Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Book Review: 'The Forever War' by Joe Haldeman

I like my Sci-Fi, but I'd never crossed paths with the (Hugo, Nebula & Locus) award winning novel 'The Forever War' before. That was until my local comic shop, Spa Town Comics, recommended to me the comics adaptation from Titan Comics. I liked the comic series so much I decided to give the original source a go. And I really enjoyed it.

First published in 1974, it's a military space opera about a futuristic war that lasts for over a 1000 years, as we follow one soldier, William Mandella, as one of the first set of troops drafted by the military to combat the Taurans, an alien race.

As most of the warfare is out in distant space, humanity has to use stargates called Collapsars, to travel the vast distances. Whilst they're travelling at near lightspeed, through these gates, the time dilatation means that aboard the spaceship, Mandella and his squad mates only age a matter of months, the time it takes to travel to each gate, whereas back on Earth, a decade or more has passed. So as the war drags on, and they travel to each war zone, centuries fly by back home.

This makes things awkward for Mandella when he does go back home, finding it very difficult to fit back in to a society that is very alien to him. A society that has changed so much, that he re-enlists, just so he can be a part of something familiar again.

An allegory for Vietnam, Haldeman served during the war, with a jaded soldier seemingly destined to forever fight in an endless war, for a world he no longer feels part of.

I listened to the audiobook, wonderfully narrated by George Wilson, which definitely benefits from the story being in the first person, as seen through the eyes of Mandella, as there's plenty of dry wit and emotion throughout the book.

Well worth picking up.