[After more than ten years of waiting for the film to happen, across multiple studios, I got tired of waiting. So I am adapting my own version, which may or may not be professionally illustrated.]

The Forever War

by Andrew G. Watters

based on the novel by Joe Haldeman


It is the year 2025. Following the recent end of World War III, there is a global government led by the American Federation. The global government is an oppressive oligarchy run by the few winners of the global war. One of the consequences of the war was advancements in computing. Society is literally on the line between classical computing and the invention of artificial intelligence. One day, A.I. is invented and it immediately becomes self-aware. The first beneficial thing it does is detect alien radio signals from a part of the sky that is inside the constellation Taurus. The interpretation of the signals suggest that the Taurans are hostile, because only a galactic empire would transmit signals intentionally. Therefore, the A.I. focuses on improving Earth's defenses against alien invasion, which it determines is substantially likely, as well as creating a new space force to preemptively attack the Taurans. The A.I. decides that building up the global military is the only solution, and it finds that the best and brightest human beings are the best chance at success. Therefore, it decrees that persons of elite intelligence levels (IQ >150) and high physical fitness shall serve in a new task force selected for a possible space war. The Congress of the American Federation rubber-stamps the decree and adopts the Elite Conscription Act.


William Mandella is a physicist/mathematician who is working on his Ph.D. at a major American university. He gets an email notifying him that he has been drafted pursuant to the Elite Conscription Act. He has to drop everything and report for training at a military facility, which he does with barely a goodbye to his parents. At training, he meets other elite recruits and they are introduced to the concept of a space war against an unknown enemy. The latest research in astrophysics suggests that black holes are an interconnected network of nodes throughout the universe, and so the Earth strategy relies on sending transport ships full of soldiers to areas of the universe where the Taurans may be found and attacked. The trainees look up to the veterans who are assigned to train them: veterans of World War III who have cynical and depressing visions of war and its effects on humanity. There are injuries and releases during training, leaving a winnowed-out group of highly skilled, highly intelligent individuals to complete training. Mandella meets a woman named Potter and the two get along well. The group completes its training and are sent to fight the Taurans. They arrive at Stargate, a newly constructed base around the closest black hole to Earth, and are sent through the black hole.


The transport ship pops out of the black hole at Epsilon Aurigae, 18 years in the future. The "portal planet" orbiting the black hole is where the Tauran base is. The initial battle with the Taurans results in complete victory for the humans. The Taurans seem to have no concept of hand-to-hand combat, so they are slaughtered like cattle in the first ground action. The task force returns to Earth and arrives another 18 years later. Thus, 36 years have passed on Earth and it is 2061. The soldiers try to return home, only to find that the Earth they left is shockingly different. After the world-controlling government was overthrown in 2045, the American Federation disintegrated and the nation-states on Earth returned to substantially 2025 levels. Society is on the brink of collapse, with poverty and hunger dominating most people's miserable lives. The veterans do not fit into the culture they once knew, and many re-enlist in order to escape. Mandella and Potter finally give in, re-enlist, and are assigned as trainers temporarily, until being suddenly reassigned to another strike force. Almost entirely through luck, Mandella and Potter survive additional campaigns against the Taurans (though they are both injured). Some of the campaigns involve meeting Taurans essentially from the future, as the strike forces travel forward in time. Centuries pass with each subsequent black hole jump. Eventually Mandella and Potter are assigned to different units, believing they will never see each other again.


Mandella is assigned as strike force commander in the furthest campaign yet-- outside the galaxy proper in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The Taurans have surpassed the Earth forces in technology and tactics, so the humans are at a disadvantage. Meanwhile, Mandella is now the oldest surviving soldier in the nearly thousand year-long war, having been born in 1995. After one final battle in which the humans defeat the Taurans using medieval weapons, Mandella and his soldiers travel back to Stargate. They arrive in the year 2981 to discover that traditional humanity has been replaced by a society of clones. The clones inform the soldiers that they are relics of a bygone era; that the war has ended in a peace treaty; that the war was never based on accurate information; and that their lives have been wasted in the service of paranoia and xenophobia. Mandella receives a note from Potter hundreds of years in the past; he is sure she is dead until she explains that she has been using a transport ship as a time machine to wait for him. Mandella travels to the planet "Middle Finger" where Potter is waiting for him. They live happily ever after in a society of veterans from the war.

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© Andrew G. Watters

Last updated: May 23, 2019