I disagree with the reviewer who thinks this book isn't as good as Scalzi's Old Man's War. I like both books. This book reflects its having been written by a former soldier in the Viet Nam War. The war it describes is depressing and pointless. I think he's entitled to present it that way. The characters are developed, there are interesting scientific concepts explored fictionally. I'm glad I finally read it. I now plan to read other books Haldeman has written to see how his writing has developed. I love Scalzi's Old Man's War series too, no question. I say: enjoy both!
One of the best hard-sci-fi books I've read. I recommend this highly.
The best future war novel since Starship Troopers
Privagte William Mandella hadn't wanted to go to war. But being Earth's best and brightest, he- along with the rest of his prime and promiscuous co-ed cadre- has been drafted into the interstellar conflict. Battling Taurans was the least of his problems as he worked his way up through the ranks to major. In spanning the stars at faster0-than-light speeds, he aged only months...while Earth aged centuries. And though war in space is hell, Major Mandella soon learned it was nothing compared to coping with 1200 drastically changing years back home!
This book was published in 1974, yellowing of pages, but in good shape.
A really good SF story about the time-shrinkage and expansion with an army fighting in space, while 1200 years pass on Earth. Winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards!
A Hugo and Nebula sci-fi award winning book.
This is really an excellent book focussing on Einstein's time-shrinkage theories such that people traveling at near lkight speed experience time much more slowly than those left behind. The characters age only a few years while the Earth experiences 1200 of them, so the only contemporaries that the soldiers have are those in their units---really interesting carrying the military bing totally separated from those at home, even more than happening today!
I'll be honest, I only read this book to the halfway point and then called it quits. The beginning was engaging, with its physics-based interstellar combat, but that was over too quickly. Once the protagonist returns to Earth (20 years into the future because of time dilation) the book switches to making predictions about the future. Considering the book was written and set in the 1970s, the future for them was our, the readers', past. So, a lot of the predictions didn't come true. At first it was fun to read about the dystopia the author imagined, but the novelty wore off before too long. That's when I became bored and stopped reading.
I skimmed through the rest and it seems like there is a return to space combat, but once a book loses me I move on; there's only so many books a person can read in their lifetime and I don't think the phrase "suffering through it" should describe the act of reading.
Fantastic book. Obviously meant as commentary on the Vietnam War, but works equally well with today's wars. Fascinating and scary predictions about the future of humanity, but utterly believable at the same time. I am sorry I had not heard about this book until recently.
A few years ago, I read "Forever Peace," by Joe Haldeman. I enjoyed it, and was intrigued by what I thought was its prequel: "The Forever War". So let me start of by saying: This is NOT a prequel to "Forever Peace". The two novels are independent.
This book is a high quality space battle story. "Forever" has more to do with the time period over which this war transpired; relativistic time dilation tends to stretch things out when you've got interstellar battles going on.
It's not the best space-marine story I've read, but is better than most of them. It feels like it's part of the time in which it was written, as well (Vietnam era), so there's a bit of a "history-of-sf" feel going on.
4 of 5 stars.
I have never read such a whiny bunch of tripe in a long time. I had an expectation of reading a military science fiction novel in the same vein as perhaps Armor, where the main character was more against the war than for it, but the protagonist in this novel made me wish he would be KIA. Mandella and his constant complaining and some of the bleeding heart logic he had made me want to shoot him rather than root for him. After being told the enemy had killed close to a thousand unarmed colonists he falls into what seems like a near catatonic state lamenting how they were murders of un-armed innocents, when those said innocents had already killed some of his unit just moments before.
Please, please take this book away from me.