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The Forever War (1974)

by Joe Haldeman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Forever War (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,893214792 (4.02)2 / 320
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)
  1. 204
    Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (infiniteletters, goodiegoodie)
  2. 80
    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. 10
    Armor by John Steakley (amysisson, RASinfo)
    RASinfo: Perfect read for the story and ideas of the same theme.
  4. 10
    The Ethos Effect by Jr. L. E. Modesitt (thejazzmonger)
    thejazzmonger: Good characters and a story with intelligence and action. It makes you think, like every Haldeman book does.
  5. 00
    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. (sturlington)
  6. 22
    Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman (sturlington)
    sturlington: Forever Peace is a thematic sequel to The Forever War.
  7. 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.
  8. 14
    Dauntless by Jack Campbell (amysisson)
    amysisson: First in a series of thoughtful military SF with great FTL tactical details.
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» See also 320 mentions

English (206)  Italian (2)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (212)
Showing 1-5 of 206 (next | show all)
It was okay. I just can't get too excited about sci fi in general, but it would probably be better for me to choose something that isn't military related. ( )
  boldforbs | Jan 15, 2021 |
Neither military fiction or hard science fiction are my cup of tea, but I appreciated this novel's perspective on the causes and effects of war. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
This is one sci-fi novel I've re-read multiple times over the years. It's a brilliant hard sci-fi story with special relativity and high-speed travel as the science 'hook', but with deep anti-war feelings (from the author's personal experience with Vietnam) as the moral message. Absolutely worth reading. ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
What can I say? Read it! I mean, drop everything you’re doing and read The Forever War by Joe Haldeman .

I can go on about the fantastic short writing style, the visceral subject matter, or the fact that I actually cried reading it, but all of those would be superficially inadequate reasons.

This book is now my #1 by such a high margin that it’s sitting on top of mount Everest, while the other books in my list haven’t even gotten to base camp.

Even if you don’t like sci-fi, even if you don’t like “war” books, even if you don’t like reading, you need to read this book.

And if you don’t believe me, William Gibson (author of Neuromancer) said “to say that the forever war is the best science fiction war novel ever written is to damn it with faint praise.” And I whole heartedly agree.

Read it!

I mean it. ( )
1 vote NTKova | Dec 28, 2020 |
I don't read a lot of science fiction anymore but I decided to give this a shot. I really enjoyed reading the book even though I found at times that it left me feeling a little depressed. The story has a nice "nitty gritty" feel to it giving it a sense of "being real" even in a sci-fi environment. The ending was not what I expected (not sure if that's good or not). ( )
  feralcatbob | Dec 22, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 206 (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 (80 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joe Haldemanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Adams, MarcCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craig, IanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dalton, BrendonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hamilton, Peter F.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reß-Bohusch, BirgitTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, AdamIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scalzi, JohnForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Targete, Jean PierreCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tikulin, TomislavCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tinkleman, MurrayCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vallejo, DorianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vrana, MichelCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Time dilation

Interstellar war is hell

Vietnam in space

(amweb)

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