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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