Science Fiction Predictions Joe Haldeman

About the predictions of major sci-fi writer Joe Haldeman in his book The Forever War including ones about the future of military and weaponry.



Joe Haldeman (b. 1943), a Vietnam War veteran, has attained rapid fame with his first two SF novels, The Forever War (which won joint Hugo and Nebula awards as best SF novel of 1975) and Mindbridge. The former clearly reflects his own battle experiences, as Earth fights the Taurans (an alien race) in an interstellar war that spans both time and space. The soldiers in this peculiar conflict are ferried around the stars at speeds approaching those of light; hence, they spend two years in space, only to find that centuries have passed back on Earth. In the end, the war is discovered to have been based merely on a lack of communication between the two races.


Published in 1975.

Future Predictions:

* Discovery of the collapsar jump ("just fling an object at a collapsar [collapsed star] with sufficient speed, and out it pops in some other part of the galaxy..."), which makes interstellar travel possible (1985).

* War with the Taurans breaks out after one of Earth's probe ships is destroyed (1990).

* First expedition to Charon, the 10th planet of the solar system.

* Organization of a military force to fight the Taurans (1996).

* Future armies are coed, with sleeping privileges encouraged.

* Laser weapons (1996).

* Fighting spacesuits equipped with camouflage controls and weapons.

* First engagement of the war; the human soldiers are psychologically programmed to kill on sight (1997).

* Cities on Earth are burned in food riots; the U.S. takes over distribution of food and gradually establishes world government (2004).

* To enable spaceships to maneuver rapidly during battles, and to protect the soldiers' bodies from gravitational forces reaching 25 times those of Earth, special acceleration cells are installed in each ship; inside each womblike cell, the pressure is counteracted sufficiently to preserve the individual's life.

* Homosexuality is encouraged on Earth for birth control purposes (2023).

* Criminals are reimplanted with new personalities (2023).

* Half of the world's population is unemployed and supported by doles from the world government (2023).

* Due to population pressures, private ownership has been limited to the confines of one's own room(s); society frowns on apartments larger than two small rooms.

* People in the year 2023 live in giant complexes of 7 million persons or more.

* Algae cultivated by giant sea rafts for livestock feed.

* Synthetic coffee.

* Marijuana has replaced tobacco; pot is produced and distributed free by the government, as a universal pacifier; the small amounts of real tobacco in circulation are imported from the Moon (2023).

* All media censored by the government.

* The world government rations each individual's caloric intake (2023).

* Everyone is rated at age 70 for his usefulness; those who get a zero rating receive no further health care of any kind (2023).

* Amputated limbs and damaged organs can be regrown from their stumps (2189).

* Individual force fields enable the adventurous to sleep nude in snowstorms (2189).

* Computers hook directly into students' minds for accelerated learning (2189).

* Everyone on Earth has become homosexual (2458); children are bred in artificial wombs; the government has complete genetic control of the population.

* Cyborgs, part human, part machine, are manufactured from soldiers too damaged to be repaired organically.

* Most diseases have been eradicated (2458).

* The "stasis field," a special kind of force field, renders all radiation, electricity, light, and magnetism inert (including the atom bomb) and makes conventional weapons obsolete (2458).

* Earth is populated by the clones of one individual; humankind has attained the community mind, consisting of 10 billion individuals telepathically linked through their brains; end of the Forever War (3138).

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