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Forever Peace | [Joe Haldeman]

Forever Peace

War in the 21st century is fought by "soldierboys". Remote-controlled mechanical monsters, they are run by human soldiers who hard-wire their brains together to form each unit. Julian is one of these dedicated soldiers, until he inadvertently kills a young boy. Now he struggles to understand how this has changed his mind.
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Publisher's Summary

Drawing on his own war experiences, Vietnam veteran Joe Haldeman creates stunning works of science fiction. Forever Peace is not a sequel to his previous award-winning work, The Forever War, but it deals with similarly provocative issues. When it was published, Forever Peace was chosen as the Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly. It also won the coveted Hugo Award.

War in the 21st century is fought by "soldierboys". Remote-controlled mechanical monsters, they are run by human soldiers who hard-wire their brains together to form each unit. Julian is one of these dedicated soldiers, until he inadvertently kills a young boy. Now he struggles to understand how this has changed his mind.

Forever Peace is a riveting portrayal of the effects of collective consciousness, and it offers some tantalizing revelations. Narrator George Wilson's skillful performance weaves together the elements of futuristic technology with the drama of a trained soldier reconciling basic human needs.

©1997 Joe Haldeman; (P)2000 Recorded Books

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1998
  • Nebula Award, Best Novel, 1998

"At once a hard science, military, and political thriller, this book presents a thoughtful and hopeful solution to ending war in the 21st century. Essential for sf collections." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (273 )
5 star
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3.8 (159 )
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4.2 (159 )
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    bookouri 03-14-13
    bookouri 03-14-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    44
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    364
    28
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    Story
    "not up to the standards one expects from Haldeman"
    Would you try another book from Joe Haldeman and/or George Wilson?

    yes


    Would you ever listen to anything by Joe Haldeman again?

    yes


    What does George Wilson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    not a lot


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    ok book, but not up to the quality that Haldeman is capable of.


    Any additional comments?

    I have always enjoyed Haldeman's work. But this book's plot and characters were pretty thin. Read Forever War or some of his other works, but don't judge him based on this one.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Noah Bryan, TX, United States 08-25-10
    Noah Bryan, TX, United States 08-25-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    7
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Good, but not as good as The Forever War"

    In terms of sheer writing skill, and the ability to portray the raw tragedy, loneliness, and emptiness of being a soldier, Joe Haldeman is without equal. This book is melancholy, depressing, and despairing. It is not, however, as good as The Forever War, and in fact has no relation to that epochal work.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reem 07-27-15
    Reem 07-27-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow"

    I'm a huge fan of science fiction but Haldeman's novel was just too long of a stretch. The story line was okay in theory but the execution was poor and quite boring. The only reason I finished the book was because I had to read it for class.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rbecca 06-22-15
    Rbecca 06-22-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unsure/10"

    In some places this book was really exciting and I couldn't stop listening, but other places were really dull. The pacing was a bit all over the place. I enjoyed the ideas a lot but I'm not sure this book is going places.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 04-03-15
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 04-03-15 Member Since 2013

    I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    89
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    96
    68
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    11
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    Overall
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    Story
    "'Walk a mile in their shoes' Syndrome"

    This book is a spiritual, if not narrative, sequel to Haldeman’s 1975 “Forever War”. Both novels won the Hugo & Nebula, and explore the theme of war’s futility, although from different perspectives and in separate story-worlds. Readers expecting a continuation of Forever War’s interstellar conflict or relativistic time dilation effects, will see that instead this story features a strictly terrestrial struggle between the wealthy nations, fueled by effortless nano-factory produced plenty, and the struggling excluded masses. The earlier novel, written in the immediate post-Vietnam days of an antagonistic welcome for returning veterans, further exaggerated the alienation of the protagonist with a fish-out-of-water situation that placed the character hopelessly out of touch with his own century. Here, in the 1998 novel, one senseless war is supplanted by an invisible one to end all wars, as the protagonist discovers a pacification treatment that involves sharing one of the military’s tightest-held tools with all of humanity to bring individuals together into a community incapable of violence outside of self-defense. Haldeman uses SF technology as vehicle to explore the age-old thought that ‘if we only walked in our enemies shoes for a day’. At the same time, the greatest opponent to this peace movement is one of religious zealots who inexplicably seem to want death and destruction for its own sake. I felt that not enough insight was given to their internal motivation, even when the narrative was told in first person perspective of one these characters. This left them a bit too archetypical and cartoon-evil for me. On the human-scale drama of this story, there is a compelling relationship that is shown conquering the challenges of race, age, military-civilian differences, then ‘jacked’ vs natural minds until it is thoroughly proven to be unshakable. There are also some notable thriller scenes and a number of high-tech asymmetric warfare scenes as well. Absent, sadly, are any aliens or Space Opera tropes or any references to advanced climate change expected over the coming century (CliFi).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Herndon, VA, United States 05-30-13
    Kevin Herndon, VA, United States 05-30-13 Member Since 2011

    Checking out Brandon Sanderson's work

    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
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    67
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    "Interesting idea, little weak on execution"

    The story line is interesting - it is nothing like Forever War. I liked the concept of the infantry fighting remotely from the battle and the idea of linked minds in combat units. I did not by the next step. Not a a bad book - just expected more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan Heverlee, Belgium 12-07-11
    Jan Heverlee, Belgium 12-07-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Too lazy to come up with a decent ending"
    What disappointed you about Forever Peace?

    The ending is just too deus ex machina.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Joe Haldeman again?

    Yes.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    I found the narration too american. It was a slow southern accent that kinda got on my nerves.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The general ideas around 'jacking' was good.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darren L. 06-29-09
    Darren L. 06-29-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    49
    2
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    0
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    Overall
    "Mystifying"

    I'm completely befuddled, not only by the inane, pointless drivel this author calls a plot but by how the publisher could ever have thought anyone could stomach this rambling, boring, absolutely irredeemable mess of a book. If you're looking for entertaining sci-fi, steer very, very wide. There is absolutely nothing worth listening to here.

    8 of 16 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Gavin Jones
    7/29/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An Enjoyable Romp"
    What did you like best about Forever Peace? What did you like least?

    The first half of the book. The second half of the book.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The stuff at the beginning. The stuff at the end.


    Any additional comments?

    If you enjoyed "The Forever War" then I can see no reason why you wouldn't enjoy at least the first half of this book. The second half, although entertaining, just seemed a bit daft. Having said all that, the whole thing was infinitely better than listening to Radio 2 or John Humphrys.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mikael
    7/27/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Uninteresting"

    Unlike his first book, this one was completely uninteresting stock scifi-action with scarcely a hint of novelty to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr M Letch
    4/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Sci-Fi thriller that reads like a film."

    Joe Haldeman, said although this wasn't a direct prequel to The Forever Wars, there's aspects of the story that fit into that universe.

    There's three stories interweaving within the book, one of them the military industrial complex and the futility of war, another is a love affair between a couple of different races and ages, and thirdly a threat that could kill us all.

    What more do you need from a Thriller!

    The reader is fantastic, a voice that is pure Americana with a slightly world weary sardonic tone, that I think references the sense of war weary America that this book portrays.

    I have a lot of audio books and I regularly come back to this one, knowing what's going to happen before you listen, but it not mattering as you're so immersed in the books universe, says a lot about the quality of the story and the reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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