3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Like all good novels, it can be read over and over., 10 Mar 2002
This novel is one of the rare ones - like Frank Herbert's "Dune", Samuel R. Delaney's "Dhalgren", Ursula K. LeGuin's "Left Hand of Darkness" and Phillip K. Dick's "Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said" or "A Scanner Darkly". All the above leave one stunned and elevated from the day-to-day. They come back to haunt your thoughts and inform your future.
Having read "A Bright Shining Lie" by Neil Sheehan and "Dispatches" by Martin Herr - both true accounts about the Vietnam Conflict and both very accurate and realistic through the necessary distortions of the act of writing - I would have no compunction about putting this up as the next novel to read.
It is not so much, the rendering of the military way - hurry up and wait or unrelieved boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror as the humanity shown and the attention to the interaction of people that is a complete antithesis to anything military.
it is also the usage of hard science. The first time I read this tale, I was captivated by the fact that here was a writer who did get their facts right in the first place - before extrapolating - and looked at the social and societal effects.
Joe Haldeman is one of those rare writers who craft Speculative Fiction to allow us to make fresh approaches to subjects, or indeed, to see subjects that are only just on the knowledge horizon of everyday science, but that will be with us soon whether we want it or not.
In "The Forever War" he has done both these things. To date, I have read this particular tale 12 times and it is still as good and real all these years later.