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“What an underwhelming novel. To hear that this was one of the "Best Classics of Science Fiction Ever" really made me eager to finally pick this up. It was not really worth it. The writing was average at best and only interesting enough to keep you reading to the end but never pulled at me in...”see full review » see other reviews »
“It took awhile to get into it, but I liked it very much.”Steve P wrote this review Thursday, October 24, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
The Forever war is a book which actually is a book all about war. The book forever wear tells the story of a soldier in a futuristic war with an alien race known as the Taurons. The twist is ever time the character goes to the planets the war is on they need to jump through space and time. It feels like seconds but on earth society moves forward thousands of years. And so does culture... ”
“Although it felt a little dated, this is a well-written book about war and the affect it has on its participants. There is some about the people back home, but mostly it concerns itself with the people fighting the war. It is based on the author's experiences in Vietnam, and that comes through in many different ways. It does not get stuck with the Vietnam metaphor, however, and is a good story simply as a story.”Matthew D wrote this review Thursday, October 3, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The Forever War” was an incredibly interesting read for me. The author uses a very unique style, as he puts large amounts of emphasis on some events, and others completely disregards. This means that although it could detract a small amount of detail in the story, it also allows the author to focus on pivotal moments in Mandella’s life, letting us glimpse into life changing moments in his life. Possibly my favorite element of the book is William Mandella’s life span, which stretches over hundreds of years as a result of his space travel as part of his military service. Because of this, the author is incredibly imaginative, and manages to create a whole new world every single time the protagonist visits earth or hears about it. The time difference between each time Mandella comes into contact with earth is vast, and each time the changes are greater. In example, the first time Mandella returns after his first tour in space, earth is overcome by crime and carrying a weapon is necessary. Most people own bodyguards and the government controls all employment (he also discovers that he is completely unprepared and untrained to do anything other than fight, another metaphor to the Vietnam war). The detail of the changes and world that the author creates is so vivid and shocking that it is almost possible to feel Mandellas amazement and confusion when he returns to a world changed. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of science fiction or deep concepts coupled with extended metaphors.
Up to where i am in the forever war, all of the story has been told in first person by William Mandella. So far, one of my favorite aspects of Mandellas narration is how he thinks. Unlike a lot of book characters, Mandella acts like a "real" person in his decisions and interactions. My only complaint is that at points its hard to empathise with his sorrow, as characters later killed off leave little impact on the reader, because the only person the reader truly knows is Mandella. Other than that though, I think that the book is very good so far, very detailed and about as "realistic" as a science fiction book representing a metaphor for the Vietnam war can be. Im looking forward to reading more and seeing how Mandellas character and thoughts evolve as the story progresses.”
“I loved this against expectations. The blurbs spurt encomiums such as "best science fiction novel ever." One by Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz calls it "Perhaps the most important war novel written since Vietnam." Such praise made me start the novel in a rather cynical "show me" mood. Given it's reputation as an "anti-war" novel I also feared it might be bitter, angry polemic or depressing.
That couldn't be farther from the case. I found the first person narrator and protagonist, William Mandella, sympathetic and intelligent--that helped. But it's also more than a "war novel."(Among other things, it examines themes of gender and sexuality and has strong female characters.)
The introduction to my edition by Scalzi calls it "one of the two cornerstone works of military science fiction, along with Starship Troopers. I happen to love Heinlein's Starship Troopers with which The Forever War has often been compared as its opposite pole: Heinlein's seen as militaristic and "pro-war" and Haldeman's as "anti-war" and "anti-military." I think that's a rather simplistic way to describe either novel, and unfair to Heinlein, who did depict the negative sides of the military mindset.
I think it's more that Starship Troopers, published in 1959, is post-World War II. It's template was the "Good War" fought and won by his country while Haldeman's war was Vietnam--the long, futile war his country lost. Haldeman's book, published in 1974, emphasizes the absurdities, the futility and damage down to psyches and especially the dislocation veterans feel. Heinlein's novel depicts a utopia (mostly--by Heinlein's lights) while Haldeman's novel depicts a dystopia (mostly). Both are thought-provoking books well-worth the read.
I found Haldeman's novel a lot more enjoyable than I expected--a page-turner.”
“Good book for people who are into war and adventure.”Trevor Raatz wrote this review Wednesday, September 11, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“What an underwhelming novel. To hear that this was one of the "Best Classics of Science Fiction Ever" really made me eager to finally pick this up. It was not really worth it. The writing was average at best and only interesting enough to keep you reading to the end but never pulled at me in any amazing way. The story itself follows the life of one William Mandella as he fights an alien species known as the Tauran.
Due to the ability to basically warp through space (and time due to relativistic mumbo jumbo) he ends up fighting through the entirety of a thousand year war. In this time we see him kinda form a relationship with one woman, be extremely put off at the idea of homosexuality, fight a lot (though by "fighting" I mean "put on a space suit and wait it out while a computer does all the laser-targeting for them" style of warfare for most of the war).
The interesting points brought up center around the changes in the home you knew when you return at various points after time away in a foreign war and the pointlessness of war.
Overall the story pretty much limps along from overly complicated science section to dull fight scene to descriptions of travelling again at various "gees" for obscene amounts of time, to dull conversations between rather interchangeable characters. It tries to make a few grand and sweeping statements about War and genetic cloning and the futility of battle but failed to make an impact as the characters were never really ones I felt attached to in any way so all the big "reveals" at the end were lackluster at best.
Certainly not my top Science Fiction pick.”
“Definitely an entertaining read, and I like the idea of the 'forever war' as being due to fighting a conflict over massive distances in space, thus necessitating fighters be put in a kind of stasis, and therefore by the time they return to earth are centuries out of date. I am unsure if I like or dislike the love story angle, and the treatment of homosexuality (in te future earth is so populated that the government forces everyone to become gay) is a little homophobic. The cover quote 'best war book of all time' is probably an overstatement.”Wilba RP wrote this review Monday, August 12, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Great book - couldn't put it down. Written in the 70's but timeless (no pun intended ) like alll great sci-if is.”Paul Callaghan wrote this review Sunday, August 11, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No