analysis on the forever war

The  book  ‘The  Forever  War’  is  based  on  the  fiction  written  by  Joe  Haldeman. It  is  basically  a  novel  based  on  the  interstellar  war, winner  of  the  Nebula  Award  in  1975  and  Hugo  Award  in  1976. It  is  based  on  the  war  between  the  humanity  and  the  alien  Tauran  species. It  deals  on  the  theme  of  the  war  and  the  inhumanities  caused  in  the  war. The  writer  specially  sought  to  specify  the  drastic  features  of  the  war. The  Joe  Haldeman  was  a  soldier  and  fought  the  Vietnam  War  in  1974. So  he  desperately  wrote  the  book  based  on  the  war. Later  there  were  two  sequel  of  the  famous  book, the  Forever  Free  and  Forever  Peace.

The  novel  rests  independently, as  the  finest  polemic  works  in  science  fiction. The  writer  Joe  Haldeman  depicted  the  futility  and  vainness  of  the  war, both  in  the  terms  of  human  resource  and  financial  resource  also. The  book  illustrated  the  overwhelming  part  of  the  war, the  brutality  also  happen  in  the  war. The  people  although  do  not  desire  themselves  to  be  a  part  of  the  war, but  have  to  take  part  in  the  battles.

The  novel  was  based  on  an  academic  William  Mandella. He  was  a  hero, a  hesitant  enrolled  drafted  into  a  best  UN  military  unit  assembled  for  a  war  against  the  Taurans. He  propelled  through  space  to  fight  in  a  distant  thousand-year  conflict. He  never  wanted  to  go  to  war, but  the  leaders  on  Earth  have  drawn  a  line  in  the  interstellar  sand  —  despite  the  fact  that  their  ferocious  alien  enemy  Taurans  are  unknowable, unconquerable, and  very  far  away.

So  the  officials  think  that  the  Mandella  will  perform  his  duties  without  animosity  and  even  will  climb  up  through  the  military’s  ranks, if  he  survives. But  the  true  test  of  Mandella’s  mettle  will  come  when  he  returns  to  Earth. Because  of  the  time  dilatation  caused  by  space  travel  the  loyal  soldier  is  aging  months, while  his  home  planet  is  aging  centuries. The  author  depicted  to  prove  his  saying  that  “You  never  can  go  home. “.

The  description  of  the  war  was  a  key  postulate  of  the  book. The  training  for  the  war  was  dangerous, interstellar  travel  was  dangerous, and  fighting  the  Taurans  was  even  more  dangerous  after  every  encounter. There  were  many  casualties  due  to  the  environment  and  the  weapons  in  the  training. Later  on, the  novel  described  the  drastic  effect  of  passing  through  the  ‘warmhole’  that  had  relativistic  effect  by  traveling  at  the  speed  of  light. The  hero, in  fact  had  to  face  the  effect  also  as  staged  in  the  future  due  to  the  traveling  by  the  speed  of  the  light  in  space.

The  time  dilation  for  the  soldiers  in  the  war  was  another  drastic  feature. When  they  came  back  to  earth, they  found  that  many  years  had  passed  away. They  had  to  settle  down  themselves  again  with  the  future  generation. The  food  war  was  happening  due  to  the  overpopulation. This  was  another  problem  they  had  o  face. The  homosexuality  in  the  society  was  another  postulate  which  was  even  encouraged  by  the  government. These  some  problems  showed  them  for  their  drastic  living  in  the  future, even  though  they  had  survived  of  the  fierce  war  against  the  aliens.

The  main  axiom  and  endeavor  of  the  book  was  to  show  the  alienation  and  the  William  Mandella’s  combat  for  the  survival. William  kept  necessary  rough  part  of  himself  that  will  be  able  to  move  on  if  or  when  the  war  is  ever  over. This  makes  The  Forever  War  a  surprisingly  optimistic  book. The  book  showed  the  survival  of  the  character  Mandella  against  the  unconquerable  enemy. The  book  showed  the  hopeful  character  of  William  Mandella. The  William’s  character  was  the  reason  for  the  fame  of  the  book.

The  characterization  of  the  William  was  one  of  the  main  reasons  of  the  award  winning  performance  of  the  book. He  was  not  depicted  as  an  action  hero, but  he  resisted  his  belief  for  his  and  his  companion’s  survival. He  had  dreams  about  fitting  as  a  machine  but  when  he  came  around  he  sought  himself  as  just  a  simple  person  working  to  be  a  real  human  being. He  had  survived  and  reached  to  the  high  rank  due  to  his  seniority. He  spent  his  valuable  four  year  which  had  become  equivalent  to  many  centuries  due  to  time  dilation  and  soon  he  became  the  oldest  survival  soldier  of  that  war. Despite  he  was  separated  from  Marygay, who  had  remained  his  last  contact  with  the  Earth  from  his  youth. Although  of  many  disparity  between  his  time  and  future, he  managed  the  forces

The  book  basically  based  on  the  theme  of  war  and  its  postulates. The  war  has  numerous  effects  on  the  society  as  the  threat  for  the  humanity  and  the  economy  also. The  book  showed  these  characteristics  efficiently  with  the  sentiments  related  to  the  different  characters.

“Only  a  writer  as  skillful  as  Haldeman  could  use  war’s  dark  glamour  to  lure  the  reader  in  and  then  deploy  that  same  fascination  to  show  the  effect  of  this  orchestrated  barbarism  on  the  human  soul. A  book  about  corruption, atrocity, hope, stupidity, and  triumph. Throw  in  faultless  advanced  military  technology, fascinating  aliens, and  a  dangerously  believable  future  Earth, and  you  have  a  book  that’s  near  perfect.”  says  Peter  Hamilton  in  his  back  cover  puff  for  this, the  first  in  Orion’s  SF  Masterworks  series  (Nick Gifford     Page 1). These  words  show  the  consequence  of  the  book  on  the  society  and  the  people.

The  novel  is  alleged  as  author’s  military  service  during  the  Vietnam  War, and  has  been  written  on  his  war  experiences  written  through  a  ‘space  opera’  filter. One  major  aspect  of  the  book  is  the  alienation  experienced  by  the  soldiers  on  returning  to  Earth  caused  by  the  time  dilation  effect  and  the  writer  Joe  Haldeman  clearly  showed  this  clearly  by  the  symbol  similar  as  the  reception  given  to  US  troops  returning  to  America  from  Vietnam. He  depicted  the  heroism  by  connecting  act  of  the  heroic  soldier  influencing  battles  through  their  individual  acts  and  demonstrated  how  ridiculous  the  old  formula  for  someone  who  had  seen  real  combat  duty. His  writing  was  earthy.

The  book  was  basically  based  on  the  Vietnam  War. He  thought  that  the  war  never  ends. The  war  had  never  been  a  profitable  act  to  the  humanity  but  an  anti-social  act. The  war  that  happened  in  Iraq  in  recent  years  may  be  considered  as  the  same  as  the  war  happened  in  book  and  the  Vietnam  War  which  the  writer  fought.

The  author  correctly  described  the  psychological  effect  of  the  war  on  the  soldier  that  survived  after  it. He  paradoxically, illustrated  in  the  “The  Forever  War”  about  the  stuff  those  occur  in  the  colossal  war  through  his  fiction  related  through  the  alienation. The  human  suffering  and  the  human  sentiments  were  being  shown  soothingly  and  intensely  throughout  the  book. The  worst  part  of  the  war  and  its  impact  though  the  fiction  was  demonstrated  in  the  book  through  the  character  of  William  Mandella.

Peter  Hamilton  says,”  The  book  is  near  perfect, suffering  only  a  little  from  the  passage  of  time  and  a  little  more  from  a  sparseness  of  characterization  that  may  have  been  intentional  but  at  times  has  a  distancing  effect  between  protagonist  and  reader”. There  were  many  critics  for  the  book  also. There  were  many  weak  points  present  in  the  book. The  timescale  was  plainly  hopeful  about  space  flight, a  common  weakening, and  some  of  the  projections  of  the  world’s  future  appeared  very  old-fashioned. In  the  central  portion  of  the  book, when  Mandella  tries  to  return  to  civilian  life, is  possibly  the  weakest  just  because  the  world  he  returns  to  is  rather  unbelievable.

The  book  “The  Forever  War”  seize  the  issue  appears  to  be  rather  insipid. The  1997  army  enforces  one-on-one  heterosexual  activity, with  daily  rotation  of  partners, among  its  personnel, none  of  whom  appear  to  be  particularly  upset  by  this. A  few  decades  later, the  entire  world  has  become  homosexual  as  a  means  of  population  control, which  seems  rather  disproportionate. Mandella  sticks  to  his  heterosexual  guns, and  does  not  appear  in  the  least  tempted  to  try  it  the  other  way.

Irrespective  of  many  out-dated  and  other  weakness, “The  Forever  War”  was  a  solid  work  of  science  fiction. The  work  over  the  characteristic  like  journeys  at  relativistic  speeds, encounters  with  aliens, startling  sociological  changes, and  others  was  excellent. Haldeman  has  worked  these  out  carefully  and  in  artistic  manner  by  having  full  control  over  the  story. The  story  continues  all  over  book  without  any  discontinuation.

The  book  creates  the  world  of  fantasy  with  a  pace. The  story  never  has  the  area  of  drama  and  fiction. The  Forever  War  has  held  up  reasonably  well, and  Haldeman  has  written  some  sequels  that  are  also  worth. These  sequels  are  related  to  The  Forever  War  in  theme  only. The  book  “The  Forever  War”  has  theme  based  on  the  war  and  its  effect. Irrespective  of  the  criticism  by  other, the  book  totally  has  an  excellent  scientific  fiction  for  reading. The  theme  of  interstellar  war  and  the  returning  of  William  Mandella’s  back  to  earth  after  war  have  been  demonstrated  to  show  his  suffering, and  thus  depicting  the  suffering  actual  wars  to  the  people. The  same  taste  of  war  author  felt  at  the  time  of  Vietnam  War.

Thus, in  all  the  book  has  the  effect  on  the  people  who  loves  to  read  the  fiction. The  scientific  fiction  in  relation  with  the  war  is  shown  by  the  author  with  perfection. The  idea  of  showing  the  war  and  its  postulates  by  the  author  Joe  Haldeman  was  ideal  and  wonderful.


  1. The Forever War (SF Masterworks No1) by Joe Haldeman, Review by Nick Gifford. <>
  2. Joe Haldeman, The Forever War, Harper Collins Publication, Published in 2003, ISBN 0060510862.
  3. James Schellenberg, One War, Every War, July 29, 2004. <>
  4.  The Forever War by Joe Haldeman Review by Nicholas Whyte. <>
  5. The Forever War (SF Masterworks No1) by Joe Haldeman, Review by Nick Gifford. <>

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