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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

       
Forever Peace

Copyright 1997 by Joe Haldeman

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Very good (3/5)

I first read this in April 2000 and most recently in June 2001.

Some years in the future, the Alliance comprising the USA and other right-thinking countries, is in a bitter war with the rest of the world. The Alliance, thanks to its exclusive use of "nanoforges" has profound wealth. The rest of the world survives, on limited and conditional handouts, much as it does now.

Julian Class is a citizen of the Alliance. He's a scientist by profession but he's been drafted into the army. He spends his time sitting in a VR rig remote controlling a "soldierboy" robot by direct brain to computer interface. As a soldierboy he commits atrocities to order, all the while secretly doubting the validity of the Alliance's cause and planning his eventual suicide.

Away from the war, back in the Alliance, the Enders are a religious group gaining increasing legitimacy. They've embedded themselves in the high echelons of government and military. The Enders believe that the world is about to end, and in aim to assist in the process.

What no-one really expects is that the world is about to end in just a few short weeks.

Unless of course Julian can save it.

It's by Joe Haldeman but it's not "The Forever War", which is of course one of the greatest SF novels ever written.

Since "The Forever War", I read anything by Mr Haldeman and mostly I'm very satisfied This is a good, exciting but thoughtful novel, but it the latter part of the book has a lack of affect that's characteristic of Haldeman, but in this case the result is that by the time you finish the book the emotional power of the earlier pages has been lost.

It's, of course, anti-war but it carefully draws a distinction between war - violence as a political tool - and self-defense.

Loaded on the 3rd June 2001.
    
Cover of Forever Peace
Cover by Bruce Jensen