War in the 21st century is fought by "soldierboys". Remote-controlled mechanical monsters, they are run by human soldiers who hard-wire their brains together to form each unit. Julian is one of these dedicated soldiers, until he inadvertently kills a young boy. Now he struggles to understand how this has changed his mind.
Forever Peace is a riveting portrayal of the effects of collective consciousness, and it offers some tantalizing revelations. Narrator George Wilson's skillful performance weaves together the elements of futuristic technology with the drama of a trained soldier reconciling basic human needs.
©1997 Joe Haldeman; (P)2000 Recorded Books
"At once a hard science, military, and political thriller, this book presents a thoughtful and hopeful solution to ending war in the 21st century. Essential for sf collections." (Library Journal)
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"Good, but not as good as The Forever War"
In terms of sheer writing skill, and the ability to portray the raw tragedy, loneliness, and emptiness of being a soldier, Joe Haldeman is without equal. This book is melancholy, depressing, and despairing. It is not, however, as good as The Forever War, and in fact has no relation to that epochal work.
"'Walk a mile in their shoes' Syndrome"
This book is a spiritual, if not narrative, sequel to Haldeman’s 1975 “Forever War”. Both novels won the Hugo & Nebula, and explore the theme of war’s futility, although from different perspectives and in separate story-worlds. Readers expecting a continuation of Forever War’s interstellar conflict or relativistic time dilation effects, will see that instead this story features a strictly terrestrial struggle between the wealthy nations, fueled by effortless nano-factory produced plenty, and the struggling excluded masses. The earlier novel, written in the immediate post-Vietnam days of an antagonistic welcome for returning veterans, further exaggerated the alienation of the protagonist with a fish-out-of-water situation that placed the character hopelessly out of touch with his own century. Here, in the 1998 novel, one senseless war is supplanted by an invisible one to end all wars, as the protagonist discovers a pacification treatment that involves sharing one of the military’s tightest-held tools with all of humanity to bring individuals together into a community incapable of violence outside of self-defense. Haldeman uses SF technology as vehicle to explore the age-old thought that ‘if we only walked in our enemies shoes for a day’. At the same time, the greatest opponent to this peace movement is one of religious zealots who inexplicably seem to want death and destruction for its own sake. I felt that not enough insight was given to their internal motivation, even when the narrative was told in first person perspective of one these characters. This left them a bit too archetypical and cartoon-evil for me. On the human-scale drama of this story, there is a compelling relationship that is shown conquering the challenges of race, age, military-civilian differences, then ‘jacked’ vs natural minds until it is thoroughly proven to be unshakable. There are also some notable thriller scenes and a number of high-tech asymmetric warfare scenes as well. Absent, sadly, are any aliens or Space Opera tropes or any references to advanced climate change expected over the coming century (CliFi).
"not up to the standards one expects from Haldeman"
not a lot
ok book, but not up to the quality that Haldeman is capable of.
I have always enjoyed Haldeman's work. But this book's plot and characters were pretty thin. Read Forever War or some of his other works, but don't judge him based on this one.
"Both entertaining & exploring interesting subjects"
While the story is entertaining, the novel brushes on a lot of interesting subjects: what would a society where everything was virtually free be, what would it feel to know what's going on another person's head, will next humanity step be engineered evolution...
All of these subjects spice the story. One of these novels that make you think about possible futures.
"Great Speculative Fiction!"
Great philosophy and speculation regarding the future of science and humanity! Haldeman writes in the tradition of all the great, serious, science fiction authors who were actually seriously contemplating the future of humanity and/or the universe, rather than merely entertaining vapid readers.
It should have been called the "Forever Book". it just wouldn't get better or end.
"A good and imaginative story that ends too quickly"
I liked this book a lot but for me it seemed to end pretty abruptly. I found myself wondering, with 30 minutes to go, how it could be possible to pull it all together. It does, but abruptly.
I'm a huge fan of science fiction but Haldeman's novel was just too long of a stretch. The story line was okay in theory but the execution was poor and quite boring. The only reason I finished the book was because I had to read it for class.
In some places this book was really exciting and I couldn't stop listening, but other places were really dull. The pacing was a bit all over the place. I enjoyed the ideas a lot but I'm not sure this book is going places.
"Interesting idea, little weak on execution"
The story line is interesting - it is nothing like Forever War. I liked the concept of the infantry fighting remotely from the battle and the idea of linked minds in combat units. I did not by the next step. Not a a bad book - just expected more.
"An Enjoyable Romp"
The first half of the book. The second half of the book.
The stuff at the beginning. The stuff at the end.
If you enjoyed "The Forever War" then I can see no reason why you wouldn't enjoy at least the first half of this book. The second half, although entertaining, just seemed a bit daft. Having said all that, the whole thing was infinitely better than listening to Radio 2 or John Humphrys.
"A Sci-Fi thriller that reads like a film."
Joe Haldeman, said although this wasn't a direct prequel to The Forever Wars, there's aspects of the story that fit into that universe.
There's three stories interweaving within the book, one of them the military industrial complex and the futility of war, another is a love affair between a couple of different races and ages, and thirdly a threat that could kill us all.
What more do you need from a Thriller!
The reader is fantastic, a voice that is pure Americana with a slightly world weary sardonic tone, that I think references the sense of war weary America that this book portrays.
I have a lot of audio books and I regularly come back to this one, knowing what's going to happen before you listen, but it not mattering as you're so immersed in the books universe, says a lot about the quality of the story and the reader.
Unlike his first book, this one was completely uninteresting stock scifi-action with scarcely a hint of novelty to it.
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