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Forever Peace

Narrated by: George Wilson
Series: The Forever War, Book 2
Length: 12 hrs and 40 mins
4 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Drawing on his own war experiences, Vietnam veteran Joe Haldeman creates stunning works of science fiction. Forever Peace is not a sequel to his previous award-winning work, The Forever War, but it deals with similarly provocative issues. When it was published, Forever Peace was chosen as the Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly. It also won the coveted Hugo Award.

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

Critic Reviews

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1998
  • Nebula Award, Best Novel, 1998

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Noah
  • Noah
  • 25-08-2010

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • SciFi Kindle
  • 03-04-2015

'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).

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Lenny
  • 16-11-2018

Lazy in conception and execution

I'm a huge fan of Forever War. Knowing that the two books have nothing in common but the author and the word "forever" in the title, it took me quite a long time to get around to reading Forever Peace. Unlike Forever War, this story simply does not work. The main character is borderline interesting, but the premise of the book is extremely weak and poorly thought out: a universe ending plot device and crazy plan to prevent the destruction of the universe that makes no sense, what-so-ever. There are also seemingly random switches between 1st and 3rd person narrative. Those might work fine enough when reading the text, but wind up being confusing in an audiobook.

I can't believe this book won so many awards - while you can agree or disagree with the point the author is trying to make (nothing new, btw), it simply doesn't work as a story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Emmanuel
  • 13-09-2016

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-05-2016

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • J-Buggie
  • 02-08-2017

I refuse to believe that this is a 3 time award winner!!!

Nonsensical plot devices, shallow characters, lackluster dialogue.

Characters that are supposed to be doctorate-level logicians repeatedly miscalculate and make horrible decisions.

Clumsy switching from 1st to 3rd person.

Worse, the protagonist is Black, a scientist, a soldier, and mentally ill but somehow manages it insult Blacks, scientists, soldiers, and the mentally ill.

This isn't THE worst book ever, but it's really bad.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Carlos Gomez
  • Carlos Gomez
  • 18-08-2019

Another great Haldeman

I read this physically years ago, but decided to revisit it and was pleasantly surprised by George Wilson's take on Haldeman characters--it is more consumable as an audiobook! The story itself is great thought-provoking scifi, my only issue lies with the sudden conclusion that feels like there were a couple unfinished chapters that didn't make it in to the final product. The plot is still prescient in today's political climate, and the characters are consistent in their actions. One of my personal classics.

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  • Glaneur
  • 17-08-2019

half of a good book

it's not of the quality of the Forever War, which presented a new way of thinking about the fragility of the human body on the modern battlefield and how difficult it is to learn about your enemy during war. the first half of forever peace examines intimacy in combat very well. the second is a somewhat hokey thriller that includes characters that veer towards stereotype.

the narrator has a bizarre tendency to elevate his pitch when performing one of the many latin characters. consequently they all sound like the well known racist caricature of a Mexican a la Speedy Gonzalez.

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  • Anthony
  • 28-03-2019

Relationship to the First Book is Confusing

I'm not sure what the relationship with "Forever War," is. Another view of human and cultural evolution? It is an interesting story, but sometimes the point of view of who was narrating was awkward.

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  • Lori J
  • 06-09-2018

Great, but a little odd.

I’ve read reviews that are angry that Forever Peace isn’t a proper sequel to The Forever War, but advertising sometimes misleads.

*Spoilers*

Forever Peace reads almost as if it’s set sometime during The Forever War. We know, at the end, humankind becomes Man. Forever Peace could be the first step humans took toward becoming Man. I kept the end of The Forever War in mind as I read and was satisfied with that assumption.

My only real problem with the book itself is that it feels like two short novels were shoved together to make a book. On the one hand, you have the Jupiter Project and a cult that wants to make sure it continues. On the other, you have the humanization and pacification of the world. I think both would have been better stories on their own.

In general, I really got to know and love the characters. Haldeman can usually do that to me and that’s why I have loved his writing for so long. I will probably add this book to my list that gets repeat listens.

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  • Mr M Letch
  • 28-04-2015

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gavin Jones
  • 29-07-2015

An Enjoyable Romp

What did you like best about Forever Peace? What did you like least?

The first half of the book. The second half of the book.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The stuff at the beginning. The stuff at the end.

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mikael
  • 27-07-2015

Uninteresting

Unlike his first book, this one was completely uninteresting stock scifi-action with scarcely a hint of novelty to it.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful