Review: The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

Rating:

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
1974, Ballantine Books

Review Summary: Haldeman’s The Forever War isn’t bad reading, and brings up some interesting ideas about waging an interstellar war where one would spend the majority of one’s time travelling at near light-speed just to reach relevant warp points. A decent short novel, though I’m at a loss as to why one finds it referenced in so many places – surely it has some historical significance in the progression of the genre, but overall its not that great of a novel.

Full Review:

Haldeman’s The Forever War isn’t bad reading, and brings up some interesting ideas about waging an interstellar war where one would spend the majority of one’s time travelling at near light-speed just to reach relevant warp points.

Characterization is weak, however, and the plot and themes are pretty straight-forward.

The discussion of Mandella’s slow aging in respect to the viewpoint on Earth is confusing at first, as one is initially only told that the warp points are instantaneous – only later does it start to become clearer that the warp points are located at such distances that you are travelling near light-speed just to reach those points.

Haldeman’s essentially utter dismissal of the military viewpoint, and any discussion of alien cultures or mentalities, are definite weak points in my opinion, though his commentary and treatment of overpopulation on Earth is new in my experience and I found it thoughtful if not expansive.

A decent short novel, though I’m at a loss as to why one finds it referenced in so many places – surely it has some historical significance in the progression of the genre, but overall its not that great of a novel.

06/08/08 CSL

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