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Old 12-02-2008, 06:27 AM
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Default OT-Sci-Fi Book Review

(split from "10 Greatest" on the Military Channel)

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Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b
If any of you have read Joe Haldeman's The Forever War you get a good idea of different tech levels encountering each other in combat. I remember one scene in the book where Mandella's lower-tech troop carrier is attacked by a Tauran ship a couple of hundred years ahead of it in tech -- Mandella's ship lost a good half of the crew and troops, his girlfriend nearly died, the ship was heavily dosed with radiation, the computers were almost totally toasted by EMP, and they had no communications -- after they got hit by something "all in a package the size of a grape."
The Forever War is one of the best books I have ever read. I read it the first time in my late teens and I have to admit (much as it pains me to do so) I had a tear in my eye at the end. Haldeman was himself a Vietnam vet and I think that explains in part his ability to realistically portray the psychological effects of combat veterans coming home and finding that their old world has changed while they were away.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Targan
The Forever War is one of the best books I have ever read. I read it the first time in my late teens and I have to admit (much as it pains me to do so) I had a tear in my eye at the end. Haldeman was himself a Vietnam vet and I think that explains in part his ability to realistically portray the psychological effects of combat veterans coming home and finding that their old world has changed while they were away.
The Forever War would make a great movie -- but to do it right, you really need a high-budget miniseries. It would take a good 6-8 hours to do it right.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b
The Forever War would make a great movie -- but to do it right, you really need a high-budget miniseries. It would take a good 6-8 hours to do it right.
I couldn't agree more. It was a much better book than Starship Troopers IMO.
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:19 AM
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I gotta be honest.

I found "The Forever War" marginal at best.

I just couldn't get into spears and arrows in a sci-fi book.
I think it was a case where the author didn't want write some complex tactical action and so went with the easier to describe marching line of soldiers.

Totally broke immersion for me.
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Targan

It was a much better book than Starship Troopers IMO.
Blasphemy!
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Old 12-02-2008, 02:31 PM
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I really enjoyed both 'The Forever War' and 'Starship Troopers', in book form anyway. I'd be worried about the terrible arse they'd make of the forever war if they did try and film it though. Has anyone read the sequel to 'Forever War', 'Forever Peace' IIRC? Personally I thought it was truly awful Such a let down after the first one was so good. Same thing with the sequel to 'Day of the Triffids', 'Night of the Triffids' (again IIRC). Wasn't written by Wyndham, just someone trying to follow it up. Absolutely horrendous read, but unfortunately I can rarely just abandon a book (or film for that matter) partway through.
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Old 12-02-2008, 03:24 PM
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Ahh!!! "La Guerra Interminable" de Haldeman. I read it for first time when I was in the University. And, over all the other things, I like the way that Haldeman ends the story. It left in my mouth a good taste that returns every time I remember the book. In fact it is now in the shelves on my rear. And I have not read "Forever Peace", "La paz interminable" in the Spanish translation, because my friends have discouraged me. About the sci-fi matters they usually take the lead and I follow their advices.

And, I don't want to fall in a terrible heresy, Snake Eyes, but I must recognize that I enjoyed more from "Forever War" than from "Starship Troopers" (surely I will burn in hell) . About a future film or TV serie, my heart is always divided about the matter. With 100% of probability I will avidly expect to watch the movie or TV serie when announced. But I'm afraid I have about 80% of probabilities to get disappointed by the result...
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:04 PM
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Hm, I dunno... "Starship Troopers" was alright, and "The Forever War" was okay... I'm going to have to go with Charles Stross' short story, "A Colder War", for all of your sci-fi wartime goodness.

I mean, c'mon, it's the Cold War Gone Hot, complete with the Cosmic Horror of Cthulhu!

...Although, it's not much of a "war", really.. more like, a genocide of epic proportions. Of course, in an alternate timeline where Project Pluto actually got the go ahead, and Things Man Was Not Mean To Know are held as super-weapons by the USSR... well, things probably would get out of hand, sooner or later.

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Old 12-02-2008, 07:01 PM
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Very similar to "The Forever War" was "Old Man's War" by Skalizy (spelling).

And i thought much better. Read the whole series, but only really the first was worth it.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CStock88
Hm, I dunno... "Starship Troopers" was alright, and "The Forever War" was okay... I'm going to have to go with Charles Stross' short story, "A Colder War", for all of your sci-fi wartime goodness.
I liked _Armor_ by John Steakley ...
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Old 12-03-2008, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiggerCCW UK
Has anyone read the sequel to 'Forever War', 'Forever Peace'.
I knew it existed but I've never read it. I'd hate to be disappointed by it.

Make no mistake I did enjoy the book Starship Troopers. I enjoyed the film too I guess, but it was nowhere near as good as the book and the differences (and the amount by which the differences damaged the film) reminded me of the differences between the book and film versions of The Postman.

Thanks for making this a separate thread Kato!
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Old 12-03-2008, 06:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Targan
Hey Kato, as we've taken this a bit OT maybe you could please split this Sci Fi book review portion off to its own thread for us?
Done, I was enjoying the thread so Much I did not notice
Thanks for the heads up.
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Old 12-03-2008, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Targan
I knew it existed but I've never read it. I'd hate to be disappointed by it.

Make no mistake I did enjoy the book Starship Troopers. I enjoyed the film too I guess, but it was nowhere near as good as the book and the differences (and the amount by which the differences damaged the film) reminded me of the differences between the book and film versions of The Postman.

Thanks for making this a separate thread Kato!
I can't force myself to call that film Starship Troopers. I can't believe that Robert Heinlein's estate gave the OK for that film. Bunch of moneygrubbers.
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Old 12-03-2008, 07:55 AM
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I've read the book and seen the film, and can't see anything much beyond surface similarities.

But the film is good, clean, switch-off-your-brain bugsplattin' fun. MEDIC!
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b
The Forever War would make a great movie -- but to do it right, you really need a high-budget miniseries. It would take a good 6-8 hours to do it right.
There were rumblings about the Sci-fi channel getting rights to make a movie or mini-series based on the Forever War, but that eventually, thankfully, fell by the wayside.

However, you may be happy to learn that Ridley Scott is looking to step back into the sci-fi genre by directing a film adaptation of the The Forever War, which would be the best hope the book would probably ever have of seeing a fairly faithful and well done adaptation to film.

Quote:



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Ridley Scott is planning to return to the science fiction genre for the first time since Blade Runner and Alien. Fox 2000 has acquired the rights to Joe Haldeman’s 1974 novel The Forever War, which won both the 1975 Nebula Award and the 1976 Hugo Award.

The book tells the story of an interstellar war between humanity and the mysterious Tauran species, and deals with themes of the inhumanity of war and the results of time dilation space travel. The novel is also widely perceived to be based on the author’s military service during the Vietnam War. The plot description from the books cover follows:

“Private William Mandella is a hero in spite of himself — a reluctant conscript drafted into an elite military unit, and propelled through space and time to fight in a distant thousand-year conflict. He never wanted to go to war, but the leaders on Earth have drawn a line in the interstellar sand — despite the fact that their fierce alien enemy is unknowable, unconquerable, and very far away. So Mandella will perform his duties without rancor and even rise up through the military’s ranks . . . if he survives. But the true test of his mettle will come when he returns to Earth. Because of the time dilation caused by space travel the loyal soldier is aging months, while his home planet is aging centuries — and the difference will prove the saying: you never can go home. . .”


The war lasts about seven centuries while he only ages about 10 years. So imagine Flight of the Navigator to the 70th degree. The novel spawned two and a half sequels, Forever Free, Forever Peace and the novella A Seperate War (which is set parallel to Forever War). It is not known if Scott has intentions of creating a franchise, I would guess probably not.

It is also unclear when Scott will find time to tackle Forever War. I would assume that Scott will get Nottingham into production before a screenplay is completed. The concept of the book feels like a ig idea sci-fi film that would have been produced in the 1970’s. According to Variety, Scott has wanted to direct a big screen adaptation of Forever War for the last 25 years, but complications with rights holders delayed that from happening until now.

“I first pursued ‘Forever War’ 25 years ago, and the book has only grown more timely and relevant since,” Scott told the trade. “It’s a science-fiction epic, a bit of ‘The Odyssey’ by way of ‘Blade Runner,’ built upon a brilliant, disorienting premise.”

This is great news for me. I consider Haldeman's The Forever War top shelf sci-fi; a fun mixture of the forward-thinking science fiction, the humanist dreamer and gritty realism of human nature. I totally recommend him, especially Forever War, to any who like military-oriented sci fi that isn't just all lazer beams and body counts.
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Old 12-03-2008, 12:09 PM
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Best sci-fi I have read..... next to perhapes some Orson Scott Card is...

"Pandora's Star" by Peter Hamilton and the follow up "Judas Unchained"

Nice big thick books of about 500 pages each and a seemingly vast array of non-connected characters that are well fleshed out.

Perhapes a bit to much 'love' scenes and some parts are a little out there, but ultimately its about humankind (who now live for 800+ years due to memory chips and cloned bodies) who have spread to the surrounding galaxies run into a malevolent race on 'Pandora's star' plus a 'sleeper cell' of the alien origin currently working to undermine humanity and that investigation.

Really great universe, well thought out 'tech', and great characters.

Highly recommended.
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Old 12-03-2008, 05:35 PM
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I can't believe a discussion of military SF has gotten this far without mention of David Drake's work, particularly the Hammer's Slammers and RCN universes.

- C.
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Old 12-03-2008, 06:15 PM
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Though it has nothing to do with T2K, I'd have to nominate Arthur C Clarke's Childhood's End as my favorite Sci Fi book. One of the first Sci Fi books I ever read, and simply fantastic!

Are you able to move this Ref? I put it in the wrong thread!
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Old 12-03-2008, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b
Are you able to move this Ref? I put it in the wrong thread!
Done.
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Old 12-03-2008, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tegyrius
I can't believe a discussion of military SF has gotten this far without mention of David Drake's work, particularly the Hammer's Slammers and RCN universes.
Funny you should mention that. I was going to mention Hammer's Slammers in my initial post about The Forever War but I forgot once I started writing it.
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Old 12-03-2008, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haven
Best sci-fi I have read..... next to perhapes some Orson Scott Card is...

"Pandora's Star" by Peter Hamilton and the follow up "Judas Unchained".
I intend to read all the books in that series by Hamilton. There is actually a prequel to those two books. His other series, the Night's Dawn Trilogy, absolutely blew my mind. REALLY good reading.
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Old 12-05-2008, 02:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haven
Best sci-fi I have read..... next to perhapes some Orson Scott Card is...
I'll agree to Orson Scott Card, "Ender's Game" remain one of my favorite but the best sci-fi writer in my opinion still is a remote author and dental surgeon (nobody's perfect) named Stefan Wul (who wrote novels between 1956-1959 only).

One of his novel was translated in English in 1973 : The temple of the past. He is better known from addaptated animations: Fantastic Planet (1973) and Time Masters (1981) drawn by Moebius.

I'll also advocate that some of its works have been among these that largely inspired Hollywood and the sci-fi drama produced in the US (also he was far from alone in that matter).
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Targan
Funny you should mention that. I was going to mention Hammer's Slammers in my initial post about The Forever War but I forgot once I started writing it.
They're of an age, in more than one sense of the word. Drake, like Haldeman, served in Vietnam and channeled those experiences directly into his writing.

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Old 09-30-2016, 08:43 AM
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Somewhere between horror, sci-fi, and T2k: the Black Tide Rising series by John Ringo. Four novels and a collection of short stories by other authors.

Somewhat the standard zombie-apocalypse story, except it's the folks who trained and prepped who survive and succeed.The T2k element is how the survivors start organizing and planning to recover the US and the world. Spoiler: they don't go very far into that, less than a calendar year in all of the books.

Also, lots of military characters and action.
The focus shifts to two teenage sisters as the superheroes of the story, so be warned of that.
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Old 09-30-2016, 12:09 PM
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I'd like to see a film/series of "Retief of the CDT" stories, where the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne fights an interstellar Cold War with the sly, plotting Groaci race. Very tongue-in-cheek; it would test a filmmaker's skill to pull off the dry, wry humor.
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Old 09-30-2016, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Targan View Post
I knew it existed but I've never read it. I'd hate to be disappointed by it.

Make no mistake I did enjoy the book Starship Troopers. I enjoyed the film too I guess, but it was nowhere near as good as the book and the differences (and the amount by which the differences damaged the film) reminded me of the differences between the book and film versions of The Postman.

Thanks for making this a separate thread Kato!

Umm I am going to declare myself apostate...... I thought the Movie "The Postman" was better than the book "The Postman" by David Brin.

Something else I would like to see as a Sci Fi mini series.. David Brin's Uplift novels.
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Old 09-30-2016, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b View Post
I can't force myself to call that film Starship Troopers. I can't believe that Robert Heinlein's estate gave the OK for that film. Bunch of moneygrubbers.
Well, they sold the rights before the film was made.... The Director (being generous) said he hated the book and called it a fascist wet dream that he deliberately quit reading.
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Old 09-30-2016, 02:01 PM
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I am working my way through the "Destroyermen" series.

A WW2 U.S. Destroyer that is hopelessly obsolete at the beginning of WW2 sails through a dimensional rift during a fight with IJN forces in a typhoon...

The combatants find themselves on an alternate earth.... a very alternate earth.

It's very entertaining.
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Old 10-05-2016, 04:12 PM
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Default Vintage Military Sci-Fi

There is the Texas-Israeli War: 1999, full of T2K flavor, written in 1974 by Jake Saunders and Howard Waldrop.

in a world depopulated by bio an chem weapons, but where nukes were effectively limited, an Israeli mercenary tank squadron assists the US military in a drive into Texas to put down a rebellion, in exchange for land. (Yes, Texas, the US government WILL come and take away your guns if you revolt).

And, of course, H Beam Piper's Space Viking, with mostly stellar combat, but some groundside encounters. In the far future (2000 years hence), planets originally at the frontier are keeping civilization alive after a general collapse of the Terran Confederation. Those with technology sometimes find it easier to take from those without it...

Poul Anderson's Flandry of Terra. Dominic Flandry is a Bond-esque agent of the Terran Empire, engaged in a cold war against the expansionistic rival empire of the alien Merseians. Very Cold War in Space (written in the 1960s, tough to avoid), includes several novels and novellas.


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Old 10-05-2016, 04:35 PM
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Jerry Pournelle's Falkenberg series (part of the Co-Dominium setting)
  • West of Honor
  • Mercenary
  • Prince of Mercenaries
  • Go Tell the Spartans and Prince of Sparta

All fairly realistic decent tales of near-future military exploits. The first three are about a mercenary unit - interestingly written before the 1990s rise of private security firms.

Set in the same universe:
  • King David's Spaceship - An adventuring party goes to another planet to recover knowledge of how to build their own space ship.
  • The Mote in God's Eye - An excellent tale of first encounter with another species.


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