The Forever War – NaBloPoMo 2010

Joe Haldeman based The Forever War on his experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam war and as a veteran trying to fit back in society. The Forever War has been compared to Heinlein‘s Starship Troopers, but it has much more in common with Catch-22 than with Heinlein‘s paean to war.

The main character of The Forever War is William Mandella, a bright student and reluctant soldier who is drafted to go battle the Taurans in an intergalactic war, that as Mandella eventually finds out, has no cause, meaning, or end.

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

One minor detail, though – since the Taurans are many light years away, the Earth soldiers go through ‘time dilation’, where one year in the battlefield is approximately thirty Earth years.  after his first tour of duty Mandella returns to an Earth he can’t recognize or fit in, so reluctantly he reenlists over and over…

this is a wickedly funny book – very relevant to its contemporary time in the 1970s, and again to our current times.


8 thoughts on “The Forever War – NaBloPoMo 2010

  1. The time dilation makes sense, in that veterans returning from active duty often complain of feeling as if they experience time differently than everyone else. Minutes seem longer, and night and day seem out of order (which gets exacerbated by their inability to sleep).

    Very interesting idea. I need to add this one to my amazon list, though maybe I’d have more success checking the used bookstore next time I’m out.

  2. ‘time dilation’ is a good concept and as HG points out it is a way to explain the ‘time shifts’ and ‘time displacements’ that many veterans suffer from.

    ‘time dilation’, sometimes under other names has become a standard device in space stories –

  3. maybe we should start a paperback exchange? I found another copy of Bester‘s The Stars My Destination in my sci-fi shelves…

    • I’d be for that. I don’t have any duplicates (well, I might, I just haven’t been able to go through all of my stored, crated books yet), but at the end of every year I have this stack of books that I’ve read and really don’t need to see again. I’ve been selling them to keep from accumulating yet another pile around here, but if others can benefit from my surplus, hey! It’d be great!

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