The Forever War Out, Again

A quick reminder to folks: The newest edition of Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War hits the shelves today, and if the text of this classic science fiction tale wasn’t enough to entice you on its own (which it should be, damn it), I’ll remind you that this edition also comes with an introduction by me, in the form of an open letter to Joe. As you might imagine, I consider it a signal honor to be asked to share my thoughts about the book in such a way; I hope the intro in its small way likewise does honor to the book.

So: pick it up for yourself, get it for a friend, and enjoy. The Amazon link is above, but remember there ain’t nothing wrong with dropping in on your favorite brick and mortar bookstore in these tough times and picking up a copy there. I’d thank you, I’m sure Joe would thank you, and your local bookseller would definitely appreciate it.

27 thoughts on “The Forever War Out, Again

  1. While it is, indeed, a great book, that cover art is pretty inappropriate, considering that practically all of the ground combat in the book takes place on airless ice-balls that make Pluto look like a tropical resort (and the one case where they were actually on a life-bearing world, I recall it being specifed as more of an open grassland than a jungle).

    I guess they wanted to play up the parallels with the Vietnam war.

  2. In college my roommate was a huge SF fan and during one Christmas break he was shocked to find I hadn’t read Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers,” so he made me read it. As soon as he finished it he handed me “The Forever War” and said, “Now read the other side of the argument.”

    I think he was right and I highly recommend reading both them together, frankly.

  3. When I first picked up the Forever War, I was shocked that there _could be_ a classic science fiction book this good that I not only hadn’t read, but had never even heard of.

  4. Mark, if you haven’t already read it, pick up Armor by John Steakly. He took both of their stories and gave them a shot of adrenaline and steroids.

  5. FYI to everyone, if you have an edition published before 1997 then you don’t have the complete text.

    Editions published before 1991 were cut, and ones published before the “definitive” edition in 1997 only had part of the cut text restored.

    I just learned this recently and have been waiting for this version to update my old, battered 70s paperback. Can’t wait to finally read the whole book!

  6. This book is on my “hey, I should replace this 30 year old beaten up paperback with a few pages missing” list.

    Now seems to be a good time.

  7. there ain’t nothing wrong with dropping in on your favorite brick and mortar bookstore in these tough times and picking up a copy there

    Sure there is: the SF at B. Dalton’s blows. Or at least at _my_ B. Dalton’s.

    I went two weekends ago and I really-really wanted to pick up a new SF novel or six. I knew all of my favorite authors have published new books in the last year so I was ready ..

    Nothing new. All of the titles were the older ones. Not even Zoe’s Tale was available.

    If they won’t stock it, I can’t buy it.

  8. Dang – not available on Kindle (don’t bash me folks). Based on the raves, I may actually have to resort to reading a dead tree book again. *sigh*

  9. Hmmm, I’m a sci-fi geek and in the military, and I’ve never read THE FOREVER WAR nor have I read STARSHIP TROOPERS.

    Does that make me a Bad Person? =^)

  10. Oh, and while it’s not SF, may I please plug “A Reckoning for Kings” by Allan Cole and his late partner (and former Ranger) Chris Bunch? JS, if you’ve not read this pulitzer-nomated Vietnam tale, I highly, highly, highly recommend it. Having read a lot of war fiction over the years, “A Reckoning for Kings” ranks as my all-time most-favorite. My original copy from the 80’s has been re-read so many times, it’s toast. I need to buy another one. Hell, JS, I’ll buy two and mail one to yah. It’s that fucking good.

  11. Does that make me a Bad Person? =^)

    No – but if you’re in the Marines it does make you ‘behind the curve’ – Starship Troopers is on the Commandant’s Reading List for Private to Lance Corporal.

  12. While in the UK a couple of years ago I brought Peace and War, which is an Omnibus Edition of Forever War, Forever Free and Forever Peace. I really enjoyed all three and am now reading more of Joe Haldeman’s work.

  13. My personal favorites by Haldeman are Camouflage and Old Twentieth, although Forever War is an excellent book and well deserves its classic status. Haldeman is one of those authors who I can never seem to get enough of.

  14. I’m a big fan of his poetry, too, but setting that aside — his novel “1968” will someday be recognized as the masterpiece of meticulously researched Historical Novel (1968 was that long ago) and the different chapters in different genres by an unreliable narrator — words fail me. Woth a Nebula, or even a Pulitzer, but it came and went with little box office buzz. When it’s reissued someday, so many people will wonder why it had to wait. But, then, he had to write Forever War because nobody wanted to take a chance on a straight Vietnam novel. Time wasn’t ripe.

  15. JS Bangs: You’re not. I found it rather weak and always thought that the accolades have to do with the 1970s US Vietnam syndrome and no real novelistic qualities of its own. Though I might try rereading it some time.

    I, also, much preferred what I saw of 1968.

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