The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

Ugh – where to begin with this book?  It’s considered a sci-fi classic, so I decided to pick it up and give it a whirl for my new sci-fi/fantasy author monthly quota.  It certainly didn’t start off badly, in fact I really liked it.  It reminded me of Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, which I really enjoyed.  It starts in the year 1997 (okay, so it was originally written in 1974 and at that time the 1990’s probably seemed like a long way off) and earthlings are fighting an interstellar war.  There is a military draft and Private William Mandella has joined the army along with a bunch of other ill-prepared men and women, who trade partners each night after a grueling day of training (must have been one of Haldeman’s fantasies).  Flash forward to the year 2023, when Mandella finally makes it back to earth, even though he hasn’t aged at all because of the space/time continuum.  There isn’t enough food to go around, so the earth has turned into something out of a Mad Max movie, and Mandella’s mother is now a lesbian because the world has turned to homosexuality (maybe another one of Haldeman’s fantasies).  This is where I started to drift off to the point of no return.  198 pages into the story, Mandella has re-enlisted in the army because he can’t reconnect with other earthlings and goes off on other adventures.  He’s not aging because of that time/space contiuum and now I’m supposed to believe that the year is 2458 (don’t quote me on that – I was losing interest fast) and he’s trying to keep up with the changes to humanity when he drops back to earth again.  Wow.  I think that Haldeman smoked too much something in his Vietnam days.  I’m returning this to the library after attempting to pick it up night after night and thinking how awful it is.  It’s not just the Forever War, it’s the Forever Book.  Not recommended.

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