In the Books Section:
- The Forever War was written in 1974, almost 30 years ago, what
technological innovations did Haldeman predict for Mandella's time that
have come to pass? What innovations are still not here? Did Haldeman
succeed in predicting the future with The Forever War? What are some
examples of other works in the genre that have successfully predicted the
- How did Haldeman deal with homosexuality in the book? Was he clearly
homophobic or clearly homophilic? What do you think of the idea of people
considering heterosexuality antisocial, an emotional dysfunction? What
about his use of slang to refer to heterosexuals?
- In describing the temporal situation of the soldiers, the Commodore says
"Most of you are too young to remember the term future shock. Back in the
seventies, some people felt that technological progress was so rapid that
some people, normal people, couldn't cope with it; that they wouldn't have
time to get used to the present before the future was upon them." What do
you think of the concept of "future shock"? Do you think Haldeman
portrayed this concept successfully in the situation between the soldiers
and the universe around them?
- Another classic genre work in a similar vein is Starship Troopers by
Robert Heinlein. How do these two books compare?
- Both The Forever War and Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein utilize the concept of superhuman combat armor/suits. Do you think this is a real
possibility for future wars? Do you think this is the likely way we would fight
an alien war? Why or why not?
- How have the covers of various editions of this book differed? What are
the different images portrayed? Which do you feel is most appropriate?
- Mandella discusses the origin of his name at one point. Do you think
that Haldeman chose an appropriate image to relate the main character to?
- Mandella starts in the year 1997 and goes through the year 3143. What
does Haldeman extrapolate from current trends in 1974?
- It seems that by 3143, man has conquered every disease or malady that
could befall us, they can replace lost body parts and even internal organs.
A person can live virtually forever. What are the advantages and drawbacks
of living in such a society?
- What is the sense behind the sergeant's comment that "the army plans in
terms of centuries"?
- Who is Haldeman's intended audience for this book?
- This book was written in 1974. What did Haldeman predict would happen
to people from the sixties?
- Haldeman is a veteran of the Vietnam War and has been very up front
about that being his inspiration for The Forever War. Where do you see the
ties to the experiences of the Vietnam War? Do you think the book read
differently for people who lived through Vietnam and people who did not?
- Other than a statement about the futility of war, what themes are in
this book and exhibited by the characters?
This page maintained by Rob Gates. Last updated March 23, 2001.