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Der ewige Krieg. Roman. by Joe Haldeman
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Der ewige Krieg. Roman. (original 1974; edition 2000)

by Joe Haldeman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,029144691 (4.05)2 / 228
Member:Bamu
Title:Der ewige Krieg. Roman.
Authors:Joe Haldeman
Info:Heyne (2000), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (1974)

  1. 164
    Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (infiniteletters, goodiegoodie)
  2. 50
    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 (Remembering Tomorrow) 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. 01
    The Healer's War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: The Forever War was inspired by Haldemans experiences in Vietnam, Scarborough writes about her experiences in Vietnam directly.
  7. 13
    Dauntless by Jack Campbell (amysisson)
    amysisson: First in a series of thoughtful military SF with great FTL tactical details.
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English (138)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  German (1)  All languages (143)
Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
The book flowed, things weren't over-explained, and it was an enjoyable read with a realistic treatment of interstellar war. ( )
  dewbertb | Feb 5, 2016 |
Written by Vietnam War veteran Haldeman, The Forever War won both the the Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1975), the Locus Award for Fiction Novel (1976)**, and the Hugo Award for Best Novel (1976). Critics consider The Forever War one of the quintessential pieces of American Science Fiction because it stands the test of time. Ironically, The Forever War came close to never being published; as the author notes in his introduction to the edition I read "it was rejected by eighteen publishers before St. Martin's Press [which at the time did not publish adult science fiction] decided to take a chance on it" (xv).

The Forever War, and allegory of the Vietnam War, focuses on the tale of William Mandella, a physicist and physics teacher who as been drafted into the United Nations Exploratory Force (UNEF) through the Elite Conscription Act of 1996. Each person drafted into the UNEF was considered a genius within his or her field; only the best and the brightest would serve in this new army that was put together to battle an alien force, the Taurans, that had been encountered when time travel through time dilation, which is allowed by Stargates (not the kind of Stargates we think of from the television series) and collapsar jumps between portal planets.

The novel follows Mandella, from Private to Major, through 1143 years of Earth Relative time, which only seem like months to him. While he is in space and jumping from planet to planet, he ages only months as the Earth ages decades, even centuries and in the few times that Mandella makes it back to earth after being in space, for him, a relatively short time, sweeping changes occur--the population explodes, billions are without jobs, the monetary system is replaced by trading in Ks or calories, everyone is armed, has body guards, of lives in idyllic communes that are sporadically and devastatingly raided by armed men, and "veterans" of the interstellar war are displaced and not necessarily treated as heroes to the point where they "re-enlist" based on false promises that are quickly nullified by a change in orders.

Haldeman's novel is a powerful study of not simply the devastating effects of war on the combatants but its strains on the economic and political systems as well as the social structures of cities and nations as a whole. Above all, The Forever War is a powerful look at the human psyche and an exploration of human resilience. After reading this novel, I understand why it won so many awards. While The Forever War certainly speaks to the time it was written, it clearly speaks to our time now by touching on issues that come around again (or perhaps never really leave us).

**The Locus Award was presented for Best Novel from 1971 to 1979; in 1980 they changed the award designation to Best Science Fiction Novel.** ( )
  slpwhitehead | Jan 17, 2016 |
Written by Vietnam War veteran Haldeman, The Forever War won both the the Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1975), the Locus Award for Fiction Novel (1976)**, and the Hugo Award for Best Novel (1976). Critics consider The Forever War one of the quintessential pieces of American Science Fiction because it stands the test of time. Ironically, The Forever War came close to never being published; as the author notes in his introduction to the edition I read "it was rejected by eighteen publishers before St. Martin's Press [which at the time did not publish adult science fiction] decided to take a chance on it" (xv).

The Forever War, and allegory of the Vietnam War, focuses on the tale of William Mandella, a physicist and physics teacher who as been drafted into the United Nations Exploratory Force (UNEF) through the Elite Conscription Act of 1996. Each person drafted into the UNEF was considered a genius within his or her field; only the best and the brightest would serve in this new army that was put together to battle an alien force, the Taurans, that had been encountered when time travel through time dilation, which is allowed by Stargates (not the kind of Stargates we think of from the television series) and collapsar jumps between portal planets.

The novel follows Mandella, from Private to Major, through 1143 years of Earth Relative time, which only seem like months to him. While he is in space and jumping from planet to planet, he ages only months as the Earth ages decades, even centuries and in the few times that Mandella makes it back to earth after being in space, for him, a relatively short time, sweeping changes occur--the population explodes, billions are without jobs, the monetary system is replaced by trading in Ks or calories, everyone is armed, has body guards, of lives in idyllic communes that are sporadically and devastatingly raided by armed men, and "veterans" of the interstellar war are displaced and not necessarily treated as heroes to the point where they "re-enlist" based on false promises that are quickly nullified by a change in orders.

Haldeman's novel is a powerful study of not simply the devastating effects of war on the combatants but its strains on the economic and political systems as well as the social structures of cities and nations as a whole. Above all, The Forever War is a powerful look at the human psyche and an exploration of human resilience. After reading this novel, I understand why it won so many awards. While The Forever War certainly speaks to the time it was written, it clearly speaks to our time now by touching on issues that come around again (or perhaps never really leave us).

**The Locus Award was presented for Best Novel from 1971 to 1979; in 1980 they changed the award designation to Best Science Fiction Novel.** ( )
  slpwhitehead | Jan 16, 2016 |
The Forever War is a great anti-war sci-fi epic that captures the disillusionment felt in the Vietnam (and still felt in later wars). It reminded me a bit of Starship Troopers, but the hero in this one is more of a skeptic from the very start.

I liked how Haldeman moved our heroes forward centuries in time by using the physics of travelling through space at light speeds. This was a unique approach to letting the reader see the beginning and end of a (nearly) forever was while not having to continue introducing new characters. Because Mandella is from our time, seeing the future through his eyes made it seem all the stranger.

Unlike some of the other reviewers, I enjoyed the middle section in which Mandella and Marygay return to an Earth that has changed quite a bit. While I never read the first edition of this book that cut this part out, I thought it was a nice change of pace and interesting exploration of what the world could become. Then again, I'm a dystopian author, so maybe I just dig that stuff.

The one thing that did strike me as a little off about the book was Haldeman's discussion of homosexuality. At one point in the future, the powers that be require homosexuality as a means of population control and heterosexuals become the oft-ridiculed minority. It's an interesting concept, and in one sense this reversal is a good way to show how absurd it is to discriminate based on sexuality. On the other hand, to me it implies that being gay is a choice rather than something you're born with, and people can pretty much switch back and forth at will. In the end, I felt that Haldeman's intentions were good, but that he just carried a dated view of this subject. Fair enough, as this book was published in the '70s, but it's something to be aware of going in. ( )
  wethewatched | Jan 7, 2016 |
I first read The Forever War a couple years ago in audiobook format, I quite liked it but to be honest it did not leave much of a lasting impression. I suspect the audiobook format is not suitable for this particular book, I don’t remember there being anything wrong with the narration, I just could not retain much of the details after finishing it, just a vague feeling that it is quite good. I love audiobooks, but I am beginning to think that short sci-fi books are not really the ideal for this format. Which brings me to the reread in print format, The Forever War often crops up in “favorite sf books” discussions and I feel as if I haven’t really read it and this won’t do.

As you might expect The Forever war belongs to the subgenre of “military science fiction”, a subgenre I normally avoid unless the author has interesting points to make about war or military life. Books that focus on the action or thrills of military campaigns are anathemas to me. This book is more of an exploration of the nature and principles of warfare than about details of battles (though there is some of that also); basically it is an anti-war novel.

The book I finished reading just before starting this reread of The Forever War is [b:Brave New World|5129|Brave New World|Aldous Huxley|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327865608s/5129.jpg|3204877], it is interesting to compare the two as sci-fi books. To me the Aldous Huxley book is not really sci-fi as the emphasis is on the social satire and the futuristic setting and sci-fi tropes are tools for the author to communicate his cautionary message. The Forever War is unabashedly sci-fi, certainly it is an allegory of the Vietnam War which the author Joe Haldeman served in. However, Haldeman’s knowledge of physics and engineering is clearly evident in the hard science parts, and the futuristic tech is clearly aimed at sci-fi readers. The only soft or handwavium sci-fi element is the FTL spaceflight through “collapsar jumps”; and this plot device is very cleverly and logically used to explore the implications of time dilation.

The book is very well written and the (first person) narrative tone gradually changes from a sardonic tone in the early chapters to a more matter of fact tone and then a melancholic tone towards the end. The book is too short and densely plotted or all the characters to be fully developed but the protagonist William Mandella and narrator is very sympathetic and believable. I also love the way the book suddenly switch from the war setting to a dystopian near future Earth, then back to the war and then a far future setting for the novel’s conclusion. The middle section set on Earth is really my favorite part of the book, with the drastically changed culture and social mores. If I have one complaint it is the overlong section which tells the story of the final battles with the aliens Taurans, personally I always find scenes of military engagements very dull, though you may feel differently. Fortunately when that is over we arrive at a wonderful twist and denouement, I do not find the eventual fate of Mandella and his girlfriend quite believable but it is by no means unsatisfactory.

While I was reading about the final battles in the later chapters I was speculating whether to rate this book at 4 stars because I found those battle scenes a little tedious, but after finishing it I feel a 5 stars rating is a more accurate representation of my esteem.
____________________________

Update May 2, 2015: The Forever War movie is coming! Reread anyone? ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 138 (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

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For Ben and, always, for Gay
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"Tonight we're going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man."
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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.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:37 -0400)

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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.

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