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The Forever War: Forever War Book 1 (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Hardcover – 18 Oct 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 208 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 18 Oct 2001
£89.96 £29.98
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New edition edition (18 Oct. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575073187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575073180
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.7 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,876,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.


'Military science fiction comes in many flavours, and Joe Haldeman's is every bit as satisfying as Heinlein's.' (SciFiNow)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
Get a hold of this book and start reading because it is pretty amazing. There's no doubting that this book deserves its No. 1 position on the Science Fiction Masterworks list. From the very outset this is a bit of a rock and rolling ride... training and fighting and loving and dying and accidents and confusion and changing attitudes and mind-boggling time dilations - all this and you still get characters that you care about... in the end, everyone is out of kilter a little bit and when you find out the ending you'll either be really happy or really sad. Happy as the people we've been following for the last couple of hundred turns are happy... or sad at the pretty terrible waste of time it all was in the end.
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Format: Paperback
This was an unexpected masterpiece in my mind, something that I idly bought but realised very quickly was something of some exceptional quality and content. The story, in summary, follows the martial life of a man named Mandella from his initial inception into a futuristic army, through to his first experience of combat, promotion (etc). Though this may resemble any war novel, The Forever War manages to take things one step further.

Due to the vast distances between conflicts and the problems incurred in travelling the interstellar gulf, years pass like month to the protagonist, each time he returns home it is to a world that has aged and developed into something completely alien to him.

Though the novel does set itself around a war against an alien race, they feature only very occasionally in the story. Moreover, this is not a novel punctuated by a series of graphic and bloody battles. It is more a story of how the war affects the individuals that fight in it.

The book, despite the science fiction, is quite a political novel with many issues that are of particular interest, exploring the nature of war and the fact that the young characters in this book suffer and die to fight for a cause that they have very little understanding of. As a political comment the ending of the book says a lot about war and about the lives that it dispenses with.

I would certainly rank this as an exceptionally good piece of science fiction, thoughtful and imaginative throughout.
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