Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman is surprisingly not a novel connected in any way to his earlier work, the Forever War. While they are similar in their objects to war the similarity pretty much stops there. Forever Peace takes place exclusively on earth in the mid-21st century (almost exactly 2050). 1st world countries possessing nanoforge technologies that allow them to synthesize any object from a material bank rule over the world and prevent the 3rd world or developing countries from accessing the technology. Central to this control, the countries possessing the nanoforges utilize “soldierboys” and “flyboys” – machines that are controlled by the thoughts of an individual jacked into the robot body.
What’s interesting about the way that Haldeman presents the concept, however, is that soldierboys are jacked together in a total group mind experience of 10 of them to a unit. While jacked everyone intimately knows everybody else, all their secrets, feelings, emotions – precisely what it’s like to be that other person. In this regard jacking for Haldeman is much more interesting a concept than jacking in other fantasies like the matrix. Continue reading