Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Peace and War by Joe Haldeman
I could not help but notice this in the bargain bin section of Rona Gallery. Peace and War is one of the most celebrated Science fiction classics ever - originally published as "Forever War" "Forever Free," and "Forever Peace."
These books have haunted me since I read them almost ten years ago. I would recommend them to anyone who wants to understand what those veterans went through, or just to someone who loves science fiction that makes not only a social commentary but uses the known laws of physics as part of the underlying metaphore. And the basic premise is that people encounter aliens. Nobody is sure how the shooting started, but it has started, and the world goes to war to destroy the threat.
Only it's not that simple fighting bugs out in space, because this is one of the few Science fiction stories I've read where Einstein's relativity is a factor, and each time the soldiers return, not only are they coming home damaged by their experiences but the world is so changed they feel like they are not coming home at all...
Joe Haldeman was a Vietnam Vet and his storytelling isn't as polished as some, but the drama, and the plot, and the theme - and the sheer guts of this story, more than make up for a lack of fancy prose. Indeed it would seem out of place. There's a lot in this book, a lot of disturbing ideas about how wars are fought, and Joe Haldeman does not deny any connections with the Vietnam war, in fact when he was in New Zealand he described it as his therapy when he came back, his way of making sense of what happened to him, and I think that is why the books are so powerful and why they have been re-published again and again over the years.
Review by Alicia Ponder