed here...forget the exact title/author...so it is possible i have read something from him...just can't remember.

i saw this one listed in the october 2014 popular mechanic article "science fiction for everyone"...writers there (seemed like more than one) listed stories...this made the list, along with others, some i read and enjoyed, others that i have since read. apparently this is the first from haldeman for me...although i do know that there are stories i know i've read that i cannot find listed here...forget the exact title/author...so it is possible i have read something from him...just can't remember.

i saw this one listed in the october 2014 popular mechanic article "science fiction for everyone"...writers there (seemed like more than one) listed stories...this made the list, along with others, some i read and enjoyed, others that i have since read...and have/have not enjoyed. i liked the short description for this one, "catch-22"...with...something...special weapons? space weapons? it was the catch-22 part that appealed to me, been there, done that, and we never do get off the playground so here i am.

has a foreword from someone, "dear joe"...someone who writes, who wrote old man's war at the time (2005, when he met joe/gay) the writer's sole novel...someone named scalzi...i think a guy...reading it now...

onward and upward

update, finished, 7 dec 14
good story, a story of war between planets...and the science here seems like the real thing...my willing suspension of disbelief did not require much effort to keep reading. i'm reading, thinking, science fiction can pretty much do anything...the imagination is the limit...within limits, but this story doesn't exceed the limits, at least in the sense i mean. at one point in the story i asked myself who the heck started this thing? you got that galactic yacht club out there cruising space...a ship is fired on...something, something...escalates from there.

this story in no way resembles heller's catch-22...so i dunno what the popular science writer was thinking when he/she inserted the line or two in their article "science fiction for everyone." yes, it does have some elements that are a kind of catch-22...and the hero keeps fighting much as yosarrian was asked to keep flying...bout it, though.

i'm sure i'll look for more from haldeman to read...there's information after the story that tells of numerous awards...so on so forth. onward and upward.
Mark
It's not hard to see why this was a popular book in the immediate post-Vietnam era. Its messaging is not overly subtle in this respect. War changes not only the individual, but society, and one tragedy of it is that things get to a point where the fighting soldier might only understand the army, which would be preferable to going back to a world that he or she does not understand.

There are no characters in this book except for the narrator. I mean, there are other distinct individuals with names It's not hard to see why this was a popular book in the immediate post-Vietnam era. Its messaging is not overly subtle in this respect. War changes not only the individual, but society, and one tragedy of it is that things get to a point where the fighting soldier might only understand the army, which would be preferable to going back to a world that he or she does not understand.

There are no characters in this book except for the narrator. I mean, there are other distinct individuals with names, but none of them have any discernible personality and most all of them are sitting around for the express purpose of dying. Sometimes they might be there to juxtapose the world the narrator remembers with a changing society. This strikes me as intentional. After all, war has a way of making all that kind of stuff not really mattering. Who the soldiers were and who they are doesn't really matter if they're just fodder for some higher-ups to hijack the world economy and keep the mill running to grind the brightest into dust. There's no glory, no returning in triumph, just the next campaign. It's pointless.

The book is about war, but there is not a whole lot in the way of fighting. This is in line what any fictional book about war that's worth its salt will show; for the most part, it's not nonstop fighting, but lots of boredom punctuated by moments of activity. All the imagined future science fiction mumbo jumbo is just a vehicle to tell that story a different way. It's not a very deep look into anything. You don't know the whole company or even much of it. It's just one guy, who is basically alone. Aren't we all?

Not a book without its faults, though I liked it all the same. I don't think there can be too many Vietnam allegories out there; maybe eventually someone will realize to never do this again. We're not quite there yet, but maybe, as the book says, we are getting there. Well, maybe.

Tagged with Maryland vanity because there is a visit to Columbia, which is as weird in the future as it is in the present.
Jessika
This book was highly recommended to me by a dear friend a while ago, and despite all of his praise, I admit, I was pretty hesitant to read this. I'm not big on science fiction. With that being said, I thought this was a great book. Once I had happily settled into the book, I was able to sort of gloss over the technical jargon because Haldeman writes in such a way that the reader always knows what is going on, even if he/she doesn't know what a collapsar or a stasis field is. I liked the anti-war This book was highly recommended to me by a dear friend a while ago, and despite all of his praise, I admit, I was pretty hesitant to read this. I'm not big on science fiction. With that being said, I thought this was a great book. Once I had happily settled into the book, I was able to sort of gloss over the technical jargon because Haldeman writes in such a way that the reader always knows what is going on, even if he/she doesn't know what a collapsar or a stasis field is. I liked the anti-war feel of this book--not radical, but still to the point, Haldeman does an excellent job portraying the futility of modern warfare. The reader can definitely tell that Haldeman is a Vietnam vet and that he doesn't think much of those in charge of the army, but none of it is disrespectful or unjustified. There were a few times when I caught myself humming, "1, 2, 3, what are we fighting for?" Not only that, but the concepts surrounding the "forever war" offer quite a bit of food for thought. What would happen if you left Earth to fight a war and travel through space for only a few years relative to you, while hundreds of years are passing by at home? How much would Earth change? Would you be able to adapt upon returning? What would happen to the loved ones you had to leave--would you ever see them alive again? My favorite part of the book, though, was the character of William Mandella--he was such a good character. The first person narration made this easy reading, and there were a few times when I found Mandella to be pretty funny. Haldeman develops him very well, and by the end of the novel, the reader is left feeling the frustrations, fears and all the emotions that Mandella goes through. I will say, though, that none of the other characters were quite as well-developed, but Mandella alone makes up for the rest of them, and it could very well be attributed to the fact that the novel was told in first person. Overall, a great book that offers much to think about, even for those who aren't big fans of science fiction.
Griffinstein
So coming into this book I had heard from 3 different sources that it was okay, that it was good, and that it was very good, so expectations for me were non-existent. Initially I was not that impressed, seemed to be a bit obsessed with sex, there were zero character development outside of the main character, one minute he's saying how fed up he is with this girl, next minute he's in love with her. While this is sort of charming and realistic in a way, it does seem that the only interaction he ev So coming into this book I had heard from 3 different sources that it was okay, that it was good, and that it was very good, so expectations for me were non-existent. Initially I was not that impressed, seemed to be a bit obsessed with sex, there were zero character development outside of the main character, one minute he's saying how fed up he is with this girl, next minute he's in love with her. While this is sort of charming and realistic in a way, it does seem that the only interaction he ever has with other humans is when he's having sex with them.

This started to turn around when he got back to Earth for the first time. It is at this point, I'll mention how this story is about the author's experiences with the Vietnam war, and coming back to an alien America that he didn't recognise anymore, bloody hippies. (The author told me this in the foreword at the start of the book, so that was constantly in the back of my mind the whole time, with The Doors 'The End' playing the whole time.) The feeling of being the only sane person on Earth, alien to even your own family, and later all of mankind, is very well conveyed. I very much enjoyed this aspect of the story.

Most of this book is pretty realistic, with the only notiable missing tech being true AI. Eventually the tech goes so far, that it ends up coming back around again, and they are back to medieval weapons. And of course, no review on this book would be complete with mentioning time dilation, which is a hi-light of the book. I particularly liked how they had no idea of the relative tech of the enemy they are going to fight.

This book was sitting on a 3.5 for me, and I was likely going to round down to a 3, but the ending was solid, and very well done, and pushed it up to a 4. I do like a good ending. Recommended.
Emilio
Llegué a este libro por un post que hablaba sobre cómo se trataba el tiempo en la literatura. Fue un constante "oh, dios mío". Fantástico.

http://www.arrakis.es/~cris/Taquion.htm para más señas.

Nos encontramos con una ciencia ficción de lo más dura. Hay viajes interestelares, pero hay dilatación temporal. Hay una guerra entre especies y a partir de ahí Haldeman se da el gusto de alienar al protagonista, someterlo a la tortura de la inadaptación, el shock cultural, el amor, la soledad, la muerte d Llegué a este libro por un post que hablaba sobre cómo se trataba el tiempo en la literatura. Fue un constante "oh, dios mío". Fantástico.

http://www.arrakis.es/~cris/Taquion.htm para más señas.

Nos encontramos con una ciencia ficción de lo más dura. Hay viajes interestelares, pero hay dilatación temporal. Hay una guerra entre especies y a partir de ahí Haldeman se da el gusto de alienar al protagonista, someterlo a la tortura de la inadaptación, el shock cultural, el amor, la soledad, la muerte de los seres queridos. Y todo por ir a combatir a planetas de los que tarda decenas de años en ir y volver.

El trabajo de Haldeman para construir la guerra interestelar y las consecuencias devastadoras en las vidas de los soldados es magnífico, pulcro y, quizás, demasiado cientista. Yo no me voy a quejar de eso, pero puede echar para atrás.

El hilo conductor es muy similar a otras novelas bélicas. Una compañía de soldados que va y vuelve del frente. Y cada vez que vuelven han pasado no unos meses, sino unos cuantos lustros. Se van con hijos y cuando vuelven se encuentran a abuelitos. Me resultó muy devastador este desarrollo. Puede que Haldeman se diera cuenta de que le estaba quedando algo distópico y desesperanzador y dota de peso a las relaciones del soldado con sus propios compañeros. Para mí esto salva el tono de la novela.

Me hizo pensar mucho en el estrés postraumático de los combatientes pero a escala cósmica. Esa pérdida de la vida, del pasado y de los referentes al irte 200 años. Alguien me dijo que es una exageración ejemplar de la deshumanización del combatiente. Quizás no tanto, pero tampoco es tan equivocado.

Muy recomendable. Da un poco de susto porque es ciencia ficción dura. Pero no te deja indiferente.
Reid
While reading this, I couldn't help but make comparisons to Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series. Both deal with interstellar war, a reluctant protagonist, and the effects of relativistic physics on future warfare. In The Forever War, the fun science fiction comes from the fact that an interstellar combat soldier spends enough time travelling between stars that his extended (relative) lifespan allows him to watch hundreds of years pass on earth. I certainly liked the central conceit well enough and While reading this, I couldn't help but make comparisons to Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series. Both deal with interstellar war, a reluctant protagonist, and the effects of relativistic physics on future warfare. In The Forever War, the fun science fiction comes from the fact that an interstellar combat soldier spends enough time travelling between stars that his extended (relative) lifespan allows him to watch hundreds of years pass on earth. I certainly liked the central conceit well enough and Haldermann has a lot of fun with the concept (population pressures on earth cause hetrosexuality to be eclipsed by homosexuality, then cloning). Still, I couldn't help but think that this book didn't really transcend the genre. Great science fiction is elevated by the broader social issues it tackles (Ender's Game) or the quality of writing and depth of characters (Oryx and Crake), and The Forever War falls short in both categories.

In short, it's a fun and satisfying sci fi pulp novel, but it's not the genre-transforming masterwork that I was expecting.
B. Pope
This is a book I have been looking forward to reading for some time now. I had read a lot about it before and it is a Hugo and Nebula award winner. I wasn't sure what to expect entirely to be honest, the only book I remember it being compared to was Starship Troopers, which I have never read. But I figured that I would give it a shot since most hardcore sci-fans considered it a classic.

Having finished it, wow, I really enjoyed it. It took the concept of fighting a war in a time-dilated environme This is a book I have been looking forward to reading for some time now. I had read a lot about it before and it is a Hugo and Nebula award winner. I wasn't sure what to expect entirely to be honest, the only book I remember it being compared to was Starship Troopers, which I have never read. But I figured that I would give it a shot since most hardcore sci-fans considered it a classic.

Having finished it, wow, I really enjoyed it. It took the concept of fighting a war in a time-dilated environment and constructed a both a social commentary and a love story around it. The main character, William, is easy to like and empathize with throughout the novel. He definitely changes and grows in it, but his spirit seems to be constant and rings true. He is our POV and guide in the future worlds and the future cultures we encounter.

Haldeman explores prejudice in a number of avenues in the novel. Aliens play a lesser role than do the human "evolutions" in society. He explores the dynamics of economics at times. He explores sexuality. He explores very human concerns about population growth and food production. All with expert craftsmanship as he weaves it into the story.

I also highly recommend it if you enjoy reading sci-fi warfare. Some of the stategies and tactics in the novel are really cool.

I am just gonna say, between the "real" feel of the science and tech in it and the great person dramas, I highly recommend this book.
Soren Scheu
When I picked up Old Mans War by John Scalzi I was enthralled. I read Old Mans War in a less than week and my father and me had a conversation as we always do when I finish a science fiction book. We had a conversation about space, time and science fiction space exploration. During that conversation The Forever War was brought up many times. After that conversation I did some research and bought the book. I was fearful at first that Old Man War was a knock off of Forever War and that I would be When I picked up Old Mans War by John Scalzi I was enthralled. I read Old Mans War in a less than week and my father and me had a conversation as we always do when I finish a science fiction book. We had a conversation about space, time and science fiction space exploration. During that conversation The Forever War was brought up many times. After that conversation I did some research and bought the book. I was fearful at first that Old Man War was a knock off of Forever War and that I would be reading the same books but I found a completely different story. Forever War is a book that has just as much critical thinking as it does space fights, unlike the Old Mans War that has the touch of present day science fiction, with more fighting than rest. Forever War carries a message of what our world will look like if we continue on this path of violence and evolution. It shows a species who appear different than us at first but we slowly begin to realize that we may be more similar to this alien species than different. I gave Forever War 4 out of 5 stars because it gave me the perspective that even the things we take for granted, like time and the social norms we have. and how those things can be completely stripped away from us. And how the future may be even more scary than the present.
Laura
One of the things I love most about my book club is how it pushes me to read outside my comfort zone. To be very clear: this wasn't my kind of book, but it is unfair to show up to our meeting and just say "I don't like things in space" or "too much discussion of fantasy physics." You have to take the book on its own terms. I'm very glad I read it and there was a lot I found valuable. Written in 1974, Joe Haldeman has asked: what does the presence of toxic Vietnam-era leadership do to military cu One of the things I love most about my book club is how it pushes me to read outside my comfort zone. To be very clear: this wasn't my kind of book, but it is unfair to show up to our meeting and just say "I don't like things in space" or "too much discussion of fantasy physics." You have to take the book on its own terms. I'm very glad I read it and there was a lot I found valuable. Written in 1974, Joe Haldeman has asked: what does the presence of toxic Vietnam-era leadership do to military culture and US foreign policy going forward? Frankly, he nailed it. There are passages late in the book that basically describe the war in Afghanistan, and the impact of Cold Warriors dominating the Pentagon under George W. Bush. I also loved the writing style here. Sparse dispatches, it was reminiscent of Hemingway. One of the major themes Haldeman explores, after militarism, was sexuality and sexual freedom. While much of his thinking on this subject reads very conservative today, it must have been progressive and provocative upon publication. Our book club had great discussion exploring this aspect. Forever War is still only 3 stars from me, because "I don't like things in space" and "too much discussion of fantasy physics." That said, it's an incredible time capsule of the 1970s, and a book that continues to resonate today.
Tobias Taylor
This is not a 4 star book, it is so much more.

"The 1143-year-long war had been begun on false pretenses and only because the two races were unable to communicate.
Once they could talk, the first question was 'Why did you start this thing?' and the answer was 'Me?'"

Joe Haldeman (writer), was a victim of the Vietnam war aka the 'forever war'. The forever war lasted from 1955-1975 (although accounts differ as to what actually constituted the 'war' period), achieving it's name purely from the years This is not a 4 star book, it is so much more.

"The 1143-year-long war had been begun on false pretenses and only because the two races were unable to communicate.
Once they could talk, the first question was 'Why did you start this thing?' and the answer was 'Me?'"

Joe Haldeman (writer), was a victim of the Vietnam war aka the 'forever war'. The forever war lasted from 1955-1975 (although accounts differ as to what actually constituted the 'war' period), achieving it's name purely from the years it went on, people thought it would never end. But as all "good things" do, it eventually ended. Haldeman served as a combat engineer in Vietnam from 1967-1969, severely wounded then given an honourable discharge and awarded the Purple Heart - a medal awarded by the U.S. military to those wounded or killed in action.

This book might come across as a satire on war if you don't take into account how real a thing it was for the author, who published this book just five years after his honourable discharge and while the war was still continuing. I see it as an account of the real effects of war on people (those who fight in it and those more indirectly affected) and a warning as to the stupidity and pointlessness of war.

A masterpiece.
Mike Vasich
I picked this book up because of it's reputation, and also because I like good military sci fi. It was a surprise to discover that this wasn't so much a 'war novel' as it was a novel of ideas about the future and humanity. It's been said that all war stories are anti-war stories, and this is certainly an example of that. But it's not just the story of the stupidity, futility, and horror of war; it's also the story of how humanity changes and evolves over a 1000 year time period.

While the war sc I picked this book up because of it's reputation, and also because I like good military sci fi. It was a surprise to discover that this wasn't so much a 'war novel' as it was a novel of ideas about the future and humanity. It's been said that all war stories are anti-war stories, and this is certainly an example of that. But it's not just the story of the stupidity, futility, and horror of war; it's also the story of how humanity changes and evolves over a 1000 year time period.

While the war scenes were good, I was most intrigued by the depictions of the future. It was fascinating to think about how humanity might have changed to become the way it was in each different section. While some of the ideas seemed unlikely at best, others were fairly good guesses, IMHO.

The narrator, unlike some other 'military sci fi', was immensely likable and relatable. While I prefer third person to first person narratives, I became completely absorbed in his story, and felt for his various situations (the point of first person, after all).

Without revealing anything, I'll also say that the end of the novel was a great fit for what had gone on before. I closed the book 100 % satisfied. Highly recommended.
Alex Rosenthal
You know, I almost never increase a book's rating over time, but this one has stuck with me. The three stars was originally out of a confusion about the book's sexual politics. With time I think the thing that makes this book so impressive is its honesty. It is confused, simultaneously holding retrograde opinions while trying to be open-minded, just as its main character finds himself being occasionally bigoted even while trying to be (and thinking he is) open-minded. And, you know, this could b You know, I almost never increase a book's rating over time, but this one has stuck with me. The three stars was originally out of a confusion about the book's sexual politics. With time I think the thing that makes this book so impressive is its honesty. It is confused, simultaneously holding retrograde opinions while trying to be open-minded, just as its main character finds himself being occasionally bigoted even while trying to be (and thinking he is) open-minded. And, you know, this could be a real toxic brew in the wrong hands. But instead, it's just honest. It makes no pretensions about celebrating its regressive tendencies, but it is too honest to pretend those regressive tendencies don't exist.

In doing this, I think what comes across is, as I've said, a book that is honest. And I prefer this honesty. Not just over books that are proudly ignorant, but also I prefer it over some books that are self-congratulatory open-minded while ignoring their own prejudices and sweeping the ambiguity under the rug.

BTW, there is a lot more in the book than what I've spoken about here, it's a fantastic book in a lot of ways, this is just what is sticking with me.
Cale
It's weird to read a book and not be sure you've read it before. Through most of the book, as I'd read a scene I would think 'This is familiar, but I don't know what happens next.' It was the last conflict of the book where I was confident I had in fact finished the book before.
It's weird that it didn't sink in, because it is a well-told story of war in the future. The time dilation effects that earn it the name Forever War are notable, even if they aren't always the center of the story. Instead It's weird to read a book and not be sure you've read it before. Through most of the book, as I'd read a scene I would think 'This is familiar, but I don't know what happens next.' It was the last conflict of the book where I was confident I had in fact finished the book before.
It's weird that it didn't sink in, because it is a well-told story of war in the future. The time dilation effects that earn it the name Forever War are notable, even if they aren't always the center of the story. Instead it's the ramifications of the time passing, from differing expectations for every combat encounter, to the social impact of seeing the world make massive changes (in terms of centuries) when you've only been gone ten months in relative time. And things like that protagonist being in the first and last battle of the conflict. It's fascinating on its own, and looking at it as a pointed allegory of the Vietnam war unloads fresh layers of meaning as well. While Mandella doesn't stand out as a unique protagonist, he is interesting enough that his relationship with Marygay earns some investment. Definitely worth a read and it earns its position as a classic in military science fiction.
Boden Steiner
Because our technology has already leaped so far, it does feel a bit dated in spots, and as a narrative, it feels slightly disjointed, but reflecting, I imagine that is the intention, everything also disjointed for the protagonist, Mandella, a man that has lost his place in time and geography.

The military bits keep the pages turning, but it's the centerpiece section that shines with superior extrapolation and disheartening dystopia (Huxley's Brave New World would be a good double feature). The Because our technology has already leaped so far, it does feel a bit dated in spots, and as a narrative, it feels slightly disjointed, but reflecting, I imagine that is the intention, everything also disjointed for the protagonist, Mandella, a man that has lost his place in time and geography.

The military bits keep the pages turning, but it's the centerpiece section that shines with superior extrapolation and disheartening dystopia (Huxley's Brave New World would be a good double feature). The feeling of displacement is nearly post apocalyptic, I almost felt like I was reading an alternate reality version of Cormac McCarthy's The Road -- the world functioning and populated, but gone, metaphorically turned to ash. The sadness of losing your world and being forced to make it up as you go comes through. Even the mundane details are slightly gut wrenching. Half way through and you know you are reading a classic.
edit: I lost about four paragraphs of this somehow. Will have to dig for a rewrite at some point.
Parker
I'm always interested in time travel stories that employ alternative mechanics. Inception could be described that way. I think that The Forever War is best understood that way as well.

As the title suggests, the story is about war, and it's not giving anything away to say it's war between humans and an alien civilization. As the war progresses though, the civilization back on Earth become increasingly alien to the protagonist. Clearly drawn parallels to the Vietnam War demonstrate how effectively I'm always interested in time travel stories that employ alternative mechanics. Inception could be described that way. I think that The Forever War is best understood that way as well.

As the title suggests, the story is about war, and it's not giving anything away to say it's war between humans and an alien civilization. As the war progresses though, the civilization back on Earth become increasingly alien to the protagonist. Clearly drawn parallels to the Vietnam War demonstrate how effectively an imaginative plot like this one can address real social issues.

The Forever War is really good sci-fi, in that it creates a metaphor for observations of the present, and in the guise of advancing a literal plot, explores that metaphor in ways that wouldn't be possible to do directly. Sometimes this kind of story is dismissed by the real literary world, but it's doing itself a disservice: stories like this one are able to address concepts of identity, society, communication and humanity better and more clearly than most "real" novels.
Tatiana
People have been telling me to read this book for decades, so I finally did. It didn't disappoint, even with that much build-up. About halfway through I thought to wonder if this was going to be the sort of book with a really depressing ending, and if it would have won so many accolades if it were. Mostly, though, it was just very realistic about what the military is like, what war is like, and its ultimate meaning or lack thereof. I see the applicability to the Vietnam war, which its author fou People have been telling me to read this book for decades, so I finally did. It didn't disappoint, even with that much build-up. About halfway through I thought to wonder if this was going to be the sort of book with a really depressing ending, and if it would have won so many accolades if it were. Mostly, though, it was just very realistic about what the military is like, what war is like, and its ultimate meaning or lack thereof. I see the applicability to the Vietnam war, which its author fought in, and also to the current war in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's a very good book, very well-written, and keeps you involved and caring about what happens all the way through. I loved it the whole way, and then the ending was perfect. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes science fiction. It's got everything anyone could ask for: action, different cultures, weird aliens, interesting technology, romance, and great characters. I can't wait to read more of his work.
Kerry
I really, really liked this book! You could not at all tell this was written in 197X until he got back to earth. That is pretty good I think. And then he left earth again pretty quickly so hooray for that.

The business with the homosexuality (oh, that was after the earth interlude) made me squirm a bit, but it could have been worse, considering. And it acknowledged that he only THOUGHT he was tolerant. So maybe it was all right.

But yeah, great science fiction story about war! Generally I like my I really, really liked this book! You could not at all tell this was written in 197X until he got back to earth. That is pretty good I think. And then he left earth again pretty quickly so hooray for that.

The business with the homosexuality (oh, that was after the earth interlude) made me squirm a bit, but it could have been worse, considering. And it acknowledged that he only THOUGHT he was tolerant. So maybe it was all right.

But yeah, great science fiction story about war! Generally I like my dystopias corprocracy-based (and my utopias Communism-based) (P.S. the former is stealing a term from Cloud Atlas, so there's that) because that's the way my politics swing, but you know. Again, that's just the earth bit, and the rest is clearly anti-war. Because war is terrible.
Todd Bristow
There were times when the characterization were a little thin, but damn was this a good read. As this is my first military sci-fi book (aside from Warhammer 40k novels, which are, let's face it, fantasy), I have never mentally explored concepts of extreme jumps in time for space travel and the experience of the return. It was written in very gripping and approachable prose and, impressive for hard sci-fi, touched me emotionally. The Vietnam war influence is unmissable and lends a familiarity to There were times when the characterization were a little thin, but damn was this a good read. As this is my first military sci-fi book (aside from Warhammer 40k novels, which are, let's face it, fantasy), I have never mentally explored concepts of extreme jumps in time for space travel and the experience of the return. It was written in very gripping and approachable prose and, impressive for hard sci-fi, touched me emotionally. The Vietnam war influence is unmissable and lends a familiarity to the extremity of the futurism. It felt like such a complete experience, that I wonder where the sequels have room to expand. There were times that I thought I was going to give this one four stars, but by the end, it was a five star champion book. I waited way to long to start reading sci-fi like this. This book deserves every award it won.
Mary Anne
Not a genre I read often, but I really liked the book. It was mentioned so often on the io9 FB page that I decided to try it--besides the fact that it won every major Sci-Fi award in the universe.

There is a lot to think about in The Forever War, as there is in all good science fiction. It was written as an allegory or commentary on the Vietnam War.

Mandella, the main character, never reacts with much emotion to any of the horrific circumstances he finds himself in, which continually amazed me, r Not a genre I read often, but I really liked the book. It was mentioned so often on the io9 FB page that I decided to try it--besides the fact that it won every major Sci-Fi award in the universe.

There is a lot to think about in The Forever War, as there is in all good science fiction. It was written as an allegory or commentary on the Vietnam War.

Mandella, the main character, never reacts with much emotion to any of the horrific circumstances he finds himself in, which continually amazed me, right down to the last few pages of the book. He seems to face life with a fatalistic stoicism, no matter how much he is manipulated and swindled. He has a detached and weary integrity. Like those drafted into the Vietnam War, he is just a guy trying to survive who has no dog in the hunt, and does not even know why there is a hunt.

Jennifer
Hey, romance readers--My neighbor pointed out that this book has a babylogue, y'all!

This book was a hard read. It completely grabbed my attention and was impossible to put down, but also constantly exhausted me. The disconnect Mandela feels for the world he left behind to fight for something he doesn't understand comes through clearly, as does the sense of waste, and the destruction of this type of war to society.

I was surprised the book ended on a positive note.

I'm not sure how I feel about the Hey, romance readers--My neighbor pointed out that this book has a babylogue, y'all!

This book was a hard read. It completely grabbed my attention and was impossible to put down, but also constantly exhausted me. The disconnect Mandela feels for the world he left behind to fight for something he doesn't understand comes through clearly, as does the sense of waste, and the destruction of this type of war to society.

I was surprised the book ended on a positive note.

I'm not sure how I feel about the dated aspects of the book--the forced sex upon the women, the understanding (or lack thereof) of homosexuality, etc. There was both a basic equality and a complete lack of equality in this book that I find puzzling.

I'm really looking forward to discussing this at book club. It should be fascinating!
Colin Wright
Good science fiction generally stands the test of time. No matter when you crack the book open it'll be relevant, because it doesn't depend on a specific technology or of-the-moment gimmick. The concepts are what matters, not the processing power (or lack thereof) in their gadgetry.

There were a few aspects of The Forever War that stood out as a little dated, but nothing that impacted the storyline. And the thing that frustrated me the most about it for the first half of the book — that there's l Good science fiction generally stands the test of time. No matter when you crack the book open it'll be relevant, because it doesn't depend on a specific technology or of-the-moment gimmick. The concepts are what matters, not the processing power (or lack thereof) in their gadgetry.

There were a few aspects of The Forever War that stood out as a little dated, but nothing that impacted the storyline. And the thing that frustrated me the most about it for the first half of the book — that there's little 'war' in this book at all — turned out to be one of the more interesting statements made. I was immediately looking back at the other scifi I've read and questioning just how realistic their interpretations of interstellar was could be, based on how it's presented here.

Interesting, thoughtful story. Interesting enough that I'll be reading the other books in the series.
Manu
Novela con base bélica que trata de la estupidez humana y hace ver lo innecesaria que es la guerra. En general me ha encantado, pero no le doy la última estrella porque, desde mi punto de vista, se mete en demasiados detalles a la hora de describir las batallas y las jerarquías militares. Está claro que el pasado militar del escritor se tiene que ver reflejado en la novela, pero eso no evita que sea una de las novelas más entretenidas que he leído.
La relatividad también aparece como base de la n Novela con base bélica que trata de la estupidez humana y hace ver lo innecesaria que es la guerra. En general me ha encantado, pero no le doy la última estrella porque, desde mi punto de vista, se mete en demasiados detalles a la hora de describir las batallas y las jerarquías militares. Está claro que el pasado militar del escritor se tiene que ver reflejado en la novela, pero eso no evita que sea una de las novelas más entretenidas que he leído.
La relatividad también aparece como base de la novela, mostrando como cambia la tierra y las costumbres de la humanidad con el paso del tiempo. Muy curioso este punto.
Además, también hay un giro argumental ... por llamarlo de alguna manera y el final no me lo esperaba, me ha parecido buenísimo.

En definitiva, la recomiendo 100% a quien no la haya leído y muy indicada para los que empiecen con la ciencia ficción.
R.L. Herron
For me, "The Forever War" works well on a character level. William Mandella reminds me of the main protagonist in Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" -- an everyman caught up in extraordinary events -- and I found myself liking the character.

However, I found it less satisfying when it came to conflict. The Taurans aren't effective villains. They seem lethargic, or even befuddled. Perhaps I expected a more determined Vietcong-style enemy in what is supposed to be a Vietnam allegory.

There are signs H For me, "The Forever War" works well on a character level. William Mandella reminds me of the main protagonist in Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" -- an everyman caught up in extraordinary events -- and I found myself liking the character.

However, I found it less satisfying when it came to conflict. The Taurans aren't effective villains. They seem lethargic, or even befuddled. Perhaps I expected a more determined Vietcong-style enemy in what is supposed to be a Vietnam allegory.

There are signs Haldeman's ultimate villain is the war-hungry Earth government, desperate for unity to save a faltering economy, and exert control. Given Mr. Haldeman's status as a somewhat disillusioned baby-boomer Vietnam veteran, that makes sense.

All that being said, "The Forever War" is a worthy read.
Stephanie Griffin
THE FOREVER WAR, a science fiction novel written by Joe Haldeman in 1974, is a pretty unremarkable book. I suppose it created a few waves when it was first published, but the themes of compulsory compliant females, and required homosexuality are not even titillating these days.
Descriptions of war strategy, armaments, and time travel through ‘collapsar jumps’ are the other main themes, with a few political statements thrown in.
The story follows Private Mandella as he quickly rises to Major Mande THE FOREVER WAR, a science fiction novel written by Joe Haldeman in 1974, is a pretty unremarkable book. I suppose it created a few waves when it was first published, but the themes of compulsory compliant females, and required homosexuality are not even titillating these days.
Descriptions of war strategy, armaments, and time travel through ‘collapsar jumps’ are the other main themes, with a few political statements thrown in.
The story follows Private Mandella as he quickly rises to Major Mandella. Unfortunately, we never get to a point where we actually care about him, and the ending seems too quick and easy.
I think there are better books to spend time reading, but if you want to experience 1974 sci-fi, then go for it.
Lel
I have to say that I found this book a little disappointing. The plot of the book was very interesting in the fact that the war goes on for lifetimes for the main character what with all the travelling and space hopping that he does. Every time he comes back to earth it has changed from what it was last and the readjustment is hard. But i felt completely disconnected from the characters, the actual fighting in the war itself I felt was not described very well, the book seemed to focus more on th I have to say that I found this book a little disappointing. The plot of the book was very interesting in the fact that the war goes on for lifetimes for the main character what with all the travelling and space hopping that he does. Every time he comes back to earth it has changed from what it was last and the readjustment is hard. But i felt completely disconnected from the characters, the actual fighting in the war itself I felt was not described very well, the book seemed to focus more on the science behind the jumps and distances and timing of everything. This, for me,broke the narrative of the story up too much for me to really enjoy it. I wouldn't recommend this over other space sci-fi that I have read such as 'Old Mans War' or even 'Fortune's Pawn'.
This one is just not for me.
Banner
Just did a re read of this after almost 35 years and I have to say I am surprised at how much I still liked the book. There were some ideas in the book i didn't really care for but they were not too graphic nor did there seem to be any kind of agenda other than telling a good story.

What this book does that is worthy of it's fame; is it masterfully shows the effects of war on both the solider and the society that sends him / her to it. The alienation of the solider from his own society is skillfu Just did a re read of this after almost 35 years and I have to say I am surprised at how much I still liked the book. There were some ideas in the book i didn't really care for but they were not too graphic nor did there seem to be any kind of agenda other than telling a good story.

What this book does that is worthy of it's fame; is it masterfully shows the effects of war on both the solider and the society that sends him / her to it. The alienation of the solider from his own society is skillfully told. The effects of a war that know body really understands on society at large is tragic. Fear is a great motivator.

It really is lots of fun with some intellectual depth.

Adam
This is one of those novels where you can really sense, and to some extent identify, with the main character. The reluctant hero angle really works here and is written in such a way as not to patronise the subject. The complete sense of isolation that is a repeating theme throughout the novel really sets the environment into which grows this slight glimmer of underlying hope.

Really speaks volumes about the impact of war on the those who are called upon and how, when they return, the world they This is one of those novels where you can really sense, and to some extent identify, with the main character. The reluctant hero angle really works here and is written in such a way as not to patronise the subject. The complete sense of isolation that is a repeating theme throughout the novel really sets the environment into which grows this slight glimmer of underlying hope.

Really speaks volumes about the impact of war on the those who are called upon and how, when they return, the world they knew is just as alien a landscape as where they've come back from. Truly this is a SF masterwork.
Bondama
This book was the first full length novel of Joe Haldeman's that was ever published. Brilliant, terse.. but above all, the exploration/explanation of an incredibly complex time paradox that utterly fascinated this reader.

When I read this, I went on a full-on Joe Haldeman binge, and I simply cannot believe that although I've read a few of his over the years, I never knew just how good a writer this man is. Stephen King's blurb line is one of my favorites "If there were a Fort Knox for good sci-f This book was the first full length novel of Joe Haldeman's that was ever published. Brilliant, terse.. but above all, the exploration/explanation of an incredibly complex time paradox that utterly fascinated this reader.

When I read this, I went on a full-on Joe Haldeman binge, and I simply cannot believe that although I've read a few of his over the years, I never knew just how good a writer this man is. Stephen King's blurb line is one of my favorites "If there were a Fort Knox for good sci-fi writers, Joe Haldeman would be locked up tight." (paraphrased)

Highly, highly recommended - particularly for the non-sci-fi reader.
Nara
I don't know- while I guess I did like the book overall, I just really expected a lot more considering all the awards it's won, and how it's praised as a scifi masterwork. I think perhaps because I don't know terribly much about The Vietnam War, I couldn't really pick up on the parallels. I did find it quite interesting how the world had changed in the time that the protagonist Mandella had served in the war, but I feel as if the author got a little bogged down in themes rather than plot.

Ratings I don't know- while I guess I did like the book overall, I just really expected a lot more considering all the awards it's won, and how it's praised as a scifi masterwork. I think perhaps because I don't know terribly much about The Vietnam War, I couldn't really pick up on the parallels. I did find it quite interesting how the world had changed in the time that the protagonist Mandella had served in the war, but I feel as if the author got a little bogged down in themes rather than plot.

Ratings
Overall: 7/10
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
World Building: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 2/5
Tia
Quick but quality read. The story is very simple but gets its points across without many frills. This is not a book you read for beautiful writing, but rather for boiled down, direct reflections of a soldier's experience in a worthless war. Great examination of how alienating it is to come back from tour to a society that you can no longer feel a part of. It's short, sweet, and to the point. I'd recommend people to read it because it's one of the fastest ways to to understand one aspect of war's Quick but quality read. The story is very simple but gets its points across without many frills. This is not a book you read for beautiful writing, but rather for boiled down, direct reflections of a soldier's experience in a worthless war. Great examination of how alienating it is to come back from tour to a society that you can no longer feel a part of. It's short, sweet, and to the point. I'd recommend people to read it because it's one of the fastest ways to to understand one aspect of war's effect on those fighting in it... plus it has aliens.
Paul
When I finished, I was a bit conflicted about how to rate this. I found some of the chapters tedious and perhaps even boring. However, by the end I was happy I read it all. It's really a futuristic version of the Vietnam war. What I liked was the application of realistic, believable science...where the enemy isn't just the Taurans, but the environment itself. Fighting in 0 deg Kelvin presents interesting possibilities. I liked the author's use of time dilation, near light speed travel in a liqui When I finished, I was a bit conflicted about how to rate this. I found some of the chapters tedious and perhaps even boring. However, by the end I was happy I read it all. It's really a futuristic version of the Vietnam war. What I liked was the application of realistic, believable science...where the enemy isn't just the Taurans, but the environment itself. Fighting in 0 deg Kelvin presents interesting possibilities. I liked the author's use of time dilation, near light speed travel in a liquid environment and the effect of high g forces. I recommend it.
Stephen Richter
from the 1970s, where the influence of the Vietnam war, sexual revolution and the population bomb is transported into the future. From orgies to state planned homosexuality and a war fought for hundred of years over a simple communication error, Halderman has written the future with an eye to the present( at least the 1960s present.} A must read, if only to learn where today writers borrow ideas from.
Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk)
So far, when it comes to science fiction novels, I have an amazing luck, because this one was another great adventure with a very interesting concept of the future.
At first, I thought it is some kind of a hippie anti-war story, however it turned out to be something so much different and so much deeper! I adored the protagonist and I event wept at the end (it is not something I do lightly) - it was beautiful.
It is a "must read" for every science fiction fan out there.
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