I read the Forever War a month-or-two-ish ago and shared a few comments. Although it’s no longer fresh in my mind, I’d like to mention some further thoughts before it all fades beyond recall or desire!
In a lot of ways Haldeman’s military scifi story reminded me of Starship Troopers. Ironically, though a lot of Heinlein’s work is often weirdly sexualized, I don’t remember Starship Troopers suffering from this problem. I say “ironically” because Forever War does include quite a bit of sexuality.
It didn’t turn me off as much as, say, Glory Road’s sexual stuff did. Maybe this is because in Forever War it seems more intended to serve the story rather than to satisfy some lewd dream of the author.
It was quite shocking, especially considering this was written in the 70’s and not in 20XX.
Eventually everyone on earth is gay and the protagonist and other old war fossils like him are the deviants. Quite a turn. Wonder how far off from reality, though.
Later on he finds even his mother has gone gay. You can see this stuff bothers him, but part of me wanted to see the reaction of a normal, red-blooded soldier without all the hippie “tolerance.” I imagine things would have gotten more explosive and probably not gone so well for him.
An interesting, though somewhat wonky, concept is the idea of a global economy based on calories (k) as currency. There area few points where Haldeman goes back and forth between calories and dollars, so that is a little inconsistent.
Look, Apple Pay!
The most chilling part of the story is the result of socialized healthcare operating with limited resources. People become numbers.
Well, the story wraps up on a happier note. The war, it turns out, was all based upon a (silly?) misunderstanding! Now the glorious clone empire reigns supreme, and all it wants is to make everyone happy!
Eh, at least the main guy (I’m not sure if he’s a hero) gets the girl in the end.
Not exactly an uplifting read, but there’s a lot to appreciate here, if even just the eerily prescient-seeming dystopian notes it hits.