Books »The Forever War

by Joe Halderman (1974)

Soon The Forever War is going to be the book you see everyone reading on the subway. Why? Because Ridley Scott is working on a big screen adaptation that has the potential to be the next masterpiece science fiction cinema. That is, if he manages to capture the brilliance of the novel.

After reading Song of Fire and Ice, John Haldeman’s economy of language is a refreshing surprise. The wry tone, smirking through heart break, violence and depression calls to mind Catch-22 and the inventive vision of the future makes one think of Starship Troopers and A Clockwork Orange. All good things, but Halderman’s work is truly unique and it’s influence incalculable.

Forever War is a seminal piece in Science fiction literature but sadly not one that has crossed over to mainstream readers. I had heard the name but didn’t pick it up until a Facebook mention reminded me of it and I was on a quest for a new book to read. Most everyone I’ve talked to has never heard of it, but like I said, that’s sure to change soon.

I don’t want to give too much plot away but it concerns a war that carries on with a species humans know nothing about for thousands of years. Much of the plot revolves around understanding theoretical technical aspects, a sci-fi trope that can turn me off, but here he somehow makes it very understandable ( just don’t read it when super tired).

It’s not a flaw exactly but could be a hurdle for some ( including filmmakers, so curious to see how its all handled) Even so, the action, the imagination, and the humanity of the broken soldier Mandella we witness the war through will entrance any reader.

Truly a masterpiece. Lovers of sci-fi, got on this! Or make fun of me for not knowing about it til now, your pick.

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Posted on September 26, 2011

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