Greg Pettit's Reviews > The Forever War

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
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's review
Dec 16, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction, library

A good sci-fi adventure story of a soldier's experiences during hundreds of years of galactic war.

Even if it hadn't been mentioned in the introduction, the book is clearly a reference to the Viet Nam War. The soldier-narrator experiences completely foreign and life-threatening environments while growing more and more distant (physically, temporally, and socially) from his homeland.

I've also heard that it was a reaction to Heinlein's Starship Troopers. I haven't read that one, but I'm familiar enough to see the parallels: mechanized combat suits, constant battles, and an inscrutable enemy. I imagine there are a lot of sci-fi books that include those elements, so a comparison seems almost irrelevant.

The book itself was quite good. It was written simply even though it had some good hard science ideas, which made it a quick and easy read.

There's plenty of action, but also some interesting ideas. The time dilation of traveling at near-light speeds allowed the narrator to jump forward centuries during the course of the story. This means that primitive bases and tools advanced radically in what seemed like months to the narrator (and therefore the reader). I also enjoyed the idea that to curb excessive reproduction on an overcrowded Earth, homosexuality was first encouraged and then physically enforced until it became the norm instead of the exception.

Overall, a great blend of action and ideas.
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message 1: by Mark (new)

Mark One of my favorites from back in my hard SF days (high school/college). I wonder how it holds up?

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