The Forever War
Interestingly, the background of the novel, The Forever War, is based on the experiences of the author while taking part in the Vietnam War. In respect to the protagonist, William Mandella, as well as the various incidences that he faces, Joe Haldeman constructed a novel that was successful in blurring the components of war and science fiction into a single entity. With a significant knowledge of the events that take place in an armed struggle after participating and becoming wounded in combat, Haldeman utilizes The Forever War as a literary yet philosophical expression of the implications that arise from war. Even though the novel’s events take place within a convoluted technological setting and an outer life-form background, The Forever War rationally manages to capture the occurrence of a never-ending war as well as the derivative incidences that arise from any armed struggle. Despite the exploration of the familiar concept of war throughout the novel, the setting of the respective struggle within a futuristic environment reveals a myriad of scientific and social alterations that Haldeman proposes.
Joe Haldeman’s novel, The Forever War, possesses a range of scientific and social modifications that form part of the environment occupied by humankind. One key change involves the absolute representation of alien organisms or other beings that exist across the universe aside from humans. Accordingly, by the year 1997, the Earth is taking part in an armed struggle against an alien species known as the Taurans. The presence of these organisms threatens the lives of human beings in Earth further providing more alterations to the social environment depicted in the novel. This is evidenced by the transformation of the humanitarian organization, the United Nations, into a warring entity known as the United Nations Exploratory Force (UNEF). In addition, the aspect of colonialism, which was first part of the Western states prior to the culmination of World War II, has been revived and altered in order to advance the conflict between Earth and the Taurans. Based on the novel, the Earth possesses colonies that extend far from its orbit as well as partnerships with other portal planets.
Another scientific alteration present within The Forever War involves the movement between space and time. This is exemplified by the presence of interstellar travel. In respect to the novel, the struggle between the Taurans and earthlings has necessitated the protection of colonies as well as portal planets that actually enable transition between planetary or celestial elements, specifically stars. The notion of the movement between space and time enables the derivation of scientific concepts such as time travel. As asserted in the respective novel, components such as the dilation of time and the concept of relativity establish a time-travel platform that allows the recruited soldiers to move across time over days, weeks, and years while taking part in the war. Other scientific aspects are based on the field of psychology in respect to the functions of the mind. In particular, the novel reveals incidences of classical conditioning, which is evidenced by the training and transformation of ordinary able-bodied men into functional killing machines with the main aim being the protection of Earth and the reception of honors.
Apart from the presence of convoluted scientific concepts, Haldeman also proposes a range of social modifications, which actually contribute to the overall structure of the society in the respective novel. One interesting modification is based on the allowance of sexual exploration between men and women within a formal setting as opposed to the current state of such environments. Accordingly, the setting at the infantry is comprised of both male and female soldiers. Aside from sleeping proximately within the same space, the soldiers are ironically encouraged to engage in sexual activities with one another. In this respect, the aspect of sex is seen as non-issue especially with the way it is recurrently covered in the novel. Indeed, some of the aspects or structures explored in the novel are truthful in relation to the current society. The widespread nature of homosexuality is a rational illustration. Apparently, novel structures within the society are further exhibited by the acceptance of homosexuality in the year 2023. At the time, many governments have resorted to homosexual unions as the certain method for birth control.
To this end, some of the aspects asserted by Haldeman are rational as one may assume. For instance, the use of homosexuality as a form of birth control is pragmatic considering the current population growth, which increases by the day. Even though countries such as China have instituted legal measures aimed at curbing this, it is still impossible for them to regulate significant increases in the overall population. Nevertheless, The Forever War is a reflection of the wartime experiences underwent by Haldeman and his generation. This is evidenced by his on-and-off involvement in the army as a first time soldier and a company commander due to his experiences. Additionally, the never-ending armed struggle is an experience that further possesses attributes similar to actual events such as the Vietnam War, the general Cold War, as well as the First and Second World Wars. Indeed, his involvement in the never-ending struggle is a representation of the experiences that the author underwent in respect to the Vietnam War as well as the trickled-down implications from the previous grand wars fought in the aforementioned wars.