I liked this book. Having said that, I almost quit reading it about half-way through. Although he has women in combat, there is a sexualization of women that made me uncomfortable. And the homophobia just pissed me off. Like I said, I was ready to ditch it, which is unusual for me. If I can make it past the first chapter or two I usually finish. I went back and reread a couple of PBS members reviews and decided to tough it out. I am glad I did. Even though some of his language concerning the interaction between sexes and his portrayal of homosexuals is somewhat dated, he was way ahead of time. I was wrong to label him as sexist and homophobic by today's context. The book was first published in 1972. For his time, he was quite enlightened. It turned out to be a great story. A great anti-war story. I hear a movie is being made. They'll screw it up.
Starts a little slow, and is at first quite reminiscent of Starship Trooper (the book, not the horrible movie). The pace picks up about halfway through, and while it is ostensibly about a confusing war with an ill-understood enemy, the real story is about humanity and it's evolution (or lack thereof). Depressing as hell, but with a few rays of hope scattered in for good measure. Won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for "Best Novel of the Year".
This is a good one. He's a warrior, reluctant, but good at it nevertheless. Thanks to Relativity, he gets way out of synch with those he takes into battle. It's a good read.
John Scalzi the author of "Old Mans War" writes an open letter to Joe Haldeman in this edition of "The Forever War" in which he gives praise for this book and says its better than his book. I have to disagree I think the ''Old Mans War" is by far the better book.
The first half of this book was pretty interesting. The second half blew my mind. This is my first time experiencing Joe Haldeman and I do believe he will have to go on my Eternal Bookshelf.
I often pictured the actor Will Smith as William Mandela. Mandela was so easy for me to relate to, being an average guy with a science background swept up into a high death rate war with a foreign entity that few have seen and none understand. While the main character was William, I still appreciated the equality of women serving in the military and the female characters were equally diverse as the minor male characters.
Lets talk the science. I loved the use of science in this book, even though it was originally published in 1974. I have a vague understanding of physics, so the dated science in this book, such as principles of space travel, didnt bother me at all. I was fascinated by the mech warrior suits. The simple dangers of stomping around in one these suits in low or zero G places were excellently built into the plot. The time dilation aspect of the story was put to great use, allowing the story arc to cover 1000s of years while keeping a handful of familiar characters throughout.
A must-read classic from the golden age of SF. Haldeman redefines the concept of galactic war.
I really enjoyed this book. I'm fairly new to reading sci-fi as a genre, and this story made it worthwhile.
In a not-so-distant future, mankind has broken the lightspeed barrier and has begun exploring the galaxy â¦ only to find itself in the midst of a war with an alien race called Taurans. Haldeman's dark and bitter novel traces one soldier through time and space as he struggles to survive, both on the battlefield and on the changing Earth.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
A Hugo and Nebula sci-fi award winning book.
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!
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.
The best future war novel since Starship Troopers
One of the best hard-sci-fi books I've read. I recommend this highly.
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.
\"Private William Mandella is a hero in spite of himself- a reluctant conscript drafted into an elite military unit, and propelled through space and time to fight in a distant thousand year conflict. He never wanted to go to war, but the leaders of Earth have drawn a line in the intersteller sand- despite the fact that their fierce alien enemy is unknowable, unconquerable, and very far away. So Mandella will perform his duties without rancor, and even rise up through the military\'s ranks...if he survives. But the true test of his mettle will come when he returns to Earth. Because of the time dilation caused by space travel the loyal soldier is aging months while his home planet is aging centuries- and the difference will prove the saying: you can never go home again.\"
Written by a Vietnam veteran who has published many science fiction books, this novel is a classic.
I was very disappointed by this book - it's supposed to be one of the classics of science fiction, but it read like a bad Heinlein book. It is full of really fundamental misunderstandings of human psychology - a mixed-gender army in which all women are required to be sexually available on demand? How is that different from rape? A draft specifically on the scholastic elite, but the kids are drafted before they complete their degrees? Even if it were politically feasible to draft the best students, why take them before they've learned the useful skills you're drafting them for? And these are just the problems with the current-world scenarios - the future scenarios are laughable. The aliens are predictable and their motives are completely unexplored, and the futuristic war is just making things go boom with bigger bombs.
Private William Mandella hadn't wanted to go to war. But being one of Earth's best and brightest, he - along with the rest of his prime and promiscuous co-ed cadre - had been drafted into the interstellar conflict.
Battling the Taurans was the least of his problems as he worked his way up through the ranks to major. In spanning the stars at faster-than-light speeds, he aged only months... while Earth aged centuries.
And though war in space was hell, Major Mandella soon learned it was nothing compared to coping with 1200 drastically changing years back home!
I don't feel that this book deserves the glowing praise it has had in past reviews. It was a good read, but not a great one. Of course I am biased against hippie soldiers, drug use and drunks so my opinion may have been tainted as a result of the authors emphasis on those topics. Another thought is that the story was written in the early 70's before the military space genre was popularized. There have been many better books written since then, but perhaps Haldeman deserves credit for being one of the first. I'm glad I read it, wouldn't read it again.
Like a recent best seller, The Martian, this book is well worth the time and effort. I liked the space travel explanations and descriptions of life on future earth. For a space novel, for a space military novel and for a scifi novel, there is lots of human warmth in this story. I immediately sought out the two sequels. Be forewarned that for the 1970's when this was published, the sexual stuff was pretty enlightened. Now it seems kinda crass and, well, phobic. But remember the era and you will be able to overlook that dated bit.
In the Author's Note Joe says that this book was hard to get published in the seventies because it was "a science fiction novel about Vietnam". I didn't see any parallels at all. It is obvious that the author wasn't ever in Vietnam or read much about it.
The book was boring. It had little actual war in it.