Je m’appelle Cédric Bozzi et ceci est mon blog. Enfin, ceci est surtout la reprise de tous mes tweets et de mes photos publiées sur Instagram, mais parfois il peut aussi y avoir de vrais articles.
For some reason, I can’t be bothered to read anything else than science-fiction these days, so I might as well embrace it. Yet The Forever War isn’t the kind of sci-fi book I’d usually recommend: it’s not so much about the science as it is, from start to finish, an allegory about the author’s own experience in the Vietnam War, how war is pointless and senseless, and how hard it was for veterans to come back to a thoroughly transformed world.
But the thing is, it’s a good science-fiction story, and it’s well-written. Overall, two thirds of the book are about the war itself, the ascension from private to major of this one draft victim over the centuries (objective time) of the war, but it’s a vivid, engrossing story about interesting characters that’s very hard to put down. Surprisingly, it’s the other third, about the veterans’ difficulty to adjust to a world changed by decades, then centuries, of relativistic jet-lag, that are a little harder to swallow — because, while the new world described in the book is theoretically credible (you could imagine the whole planet turning to shit because it’s entirely focused on this interstellar conflict), it just doesn’t ring true, and is a little too much tainted by the author’s personal experience, coming back from war to a post-Woodstock world. And, while somewhat justified, never objectionable, and sufficiently self-aware, the author’s obsession with homosexuality in the new world is a little uncomfortable to read thirty years later.
Still, a good read. It would almost make me think that war isn’t pleasant.
Ridley Scott is scheduled to release a movie adaptation in 2011, and that should be interesting; for once, the book doesn’t seem like such a bad candidate for adaptation. There aren’t that many subtleties and I think Scott is perfectly capable of translating the atmosphere — like I said, it’s a book about war more than anything else, and history has shown that you could do good war movies. The only problem will be that the other important point of the movie is time dilation, and no matter how quickly I read the book there’s a limit to how much of it can successfully be expressed in just two hours, maybe two and a half. So, even though I’m exceptionally not going to condemn the movie before seeing it, I’ll still urge you to read the book first.
Illustration via Dangeous Universe.