The forever war

Three Science Fiction authors that I remember well have surnames that start with “H” — Harrison, Haldeman, and Heinlein. All three of these wrote novels that were spring loaded with action which motivated and kept the plot moving. At their best, I would eagerly flip page after page, following the action hero sequence. “Slippery Jim” De Grease would slip in and out of danger, just sliding into safety with that dab of grease called luck — or perhaps it was extraordinary skill. Harrison fashioned into Slippery Jim as a hero who could get out of any jam, a space age Houdini.

Heinlein also worked with the action hero spring. InĀ  “The Day After Tomorrow”, the USA is invaded by the Pan Asians hegemony. The action heros are patriots who start a sixth column church which successfully stages a revolution.

Haldeman is best known for his forever war series of novels, which postulate a distopia of a military industrial complex run amok. Wars make economic sense — they stimulate the economy and are essential to prosperity. So, it becomes necessary to keep a forever war running. Haldeman deftly shows the human and ethical cancers that develop in such a world.

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