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The Forever War Paperback – 17 Feb 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Griffin; Reprint edition (17 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312536631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312536633
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 2.1 x 20.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,535,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joe Haldeman was born in Oklahoma in 1943 and studied physics and astronomy before serving as a combat engineer in Vietnam, where he was severely wounded and won a Purple Heart. The Forever War was his first SF novel and it won both the Hugo and Nebula awards, a feat which The Forever Peace repeated. He is also the author of, among others, Mindbridge, All My Sins Remembered, Worlds, Worlds Apart and Worlds Enough and Time.

Product Description

Amazon Review

"Today we're going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man." The first line of this 1974 sf war story still grabs hard: The Forever War, winner of both Hugo and Nebula awards, is a fine choice to launch Millennium's "SF Masterworks" series of classic reissues. Future soldier William Mandella's service in the interstellar "Forever War" chillingly echoes Vietnam, where Joe Haldeman was severely wounded and won the Purple Heart. Afterwards, many real-life veterans found themselves distanced and alienated from US society: thanks to starflight's time dislocations, Mandella returns from weeks or months of combat duty to an Earth which after centuries of change is no longer his home. Though armed with increasingly futuristic weaponry--laser fingers, nova bombs, stasis fields--the infantry still suffers the long agonising waits, the sudden flurry and horror of battle, the shock of loss in a futile war without glory or glamour. But there's still room for tenderness, and for a satisfying ending as the cruel equations of relativistic time finally work in Mandella's favour. Incidentally, this is the first full British edition. When The Forever War was serialised, the magazine editor vetoed one section; it was omitted from the 1974 novel and is now restored. Highly recommended. --David Langford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Reissued by Gollancz as one of 10 key SF texts, 'The Forever War' remains as hard-hitting as when it was first published in 1974. The anger of soldiers forced to fight an unwinnable war is as relevant as it ever was." (Jon Courtenay Grimwood THE GUARDIAN) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gavin J. Carr on 30 Jun. 2003
Format: Paperback
Private William Mandella finds himself fighting to defend an earth which has become more alien than the extra-terrestrial foe he fights.
Deep space flight, wormholes and relativity, mean that for every tour of duty he survives, although only months long to him, centuries pass on earth. Forced by circumstances to continue fighting, Mandella becomes detached from humanity in every way; emotionally, culturally and even sexually, until, the oldest man alive, he is transformed into a figure of ridicule and discust by the new generation of soldiers joining the conflict - soldiers which he now must lead!
Joe Haldeman has taken his own experiences of combat and the aftermath of the Vietnam War and turned them on their head. While the veterans of that conflict returned; profoundly changed, to a homelife that had barely moved on, the combatants of the Forever War come back to an earth which has altered in every way, while they have stood still.
Nicely paced and defly executed, Haldeman's unfussy prose leads the reader effortlessly through the story to a most satisfying conclusion.
Millennium's SF Masterworks series is a fantastic collection of books, and the Forever War is paramount among them.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Hugo Rune on 18 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
I really, really enjoyed this story. This is intelligent sci-fi at its best. You'll certainly need to get your head around the concept of "time dilation"; but I'm sure most of you sci-fi fans will have no problem with this.
The book portrays the politics of war as we know it today, showing that little changes in the distant future, regardless of technological and social advances.
The main character - William Mandella - is thrown into a war with a distant enemy who he knows little about. However, traveling through "wormholes" in space to the next battlefield and then back to HQ posses many difficulties, with decades and centuries passing
in the time that a 6 months mission is completed. Technology on both sides advance, but one never knows who is furthest advanced at any given time in the far reaches of space....
Soldiers are expendable and the enemy must be destroyed at all costs, no questions asked... sounds familiar??.
Each tour of duty takes Mandella further into an increasingly dizzily future and further up the career ladder until the war's final conclusion.

All in all, a book worthy of the SF Masterworks series. A thought provoking and worthwhile sci-fi experience.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark Chitty on 22 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
With the discovery of collapsars, wormhole-like objects that allow instantaneous travel between stars, humanity are spreading out from Earth. It is through this travel that we meet the Taurans and War ensues.

William Mandala is one of the new highly intelligent recruits and is among the first to be put through the paces on Charon, a freezing planet on the outer edges of the solar system. With his fellow recruits he is sent on the first mission to engage - and see - the Taurans.

Although the collapsars allow almost instant travel between systems, the effects of time dilation when travelling to and from these is severe. During his first mission that takes mere months for him, Mandala return to a changed Earth decades after he left. As the missions take longer and longer the time that passes back home becomes ever greater.

Mandala ends up fighting a seemingly endless war for a world that has moved on from his time. With missions with ever less survival chances he moves up the ranks until commanding his own final mission, one whose outcome will hold some surprising results.

The Forever War is one of the books I picked up to catch up on some classic science fiction. I've enjoyed some recent military stuff recently (John Scalzi's Old Man's War series, Robert Buettner's Orphanage) and I've been meaning to look up the better novels of the genre. I've not yet got around to Starship Troopers, but this one has much to admire, but it doesn't use the the premise as much as I was hoping.

Mandala is our main character and the person we follow throughout this war. From his beginnings as a rookie on his training to the mission he commands as a major, he is the focus and it's his views of the world around that shape the story.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 Nov. 2002
Format: Paperback
After reading this remarkable book, I have to ask myself why I have never heard of Joe Haldeman before. This book won the Hugo and Nebula awards--and deservedly so--but I was not at all familiar with this author up to now. I have to say that this book is an incredible read. It's not exceedingly long, but it is packed full of all kinds of ideas and strikes me as quite visionary for the time in which it was written, which was the early 1970s. I am not as well-read in the sci-fi genre as I would like to be, but I must say that the future earth Haldeman describes is one quite unlike any I have read about or thought about myself. The very premise strikes me as singular if not unique, and the end result is a thoroughly enjoyable novel that far exceeds the fare of most science fiction offerings.
In the late twentieth century, Earth develops the ability to travel to distant parts of the galaxy through portals called collapsars; they soon come into contact with an alien race called the Taurans, and war breaks out between the two worlds. The protagonist, William Mandella, finds himself drafted into the intergalactic service under the provisions of the newly established Elite Conscription Act of 1996. Rather than retain the future scientists and leaders at home, this act works to form an intergalactic army of the world's best and brightest young men and women. The new recruits endure a grueling and sometimes fatal training regimen before shipping out to the planets of disputed galactic areas. The trip itself is dangerous, and the troops must secure themselves in protective chambers while they make the long journey to their destinations. Traveling at speeds close to that of light, a journey of several months equates to centuries back home on earth.
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