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The Forever War

Joe Haldeman

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Cover concept by Lorenzo Princi, 13th June 2013

The first person account of an interplanetary war between humans and Taurans, the Forever war follows a pattern similar to Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. Beginning with indoctrination and training, the war and and the personal aftermath of military campaigns. Where the story comes into it's own is with Haldeman’s unique 'time dilation' concept. Essentially, he introduces something most science fiction seeks to avoid, in that travelling to and from Earth is essentially a form of time travel and without getting into physics, basically, every time our heroes come home from a campaign, they return to a future Earth.

When Mandella, one of Earth's best and brightest joins the war, he sets himself up for an adventure through time which he could not have imagined. Time passes on Earth to the point where he no longer understands his home or culture as hundreds of years pass, essentially, despite his many years of service and long overdue retirement, he re-enlists because he realises the military has become his only home. Long overdue for death, Mandella continues to survive (with some luck) and ultimately sees the world become a place that knows nothing but the war. Constant, in all life, politics, custom and culture, Earth is tuned to the war and the very species evolves into something wholly inhuman.

Demonstrating the futility of military conflict despite all it’s political and economic rhetoric and rationale. The high price of winning in the end is the loss of individuality and humanity itself. A Sci-Fi classic soon to be brought to the big screen.