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.
One of the best hard-sci-fi books I've read. I recommend this highly.
The best future war novel since Starship Troopers
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!
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'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.
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 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 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 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.