I’m back on The Cultural Gutter. Queue up the montages of civil unrest and warfare set to Buffalo Springfield and “All Along the Watchtower,” because Back to the World is a look at Joe Haldeman’s amazing 1974 “Vietnam War in space” novel, The Forever War.
Author Joe Haldeman was himself a veteran of the Vietnam War, and his 1974 novel The Forever War is science fiction based on the American Vietnam experience, military science fiction that would be more suited to Buffalo Springfield and Jimi Hendrix as its soundtrack than synthesized epic choral music. Military sci-fi is one of those sub-genre designations that conjures up a very specific type of story for me. The blood and guts space battles of David Weber’s Honor Harrington books, or the “Horatio Hornblower in space” adventure of David Drake’s RCN series. I have to remind myself that it can be a more complex style of storytelling than simple tales of massive battles and old-fashioned swashbuckling but in space.