Forever Peace

Joe Haldeman
Forever Peace Cover

Forever Peace


Not related to The Forever War, this is a lesser book in every respect. Author Haldeman connects world conflict and pacifism to economic instability and dubious science, then to an unconvincing technothriller that somehow won the Hugo, Nebula and Campbell awards. I remain unconvinced.

The story starts with a McGuffin that allows soldiers to connect to their machines and each other. This leads to comparisons (bloodthirsty and pacifistic soldiers) and injuries (strokes and damage to human operators when the machine is destroyed) and worse (damage to squad mates when a connected soldier is killed). Suicide, depression and racism are also factored in.

This war is between haves and have-nots, or quite clearly northern vs southern hemisphere. A second thread involves an extremely large particle collider (the Jupiter Project) which might lead to the end of the universe. These arguments were used against the LHC, which began construction the same year.

Then the story takes a left turn. It seems that this connectedness also leads to perfect compassion and then complete pacifism. Two factions - one for and one against this outcome - result in a Dan Brown type thriller, with the collider providing the ticking clock.

The book ended in a rush with some simple hand waving. That and the frequent plot holes draw the rating way down - especially when compared to The Forever War, a considerably better book. 1½ stars.