Grumpy Bugger Logo

  Grumpy Bugger

    A look at life from another perspective.
    Or, pull the other one mate, I ain't buying it!
  Home   •   Contact   •   Archives   •    

Date: 22 August 2015

Today's Topic: The Forever War (Joe Haldeman) 1974

Triggers: Reports that Ridley Scott is making the movie

My Grump: It's taking so long to bring it to the cinema

This book is one of the best science fiction stories I've ever read. I first read it I think around 1976 and have read it several times over the following few decades.

So when I heard Ridley Scott was making a film of the book I leapt for joy. That was about 3 years ago. Since then I've heard disappointingly little, despite repeated searches online, it seems information is rather scarce. So, if anyone knows what, when, where or how, please comment below and let us know. And, Mr Scott, I know you're a busy man and have multiple projects at various stages of completion, but there are many, many fans who are waiting for answers. Thanks.

The story of The Forever War
The Forever War: Ridley Scott The Forever War (1974) is a military science fiction novel by American author Joe Haldeman, telling the contemplative story of soldiers fighting an interstellar war between Man and the Taurans. It won the Nebula Award in 1975, and the Hugo and the Locus awards in 1976.

William Mandella is a physics student conscripted for an elite task force in the United Nations Exploratory Force being assembled for a war against the Taurans, an alien species discovered when they apparently suddenly attacked human colonists' ships. The UNEF ground troops are sent out for reconnaissance and revenge.

The elite recruits have IQs of 150 or more, are highly educated, healthy, and fit. Training is gruelling, first on Earth, in Missouri, and later on a planet called "Charon" beyond Pluto (written before the discovery of the actual planetoid). Several of the recruits are killed during training, due to the extreme environments and the use of live weapons.
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
The new soldiers then depart for action, traveling via interconnected 'collapsars' that allow ships to cover thousands of light-years in a split second. However, traveling to and from the collapsars at near-lightspeed has massive relativistic effects. The first expedition, beginning in 1997, lasts only two years for the soldiers, but due to time dilation, decades have passed on Earth.

Their first encounter with Taurans ends with the unresisting enemy being wiped out. But the Taurans are able to employ increasingly advanced weaponry against them subsequently.

Mandella returns to civilian life, only to find humanity drastically changed. The veterans learn that, to curb overpopulation, homosexuality has become officially encouraged by many of the world's nations. He and his fellow soldiers have difficulty fitting into a society that has evolved almost beyond their comprehension to the point where many re-enlist to escape the alienation and loneliness.

Thus you have the concept of the forever war, a meaningless war that lasts for more than a thousand years, fought by soldiers who age only 10.

My only regret will be if Ridley messes this up with a zillion re-writes that take out the hard to film bits, but I can't imagine a better person to make it. The Forever War is an amazing, amazing book that falls somewhere inbetween awesome and brilliant. The film, I fear, will not reach such dizzy heights. A Wiki search is suggesting the Channing Tatum is to take the lead role, which sort of puts the whole project in the B movie category right from day one. I know that will get a few Channing fans chomping at the bit, but I guess only time will tell.

My recommendation to you before Hollywood gets a hold of it, is to get a buy a copy and give it a read.

Please share your thoughts below, thank you.

Home   Email: