…SF addict …

Friday, June 12, 2009

Discovering a classic!

While at the library the other day I came across The forever War by Joe Haldeman, a book I'd heard of before, often spoken highly of but which I'd never managed to find. I had to give it a read!(It won major awards upon publication)
Its kind of military SF. Many people make allusions to the Vienam War but for me it seems closer to Starship Troopers (I've not read that book by Heinlein but I have seen the film). It was written in 1974 and originally serialized in Analog magazine with the central part changed-this version I am reading restores the story to the authors original. Only read a few chapters so far but its shaping up nicely!

This book is a war story that covers both space and time.
William Mandella is a soldier drafted in to fight an ongoing war with an alien race known as the Taurans. They're called Taurans because, well, "Aldebaraniams is a ,little hard to handle!" That is from the book and is just one example of the subtle humour that runs throught this book.

Dont read this book expecting big space battles, this is no space opera; its far more significant than that! There are battle scenes against the Taurans but its far more than a simple war story; its about the human condition as much as anything else, about relationships and evolution (the character was born in the 1970s and the book ends in the 32nd century!!)
I may be making it sound boring but thats because I'm not too good at reviewing a book without giving away spoilers! There's some fun and interesting tech in this book. Like organ regeneration, the depiction of which was particularly good because it is a total surprise to the main character Mandella!

Joe Haldeman is a Vietnam vet and it shows, but he is also a physicist and astronomer which makes for good science throughout the book without being heavy or inaccessible to the lay person.

The story is at times brutal, at times funny, and the rest of the time a wonderful study on the nature of humanity and the perils and pointlessness of war and I enjoyed it far more than I expected to, and I loved the ending!

There are two sequels to this book but I dont need to read them. All the story you need is in this one book!

No comments: