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{read online Best} The Forever WarAuthor Joe Haldeman –

Series Info This Is The First Part Of The Forever War Series, However It Can Be Read As A StandaloneBook 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 , 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 , 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 , 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 , 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 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 CauseThroughout 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 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 SacrificesAfter 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 , 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 , 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 ReadersBill Sheehan

10 thoughts on “The Forever War

  1. says:

    This book is a military style space opera with..Wait 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 ard 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 and the Nebula awards for best novel so you know it s gotta be pretty decent.William Mandella has been drafted as one of the first troops that will be sent to fight the Taurans There are points in space called collapsers that are like wormholes that will transport your ship to a distant area in the universe instantly, and humanity is fighting the Taurans to use them Both races like to build bases on nearby planets to establish control of the area around the collapsers Unfortunately, most of the planets out there aren t anything like what we re used to seeing in Star Wars They re usually cold lifeless rocks, and just training to use their suits in these environments is dangerous, let alone trying to fight an alien race they know little about Mandella gets through training and manages to survive the first battle with the Taurans That s where the book gets really interesting.While the collapsers provide instant space travel, the ships still have to get to the nearest one and that means months of travel at near light speed It turns out that Einstein was right about relativity and traveling at near the speed of light makes time do some funky things So while the troops on the ship feel like a journey only took months, years have passed for everyone else When Mandella returns to Earth after his first battle, he s only aged two years, but ten years have passed on Earth.Since Mandella has to do and light speed journeys, centuries pass on Earth even though it s only been a few years for him Mandella will return from missions to find that humanity has changed so much that he has almost nothing in common with the rest of the people, and since he manages to survive several campaigns when almost everyone else dies, he s quickly becoming one of the oldest men in the universe during his ten year subjective enlistment.Another quirk of the time differences is that when the humans meet the Taurans, they can t know if they re battling alien troops who are centuries ahead or behind them in terms of military intelligence and weapons technology So Mandella and his fellow soldiers may have a huge advantage or be severely outgunned It just depends on if the Taurans they re fighting started their light speed journeys before or after they did.As the war drags on for century after century, it is both sustaining and draining Earth s economy Mandella finds himself losing all his family, his friends and his lovers to war or age He is increasingly out of touch with Earth and the rest of humanity The army continues to promote him, mainly because his seniority has reached ridiculous levels after centuries of service.One of the things that isolates Mandella is that homosexuality becomes the norm due to Earth overpopulation In an ironic reversal of don t ask don t tell, Mandella is the outcast that disgusts many of his fellow soldiers due to his unenlightened ways Even the slang spoken by other soldiers becomes incomprehensible to him Increasingly lonely and out of sync with everyone around him with almost no chance of surviving his enlistment, Mandella nurses the hope that the war will someday end during the large gaps of time he skips as he travels to his assignments.Joe Haldeman is a Vietnam vet, and this is an obvious allegory for that war with a weary soldier stuck in a seemingly endless conflict and realizing that even if he makes it home, he won t fit in to the world he left While Haldeman s science and military background gives the book its detail and depth, it s the tragedy of Mandella s predicament that makes it a sci fi classic.

  2. says:

    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 battles Transportation being what it is, less than light speed, it takes decades, even hundreds of years for the troops to reach the fight and meanwhile, society changes around him When he reaches the end of his career, thousands of years have passed and he does not even speak the same language as his fellow citizens and the war he signed up for is ancient history.Haldeman, himself a Vietnam War veteran, brings an empathetic perspective to his futuristic warrior portrayal.Thought provoking and original, this is a MUST for science fiction fans 2016 Reread.Reading this again, I think for the third time, reaffirmed my love for this book Reading after a couple of decades the first time in HS, and then again only a couple years later in college I see of Haldeman s subtle humor.I can also see, from a 2016 perspective, how this could be seen as homophobic An extremist, shock value idea in the 70s could be seen as insensitive now, but I get what he was doing and in context he was making a statement about nonconformism and parallel changes with his experience coming back from Vietnam.His hard SF ideas like relative time and the stasis field are great, but his statements about cultural and sociological changes are what makes this a great book.One of my all time favorites and Again a MUST read for fans of the genre and a damn fine work of 70s antiestablishment literature I need to read from him 2018 addendum This is such a great book and he s such an amazing writer Some friends and I were talking about some of his other books but I m always drawn back to this one I recall the later passages were he doesn t even speak the same language as his unit, the time has separated them so much, but this may also be a metaphor for senior leadership being out of touch Like many great books, this works on multiple levels I ll reread this again, it s that good.

  3. says:

    Maybe a generous 2.5 Just for the overall concept.Let s start with the positive I enjoyed following a main character struggling to adapt to the changes on Earth while he s at war 2 years for him end up being 26 on Earth due to time relativity It only gets worst as the war progresses The rest was a mess for me This book is often mentioned as a classic sci fi and is on so many best sci fi of all time lists To me a classic has to survive the test of time and this book did not age well Like at all.I understand that some parts of the book are there to show us that the main character is old fashioned compare to others but oh my was this a frustrating read then unleashed Stargate s eighteen sex starved men on our women, compliant and promiscuous by military custom and law , but desiring nothing so much as sleepI What I d gotten used to open female homosex in the months since we d left Earth Even stopped resenting the loss of potential partners The men together still gave me a chill, though.Of courseThese are just two quotes out of a dozen other ones I could include The writing style wasn t for me and I didn t care about the characters at all In its defence, I m not big on military fiction so the battles bored me but I expected that I just can never get over how little I care about people dying left and right I m not sure if the ending was supposed to be a twist or a deep moral of the story but it was kinda obvious and pretty much already how things seem to be nowadays.Overall a big miss for me

  4. says:

    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 place, changes that our character has difficulty adapting to or fully accepting Despite social changes, there is one constant the war continues Haldeman s book still resonates.

  5. says:

    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

  6. says:

    Yeaahhhh I m ready for some hard science fiction

  7. says:

    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 stretches where just nothing happened Also, the character development was just non existent The enemy was only described in appearance but never described for what they were In fact, even the battles with the aliens were dull and lifeless.The protagonist is barely developed He is just a hapless soldier who just wants to get laid on a regular basis And for half the book he has his pick of any woman he wants and apparently has sex almost every night And other than having some difficult command decisions to make, we learn virtually nothing about his character I was sorely disappointed by this book and just can t recommend it to anyone.

  8. says:

    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 There are some moments of genuine horror too, especially when you start to understand what the narrator is telling you A serious contender for my top ten books of all time.

  9. says:

    Still a classic Want a war driven novel constrained by the limits of relativity but still as inexplicable, funny, and as sad as the regular kind How about a novel right out of 1977 that explores what it means when all of society transforms over millennia into something awfully strange a world where the hetero norm has become a homo norm in response to overpopulation To where the old outdated concept of future shock is dusted off and given new lifeTo where it s only reasonable for old soldiers to re up forever in hope that their world will resemble something sane once they get back AGAIN.In a lot of ways, this is less a parable about future war than it is a Science Fantasy extrapolating what it means to be a veteran returning to a changed world and what it means to be completely and utterly lost to the life you left behind Taken perhaps a bit extreme than that of the soldiers coming back from Vietnam, maybe, but the concept is still quite valid.Fortunately for all of us, there s not just tragedy and isolation here, but humor, absurdity, and a good solid story among the cool SFnal alien murders and explosions and the problem of troops, soldier confraternity, and cats on ships It still holds up nicely for an old Hugo winner.

  10. says:

    With the anniversary of D Day being just a few days ago, this was timely reading Joe Haldeman s book, The Forever War is engaging, well written, and meaningful, originally published in 1974 It was a Hugo and Nebula winner I read an edition published in 2010 which Haldeman identified as the definitive edition I read the first edition back in college in the mid eighties While I remember greatly enjoying the book in college, this re read was much impactful I don t know if that is due to my naivety back then, or the changes in editions The story is written in first person from the perspective of Private William Mandella Haldeman effectively pulls from his personal experiences from Viet Nam He tells a very readable story and successfully conveys several themes Solders in wartime, often return disconnected from their personal relationships and have challenges in reconnecting with family and friends Solders are also often faced with culture shock , losing touch with changes in society and face difficulty integrating into everyday life after living through war s horrors Countries and economies can become dependant on war, limiting incentives to find peaceful solution War can escalate, losing touch with its original objectives Certainly, for many solders, after being caught up in a life and death struggle and attempting to protect and save their fellow soldiers, are often left with a void, when considering, what was it all for Haldeman uses science fiction including time dilation to magnify these themes He also creatively tells of some drastic culture shifts which the MC faces when returning from duty This book is a masterpiece, both as a straight up science fiction story, but also as an allegory for the horrors and hopelessness of war.