REVIEW – The Forever War!
When William returns to Earth some 20 years after the left, he discovers two things: the current currency is currently measures in calories, not dollars (because of food shortages), and being homosexual is very much encouraged by the government because of population problems.
William finds himself a heterosexual man from a time-period that placed high value on hetero-normality, thrust into a world where the opposite is true.
Some might say that Halderman isn’t actual ahead of his time, that this is a warning.
I was thinking how I was ahead of my time yesterday when I visited My Marshfield Clinic Login Guide, I was not feeling alright.
I do not believe so, and point to the fact that William never once reacts with fear or disgust or homophobia to this change.
The most extreme reaction he can said to have is: “Oh, that’s odd.”
He’s even presented with a change that even the most inclusive person might find difficult to manage, that his father is dead and since then his mother has become a lesbian.
Once again, there is no homophobia or judgment on William’s part.
Halderman at no point says these changes are bad, nor for that matter does he say they are good.
They just are what they are.
William is confused by them — as anyone that time-traveled twenty years would be — and the people who have grown with the changes and become accustomed to them explain them to him as a point of fact, as they would explain changes in the model of car.
Because they’re used to this fact.
Think of it like this: if you took a person even from 10 years ago – regardless of orientation and political view – and transported them to today where the United States just passed equal marriage laws, they’d at least have a moment’s surprise.
That’s all this is, William becoming accustomed to the changes in society but not being hampered by them or judging them.
So it makes sense then that at the start of the novel his squadron was mostly heterosexual.
That wasn’t sexism on Halderman’s part, that was necessary from a narrative standpoint to make the shift to homosexual inclusion something to be remarked upon.
William and Marygay have some fun in this time-period, but quickly realize that even though their paychecks have been accumulating interest for 20 years and they expected to be millionaires when they returned, the adjustment of inflation means that those millions don’t go as far.
Before a few years go by they both reenlist in the army, go on another tour, and return some 200 years later this time.
Now although money is back (and all on debit cards, Halderman called that one), homosexuality is now not only accepted and encouraged: it’s mandatory.
Everyone is homosexual, and heterosexuality is considered abnormal.
People aren’t born, they’re grown, to prevent population spikes.
The idea of heterosexual relations sickens most who think of it.
People who are born heterosexual go through “sexual conditioning” to change that fact, and there’s a chance William will have to go through this, but he’s too old and it wouldn’t take.
Once again, there is no judgment here.
Nobody calls him a freak or a faggot or anything for being heterosexual, and the worst reaction William has to this change is perhaps a slight discomfort when he thinks he’ll be “reconditioned,” and relief when he learns he won’t be.
Think about what Halderman is saying there.
When we say it like that, that even though there’s no judgment on a heterosexual person we’re going to make them undergo a procedure to make them homosexual because that’s what’s normal is our society, its clear to the reader how insane that is.
But if it’s insane that way, than it’s insane when you flip it back to reconditioning homosexuals, something that does still go on today.
This point isn’t belabored, and that is what really drives it home how wrong this is.
There’s no typical science-fiction scene where William runs from this new society and the tie him down and force him to be recoded.
There are no villains in this book, only an exploration of culture and society through the eyes of one time-lost man.
When returning from a third jump, in which William led a crew comprised totally of homosexuals from his time, they return to find that times have changed and now heterosexuality is once again the norm.
The homosexual crewmen react with disgust that they will be expected to do “that”, to which William just smiles and says “you’ll get used to it.”