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Joe Haldeman's seminal novel The Forever War saw the light of day 35 years ago. And it was not an easy birth. According to Haldeman's own words, eighteen publishers rejected the text before St. Martin Press took a risk in publishing the complete text in 1974 (parts of it appeared before in Amazing magazine). The Forever War is foremost Haldeman's attack on war and many see the novel as a response on Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Indeed, Haldeman states that the book is inspired by the war in Vietnam in which the author served as a combat engineer. It clearly shows the absurdity of war, a situation when people loose their lives and cannot stop wondering 'Why?' Just look at how the war final ended: it would be hilarious if there were not so much truth in it. But to limit this book only to its anti-military and anti-war message would be doing it a grave injustice! Haldeman tackles many issues that are relevant toady as much as they were 35 years ago: social issues (for example gender roles and sexuality), politics and bureaucracy, health care, overpopulation and food shortage, scientific problems (time dilation, interstellar travel, future shock), cloning and human reproduction and many others and it is no wonder that many publishers refused to publish so controversial novel. Many of these themes occur throughout Haldeman's opus. The Forever War won all major science- fiction awards (Nebula, 1975; Hugo, 1976; Locus, 1976) and many other national and international awards (Haldeman, among other awards won in total 5 Hugos and 5 Nebulas during his career!). It is more than an excellent work of hard science- fiction, it is a book that makes us look around our world, ask questions and demand change. It should be a must read for everybody and not only for science- fiction fans! The book is followed by The Forever Peace and The Forever Free novels. Currently, Ridley Scott is working on the movie version of the book.


 

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