The Captain’s Log – the forever war (Joe Haldeman)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This piqued me interest because of the title and then the blurb sounded awesome.  I had never heard of the author or the book.  I brought it home and of course the First Mate had not only heard of it but had read both it and another book in the series.  Apparently, yet again, I somehow missed one of the most important sci-fi works ever written.  This novel won the following awards:

Hugo Award for Best Novel (1976), Nebula Award for Best Novel (1975), Locus Award for Best Novel (1976), Ditmar Award for Best International Long Fiction (1976)

Also it is a sci-fi novel in response to the Vietnam War.  As Goodreads states:

Based in part on the author’s experiences in Vietnam, The Forever War is regarded as one of the greatest military science fiction novels ever written, capturing the alienation that servicemen and women experience even now upon returning home from battle. It shines a light not only on the culture of the 1970s in which it was written, but also on our potential future.

Well then.  So, of course, I had to read it and I have to say that I thought this book was amazing!  While the book’s Vietnam references are there, I overall felt that this book was timeless.  It didn’t feel aged or dated.  I thought it was absorbing and fascinating.

The plot follows Mandella as he fights in an interplanetary war.  The issue is that due to the logistics of space travel, Mandella’s battles can last several years while back on Earth decades or centuries pass.  The war is the one constant but every time Mandella’s on leave, he has to confront the social and economic changes that have been occurring back home.  And goodness do things change.

The main message seems to be that war is begun from stupidity and greed as a means to control the populace.  War is pointless and never has good consequences.  A message I can certainly get behind.  If ye haven’t read this one then I highly recommend it.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

This is the first part of the “Forever War” series, however it can be read as a standalone . . .

The Earth’s leaders have drawn a line in the interstellar sand—despite the fact that the fierce alien enemy that they would oppose is inscrutable, unconquerable, and very far away. A reluctant conscript drafted into an elite Military unit, Private William Mandella has been propelled through space and time to fight in the distant thousand-year conflict; to perform his duties without rancor and even rise up through military ranks. Pvt. Mandella is willing to do whatever it takes to survive the ordeal and return home. But “home” may be even more terrifying than battle, because, thanks to the time dilation caused by space travel, Mandella is aging months while the Earth he left behind is aging centuries.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Joe Haldeman – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the forever war – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

11 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – the forever war (Joe Haldeman)

    1. I have read ender’s game and enjoyed it. But not enough to read any more of the series. Did ye see the Hugo finalist list came out? I have only read two of the novels and don’t think either of those should get the Hugo. But I am torn about the novella category because I have read three of the six so far and all were good and sooo different. I plan on reading the other three shortly. In fact I picked up one of them today!
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead are the best two, but I kind of got on a roll reading them when we were traveling and the library nearby didn’t have much sci-fi so now I’m keeping up with it for completeness. I hadn’t seen the Hugo list yet but just checked it. Not been a good year for my sci-fi reading, I’ve only finished one of the novels (The Collapsing Empire – I enjoyed it but wouldn’t give it a Hugo) although 4 of the others are on my list.

        The only one of the novellas I read was And Then There Were (N-One) which I really enjoyed! However I’ve read several of the short stories. I was just working on a post about my favorite diverse sci-fi short stories online and Roanhouse’s is on it so I’m glad to see it getting broader recognition. Which of the novellas have you read so far?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Glad to hear that the novella ye did read was good. I hadn’t heard of that one. I did read binti: home; down among the sticks and bones, and river of teeth. I have all systems read here to read this month. I haven’t read Scalzi’s book yet. I have to be in the right mood and it just hasn’t happened. I am looking forward to reading yer post on diverse sci-fi short stories. I don’t tend to read enough of them though in general I like them. Excellent comment matey!
        x The Captain


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