The Forever War

I’m not really sure how I stumbled on to this book. I found it in paperback and read it years ago. I recently heard that they were going to make a movie out of it. I decided that I wanted to revisit this Hugo and Nebula Award winner. The story is pretty straight forward. The Earth is attacked by the Taurans. We decide to retaliate. At this point it sounds like Starship Troopers. That’s about where the similarity ends and this story begins to look more like Ender’s Game. You see, it takes 27 years to get to the Tauran home world. But for our “hero” Mandella, it feels like only 1. By the time they reach the Tauran world, they have had 27 years to get ready for the attack and handle it easily. Mandella returns home but now 54 years have passed. The story is about how he is disconnected from the Earth. The war drags on with volley after volley.

Joe Haldeman wrote this story in the 1970s and it is clearly a metaphor for Viet Nam and the alienation of its soldiers returning. The protagonist gets to the point where they are fighting the war just because that’s all they know. The author points out the futility of the war. The story seems rip for a Hollywood update where the parallels with today’s headlines could be drawn.

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