I just finished reading Forever Free, the sequel to The Forever War. I read the Forever War and Forever Peace (which is not the sequel to nor has anything to do with The Forever War) some time ago. I first became interested in these books after reading part of The Forever War in a book of short stories called Command Brigade 3000. The idea of The Forever War, that soldiers fought in a war on planets so distant that by the time they returned to Earth, decades or even centuries would have past, was very interesting. The Forever War was definitely the best of the three books, is a classic science fiction novel, and should be on anyone’s reading list who enjoys sci-fi, especially military sci-fi.
Forever Peace, which came next, I found in a used book store and like many others thought it was the sequel to The Forever War. It was not, but it is still a good book in its own right. Forever Peace is about a war on Earth in the future where the U.S. uses remote-piloted fighting robot suits to wage war on some foreign countries. I forget the specifics of the causes of the war, but the main character’s girlfriend and another researcher find out some things about the war the government or military don’t want people to know. The book also has some cool Matrix-like tech, which is how people “jack-in” to the robots. Other things are possible like two people jacking together through a machine and experiencing each others bodies, etc., as well as some group mind stuff. Once the main character and the girlfriend are found out, they are on the run, but come up with a creative way to end the war. There is also a cool assassin character chasing the main character through part of the book. This book was also good and worth reading.
Finally, there is Forever Free, the real sequel to The Forever War. The story begins about 20 years after The Forever War. The main character, William Mandella, is married and has 2 grown children. However, he and other vets are restless on their new world and do not like the current state of evolved Man and their pals (the vets former enemies) the Taurans. So Mandella and other vets plot to steal a ship and leave for 10 years which will be like 40,000 years past when they return to the planet. After 150 people finally leave on the ship, they encounter a problem a couple of months out and have to abandon ship. By the time they return to their planet, 24 years have past, but there are no people anywhere to be found. I won’t say anymore for anyone who wants to read this book, but for me it turned out to be a major disappointment. Most of the book is spent telling us in great detail about Mandella’s life and life in general on his planet. The author describes the friction between Mandella and his wife and their children and also the Mandella’s relationships with other friends. We also get some of the same treatment when they get onto the ship. It is well-written, but not exactly action-packed. The best part of the story was when they actually take the ship. That whole segment was exciting, but unfortunately the rest of the book is not. But the ending was what really ruined it for me. I kept waiting for some great explanation of what happened, but it turned out to be pretty lame. It involves religion, which I should have recognized as every section of the book is called The Book of … . What made The Forever War so good was the combat and training sequences and how human society kept changing for the main character. Forever Free basically takes you in a circle from start to finish; at the end certain things are a little different, but otherwise everything’s the same. Unless you really need to read all of the “Forever” books, I would skip Forever Free.