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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

4.1 (1753 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.1 (1156 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (1141 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (18)
Performance
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  •  
    Paul 03-03-15
    Paul 03-03-15

    A Sci Fi junkie who occasionally goes slumming to read other literature.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good military SF"

    I enjoyed this book, more so as I kept reading. Can't give it five stars because it reads a little bit flat (I'll avoid the word boring). It's just a solid novel about a young man named William who is drafted by the military, manages by luck not to get killed, and ends up commanding a strike force in the most distant place humans have travelled. He falls in love along the way and humans change dramatically as he ages only a few years relative to hundreds of years due to his travels at close to the speed of light (i.e. time dilation). There are some interesting technology descriptions such as a stasis field. The norm for humans becomes homosexuality while William is away fighting, and this topic plays a big role in the novel. I liked the comment on war: that in the end it is pointless, and largely a result of poor communication.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Fountain Valley, CA, United States 02-28-15
    Paul Fountain Valley, CA, United States 02-28-15 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    80
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    57
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    "Loved this since Middle school I'm now 48.."

    This is a book that has stood the test of time....so to speak.. It was able to bring out the best...and worst of our accomplishments. I will listen to it again....later

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jordan Byrne 02-21-15
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "I imagined it differently"
    What did you like best about The Forever War? What did you like least?

    The story is a good hyperbole of things that my friends who have come back from war tell me they experience. If you can get past the sci-fi aspect of this book, it's a very real human experience.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Forever War?

    The ending was the best part, but I won't spoil that. Also, the first time the narrator's ship took a hit.


    What didn’t you like about George Wilson’s performance?

    George Wilson keeps the same dry cadence throughout the entire story. This works against the book in three ways: It gets boring, it always sounds like the narrator is explaining or even teaching something to you rather than relating very personal events, and the lack of excitement in his voice conceals all of the sad, dangerous, thrilling, and happy moments that the readers own mind would otherwise recognize if they didn't have to listen to this guys voice.


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't rate this book too poorly because the story is great, and I did feel compelled to finish it. I wouldn't buy it again though. I recommend finding a different audio version, or getting the paper/electronic copy. It has the potential to be a page turner, but I finished three other books in the time it took me to finish this one, just because I was always more interested in something else.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rafael Amado USA 02-06-15
    Rafael Amado USA 02-06-15 Member Since 2015
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    5
    2
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    "An interesting ride from the past to the future."

    The forever wars was a captivating read through time and space, a futuristic version of Vietnam.The audiobook performance was great!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-21-15
    ratings
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    49
    9
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    Story
    "A great reading of one of my favorites"

    I read this when it was published and was surprised to find an audio version. It is well done and I enjoyed it immensely.
    A timeless classic unique in the genre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Ranson USA 11-19-14
    T. Ranson USA 11-19-14 Member Since 2014

    unapologetic American

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Single worst narration possible, of best book"
    What did you love best about The Forever War?

    Everything. Hard science. Satire. Deadpan acceptance of the absurdity of war. The book is real, and really really good.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Everything


    Would you be willing to try another one of George Wilson’s performances?

    Not in a million years. I'd actively avoid this narrator. His reading is awful and he mispronounces words a 10 year old would know. (null-gee for example)


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I've read it in one sitting before. I was all but unable to listen.


    Any additional comments?

    This book needs a new version with a proper narrator. A novel this good should not suffer this fate.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mitch Florida 06-20-14
    Mitch Florida 06-20-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "True for soldiers of any time."
    What other book might you compare The Forever War to and why?

    I don't know if there is any other book that is quite like it.For me this book is not so much about war. There are few battles. This book is how soldiers become alienated from the homes they leave, and how the world changes for them.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Steere Wichita, KS USA 03-11-14
    John Steere Wichita, KS USA 03-11-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very dated"
    Any additional comments?

    I downloaded this book because it appears on so many top 100 lists of the best science fiction. I'm sure when it was published in the 1970s it got strong reviews. However, it hasn't stood the test of time. It's approach to homosexuality is dated to the point of being offensive. It isn't bigoted, but suggests that homosexuality is simply cultural or learned behavior. Thus, 95% of earth is gay to keep the population down. The author also does a very poor job of anticipating technological developments. In the fictional 2010 newspapers are delivered by fax, nobody has a cell phone and data is stored on microfiche. I don't expect perfection in predicting near-term technological developments, but most writers of this era were able to at least predict personal data devices and the coming computer revolution. In short, the book feels very dated, and the story itself isn't compelling enough to overcome those shortcomings. I suspect that the books anti-war message resonated well in the mid-1970s and its approach to sexuality and technology didn't get in the way because it was not yet clear how poorly Haldeman understood both. In 2014, it feels like a re-run of the Brady Bunch--interesting if you want to get a sense of the culture of the 1970s, but not worth the time simply for entertainment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kiwi Gee New Zealand 02-17-14
    Kiwi Gee New Zealand 02-17-14 Member Since 2013

    Kiwi-Gee

    ratings
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    16
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great read - not overly long"
    Would you listen to The Forever War again? Why?

    Probably not - too many books, not enough time - why repeat.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Easy listening. Unlike other fantasy stories it is not necessary to remember large number of peripheral characters in this one.


    Which character – as performed by George Wilson – was your favorite?

    The hero and his SO.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    nup !


    Any additional comments?

    nup !

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luis Miami, Fl, United States 01-21-11
    Luis Miami, Fl, United States 01-21-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    2
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    Overall
    "Excellent story."

    It was a very good book the narator was excellent very good voice. A must listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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