NESFA Members' Reviews

Forever Free

by Joe Haldeman

Ace Books, 1999, ISBN 0-441-00697-3

A book review by Elisabeth Carey

This is a direct sequel to The Forever War. Twenty years have passed since William and Marygay were reunited on Middle Finger, the "garden planet" where Man resettled the heterosexuals at the end of the Forever War. They've raised a son and a daughter, and they are restless, unhappy with Middle Finger (which has very long, very cold winters), and unhappy with Man. With some of the other war veterans, who are now a small minority of the population on Middle Finger, they plot to steal the ship that served as the time shuttle to reunite separated couples after the war. (It's still in orbit around Middle Finger, after a forced sale to Man, who has never done anything with it.) They have some excitement in the process, and make the interesting discovery that Man has more individuality amongst its members than Man would prefer to have anyone believe. And then the weird stuff starts happening. Disappearing antimatter. Whole populations vanishing. As in, whole populations of planets, such as Middle Finger and Earth.

Unfortunately, the explanation for the weirdness turns out to be not one deus ex machina, but two. This was an enjoyable visit with an old friend, but if you're expecting a story with any substance or punch, you will be disappointed, and might endanger breakables and small animals with a high-speed book.

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