Review: The Forever War — Joe Haldeman

Genre:                           Scifi

Publisher:                    Gollancz

ISBN:                            9780575094147

Edition:                        Paperback

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.jpg

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!

Cover: 🌟🌟🌟

Paper smell: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Print/Lettering: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Originality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟½

Story: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Overall: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Happy reading!

~Jeffrey

Categories: Reviews

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2 replies »

  1. Jeffrey, I am always inquisitive about your opinions about a scifi book as a scfi author yourself! Here in “The Forever War,” by Joe Haldeman, I take note of your keen interest in the relativity of time with weeks translating into years, the high value you give to moral issues (here “the Human Condition and the impact of war and violence on a person,” reminding me of “the Greater Good” in your trilogy), & the pros & cons of reading the introductions to novels when this one contained a spoiler! Spoiler aside, I find that introductions always add some depth to my reading of the novel. Even Acknowledgements at the end can add insights into the book & author. I like why you reposted this, because “it was just that good” as a scifi classic “one should read”!!!!!!! Phil

    Liked by 1 person

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