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The Forever War | [Joe Haldeman]

The Forever War

William Mandella is a soldier in Earth's elite brigade. As the war against the Taurans sends him from galaxy to galaxy, he learns to use protective body shells and sophisticated weapons. He adapts to the cultures and terrains of distant outposts. But with each month in space, years are passing on Earth. Where will he call home when (and if) the Forever War ends?
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Publisher's Summary

When it was first published over 20 years ago, Joe Haldeman's novel won the Hugo and Nebula awards and was chosen Best Novel in several countries. Today, it is hailed a classic of science fiction that foreshadowed many of the futuristic themes of the 1990s: bionics, sensory manipulation, and time distortion.

William Mandella is a soldier in Earth's elite brigade. As the war against the Taurans sends him from galaxy to galaxy, he learns to use protective body shells and sophisticated weapons. He adapts to the cultures and terrains of distant outposts. But with each month in space, years are passing on Earth. Where will he call home when (and if) the Forever War ends?

Narrator George Wilson's performance conveys all the imaginative technology and human drama of The Forever War. Set against a backdrop of vivid battle scenes, this absorbing work asks provocative questions about the very nature of war.

©1974 Joe W. Haldeman; (P)1999 Recorded Books

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1976
  • Nebula Award, Best Novel, 1975

"A vastly entertaining trip." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1438 )
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Story
4.1 (857 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Aaron Troy, MI, United States 06-04-09
    Aaron Troy, MI, United States 06-04-09 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Listen"

    Better than I expected; the synopsis makes it sound dull, and the ending feels like a bit of a non-ending, but the added dimension of the leaps in time are interesting. I've seen rumors they are making this into a movie - could be interesting if handled properly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Mellor Anchorage, AK 06-27-08
    M. Mellor Anchorage, AK 06-27-08 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Well read, liked the original version better"

    The book is well read, very enjoyable. I just prefer the original version of the book (1974 release) to this one.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arjen 12-24-11
    Arjen 12-24-11

    NaknAKNaKNaK

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrible sppoiler in opening credits"
    Any additional comments?

    There is a criminal spoiler in the opening credits (not even in the actual book). This spoiler tells the main storyline of the book and COMPLETELY ruims the first chapters!!! I am mad out of my skull becouse of this utter ignorence and am going to demand a FULL refund.
    At irst I thought it was just an introduction and actualy part of the book, untill the narrator went:

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry Clarkston, MI, United States 02-13-12
    Jerry Clarkston, MI, United States 02-13-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Not So Much"
    What would have made The Forever War better?

    It was fine other then story


    What was most disappointing about Joe Haldeman’s story?

    The story was not realistic in any sense. While I am not a Vietnam Vet I am a Vet, and the military described in here is not one I could never understand. It sounded more like a lot of what one would wish were in a military force. For instance the free sex that trips enjoyed would have ruined discipline a unit needs. Teammates depend on each other they don't use one another. It was like the women were there to serve the men and vice versa.

    Some would say that people fight better if they care for one another....but that isn't why we fight as troops. we fight because we depend on the other person next to us. Having sex doesn't make that any more real. The way the military acted in general was like a child's dream as to how they wanted it be.

    I am not sure how to take the story in general. It was a nightmare of a society that is for sure. If you are looking for military sci-fi Starship Troopers is far better and is NOT Plato's Republic. Heinlein advocated there in a meritocracy and it is more of Heinlein both clarifying and defending his military and political views of the time. For the record Plato's work is directly attacked as Heinlein viewed it as a socialist. Heinlein was Libertarian.

    Still this book won major awards....so yea for Joe! But I am disappointed I used credit. It was way esoteric.


    Did George Wilson do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Yes the characters were easy to distinguish.


    What character would you cut from The Forever War?

    None. Editing the story should be the author's job.


    Any additional comments?

    Starship Trooper's is not Plato's Republic.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Celia Topanga, CA, United States 11-16-13
    Celia Topanga, CA, United States 11-16-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "dull and dated"

    Really dated story and yes, it's military science fiction, but so old school it's almost silly at this point. Kind of like watching really old episodes of Star Trek. The writing is only mediocre and the main character isn't particularly well developed. If you're looking for old school read almost anything by Heinlein, or these days read James S.A. Corey.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colin REDLANDS, CA, United States 03-21-13
    Colin REDLANDS, CA, United States 03-21-13
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    "Interesting concept... bad execution."
    Would you try another book from Joe Haldeman and/or George Wilson?

    No.


    What could Joe Haldeman have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Change the pacing of the book and make the concept more believable.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of George Wilson?

    Someone who sounds younger, and can curse without making you cringe. After hearing Will Wheaton's fantastic narration of Ready Player One, I was constantly wishing he would narrate this book.


    What character would you cut from The Forever War?

    I don't know... the main character was incredibly boring, so probably him. I don't even remeber his name anymore.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was obviously written in a time before audio books and suffers for it. The pacing constantly feels off. You're moving along moment to moment and then the book jumps forward without warning.

    Oddly, it reminds me of the Mike Judge movie, Idiocracy. As a Judge fan I wanted to like that movie, but it's plot was so unbelievable that it just wasn't funny. The people were just sooo stupid... But not just ridiculous stupid, like Beavis and Butthead, but I'm supposed to suspend my imagination and believe that the real world will get this stupid? No.

    Like that movie, the concept of this book probably sounded great after a few beers in the bar, but fails to resonate with reality.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher United States 07-29-12
    Christopher United States 07-29-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I wish to be fair to George Wilson"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    This book was thoroughly awful. It is a collection of four stories, and the only thing that I would try to do to redeem it would be to take all the stupidity about military promiscuity out of the first section and remove the second-fourth parts entirely.


    Has The Forever War turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, MSF is my favorite genre of all time, this story just doesn't do it justice.


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

    He sounds legitimately like a vet. So, listening to his naration was one of the few redeeming qualities of the money I spent on this audiobook.


    Did The Forever War inspire you to do anything?

    Yes, stop reading Joe Haldeman.


    Any additional comments?

    It is unfortunate that Audible does such a poor job of databasing a genre as diverse as Science Fiction. I wanted to read a good Military Science Fiction novel, and instead I got a bad Distopian Future book.

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fred Tucker, GA, United States 07-14-13
    Fred Tucker, GA, United States 07-14-13
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    "Pretty boring. Illogical story. Decent performance"

    Pretty boring. Illogical story. Decent performance. I don't see how this book is rated so highly either in SF circles or Audible. I had trouble finishing it.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T Berkeley, CA, United States 03-25-13
    T Berkeley, CA, United States 03-25-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Not Worth The Read"

    Entirely too much time spent on building dramatic points and once there is one it's too dammed weak to be remember why I was listening for it. Every story has a point of view. I couldn't' agree less with this one. If there is a better one after 3 and a half hours, then great. I got tired of waiting for it to come. And the narrator is a good reader but he sounded disinterested in the one he was reading. Good luck if you're looking for the action. I gave up.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean 09-02-12
    Sean 09-02-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worst Military themed book- Horrible"
    What disappointed you about The Forever War?

    The title should be Hippies in Space. Military aspect was rediculous and completely unrealistic. If you have any actual military experience you probably wont like this book. Cant believe it received any awards.


    What could Joe Haldeman have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Start Over


    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
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