Review: The Forever War

The Forever War The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Weird things happen when you start traveling at near to the speed of light. If you were to get into a hypothetical ship and travel at very close to the speed of light, making laps around the sun for a year, then landed back on earth, you might find that the earth had actually made 15 trips around the sun in that "same time". This is time dilation, and is something that Einstein introduced the world to as part of his theory of relativity.

Now, imagine going to war where you spend time on a ship traveling at near light speeds in order to reach the combat zone and return. What might be a handful of years to you in your own subjective time would be decades or even centuries to those you left behind. Would you be able to stay connected to the people you left? Would you still feel any bond?

This is the concept behind The Forever War. It is ostensibly a commentary on the Vietnam War and the reaction of soldiers involved in and returning from that conflict. I've never been involved in war, so I can't really identify with that sensation. I can say that this story left me with a bit of empathy for returning soldiers as well as anyone else who might find themselves out of sync with the modern world. We're living in a period of dramatic and dynamic change, and it is easy to feel like an outsider as the world rapidly shifts.

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Jade Mason