Joe Haldeman

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Wel this book I'm reading,The Forever War,is zipping along nicely. Its one of those hard to put down books and I'm not even half way thru yet. Are his other books as readable as this? Its strange because this book is all military gung ho A la the film Aliens,but you get the feeling the author really knows his science! He mentions the lower G of this planet they're on and how because the air pressure is lower due to having less gravity than the earth that the water in the sea is closer to boiling point. And also he makes travelling interstellar distances sound convincing,rather than just inventing a Device or Strange Concept.(Funnily the book was written in 1974 but set in 1997!) Who is this guy and whats his background?
 

Hypnos164

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Long time SF writer (the Forever war won the Hugo & Nebula) has an Astronomy degree and served in Vietnam as a combat engineer both of which contribute to TFW's authenticity.

I think the Forever War is probably his best work, but Mindbridge and the "Worlds" series are good too as I recall.

I didn't really like Forever Peace and haven't looked at much of his work after that (which now you bring him up seems to be a bit harsh on my part...)
 

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Oh yea you can definitely 'hear' the army background speaking out on the page,and at the same time his scientific side which reminds me of Gregory Benford.
 

icowdave

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I really like Haldeman. I've read Camouflage (2005 Nebula winner) and The Accidental Time Machine (Nebula and Locus nominated) and thought both were quite good. Camo is the better of the 2 IMO. They both zip along as well. Entertaining and fast reads for the pacing and the relatively short book length.

Camouflage:
Two aliens have wandered Earth for centuries. The Changeling has survived by adapting the forms of many different organisms. The Chameleon destroys anything or anyone that threatens it.

Now, a sunken relic that holds the key to their origins calls to them to take them home--but the Chameleon has decided there's only room for one.


The Accidental Time Machine:
Grad-school dropout Matt Fuller is toiling as a lowly research assistant at MIT when, while measuring subtle quantum forces that relate to time changes in gravity and electromagnetic force, his calibrator turns into a time machine. With a dead-end job and a girlfriend who has left him for another man, Matt has nothing to lose taking a time machine trip himself-or so he thinks.
 

Pyan

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Larry said:
Its strange because this book is all military gung ho

It was written as a anti-war novel, based on the author's experiences in Vietnam, and the differences between the people that did the fighting and those that only watched it on TV and the lack of understanding from them.
 

Hypnos164

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It was written as a anti-war novel, based on the author's experiences in Vietnam, and the differences between the people that did the fighting and those that only watched it on TV and the lack of understanding from them.

True, but at less than 1/2 way through (as indicated in the 1st post) thats probably not totally apparent yet
 

Connavar

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Military gung ho and anti-war novel hmm thats sounds good to me :)

I have wanted to try Haldeman ever since i was impressed by his short story None So Blind.

Pyan and others who have read Forever War can i who enjoy reading thoughtprovoking Military SF take a chance on the book and buy it ? My trouble is there is a lack of library books,second hand books of his where i am so i have to buy him to try him.
 

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Military gung ho and anti-war novel hmm thats sounds good to me :)

I have wanted to try Haldeman ever since i was impressed by his short story None So Blind.

Pyan and others who have read Forever War can i who enjoy reading thoughtprovoking Military SF take a chance on the book and buy it ? My trouble is there is a lack of library books,second hand books of his where i am so i have to buy him to try him.

Con just buy it. You want a fast paced action story written with intelligence? This is your book!
 

J-Sun

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Who is this guy and whats his background?

Can't really add anything to what others have said. Viet Nam vet with scientific credentials and these things infuse his writing, which has won multiple awards.

Are his other books as readable as this?

Generally, yes. Haldeman is one of my favorite writers largely for the fact that he doesn't screw around. He's quite aware of literary values and/but he's mastered a direct, efficient style rather than a dense obtuse obscurantism and seems to be more inspired by the novel as a coherent form rather than the more 18th/19th century "and then" kind of chatty piling on of incidents. He's also written the occasional superb short story, novelette, novella.

Despite enjoying his style and most everything I've read by him, I'm not a Haldeman fanatic and haven't read everything, especially of the newer stuff, but I can recommend:

Collections:

Infinite Dreams (1978)
Dealing in Futures (1985)
None So Blind (1996)
A Separate War (2006)

In a way, each of these collections gets better than the one before it.

Novels:

The Forever War (1974)
Mindbridge (1976)
All My Sins Remembered (1977)
Worlds (1981)
Worlds Apart (1983)
Worlds Enough and Time (1992)
Camouflage (2004)

(AMSR is actually a collection of three connected novellas woven together with additional material. And the "Worlds" novels form a trilogy.)

The only one I can't entirely recommend is Forever Peace (1997). It's still fairly well done and interesting in ways, but doesn't carry the weight of its questionable didacticism. The Forever War probably is his best novel and does have a much later sequel that I haven't read and is probably unnecessary but this, despite the title, has nothing to do with The Forever War except the title and some thematic material - nothing in terms of plot and character.

I have wanted to try Haldeman ever since i was impressed by his short story None So Blind.

Yep, that's a good one.

Pyan and others who have read Forever War can i who enjoy reading thoughtprovoking Military SF take a chance on the book and buy it ?

Yes! :)
 

Hypnos164

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I think if you started a thread here asking for "thought provoking Military SF" The Forever War would easily be the most common recommendation - its a true classic; and well worth the cover price.

My bonus recommendation in this category would be Glen Cook's - A Passage at Arms (great SF "submarine" story) but thats probably even harder to get hold of.
 

J-Sun

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Something's didiactic when it's "1. intended for instruction. 2. preaching or moralizing". So when I say Hesiod's Works and Days is didactic, I'm being (1) descriptive and when I say Forever Peace is didactic I'm being (2) judgmental. :)
 

Ian Whates

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can i who enjoy reading thoughtprovoking Military SF take a chance on the book and buy it ?

Con, definitely take a punt on The Forever War. I'd be amazed if you didn't thoroughly enjoy it.

Even try Forever Peace if you feel so inclined -- a thematic sequel if not in any sense an actual one -- but my advice would be to stick well clear of Forever Free, or at least don't read any further than three quarters of the way through... extremely disappointing ending.

The Forever War, though, is a true classic.
 

Rodders

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The Forever War, though, is a true classic.

Yes, i read this a long time ago. I have seen an omnibus edition on the book shelves. I think that it's time to reread this classic.

One other book that i have read of his was teh Hemingway Hoax. I don't remember much about it, but i do remember that i enjoyed it.
 

j d worthington

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I will also join my voice to those suggesting you buy this one, Connavar. Definitely one of the best books on such a theme to ever come out of the field.

I would also recommend Mindbridge and All My Sins Remembered, both of which I read with great pleasure back when first released. I've revisited Mindbridge since, and found it held up well -- though it felt quite different on a reread! Haven't had a chance to go back to the latter, though....
 

Moggle

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I have no idea why ppl like Forever War so much. Political allegories aside, what exactly is so interesting about a character who spends the entire length of a book traveling thru space and doing not much else? How is this compelling to a reader?
 

Rodders

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I have no idea why ppl like Forever War so much. Political allegories aside, what exactly is so interesting about a character who spends the entire length of a book traveling thru space and doing not much else? How is this compelling to a reader?

But the book wasn't about the guy and his travels. Due to the effect on time that light speed has, he was not aging as quickly as those that he left behind. Whilst he was away fighting, everyone that he knew had lived their lives and died. When he came back, he had no choice but to rejoin and fight again and again.
 

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