The Forever War (The Forever War, #1)

The Forever War (The Forever War, part 1)

Author:

Paperback, Pages: 278

Genres: Science Fiction, Fiction, War

Language: English

Reads: 3995

Downloads: 233093

Rating: Rated: 133127 timesRate It

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Book Summary

The Earths leaders have drawn a line in the interstellar sand—despite the fact that the fierce alien enemy that they would oppose is inscrutable, unconquerable, and very far away. A reluctant conscript drafted into an elite Military unit, Private William Mandella has been propelled through space and time to fight in the distant thousand-year conflict; to perform his duties without rancor and even rise up through military ranks. Pvt. Mandella is willing to do whatever it takes to survive the ordeal and return home. But home may be even more terrifying than battle, because, thanks to the time dilation caused by space travel, Mandella is aging months while the Earth he left behind is aging centuries.

Reader Reviews
  •    Dile Deroun
    2020
    Catch-22 is often cited as one of the great books about the futility and inherent paradoxes of war. I think this is easily its equal, but is often overlooked because it is dismissed as "just" science fiction.

    By using the tropes of SF, Haldeman vividly illustrates not only the psychological effects on the combatants, but also the desperate disassociation wrought between the "soldiers" and the rest of society - his reference point was the Vietnam veterans, but it could apply anywhere and anywhen. There are some moments of genuine horror too, especially when you start to understand what the narrator is telling you.

    A serious contender for my top ten books of all time.
    Reply
  •    Daikinos Dinatale
    2020
    Originally reviewed 2009, I just came back to put in a spoiler tag, which I didn't know how to do at the time...oops.

    Interesting take on things. In a way in the end this is more an "anti-war" book than a stand alone novel. It unfortunately reflects the Utopian type views that came out of the 60s/70s reaction to Vietnam, the one that asks the question, "what would happen if they gave a war and nobody came?" Of course the unaccepted (but logical)answer to this question is, they bring it to you. See the Twin Towers in New York as a reference to what happens when someone gives a war and you don't come.

    I always find the phrase "anti-war" rather pompous, like war is a place or a thing you can decide to avoid on your own. One side almost always wants to avoid any war. Just saying "war is bad" we won't participate" doesn't work, just ask Neville Chamberlain.

    ****************** I'm giving a spoiler warning here on this one as I want to comment on the way Haldeman ties up the book....so, spoiler beyond this point. ***************************************************








    In the end of this book after generations of war (the characters are able to fight much of it because of the time distortion involved in near light speed space travel), we and the alien enemy learn to communicate (finally) and both sides say, "why did you start this thing?" To which both sides answer, "us? You started it!"

    Thus he sets up an ideal scenario, or idealist scenario. A scenario where both sides are logical and not being aggressive... In real life that seldom happens.

    The entire point of the book is that war is pointless...and in a way it is or can be. The only problem not addressed is that in dealing with a bully if you just choose not to fight, you get pounded. Oh well...idealism is good, I am an idealist to, but a grasp of reality is also important. Pacifism has been tried and tried, actually I wish it worked. For the pacifists to survive there have to be those who hold other ideals the ones that require (as Stephen King might say) taking a stand. Not till the return of Jesus Christ will we be able to beat our swords into plowshares I'm afraid.
    Reply

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