Recommended - Hugo Winner - Nebula Winner

Haldeman, Joe
1997 revision of 1975 book
cvr art:
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Dorian Vallejo

Book= Fine
Dustjacket= VG+ to near-Fine

Dustjacket has 3/4" tear and associated fold-trace at upper left corner of front cover where it meets the spine (see scan) - otherwise very nice.

1976 Hugo & 1975 Nebula awards - Best Novel

Joe Haldeman's Hugo and Nebula Award winning The Forever War. At least once every generation, some Science Ficiton writer takes a serious look at why and how wars are fought, and this can form a sort of dialogue with other authors who have done the same. The Forever War has some similarities to Heinlein's Starship Troopers, as both involve wars of humans against aliens, the relationship of the military to the society which creates and supports it, and the use of infantry in Battle Suits as the ultimate way of getting results other than ship-to-ship combat or bombardment from orbit. Each book reflects the author's own experience in the military - with quite different emphasis and results.

I call this a "fix-up" because the pieces that make it up were published earlier and separately, then apparently revised for the novel version. Joe Haldeman, in his Author's Note to a 1997 "preferred edition," offers another model: he wrote an episodic novel, and while shopping it around to 18(!) publishers, broke it into chunks which were "serialized piecemeal in Analog magazine." Here are the 4 major segments of the book, along with the names of the corresponding story which appeared in Analog. Book versions closely correspond to the Analog stories:

    Private Mandella ("Hero" - June 1972)

    Sergeant Mandella ("We Are Very Happy Here" - November 1973)

    Lieutenant Mandella ("This Best of All Possible Worlds" - November 1974)

    Major Mandella ("End Game" - January 1975)
    (Slight expansion to the second part, and the first 40 pages of this last part can be considered original - or a tenfold expansion of details from the first 4 pages of "End Game.")

There are different versions of this book. The "basic" version is the 1975 Scribner's hardcover, and Ballantine/Del Rey paperback reprints with matching text. This is the version that won the awards - but not necessarily the one that Haldeman wrote and submitted to those many publishers. In an introduction for "You Can Never Go Back" (Amazing November 1975), Haldeman noted that (editor) Ben Bova rejected the "middle section as too downbeat for Analog's audience." Haldeman wrote him a more positive story ("We Are Very Happy Here"), and the book version is "essentially the Analog version with more adult language and situations." [My guess is that the version published in Analog was edited/slimmed-down from Haldeman's replacement offering.] "You Can Never Go Back" was the original segment that Bova rejected.

The 1991 Avon paperback was supposed to be the author's preferred text, but Haldman notes that not all intended changes made it to that edition, so the 1997 Avon edition (with introduction by Haldeman) is the first "preferred edition." Just to make things slightly (more) confusing - the 1998 SFBC hardcover reprints the text of the "preferred" 1997 Avon paperback (omitting Haldeman's intro) - and uses the Dorian Vallejo cover art from the 1991 Avon edition. One superficial change was to change most dates to 30 years later (since we obviously didn't have interstellar flight in the late 1990's.) The other, major change was to Part 2 (Sergeant Mandella) - but it is not so simple as substituting a close version of "You Can Never Go Back" for the "We Are Very Happy Here" based text. I would call the 1997 revised text a hybrid of the 2 versions - keeping the best parts of each. [For a much more detailed description of the changes see my longer explanation which I include in listings of 1997 or later printings.]