The Forever War

Photo of the coverWritten in 1974 (basically at the end of the Vietnam war) and influenced by the authors experience during the same war, “The Forever War” describes a war, that lasts not for years, not for decades, but for milliena. The main character of the story is William Mandella, a young soldier who compulsory joined the newly formed UNEF to fight an alien race, the Taurans.

Private Mandella guides the reader through the whole story in a nearly dairy-style manner and shows all the cruelties of war. But perhaps the biggest problem Mandella has to face is the side effects of how interstellar travel is done during the war: While jumping from one solar system to the next if one month passes subjectively for the soldiers, on Earth years pass. So whenever the soldier have the opportunity to get back to their home planet, it has completely changed…

For me this book was something completely new. Normally I prefer books, that are at max. partially about war. That’s simply because I hope, that wars won’t happen in the future or won’t be as cruel like they were in this century or described in this book. But I still wanted to try something completely new for me and wasn’t disappointed. Joe Haldeman’s story about a war that seems to go on forever was thrilling right from the beginning. He managed to describe the whole atmosphere not just from the point of view of the main character (although Mandella is basically the narator here) but also describes the social environment everyone has to live in. How over-populations are dealt with, how just a few years can change mankind altogether. That’s why I wrote “diary-style” because it’s not really a diary but the reader gets to know all that explained by just one in the whole story involved character, you see text snippets of orders and so on.

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