Page count: 241
Release date: 2010
Please note, this is an older review that I reposted, because it was lost from my older website!
I heard of this book some time ago when I stumbled upon a list of scifi classics one should read. After finishing this book I needed some time to reflect on it, because it was just that good.
The Forever War is a story about war. It starts off with William Mandella, the story’s protagonist being a private in a war against an unknown alien race. We experience the story through his experiences, which are written in a pleasant, although slightly brief manner. This makes the book a quick read, which I found very enjoyable.
What makes this story so compellingly interesting is the fact that Joe Haldeman uses the relativity of space travel in his story, meaning that Mandella’s journey back home of weeks translates to years having passed on Earth. He returns to a world that is more alien to him than he could ever imagine.
While the story does focus on Mandella’s experiences as a soldier and the war, it also does what a good scifi story should do. It explores the Human Condition and the impact of war and violence on a person. It is one of the main reasons I love pure science fiction so much, it never really is about spaceships and aliens, it’s all about what it means to be Human.
Now, why, after all this praise do I not give this story a 5-star review? Well, this has nothing to do with the story itself, but rather the introduction in this edition of the book. I usually take the time to read book introductions, to learn a little about the author of the book. Sadly, the introduction in this SF Masterworks edition contained a spoiler, which I thought was very disturbing and totally changed the way I read the book. It also made me reconsider ever reading introductions to books. At the end the spoiler wasn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but still it was a spoiler and I hate them.
If you’re ever going to read this book, please refrain from reading the introduction and skip to the wonderful masterwork instead. It truly deserves that title!
Paper smell: 🌟🌟🌟🌟