HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Loading...

The Forever War (original 1974; edition 2009)

by Joe Haldeman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,544123779 (4.06)1 / 199
Member:jldorn
Title:The Forever War
Authors:Joe Haldeman
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 264 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (1974)

Recently added byprivate library, T4NK, mattus, John.Oaks, Jacob_Vaz, Chaindrop, grandlarseny, JenniferEllen, driko
  1. 155
    Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (infiniteletters, goodiegoodie)
  2. 60
    Old Man's War by John Scalzi (JulesJones)
    JulesJones: Two books which examine in different ways what happens to the recruits in an interstellar war who by the very nature of their service can never go back to their home culture.
  3. 21
    Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman (sturlington)
    sturlington: Forever Peace is a thematic sequel to The Forever War.
  4. 10
    The Ethos Effect by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (thejazzmonger)
    thejazzmonger: Good characters and a story with intelligence and action. It makes you think, like every Haldeman book does.
  5. 00
    Armor by John Steakley (amysisson, RASinfo)
    RASinfo: Perfect read for the story and ideas of the same theme.
  6. 13
    Dauntless by Jack Campbell (amysisson)
    amysisson: First in a series of thoughtful military SF with great FTL tactical details.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (119)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (123)
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
In 1972 Joe Haldeman wrote The Forever War, a futuristic war that seems to me to be a criticism of the Vietnam War. And yet it is timely!

Mandala gets conscripted into the army and thus is thrust into an interstellar war against the Taurans, so called because the enemy's planet is near the Taurus constellation. As we travel with Mandalla, we see him going through military training and though the names are changed and the strange new weapons and battle suits are different, criticisms of army generals, commanders and the illogic of the military bureaucracy is very evident.

When we find that the reasoning for getting into the war was a flimsy one and has lasted a thousand years, the mind draws to not only the Vietnam conflict, but the more current (historically speaking) Iraq conflict.

Another strong theme is that of social changes that become so hard to understand and live with that the soldier ends up re-enlisting. I'm sure when the boys returned from Vietnam or even Iraq, they were having a hard time adjusting to the new changes in society.

In the book's fictional society, people are required to have bodyguards and arm themselves whenever they go outside. At any moment you may be jumped on and robbed! The security guard industry is booming. Raids are carried out by bad guys even on farms and smaller, unprotected villages. Time for Mandalla to leave!

The time dilation effect in zooming up to stars that have special properties makes a year or two change subjective time into hundreds of years go by to the imaginary viewer on Earth. Thus Mandalla has spent a 1000 year tour of duty fighting the Taurans.

Another theme is sexual attitudes. The army has changing partners, you can sleep with anyone you want to let off some steam. Even then, the pairing of people is fairly rare yet Mandalla finds solace in Marygay, a woman solider that he follows around and develops feelings for.

Much too is made of homosexuality on Earth. The society has changed so much that homosexuality is used as a birth control device! Heterosexuality is looked on as an aberration where people prefer homosexuality. Thus the Earth's former 9 billion becomes a stable 1 billion after some centuries.

The battle scenes are pure fiction, yet the space adventures on Charon (an ice planet outside Pluto's orbit) and another battlefield outside of the Milky Way galaxy, brings us much in terms of interpersonal relations, Mandalla's struggle with most of his crew hating him and other pressures of military life that are still true today.

The book is an easy read, provocative at times and makes for some great adventure.

Recommended.


( )
  jmourgos | Sep 12, 2014 |
Now that's how you tell a story. Start right in, say what you came to say, and get out. Two hundred and sixty-four pages, no fuss. Brilliant. ( )
  5hrdrive | Aug 16, 2014 |
The Forever War is an award-winning science fiction novel that many readers have enjoyed ever since its first publication forty years ago. Having finally read it I count myself among those who like the book, but I reserve placing it in my top ten SF novels. I found the story a bit slow on the uptake, however it did improve as the story moved on.

The protagonist, Private William Mandella, is about to embark on a journey that will traverse space and time, war and uneasy peace. By the denouement of his story, the reluctant soldier will have traveled over twelve centuries. That can be traumatic enough, but it is not the battles but it is the changes in society, mores, and norms that will be the most difficult barriers facing him. The Forever War portrays the emotional toll of time-travel effectively.
While light-years are handled by Haldeman he also explores a myriad of prospects of sexuality without any puritanism or lascivious behavior. Sex is presented as a part of the human existence, although you can question the logic of his predictions about the direction that sexuality will take for mankind, and and we did just that during the discussion of our local Science Fiction book group, Chicago SF Irregulars and Friends. In my reading a more convincing portrayal of future sexuality was made by Anthony Burgess in his dystopian novel The Wanting Seed; however, whether you find Haldeman's approach believable or not, it is treated as straightforwardly as he does every other aspect of the narrative. It can be a real eye-opening experience, depending upon the reader's background and views. It does not seem likely an “easy” surgery will be developed to change sexual orientation.

Haldeman's ability to develop characters is excellent starting with Private Mandella, who is a well-described, complex character. The reader comes to care deeply about the "hero," his beloved, and the loyal circle of friends who travel through the centuries together.
The Forever War's plot moves at a rapid pace that kept me reading as the centuries literally flew by. The story never forsakes humanity and the emotional facets of the situation in favor of action, explosions, and technology. And there is plenty of technology including fighting suits, light-speed space craft, time dilation, stargate portal planets, acceleration shells, human organ/limb regeneration, and psych-methods for officer training/indoctrination.
The book is very good science fiction, and in the top tier for many readers. Passing years have not weakened the impact or dated the material. The message presented regarding the futility of war resonates a society that has seen many wars in the years since it was written. I would recommend it to those readers who enjoy or wish to explore some classic science fiction. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jul 26, 2014 |
The Meh War. ( )
  HenryKrinkle | Jul 23, 2014 |
I was supposed to have read this last year for my book group but since I was missing that month I skipped it. Well here comes book 2 in the series so I thought I better read the first one to see what I might need for better understanding.

The copy I read had a introduction by John Scalzi that was amusing and a bit enlightening about the feedback he got on Old Man's War. As much as this was a war book it was also a book on how Earth changes over the long periods of time that our hero is gone due to to interstellar travel. I will say that I did like the ending since it could have been much worse. ( )
  Glennis.LeBlanc | Jul 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
I got to re-reading it last night (for the first time in nearly 20 years) and couldn't put it down.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Mar 30, 2003)
 

» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joe Haldemanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, MarcCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craig, IanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scalzi, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Targete, Jean PierreCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tinkleman, MurrayCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vallejo, DorianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Ben and, always, for Gay
First words
"Tonight we're going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man."
Quotations
Relativity propped it up, at least gave it the illusion of being there...the way all reality becomes illusory and observer-oriented when you study general relativity. Or Buddhism. Or get drafted.
I feel asleep and dreamed that I was a machine, mimicking the functions of life, creaking and clanking my clumsy way through a world, people too polite to say anything but giggling behind my back, and the little man who sat inside my head pulling the levers and clutches and watching the dials, he was hopelessly mad and storing up hurts for the day--
"One cannot make command decisions simply by assessing the tactical situation and going ahead with whatever course of action will do the most harm to the enemy with a minimum of death and damage to your own men and materiel. Modern warfare has become very complex, especially during the last century. Wars are won not by a simple series of battles won, but by a complex interrelationship among military victory, economic pressures, logistic maneuvering, access to the enemy's information, political postures--dozens, literally dozens of factors."
The most important fact about the war to most people was that if it ended suddenly, Earth's economy would collapse.
Heaven was a lovely, unspoiled Earth-like world; what Earth might have been if men had treated her with compassion instead of lust.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
Haiku summary
Time dilation

Interstellar war is hell

Vietnam in space

(amweb)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312536631, Paperback)

In the 1970s Joe Haldeman approached more than a dozen different publishers before he finally found one interested in The Forever War. The book went on to win both the Hugo and Nebula Awards, although a large chunk of the story had been cut out before it saw publication. Now Haldeman and Avon Books have released the definitive version of The Forever War, published for the first time as Haldeman originally intended. The book tells the timeless story of war, in this case a conflict between humanity and the alien Taurans. Humans first bumped heads with the Taurans when we began using collapsars to travel the stars. Although the collapsars provide nearly instantaneous travel across vast distances, the relativistic speeds associated with the process means that time passes slower for those aboard ship. For William Mandella, a physics student drafted as a soldier, that means more than 27 years will have passed between his first encounter with the Taurans and his homecoming, though he himself will have aged only a year. When Mandella finds that he can't adjust to Earth after being gone so long from home, he reenlists, only to find himself shuttled endlessly from battle to battle as the centuries pass. --Craig E. Engler

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:30 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

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 on Earth have drawn a line in the interstellar 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 never can go home.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
6 avail.
335 wanted
4 pay4 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.06)
0.5 1
1 14
1.5 3
2 47
2.5 22
3 252
3.5 120
4 655
4.5 117
5 531

Audible.com

Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,975,610 books! | Top bar: Always visible