I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to get to this book; I read The Forever War a few years back and decided it was one of the best piece of Science Fiction writing I’d ever come across. Anyway, here’s the review:
It must be Joe Haldeman’s background as both scientist and combat veteran that allows him to deliver such a stark perspective of both the futility and strange necessity of war. Like his first book, The Forever War, Forever Peace is the story of a long running conflict told from the perspective of a foot soldier. The writing is vivid and pared to the bone, leaving no excess detail to shroud the numbness that overcomes those forced to kill in a manner alien to their nature.
The book is often described as sequel to The Forever War, which I don’t think is strictly true. I would say that it’s more of a ‘late prequel’, telling of a period time in Earth’s history that may have occurred while the Forever War was being fought. Anyway, it’s an exciting, well-paced read that effectively describes a world in surprisingly few pages.
The Science Fiction element is almost incidental; it’s Haldeman’s getting inside the characters’ heads that really brings the whole piece to life. The story could have been about any war in any time, and I think the lessons demonstrated would have been the same. Again, I feel it’s the writer’s experiences in Viet Nam that enable him to drive this point home so vividly.
If you’re a Science Fiction buff, then Forever Peace is a must.