Review: The Forever War
Hugo Award 1976, Locus Award 1976, Nebula Award 1975.
Written during the Vietnam era, The Forever War reveals a haunting symmetry between America's longest war and an interstellar conflict that gos on, seemingly, forever.
Private William Mandella is about to make the longest rise through the ranks of any soldier who ever took up arms. Drafted into a war that rages millions of light years from Earth, he is one of the elite troops of 1997, transported to key planets via collapsar jumps - a virtually instantaneous jaunt. Out there, he and his troops must fight the merciless alien Taurans, an enemy who's both unpredictable and uncommunicative.
But that's not the hard part.
Nor is the training. Granted, fighting in a waldo-amplified, plutonium-powered battle suit can be as deadly to the soldiers as it is to the enemy. But it will be outdated in no time, and Mandella will need to learn new techniques and new machines.
No, the hard part comes when the soldier returns home, because Earth isn't the same as when he left - time dilation has seen to that. For while Mandella ages in subjective months, the planet has been aging centuries, and he'll find himself increasingly alienated from the people he is trying to protect.
"To say that The Forever War is the best science fiction war novel ever written is to damn it with faint praise. It is, for all its techno-extrapolative brilliance, as fine and woundingly genuine a war story as any I've read." – William Gibson
"The Forever War is not just a great Science Fiction novel, it's a great Vietnam war novel – and a great war novel, without qualification – that is also Science Fiction. A classic to grace either genre." – Iain M. Banks
"The Forever War is brilliant – one of the most influential war novels of our time. That it happens to be set in the future only broadens and enhances its message." – Greg Bear
Joe William Haldeman (born 1943) is an American science fiction author. His most famous novel is The Forever War, inspired by his Vietnam experiences, which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards.
Joe Haldeman is the brother of Jack C. Haldeman II.
Joe Haldeman. Wikipedia.
Photo (c) Ellen Datlow.