- Audio CD
- Publisher: Recorded Books (1999)
- ISBN-10: 0788739832
- ISBN-13: 978-0788739835
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,802 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,727,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Forever War Audio CD – 1999
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|Audio CD, 1999||
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Top Customer Reviews
Haldeman's style is terse and effective, seasoned with a sly sense of humor throughout. The protagonist, William Mandella, is a likeable military everyman with whom a reader readily identifies. The battle scenes are particularly well done, allowing a reader to easily follow the action without the confusion that would plague a less skillful account.
The Forever War is notable for its exploration of the temporal effects of faster than light travel, i.e., Mandella's tours of duty last hundreds of years on earth, while for him, only a few years pass. Mandella goes forth to battle, having no idea what type of home will await him in the unlikely event that he survives. Eventually, Mandella is rendered a human anachronism, a veteran in command of troops he can barely understand.
The parallels with Vietnam were mostly lost on me, as I'm too young to relate, but the theme of coming home to a world one no longer recognizes is more than ably developed. Another theme that gets a lot of play is that of the unintended consequences of social engineering as Earth's society "evolves." Some of the changes to Earth that Mandella witnesses are disturbing, many are humorous, and the final chapter is extremely unusual and thought-provoking.
More than just a cold military fantasy, The Forever War has a surprising emotional impact as well. Best of all, Haldeman makes his points with subtlety and humor, not by nailing them into your skull. A terrific read that I would recommend to anyone without hesitation.
It's Haldeman's terse prose and direct writing style that make The Forever War a great novel. Without the discipline and restraint that previous editors imposed upon his work, Haldeman rambles on like your great-grandpa telling you about life during the Great Depression. There are at least two entire chapters devoted to describing how Earth's economy is now based on calories instead of dollars. And by the end of those two chapters, Haldeman himself seems to conclude that it's dumb, impractical idea that's not very interesting in the first place.
There are reasons that the original cuts were made. What was once tense, quotable, action-packed and provocative is now a lumbering beast, sagged down by tons of extraneous ramblings that don't add to the story even a little.
I certainly don't expect you to believe me. And in fact, I suppose some of you might even like the extra material, bland and superflous as it is. But for me, this version is a rough draft. I would much prefer to have a copy of the edited version. Editing is NOT a dirty word- it's part of the craft of writing.
Main character William Mandella serves in the war against the mysterious Taurans, which, because of time dilation udring his spaceship travels, lasts for seven hundred years while Mandella ages only ten. Earth alters, lifestyles completely change, and Mandella wonders the purpose of the senseless warfare.
Although specifically allegorical, Haldeman's novel is powerful enough to apply to all combat. In a way, this could be seen as the opposite to Heinlein's _Starship Troopers_, with reluctant soldiers caught in purposeless combat, and a hero who is neither more skilled or heroic than any other solider around him-he has merely lasted longer than the others. The book has many great touching moments in between the furious combat scenes (a few of which are confusing), such a Mandella's separation from his love Marygay Potter, and a sad return to an Earth that has aged beyond their understanding.
A deserving classic of many awards, and I'm sure it will never age as long as warfare is still with us.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'll be honest- I grew up on 90's and 00's Sci-fi shows like Andromeda, Stargate SG1, various Star Treks, and the like, so my sci-fi preference is adventures through space with... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Hope
I don't need to review this. It's one of the most famous, well-received science fiction novels ever written. Read morePublished 3 days ago by RichM
Ok, but not really my style, I only made it half way through the second novel.Published 4 days ago by Patrick
The usual "GI-Joe" characterization style of the main characters but an interesting premise with some surprising twists derived, I assume, from Mr. Read morePublished 5 days ago by David King
Such delightful science fiction and way ahead of its time :)
The historical analogy is very important and makes it a piece worthy of giving perspective.
Classic sci-fi story. Was happy to see it come out in Kindle format. I've worn out the paperback. Joe Haldeman can sure spin a good tale!Published 12 days ago by Amazon Customer
I can't believe I didn't read this year's ago. I'd only ever read one of Halderman's books, "All My Sins Remembered" and it's one of my favorites so I don't know why it took so... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Amanda C