Kane's Reviews > The Forever War

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
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's review
Dec 28, 2010

really liked it
Read in June, 2011

The Forever War is a great classic military sci-fi joint for a few reasons:

1. Time dilation. Haldeman takes this one feature of space-time travel and makes it the central character of the novel. It messes with the protagonist's life, makes military strategy interesting in that your enemy could suddenly have weaponry far more advanced that you (or just as likely could be carrying sticks), and it gives the story a far-reaching feel.

2. Simplicity. There's no complex world-building (although some hints are dropped about the visited planets) and long descriptions of evil empires. Space is a cold, lonely place with lots of big rocks.

3. Autenticity. I kept thinking that Haldeman knows what he's talking about, both in terms of the military elements, for good reason obviously, and in terms of the science. The reader needs to feel like the writer knows more than him and that box is triple checked.

4. Awesome concepts. The concepts were revolutionary and don't feel dated. I was shocked at how much from the Matrix was ripped off from Forever War.

4. Useful social commentary. The Vietnam context comes alive again with today's events. This book is a relevant comment on both eras.

5. Brevity. I'm a slowish reader and I read this over three days. I'm not always in the mood to take on a six-course meal of a book and it's nice to launch right into the story and ride the wave. Like a good military campaign, Haldeman gets in and gets out.

Really enjoyed this.
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01/31/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Just added to me to-read list. I don't know how I've been going along as a sci-fi fan for all these years without reading this book, but I think I'll finally do it. You mention the use of time dilation ... Dan Simmons makes good use of time dilation in Hyperion, too, especially in the story of Merin and Siri's love affair.

Rocco Dewet I also saw a lot of the effects in the series "Space, Above and Beyond." Even if they didn't rip off the story, I could see the effect The Forever War had on the storyline.

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