Monday, May 14, 2012
REVIEW: Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Publishing Information: Kindle; 292 pages
Publisher: Ridan Publishing; 6 July 2011
ISBN 10: 0312536631
ISBN 13: 978-0312536633
Copy: Out of Pocket
Synopsis: "The Earth's leaders have drawn a line in the interstellar sand--despite the fact that the fierce alien enemy they would oppose is inscrutable, unconquerable, and very far away. A reluctant conscript drafted into an elite Military unit, Private William Mandella has been propelled through space and time to fight in the distant thousand-year conflict; to perform his duties and do whatever it takes to survive the ordeal and return home. But "home" may be even more terrifying than battle, because, thanks to the time dilation caused by space travel, Mandella is aging months while the Earth he left behind is aging centuries...."
The Forever War has been on my must read list for quite some time. It one of those timeless classics that any science fiction reader should take the time to read. While not exactly a epic science fiction book, it does deal with some "hard science." For instance, the character doesn't age much with the aid of faster than light travel. As Mandella moves from conflict to conflict he rarely ages while the people he is fighting for back home age at a normal rate. I actually enjoyed this concept in the story and it did a great job of showing how segregated soldiers are from civilians. Their lives are different and just a small change such as this causes problems in a soldiers personal life.
Then there is Mandella himself. He is an ordinary man, certainly lucky, but an average Joe thrust into a situation greater than himself and he comes out both better and worse for his adventures. However, since this book was written after Haldeman's own experiences in the Vietnam war there is a much more negative look at war and its impact on those who fight in the trenches.
Forever War is a classic of that there is no denying. However, it is not the end all, be all that the book is usually touted as being. It is definitely worth checking out and forming your own opinion on, but if you are looking for the ultimate military sci-fi, you may have to dig deeper than this title. Recommended.