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Stanley Elkin
Leaping forward

By Ed Park Looking backward, briefly: It went unremarked that 2007 was the year when the weirdness of time dilation hit Sgt. William Mandella. Battling the far-flung Taurans meant interstellar travel via "collapsars" (black holes); two years of army service, kicking off with a one-sided slaughter on the bleak planet Charon, somehow translated into 10 years back on Earth. Prepping for his next mission, Mandella realized he would be eligible for retirement if he survived -- "a twenty-year veteran, and only twenty-five years old." All this happened, of course, in a parallel reality, the 2007 of Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War" (Eos: 288 pp., $14.95 paper)....

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