The Forever War

The Forever War Series Info This is the first part of the Forever War series however it can be read as a standalone Book Description Twenty five years ago Joe Haldeman became an instant presence in the science fict

  • Title: The Forever War
  • Author: Joe Haldeman
  • ISBN: 9780380708215
  • Page: 107
  • Format: Paperback
  • Series Info This is the first part of the Forever War series, however it can be read as a standalone.Book Description Twenty five years ago, Joe Haldeman became an instant presence in the science fiction field with the publication of The Forever War, which went on to win both the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novel The Forever War is an ingenious, complex account of sSeries Info This is the first part of the Forever War series, however it can be read as a standalone.Book Description Twenty five years ago, Joe Haldeman became an instant presence in the science fiction field with the publication of The Forever War, which went on to win both the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novel The Forever War is an ingenious, complex account of soldiers whose lives have been brutally disrupted by the combined effects of relativity and interstellar war It has remained in print continuously since its initial appearance, and has recently given rise to some unexpected new offshoots In 1997, Avon Books released an amended version of the text that restored the middle section a downbeat novella published independently as You Can Never Go Back to its originally intended place In early 1999, Haldeman contributed a second related novella A Separate War to Robert Silverberg s anthology, Far Horizons Most recently, Haldeman reversed his own frequently stated position by publishing a novel length sequel titled Forever Free It seems appropriate, in light of this creative flurry, to return to the source The Forever War itself and take another look.The Forever War was Joe Haldeman s second novel His first, War Year, was published in 1972, and was a realistic, frankly autobiographical account of its author s experiences as a combat soldier in Vietnam These experiences, radically reconfigured, also found their way into The Forever War, which is very much a reflection of the lingering effects of the seemingly endless war in Vietnam Haldeman s version of that conflict begins in 1996, just one generation after the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam In that year, the combined forces of Earth declare war against an apparently hostile race of aliens known as Taurans As part of the military response to the Tauran threat, William Mandella, the narrator hero, is drafted and placed in an elite combat unit composed of the best and brightest members of his own generation In order to engage the remote, enigmatic Taurans, Mandella and his cohorts must travel through a series of collapsars, anomalous gateways in the fabric of quantum space Passage through these gateways results in a relativistic phenomenon known as time dilation By the end of Mandella s first, bloody campaign which covers about two years of subjective time , than 25 years have elapsed on his home planet He returns to Earth to find himself a stranger in a very strange land, where he knows almost no one and where the patterns of day to day life have changed beyond recognition Unable to cope with these changes, he reenters the barbarous but familiar society of the army, accompanied by his friend, lover, and fellow soldier, Marygay Potter Back in uniform, Mandella finds himself trapped, once again, in an endless cycle of violence and temporal displacement He endures and barely survives a series of lethal, faceless encounters with an enemy that no one, least of all the political and military leaders of Earth, can begin to understand In the resulting chaos, the one constant in Mandella s life is his relationship with Marygay Finally, even that is taken away, and he is left with nothing but the prospect of dying for an incomprehensible cause.Throughout this process, relativity continues to impose its distortions As the war carries Mandella and his fellow soldiers toward an increasingly remote series of battlefields, centuries roll by on Earth In the course of these centuries, populations rise and fall, historical epochs flower and fade, and humanity evolves in unexpected directions Eventually, at the tail end of a pointless, infinitely protracted war, Mandella returns a young old man of barely 30 to a radically altered society he can neither recognize nor live in In the end, he is forced to confront the fundamental irony of his thousand year military career Having left his home to do battle with aliens, he himself has now become the alien, and has no place in the world he fought to preserve.The Forever War is very much concerned with alienation, which assumes a cruel and quite literal form during the course of the story And though, like all good novels, it is many things at once acerbic portrait of the military mentality imaginative extrapolation of the principles of relativity meditation on the future of warfare in a technologically advanced society it derives much of its power from its compelling portrait of disenfranchised soldiers detached, by the very nature of their experiences, from the social mainstream In a way, The Forever War serves as an extravagant metaphor for the actual condition of the soldiers who fought in Vietnam, and who returned home to a divided society that failed, almost completely, to acknowledge their efforts or honor their sacrifices.After than a quarter of a century, The Forever War continues to matter, continues to engage our sympathy for the individual men and women caught in the movement of huge, impersonal forces Like Catch 22, to which it bears a familial resemblance, The Forever War is a novel about the desperate search for sanity in an unreasoning world, and the universality of its concerns makes it as fresh and relevant today as it was in 1975, when the national nightmare of Vietnam was still raw and recent Literary prognostication may be a fool s game, but the betting here is that The Forever War will endure well into the newly arrived millennium Its energy, compassion, and bitter, hard won wisdom are timeless qualities that should, by rights, continue to speak to new generations of readers Bill Sheehan

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    About “Joe Haldeman”

    1. Joe Haldeman

      Brother of Jack C Haldeman IIHaldeman is the author of 20 novels and five collections The Forever War won the Nebula, Hugo and Ditmar Awards for best science fiction novel in 1975 Other notable titles include Camouflage, The Accidental Time Machine and Marsbound as well as the short works Graves, Tricentennial and The Hemingway Hoax Starbound is scheduled for a January release SFWA president Russell Davis called Haldeman an extraordinarily talented writer, a respected teacher and mentor in our community, and a good friend Haldeman officially received the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master for 2010 by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at the Nebula Awards Weekend in May, 2010 in Hollywood, Fla.

    246 thoughts on “The Forever War”

    1. This book is a military style space opera withWait! Where are you going? Get back here. I hadn’t got to the good part yet. Give me a second to explain. Geez…OK, so yes, there is an interstellar war with human troops in high-tech armored suits battling an alien enemy on distant planets. I know it sounds like another version of Starship Troopers or countless other bad genre sci-fi tales that copied it, but this one is different. Hell, when it was published in 1975 it won the Hugo, the Locus an [...]

    2. First published in 1974 and winner of the 1975 Hugo and Locus awards, Forever War by Joe Haldeman kicks ass.More than just a book about a futuristic war, Haldeman describes a society built around the codependency of the industrial military complex and with a fluid dynamic socio-economic culture that is fascinating to watch unfold.And the welfare recipients get a bag of dope with their check.Haldeman’s protagonist, William Mandella, is in an elite military group that travels light distances to [...]

    3. In case any movie producers are listening in, ten reasons to film The Forever War:1. Gratuitous sex and nudity.2. Social relevance (it's about Vietnam, stoopid!)3. Evil aliens.4. General relativity.5. Wormholes. Interstellar, Joe Haldeman was here first!6. Freaky high-tech zone where you can only fight with swords.7. Unexpected twist! (view spoiler)[The evil aliens actually turn out to be good aliens. (hide spoiler)]8. Hive minds.9. Feel-good happy ending.10. Gratuitous sex and nudity.

    4. I bought and read this book based upon the many glowing reviews I saw on the internet. It's heralded as a classic and one of the best Sci-Fi books of all time. I have to disagree.I liked the concept. Scientifically, it was intriguing. However, the story was repetitive and slow. The exact same thing kept happening over and over again. Set up base. Boring Battle, many people die. Get back on ship. Stay in space for a long time. Get bored. Return to base. Go back out. Repeat.There were long, long s [...]

    5. Catch-22 is often cited as one of the great books about the futility and inherent paradoxes of war. I think this is easily its equal, but is often overlooked because it is dismissed as "just" science fiction.By using the tropes of SF, Haldeman vividly illustrates not only the psychological effects on the combatants, but also the desperate disassociation wrought between the "soldiers" and the rest of society - his reference point was the Vietnam veterans, but it could apply anywhere and anywhen. [...]

    6. Well I think it's safe to say that I'm not the target audience for this book. This is hard sci-fi military space opera and I haven't even seen any of the Star Wars movies, or Star Treks, and only a handful of Doctor Who episodes (I only found out last year what a TARDIS is). I probably shouldn't have even been *allowed* to read this. Somebody Kemper should have ripped it right out of my hands decrying: "You're not worthy!" and they'd probably be right. Despite my keenest efforts, The Forever War [...]

    7. I'm really surprised this has such a high rating. There's really not much to it.Okay, it presents a cool concept. What would it really be like to fight a war with an alien race across the vast reaches of space? Even with something that allowed you to "jump" vast distances you would have to get to these places. As the ship you travel in nears the speed of light, time for you slows down. So for the main character who was born in 1997, he returns from the war in 3143 having aged only a few years b [...]

    8. Conscript-to-brutal bootcamp-to-faraway-alien-war. Countless novels have followed this story structure, aping Heinlein’s Starship Troopers with mixed results.Like me, you might be getting tired of encountering this storyline. Tired of reading what too often turns out to be Full Metal Jacket In Space - Minus The Social Criticism. If that’s the case, borrow twenty bucks, get to a bookstore and order a copy of The Forever War. This is military-flavoured bootcamp-to-war Science Fiction in its fi [...]

    9. I first read The Forever War a couple years ago in audiobook format, I quite liked it but to be honest it did not leave much of a lasting impression. I suspect the audiobook format is not suitable for this particular book, I don’t remember there being anything wrong with the narration, I just could not retain much of the details after finishing it, just a vague feeling that it is quite good. I love audiobooks, but I am beginning to think that short sci-fi books are not really the ideal for thi [...]

    10. Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews The Forever War is touted as one of the best science fiction military novels ever written. At least, that is how I’ve always heard it described, and so going into this one, I was expecting lots of gritty Vietnam-inspired fighting and combat. And I got that. However, what I also got was an amazing mixture of science and societal evolution that made the fighting even more entertaining and the story as a whole well worthy of its “One of the Best Sci-fi [...]

    11. An Epic Satire of the Art of War“‘Tonight we’re going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man.’ The guy who said that was a sergeant who didn’t look five years older than me. So if he’d ever killed a man in combat, silently or otherwise, he’d done it as an infant.”The opening paragraph provides a glimpse into the most intriguing aspect of “The Forever War,” that of the affect of time dilation, officially defined as: the principle predicted by relativity that time interval [...]

    12. This is obviously a classic in the realms of sci-fi and of anti-war novels, and another book with thousands of reviews that I can't improve upon, but I'll just offer a couple of insights.One of the primary concepts from the book is the main character returning from space travel (complete with Spacial Relativity) to an Earth that was completely foreign to him; it was a massive dose of culture shock which progressed deeper and deeper the further the story went. I was in the US Air Force for 22 yea [...]

    13. The Forever War is a great classic military sci-fi joint for a few reasons:1. Time dilation. Haldeman takes this one feature of space-time travel and makes it the central character of the novel. It messes with the protagonist's life, makes military strategy interesting in that your enemy could suddenly have weaponry far more advanced that you (or just as likely could be carrying sticks), and it gives the story a far-reaching feel.2. Simplicity. There's no complex world-building (although some hi [...]

    14. I've had the longest fascination about war and the military lifestyle whether in historical books or works of fiction in general. There's just something deeply stirring about men and women giving up their lives in service of country or a government system even when that kind of loyalty demands death, destruction and bitter endings. I have great respect and admiration for this kind of people even if those things are mixed with pity and sadness as well. My enjoyment for reading, watching and learn [...]

    15. Okay, K asked me to elaborate on why I hate this book, so. Here we go.There was apparently a point in the distant, fortunately-gone past where all you needed to write science fiction was a good idea. Not a plot. Not characters. Not writing that was remotely competent or dialogue that sounded like human beings might say it or any sort of ability to extrapolate human society or even any understanding of what humans are like. You just had to have a good idea and you could write a classic! The Forev [...]

    16. 2021. Înspăimântată de un posibil atac al tauranilor (o rasă extraterestră inteligentă), FENU (Forța de Explorare a Națiunilor Unite) decide formarea unui corp militar de elită alcătuit din cei mai inteligenți și mai sănătoși tineri ai planetei. Printre cei 100 de "norocoși", iată-l pe William Mandella, un tânăr fizician prins în vârtejul fără sens al războiului, conștient de absurditatea acestuia și sperând doar să supraviețuiască suficient cât să se întoarcă [...]

    17. Originally reviewed 2009, I just came back to put in a spoiler tag, which I didn't know how to do at the timeoops.Interesting take on things. In a way in the end this is more an "anti-war" book than a stand alone novel. It unfortunately reflects the Utopian type views that came out of the 60s/70s reaction to Vietnam, the one that asks the question, "what would happen if they gave a war and nobody came?" Of course the unaccepted (but logical)answer to this question is, they bring it to you. See t [...]

    18. After completing The Forever War, I had to take a step back and think about what I’d just read. This is good and this is not so good. I did not particularly care for the story, in fact I’d expected better, but there was a meaning behind that story, and therefore I was left with an indelible impression. A lot of praise has been given to this book written in 1974 by Haldeman, a Vietnam Veteran. His experience is felt in these pages, but not in an obvious manner. The Forever War is analogous to [...]

    19. The Forever War: Not as much impact as I was expectingOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteratureI had so many preconceptions about this book. It won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus and Ditmar Awards for Best SF novel back in 1975-6, and I knew it was a SF treatment of Joe Haldeman’s experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam War. So I was expecting something similar to films like Oliver Stone’s Platoon (1986) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Brian De Palma’s Casualties of War (1989), Michael Cimin [...]

    20. While it reminded me of Heinlein's Starship Troopers and Avatar (especially the beginning where recruits are told about all the things that could kill them and how they likely wouldn't make it back alive), Haldeman's Forever War takes a different turn. Haldeman's book focuses on a soldier fighting an interstellar war. Because our character is traveling to his battles at near-light speed, when he returns to earth between missions, decades pass. Haldeman speculates about the social changes taking [...]

    21. Another notch in my journey to revisit the classics of SF I read as a youth. I think I was a sophomore in high school when I first read this one; now, as then, I preferred it to that other classic of MilSF - Starship Troopers. I suppose it is a preference, with fiction, for story and character over political philosophy lectures, particularly when the lectures are tendentious and self serving. In The Forever War, Haldeman's protagonist and narrator William Mandela is a soldier who fights a thousa [...]

    22. Let's say you're shipping off to a particular battle in a war. By the time you reach the battle, fight it, and return home, everyone you know has died of old age and the society you protected has evolved (or devolved) into something you don't recognize or particularly like. What would you be fighting for?That's just one of the issues brought up in "The Forever War" by Joe Haldeman. The PlotIn this novel of galactic war, the alien menace is the Taurans. The war is fought over collapsars, which ar [...]

    23. After some thought, I had to bump this rating up a star. Originally, the laconic writing style gave me the impression the book fell short of the masterpiece it was capable of being; but, I now realize the Spartan prose works perfectly well with the delivery and message of the book. I have to admit now, the book is undeniably a masterpiece and deserves to be seen as such.In one sense, this book is an amusing and entertaining galactic war story that is smartly delivered and is faithful to physics, [...]

    24. The main character William Mandella is among the first recruits sent off to fight an alien species. The only problem? The distances are so vast that every faster-than-light jump means decades have passed back on earth. With each campaign that Mandella fights, his home planet changes until it is almost unrecognizable. As many readers have noted, Haldeman's book is first and foremost a great novel of war and its effects on society. You can tell it was written at the close of Vietnam, as it speaks [...]

    25. The cover blurb on the copy I was reading referred to it as the science fiction Catch-22. While The Forever War has some of the same attitudes as Catch-22, what kept popping up in my head was how much this was a post-Vietnam response to Starship Troopers. On doing the barest of research, it appears Haldeman was wounded in combat in Vietnam, and that perspective is definitely in this science fiction book. In particular, what happens when you come home.Note: The rest of this review has been withdr [...]

    26. So I’m on a relativistic shuttle, waiting for you…. I never found anybody else and I don’t want anybody else. I don’t care whether you’re ninety years old or thirty. If I can’t be your lover, I’ll be your nurse.Hey kids, you know how people keep using that word allegory, and you’re never really sure what they mean, and they probably aren’t even sure what they mean?This. This is an allegory.If there’s a reason we have the phrase “deceptively slim” in our book reviewing voc [...]

    27. Yazarın Vietnam gazisi olduğunu, kitabın yazıldığı zaman Vietnam savaşının hala sürdüğünü ve bitecekmiş gibi görünmedigini öğrenince ismi çok daha anlamlı oluyor. Fazlasıyla askeri ve teknik terim içermesi okuma sürecimi beklediğim kadar çok etkilemedi. Sonuç olarak bu kitabın neden bir bilim kurgu klasiği haline geldiğini biraz olsun anlamış oldum. Türün meraklısı olmayanlara da tavsiye ederim.

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