I am somewhat prone to referring in a mildly disparaging way to franchises such as Star Wars and Star Trek as, “fantasy with lasers.” However this is not an intrinsically negative term by any means. It is disparaging only when it is used to describe things which bill themselves as “science fiction” but are, in fact, not. A future BBB post will deal with my personal categorizations, but for today’s purpose I wanted to establish that work such as Dickson’s Forever Man sets the bar for quality FWL, though I will readily concede that it straddles the line between FWL and science fiction so well that it was difficult to assign it a category.

You can obtain a plot summary elsewhere, so I will constrain myself instead to, as is the intention of all BBB posts, telling you why you should read the book!

The main character begins in a fairly standard situation, but gradually through well-crafted and acceptably smooth increments the notional reality of the setting is turned on its head and introduces us to the surprising depth of possibility latent in a single change in what we think of as reality.

Although he writes Forever Man in a somewhat lighter tone than he did the Childe Cycle, the sense of a close kinship with practical and meaty philosophy remains firmly mixed into the ink. Despite the relative paucity of directly scientific or technical considerations, the novel retains the speculative form inherent to all science fiction–thus the FWL/speculative fiction label.

I find such stories inspiring to my sense of wonder and curiosity, even if they lack the direct emotional impact that simpler (if lengthier,) tales like the Harry Potter or Twilight. I think that at least for Dickson’s work, the value lies not in getting the reader to ask, “what happens next?” but rather, “what could happen next?”

Military personnel and civilians alike will appreciate the two main characters and their interactions, and might gain some level of appreciation of one another seeing elements of themselves reflected in the story. All in all, the story is definitely worth your time.

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