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From Barnes & NobleLast year's Hugo Best Novel winner, for Forever Peace , was Joe Haldeman, one of the field's greatest and most poignant chroniclers of the future of war. Here, Haldeman discusses his Far Horizons novella: a sequel-of-sorts to his classic, The Forever War .
From Joe Haldeman
It's ironic, since it later won the Hugo and Nebula Awards, and has won "best novel" awards in other countries, but The Forever War was not an easy book to sell, back in the early seventies. It was rejected by eighteen publishers before St. Martin's Press decided to take a chance on it. "Pretty good book," was the usual reaction, "but nobody wants to read a science fiction novel about Vietnam." Twenty-five years later, most young readers don't even see the parallels between The Forever War and the seemingly endless one we were involved in at the time, and that's okay. It's about Vietnam because that's the war the author was in. But it's mainly about war, about soldiers, and about the reasons we think we need them.
It has been successful, and since nothing succeeds like success, publishers have been after me for a sequel ever since it came out. I always said no, the story's complete. But I always wanted to write a novelette or novella about what happened to the characters after the story was over.
When Robert Silverberg asked me to write a story set in The Forever War's universe, I jumped at the chance to write that continuation. But after I'd written twenty or so pages, I realized that I was writing a novel, a sequel. So I put it aside and wrote A Separate War, which tells what happened to Marygay Potter, the female half of the story, in the last part, where she's absent -- while William Mandella is trying to cope with being the only heterosexual in a "home" universe. Marygay copes with it better.
(The sequel novel, Forever Free , will be published by Ace in about a year.)