Ridley to Bring Forever War to Screen

Sweet Jesus they’re finally going to do it!!  Scott Ridley has decided to bring Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War to the big screen.

While Ridley’s current project is “Brave New World”, he is moving ahead on a screen adaptation of Haldeman’s epic sci-fi novel.  In fact, he’s been trying to get the rights to Joe Haldeman’s 1974 novel for 25 years.

 “I first pursued Forever War 25 years ago, and the book has only grown more timely and relevant since. It’s a science-fiction epic, a bit of ‘The Odyssey’ by way of Blade Runner, built upon a brilliant, disorienting premise.”
Director Ridley Scott

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The Forever War


is the story of  physics student William Mandella, who is reluctantly drafted into the United Nations Exploratory Force (emphasis on FORCE)  to fight an alien race that no one seems to know a lot about.  Haldeman is a physicist so aside from faster than light travel the technology presented is solidly grounded in facts.  Along the way you get a real understanding of Einsteinian   physics .  Haldeman won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel.

Originally published as a short story in Analog Magazine in 1974.  Readers demanded more and there were seven more stories.  In 1975 it was published as a novel omitting the middle section, a novella titled You Can Never Go Back. In 1991 this editing was corrected.

Why this story hasn’t been made into a video game is still a mystery to me.  In 1997 I personally designed a board game for it. I had two games.  Star Force Alpha  which featured a kick ass, accurate three dimensional map of our space out to about 40  light years.  The combat consisted of trying to confuse your crew of telepaths who were used as propulsion of all things.  That was just too dumb for me. The other game, whose name escapes me was about designing your own space borne warships.  The board for that one was stupid so I combined the two.  As fate would have it, I lost the original work in a move in Germany when the German movers forgot to pack our stuff in the attic.  During Desert Storm, Ken Rankin and I set about re-writing it and playing the Hell out of it.

Maybe I should publish it and get rich.




“Tonight we’re going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man.” The guy who said that was a sergeant who didn’t look five years older than me. So if he’d ever killed a man in combat, silently or otherwise, he’d done it as an infant.

I already knew eighty ways to kill people, but most of them were pretty noisy. I sat up straight in my chair and assumed a look of polite attention and fell asleep with my eyes open. So did most everybody else. We’d learned that they never scheduled anything important for these after-chop classes.

The projector woke me up and I sat through a short tape showing the “eight silent ways.” Some of the actors must have been brain-wipes, since they were actually killed.

After the tape a girl in the front row raised her hand. The sergeant nodded at her and she rose to parade rest. Not bad looking, but kind of chunky about the neck and shoulders. Everybody gets that way after carrying a heavy pack around for a couple of months.

“Sir”—we had to call sergeants “sir” until graduation—“most of those methods, really, they looked…kind of silly.”

“For instance?”

“Like killing a man with a blow to the kidneys, from an entrenching tool. I mean, when would you actually have only an entrenching tool, and no gun or knife? And why not just bash him over the head with it?”

“He might have a helmet on,” he said reasonably.

“Besides, Taurans probably don’t even have kidneys!”

He shrugged. “Probably they don’t.” This was 1997, and nobody had ever seen a Tauran; hadn’t even found any pieces of Taurans bigger than a scorched chromosome. “But their body chemistry is similar to ours, and we have to assume they’re similarly complex creatures. They must have weaknesses, vulnerable spots. You have to find out where they are.

“That’s the important thing.” He stabbed a finger at the screen. “Those eight convicts got caulked for your benefit because you’ve got to find out how to kill Taurans, and be able to do it whether you have a megawatt laser or an emery board.”

She sat back down, not looking too convinced.

“Any more questions?” Nobody raised a hand.

“OK. Tench-hut!” We staggered upright and he looked at us expectantly.

“Fuck you, sir,” came the familiar tired chorus.


“FUCK YOU, SIR!” One of the army’s less-inspired morale devices.

“That’s better. Don’t forget, predawn maneuvers tomorrow. Chop at 03:30, first formation, 04:00. Anybody sacked after 03:40 owes one stripe. Dismissed.”

I zipped up my coverall and went across the snow to the lounge for a cup of soya and a joint. I’d always been able to get by on five or six hours of sleep, and this was the only time I could be by myself, out of the army for a while. Looked at the newsfax for a few minutes. Another ship got caulked, out by Aldebaran sector. That was four years ago. They were mounting a reprisal fleet, but it’ll take four years more for them to get out there. By then, the Taurans would have every portal planet sewed up tight.

Back at the billet, everybody else was sacked and the main lights were out. The whole company’d been dragging ever since we got back from the two-week lunar training. I dumped my clothes in the locker, checked the roster and found out I was in bunk 31. Goddammit, right under the heater.

I slipped through the curtain as quietly as possible so as not to wake up the person next to me. Couldn’t see who it was, but I couldn’t have cared less. I slipped under the blanket.

“You’re late, Mandella,” a voice yawned. It was Rogers.

“Sorry I woke you up,” I whispered.

“’Sallright.” She snuggled over and clasped me spoon-fashion. She was warm and reasonably soft.

I patted her hip in what I hoped was a brotherly fashion. “Night, Rogers.”

“G’night, Stallion.” She returned the gesture more pointedly.

Why do you always get the tired ones when you’re ready and the randy ones when you’re tired? I bowed to the inevitable.

Copyright © 1974, 1975, 1997 by Joe Haldeman.



Olympus has Fallen- The Mistakes

Olympus has Fallen is a excellent action romp with a feel good patriotic ending.  But…some artistic license has been taken to move the story a long.

SPOILER ALERT!!  I’m talking about the plot after the trailer.

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We’re not talking about bloopers or lack of continuity.  Here’s our list of stuff that would just not happen.

  • Right off the bat, the Secret Service doesn’t route the President over bridges.
  • The terrorists apparently use a AC-130 aircraft to begin the assault.  It’s a good choice if you want to chew up the landscape but it only shoots out the right side.  It doesn’t have hidden gun ports like an 18th century ship of the line.   The odds of shooting down an aircraft in flight is just about nil.  Two at the same time is science fiction.
  • I profess no knowledge of any plan that the Secret Service has for defending a ground attack on the White House but I’m pretty sure that running out to the porch to get shot is not one of them.
  • Although it appears to be a quaint colonial plantation house, the White House is one of the most fortified and armored buildings in the World.  Once closed, you can shoot RPG’s at the front door all day long and all you’ll do is interrupt the football game the Secret Service is watching inside.
  • The army quick reaction ground force might take 15 minutes to get to there, but the helicopter gunships would be there in  five and so would F-16’s with Mavericks and cluster bombs.
  • The garbage truck pill boxes were pure genius but you can bet the farm that there are anti-armor weapons in there that would be on the roof in a heartbeat.
  • When they move the President into the bunker one of the agents says that bringing the South Koreans with them isn’t protocol. Damn straight.  I don’t know where they’re going but it ain’t the bunker.
  • When the Koreans start shooting in the bunker where did they get the guns.  NO ONE gets inside the White House with a weapon.  Except the Secret Service.
  • When the SEALs go in they would destroy the anti-aircraft asset with overwhelming firepower.
  • Banning seems to have all the secret access codes for the White House.  He isn’t assigned there.  He would not have the codes, period.
  • The military is placed on DEFCON 4. That’s Defense Condition Four for you civilians.  DEFCON 4 calls for “Increased intelligence watch and strengthened  security measures ” .  the DEFCON deals with nuclear war.  DEFCON 1 is “nuclear attack in progress or imminent”.  DEFCON 5 is Peace and we have never been there. We were at DEFCON 2 during the Cuba Missile Crisis and DEFCON 3 during the War of Yom Kippur and on 9/11.
  • Speaking of nuclear weapons.  Blowing up our ICBMs in their silos would…well….blow them up in their silos.  No problemo, we have plenty more on submarines at sea right now.  There would be no nuclear detonations because the physics package in each warhead would not be active.  That’s part of the launch sequence that is done by the launch crew specifically to prevent the remote detonation used in the plot.


  • Oscar  Ortega-Hernandez  fired an “assault style weapon”  at the White House from the passenger window of a car.  One shot hit the window of the living quarters but did not penetrate the ballistic glass.  The second shot hit the wall and was found in the grass.  President Obama was not in residence at the time.  A witness told agents Ortega wanted to “hurt” Obama and referred to him as “the anti-Christ.” Another witness told investigators Ortega said he “needed to kill” Obama,
  • September 12, 1994- Frank Corder was killed when he crashed a Cessna 150 into the White House.  Skipping once on the lawn, the aircraft impacted the White House below the President’s bedroom.  President Clinton and family were in Blair House due to White House repairs.  The incident caused minor damage to the White House.
  • October 29, 1994, Dressed in a trench coat, Francisco Duran went up to the fence overlooking the north lawn of the White House and fired an AK-47 at people standing on the lawn.  Civilians jumped him and pinned him down until he was arrested.  No one was injured and President Clinton was inside watching football on TV.
  • 20 January 1985-  While Ronald Reagan was being sworn in for a second term, Robert Lassa of Denver strolled past security by following the Marine Corps Band.  His 14 minute tour of the White House ended when he was stopped by the Secret Service and was searched.  He posted bail and went home.  Charges were dropped citing it was all a mistake.  Later he bragged that he was trying to see how far he could get.
  • October 1978- Dressed in a karate gi and toting a bible and a knife, Anthony Henry climbed over the White fence “To talk to the president.”  Secret Service stopped him 15 yards into yard when he whipped out his knife.  He was subdued and disarmed.  What he wanted to talk to President Carter about was never determined.
  • 25 December, 1974- Dressed in tradition Arab dress, Marshall Fields crashed his Chevy Impala through the Northwest Gate.  After a four hour stand off, the “bomb” strapped to his body turned out to be highway flares.  President Ford and Family were out of town at the time.
  • 17 February, 1974- Army private Robert Preston checked out a UH-1 helicopter from Fort Meade and flew it to the White House.  He hovered the stolen aircraft over the White House lawn for six minutes as the confused security looked on.  He was then chased by a police helicopter and after a brief dog fight around the Washington Memorial he returned to the White House where he was shot down in a barrage of gunfire.  He survived the crash and when asked why he did it he replied, “Because I always wanted to.”.
  • 1 November, 1950- While the White House was being renovated, President Truman took residence in Blair House. Two Puerto Rican pro-independence activists, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola   stormed Blair House firing Thompson sub machine guns.  Both were killed before they could gain access to the building.   White House Police officer Leslie Coffelt was mortally wounded but still killed Torresola with return fire.