Hi. I'm back from Texas and have a review up over at Un:Bound for Joe Halderman's award winning novel The Forever War. Halderman himself is a veteran of the Vietnam War, and his novel presents an honest, frank look at the life of an ordinary soldier, complete with the sense of loss and dislocation upon their return to a home that is as a foreign as the locales they fought in.
Exceprt below, link to the full review at the bottom:
Is it possible for a book to be both timely and timeless? The Forever War by Joe Halderman makes a great case for it. Halderman, a Vietnam veteran and recipient of a Purple Heart, wrote The Forever War back in 1975, fashioning a hardcore military tale from a grunt's point of view that swept all the major awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards for Best Novel that year, and served as a foundation and template for what would become a growing sub-genre within science fiction.
The story focuses on William Mandela, a physicist recruited for a military task force being set up to wage war against the Taurens, a hostile alien race that due to the immense distances between stars and the quirks of relativity, no one has ever seen. The novel walks through training and deployment on distance star gates that allow for instantaneous travel for the soldiers, even as the rest of the planet goes on for years. Halderman has a gifted imagination, going into a lot of detail on the ways and means of interstellar warfare, and the new technologies he conjures up have a hard basis in science. As William trains and learns to use the equipment that will save his life, the novel talks about the real implications of fighting in a war - the acceptable losses, the importance of training above all else, and the abject fear of fighting an enemy you can't see or even identify if you could.
Read the full review over at Un:Bound here.