Joe Haldeman - The Forever War - NEW Novel
William Mandella is a university student conscripted for an elite task force in the United Nations Exploratory Force being assembled for a war against the Taurans, an alien species discovered when they suddenly attacked human colonists' ships. They are sent out for reconnaissance and revenge. The elite recruits have IQs of 150 and above, are highly educated, healthy and fit. Training is grueling – first on Earth and later on Charon (not Pluto's moon, which was undiscovered at the time, but a hypothetical planet beyond Pluto's orbit), which results in a number of casualties – mainly due to accidents in hostile environments but also due to the use of live weapons in training. The new soldiers then depart for action, traveling via wormhole-like phenomena called 'collapsars' that allow ships to cover thousands of light-years in a split second. However, traveling to and from the collapsars at near-lightspeed has massive relativistic effects.
Their first encounter with (unarmed) Taurans on a faraway planet turns into a massacre, with the unresisting enemy base wiped out. Mandella melancholically reflects on how typical the encounter was for humanity's previous record in interaction with other cultures. This first expedition lasted only a few months from the soldier's perspective, but due to time dilation, upon return to Earth many years have passed. On the long way home, the soldiers experience future shock firsthand, as the Taurans employ increasingly advanced weaponry against them while they do not have the chance to re-arm. Mandella, with soldier, lover and companion Marygay, returns to civilian life, only to find humanity drastically changed. He and his fellow soldiers have difficulty fitting into a future society that has evolved almost beyond their comprehension. The veterans learn that to curb overpopulation, which led to worldwide food wars, homosexuality has become officially encouraged by the world government. The changes within society alienate Mandella and the other veterans to the point where many re-enlist to escape, even though they realize the military is a soulless construct. The inability of the military to treat its soldiers as more than highly complex valuable machines is a theme of the story. Almost entirely through luck, Mandella survives four subjectively experienced years of military service, which time dilation makes equivalent to several centuries. He soon becomes the 'oldest' surviving soldier in the war, attaining high rank through seniority, although not from ambition (he is portrayed as an eternally reluctant soldier, who acts mostly from talent and a melancholic sense of duty). Despite this he is separated from Marygay (who has remained his last contact with the Earth of his youth) by inexorable military machinery. As the commanding officer of a 'strike force', Mandella commands soldiers who speak a language largely unrecognizable to him, whose ethnicity is now nearly uniform and are exclusively homosexual.
Engaging in combat thousands of light years away from Earth, Mandella and his soldiers need to resort to medieval weapons in order to fight inside a force-field which neutralizes energy weapons and instruments. They battle to survive what is to be the last conflict of the war. During the time that has since passed on Earth, humankind has begun to employ human cloning, resulting in a new species calling itself Man. Man has developed a means of communication unique and inherent to clones, which allows them to communicate with the Taurans, leading to peace. It turns out the war was a colossal mistake – the Taurans are a naturally clone-based species and could not communicate with the pre-clone humans. Misunderstandings, especially by trigger-happy humanity, led to the conflict. Man establishes several colonies of old-style, heterosexual humans, just in case the evolutionary change proves to be a mistake. Mandella travels to one of these colonies, named 'Middle Finger' (instead of 'Index' (possibly for index finger) in some of the graphic novel adaption). There he is reunited with Marygay, who had been discharged much earlier and had intentionally used time dilation to age at a much slower rate, hoping and waiting for Mandella's return. The epilogue is a news item from the year 3143 announcing the birth of a "fine baby boy" to Marygay Potter-Mandella.
About the Author
Joe William Haldeman is an American science fiction author. Haldeman was born 09. June 1943 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His family traveled and he lived in Puerto Rico, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Bethesda, Maryland and Anchorage, Alaska as a child. Haldeman married Mary Gay Potter, known as "Gay", in 1965. He received a bachelor of science degree in astronomy from the University of Maryland in 1967. That same year he was drafted into the Army and served as a combat engineer in Vietnam. He was wounded in combat and his wartime experience was the inspiration for War Year, his first novel. In 1975, he received a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. He currently resides in Gainesville, Florida and Cambridge, Massachusetts and teaches writing at MIT. In addition to being an award-winning writer, Haldeman is a painter.
Haldeman's most famous novel is The Forever War, inspired by his Vietnam experiences, which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. He later turned it into a series. Haldeman also wrote two of the earliest original novels based on the 1960s Star Trek TV series universe, Planet of Judgment (August 1977) and World Without End (February 1979). In October 2008 it was announced that Ridley Scott will direct a feature film based on The Forever War for Fox. He has served twice as president of the Science Fiction Writers of America and is currently an adjunct professor teaching writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
It's not as widely known that Haldeman has written at least one produced Hollywood movie script. The film, a low-budget science fiction film called Robot Jox, was released in 1990. He was not entirely happy with the product.
Haldeman has one many major awards for his various works, and these include: The Hugo Award, 5 times for The Forever War (1976) – Novel, Tricentennial (1977) - Short Story, The Hemingway Hoax (1991) – Novella, "None So Blind" (1995) - Short Story, Forever Peace (1998) – Novel.
The John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, once for Forever Peace (1998).
The Nebula Award five times, for The Forever War (1975) – Novel, The Hemingway Hoax (1990) – Novella, "Graves" (1993) - Short Story, Forever Peace (1998) – Novel and Camouflage (2004) – Novel.
The Rhysling Award three times, for "Saul's Death" (1984) - Long Poem, "Eighteen Years Old, October Eleventh" (1991) - Short Poem and "January Fires" (2001) - Long Poem.
The World Fantasy Award once, for "Graves" (1993) - Short Fiction.
and The James Tiptree, Jr. Award once , for "Camouflage" (2004).
Haldeman is the brother of Jack C. Haldeman II (1941-2002), also a science-fiction author whose work included an original Star Trek novel (Perry's Planet, February 1980).
Haldeman has written numerous works, which include: War Year (1972)
, Attar's Revenge (1975) - written under the pseudonym Robert Graham
, War of Nerves (1975) - written under the pseudonym Robert Graham
, The Forever War (1975)
, Mindbridge (1976)
, Study War No More (1977) - a collection of short stories by various science fiction authors, edited by Joe Haldeman and featuring two stories by him
, Planet of Judgement (1977) - a Star Trek novel
, All My Sins Remembered (1977)
, Infinite Dreams (1978) - short story collection
, World Without End (1979) - a Star Trek novel
, Worlds (1981) - first volume in "Worlds" trilogy
, There is No Darkness (1983) - cowritten with Jack C. Haldeman II
, Worlds Apart (1983) - second volume in "Worlds" trilogy
, Dealing in Futures (1985) - short story collection
, Seasons (novella, 1985) - published in Alien Stars, Elizabeth Mitchell, ed.
, Tool of the Trade (1987)
, Buying Time (1989) - published in the UK as The Long Habit of Living
, The Hemingway Hoax (1990)
, Worlds Enough and Time (1992) - third volume in "Worlds" trilogy
, Vietnam and Other Alien Worlds (1993) - collection of short stories, essays and poetry.
, 1968 (1995)
, None So Blind (1996) - short story collection
, Forever Peace (1997)
, Saul's Death and Other Poems (1997) - poetry chapbook
, Forever Free (1999)
, The Coming (2000)
, Best Military Science Fiction of the 20th Century (2001) - as editor
, Guardian (2002)
, Camouflage (2004)
, Old Twentieth (2005)
, War Stories (2006) - short story collection
, A Separate War and Other Stories (2006) - short story collection (title story directly linked to The Forever War)
, The Accidental Time Machine (2007), and Marsbound (2008).
Joe Haldeman - The Forever War - NEW Novel
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