Sunday, February 8, 2009

1968 by Joe Haldeman

Joe Haldeman is well known as a science fiction writer. The Forever War, remains an SF classic, having won the Hugo award, and serves as a fascinating counterpoint to Heinlein's Starship Troopers.

1968 is not a science fiction novel. It's a mainstream novel that, per the title, takes place in 1968.

I'd been looking for a copy for a while, and managed to pick up a used library copy on Amazon for all of $5 (with SuperSaver Shipping)

This is Spider's story. Spider is a young draftee in "The 'Nam", assigned to a combat engineering squadron. The story also follows the life of Beverly, Spider's girfriend, but it's Spider's story.

It's very tightly written, many "chapters" are a half page or less. While Spider is the protagonist, he's not a "hero" in the normal sense; things happen TO Spider, not because of him.

And in case you didn't figure it out reading The Forever War, Vietnam was NOT a fun place in 1968. Then again, neither was Chicago.

Ultimately, it's a slice of life story, and a rather sad one.

I recommend it if you get the chance to read it.

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