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Joe Haldeman

Joe Haldeman has served twice as president of the Science Fiction Writers of America and is currently an adjunct professor teaching writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Forever War

The Forever War — (1974-1999) The monumental Hugo and Nebula award winning SF classic. The Earth’s leaders have drawn a line in the interstellar sand – despite the fact that the fierce alien enemy they would oppose is inscrutable, unconquerable, and very far away.  A reluctant conscript drafted into an elite Military unit, Private William Mandella has been propelled through space and time to fight in the distant thousand-year conflict; to perform his duties and do whatever it takes to survive the ordeal and return home.  But “home” may be even more terrifying than battle, because, thanks to the time dilation caused by space travel, Mandella is aging months while the Earth he left behind is aging centuries…

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The Forever War: An SF treatment of Vietnam

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Reposting to include Stuart's new review:

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

William Mandella, a genius studying physics, has been drafted into the elite division of the United Nations Exploratory Force, which is fighting a seemingly never-ending war with the Taurans. After strenuous training with other elites on the Earth and in space, William and his colleagues are sent on various missions throughout the universe, traveling through black holes to get to each warfront. During each mission some of William’s friends die, but that’s expected. What’s surprising is that when he returns home, very little time has passed for him, but space-time relativity has caused many years to pass on Earth. Thus each time he comes back, he’s shocked by the changes that have occurred — changes in people he knows, changes in society, and technological advances which affect the progress of the war.
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Forever Peace: Wildly implausible and poorly written

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Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman

For the life of me, I can’t understand why Forever Peace won the Hugo, Nebula, John W. Campbell Memorial Awards for Best science fiction novel in 1998. Certainly Joe Haldeman’s earlier 1975 The Forever War is a beloved science fiction classic that deals with the Vietnam War, time paradoxes, and the absurdity of endless conflict. First off, Forever Peace is not a direct sequel, and is hardly related other than sharing a military science fiction theme. Even that connection is tenuous, so I can only think the publisher intended to sell more copies by linking them. It creates unfair comparisons, as this book should be judged solely on its own merits (or lack of). I though this book was pretty bad, but the only way for ... Read More

Forever Free: Nothing like the original

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Forever Free by Joe Haldeman

Joe Haldeman’s 1974 The Forever War and 1997 Forever Peace were huge successes for the author, winning many of science fiction’s most prestigious awards, not to mention garnering him a solid fan base in the process. Though they share similar sounding titles and a military motif, little else between the two novels resembles the other. When it was announced in 1999 that Haldeman would be publishing a true sequel to The Forever Warentitled Forever Free, the sci-fi community was abuzz: William Mandella was returning. Opinion in the aftermath could not be more divided.

Forever Free does indeed pick up the life of William Mandella, his wife Marygay, and the two children they've conceived since. Living on a cold, dreary planet called M... Read More

The Hemingway Hoax: Award-winning novella

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The Hemingway Hoax by Joe Haldeman

While on vacation in Key West, John Baird, a Hemingway scholar, meets a conman named Castle in a bar. After telling Castle about Hemingway’s missing manuscript, Castle suggests that they forge it and make a lot of money. Baird refuses, of course, but Castle enlists Baird’s wife Lena and the two of them talk John into creating a forgery. Under pressure from his wife and his rapidly dwindling finances, John goes along with the plan but, unbeknownst to his co-conspirators, he makes a backup plan to protect himself in case of detection. Meanwhile, Lena and Castle are working another angle and the stage is set for betrayal, adultery, and murder.

Up to this point, Joe Haldeman’s short novel, The Hemingway Hoax, is a thriller, and it’d make a great movie. But Haldeman throws in a science fiction element involving Hemingway’s ghost, time travel, par... Read More

Camouflage: Species meets The Abyss

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Camouflage by Joe Haldeman

How did Joe Haldeman’s Camouflage beat Susanna Clarke’s monumental work Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell for the Nebula Award in 2005? Granted, I haven’t read that book, but I have read many glowing reviews from my fellow FanLit reviewers and Goodreads friends. It was also made into a major BBC miniseries and received many accolades. Clarke’s book is incredibly long and filled with dense footnotes that show the depth of research and creative energy, perhaps too much for some readers but showing great effort on the author’s part. It is a major literary work of speculative fiction, and won the Hugo, World Fantasy, Locus, and Mythopoeic awards, and was... Read More

The Best of Joe Haldeman: Demonstrates his mastery of the short form

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The Best of Joe Haldeman  edited by Jonathan Strahan

Stories by Joe Haldeman are always a good things and Subterranean Press has recently put out this “Best of” collection edited by Jonathan Strahan. The hardcover book has 504 pages and includes a general introduction by Joe Haldeman and 19 of his stories. Each story also has a short introduction which reveals some insight into its crafting — perhaps where the idea came from, or some trouble he had writing or placing it, or how he did his research, or his interactions with his agent or editor. I’m not a writer, but I always find these author introductions interesting.

The stories are, in order:

“Hero” — (1972) This is the opening of Haldeman’s best-known novel, The Forever War, which I loved. I skipped this story since I’d read it before (it takes up about 50 pages in this collection). “Hero” will... Read More

Magazine Monday: Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 26, July 2012

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Lightspeed Magazine is edited by the formidable John Joseph Adams, who has produced a long series of wonderful anthologies and is soon to launch a new horror magazine. One might be concerned that such a busy schedule would mean that something would get short shrift, but if that is the case, it certainly isn’t Issue 26 of Lightspeed.

About half of the content of this magazine, which is produced in electronic format only, consists of interviews, novel excerpts, an artist gallery and spotlight, and author spotlights. In addition, roughly half of the fiction offered is original; the rest is reprinted, though the choices are inspired. Th... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nightmare, Issue 2

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It's not the magazine that's horrible; it's that the magazine contains horror fiction. A perfect mood setter for Halloween!

Because Wednesday is Halloween, here’s another serving of the new magazine Nightmare, edited by John Joseph Adams. The second issue of this new online magazine makes me think we’ve got something special going here: the fiction is excellent, the nonfiction informative, the art compelling.

The first story in this issue is “Construction Project” by Desirina Boskovich. The married couple who tell this story in first person plural believe that a creature is waiting for them should they drop their guard for even a moment. They therefore go about making their third-floor apartment into an impregnable safehouse. The building goes on and on, over the months and the seasons, followed by the acquisition of the supplies Eli and... Read More

SFM: Carroll, Yoachim, Anders, Haldeman, Rusch, Herbert and Anderson

Short Fiction Monday: There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week:


“The Loud Table” by Jonathan Carroll (Nov. 2016, free at Tor.com, 99c Kindle version)

A group of retired old men meets every day at a coffee shop to hang out most of the day and shoot the breeze. They live for each other's company, so they're bewildered and alarmed when the coffee shop manager announces that the café is closing for two months for renovations. After considering and discarding several other options, they wind up at Tough Nu... Read More

Warriors: Diverse, entertaining, rewarding

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Warriors edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois

FORMAT/INFO: Warriors is 736 pages long divided over twenty short stories and an Introduction by George R.R. Martin. Each short story is preceded by biographical information about the author and a short description of their contribution to the anthology. March 16, 2010 marks the North American Hardcover publication of Warriors via Tor.

ANALYSIS:

“The King of Norway” by Cecelia Holland. I’ve never read anything by Cecelia Holland before, but the author is described as “one of the world’s most highly acclaimed and respected historical novelists.... Read More

The Nebula Awards Showcase 2011: Sample the best SFF

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The Nebula Awards Showcase 2011 edited by Kevin J. Anderson

The Nebula Awards are one of the great institutions in science fiction and fantasy. Each year since 1965, the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) have voted for the Best Novel, Novella (40,000-17,500 words), Novelette (17,500-7,500 words), and Short Story (less than 7,500 words) in SF and fantasy. Compiling a list of the nominees and winners for all those years would get you an excellent reading list and a comprehensive cross-view of the best that can be found in the ... Read More

More science fiction by Joe Haldeman

Worlds — (1981-1992) Publisher: Towards the end of the twenty-first century 41 Worlds, small satellites with a total population of half a million, orbit the Earth, which has seen many changes, not least of which is a second revolution in America. Marianne O’Hara, a brilliant political sciences student, is from New New York, a hollowed out asteroid and the largest of the Worlds, but is to spend a year on Earth as a postgraduate student. Because the political relationship between the Worlds and Earth is complex and voltatile, Marianne unwittingly finds herself caught up with a group of fanatics determined on a third revolution in America — even if such a revolution could lead to the destruction of the Earth…

Worlds 1. Worlds: A Novel of the Near Future 2. Worlds Apart 3. Worlds Enough and Time Worlds 1. Worlds: A Novel of the Near Future 2. Worlds Apart 3. Worlds Enough and Time Worlds 1. Worlds: A Novel of the Near Future 2. Worlds Apart 3. Worlds Enough and Time


Marsbound — (2008-2011) Publisher: A novel of the red planet from the Hugo and Nebula Award–winning author of The Accidental Time Machine and Old Twentieth. Young Carmen Dula and her family are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime — they’re going to Mars. Once on the Red Planet, however, Carmen realizes things are not so different from Earth. There are chores to do, lessons to learn, and oppressive authority figures to rebel against. And when she ventures out into the bleak Mars landscape alone one night, a simple accident leads her to the edge of death until she is saved by an angel — an angel with too many arms and legs, a head that looks like a potato gone bad, and a message for the newly arrived human inhabitants of Mars: We were here first.

science fiction book reviews Joe Haldeman Marsbound 1. Marsbound 2. Starbound 3. Earthbound science fiction book reviews Joe Haldeman Marsbound 1. Marsbound 2. Starbound 3. Earthbound science fiction book reviews Joe Haldeman Marsbound 1. Marsbound 2. Starbound 3. Earthbound


Stand-alone novels:

Joe Haldeman Tool of the Trade, MindbridgeMindbridge — (1976) Publisher: Jacque LeFavre is a tamer – a member of one of the tough and honed exploration teams that, since the dramatic discovery of the Levant-Meyer Translation, humankind has been able to send to the stars. And Jacque’s first world is the second planet out from Groombridge 1618. It isn’t an especially promising place; the planets accompanying small stars rarely pan out. But the strange and mysterious creature that Jacque and his colleagues find there, with its gift of telepathy, leads to contact with the alien and enigmatic L’vrai, and confronts humankind with an awesome opportunity — and appalling danger.


Joe Haldeman Tool of the TradeTool of the Trade — (1987) Publisher: Nicholas Foley appears to be an ordinary American psychology professor. He is, in fact, a Russian spy, inserted into the United States after World War II, joining the American army, attending American universities, falling in love and marrying an American, but always in touch with his Soviet superiors. All he ever does in the way of spying is turn in the names of people who might be “turned.” But then he makes his momentous discovery. He isolates an ultrasonic frequency that causes anyone within earshot to do whatever he is told. A few demonstrations send both the Russians and the Americans after Foley with a vengeance. Eluding both, Foley uses his tool to strike a blow for world peace, as envisioned by a Sixties hippie, his wife


Joe Haldeman Old Twentieth, Camouflage, The Accidental Time Machine, The ComingBuying Time — (1989) aka The Long Habit of Living. Publisher: In the 21st century, immortality via the complex operation known as the Stileman Process is attainable by a few wealthy and determined individuals, but the motivations that drive humans to live forever remain shrouded in mystery until “immortals” Dallas Barr and Maria Marconi stumble across a dangerous secret and find themselves fleeing for their lives — which have suddenly become very short.


Joe Haldeman Old Twentieth, Camouflage, The Accidental Time Machine, The ComingThe Coming — (2000) Publisher: Astronomy professor Aurora ‘Rory’ Bell gets a message from space that seems to portend the arrival of extraterrestrial visitors. According to her calculations, whoever is coming will arrive in three months — on New Year’s Day, to be exact. A crowded and poisoned Earth is moving toward the brink of the last world war — and is certainly unprepared to face invasion of any kind. Rory’s continuing investigation leads her to wonder if it could be some kind of hoax, but the impending ‘visit’ takes on a media life of its own. And so the world waits. But the question still remains as to what, exactly, everyone is waiting for…


Joe Haldeman GuardianGuardian — (2002) Publisher: In the late nineteenth century, a seemingly ordinary woman embarks on an extraordinary adventure in the Alaskan gold fields–after her destiny is revealed to her by something not of this world.


Joe Haldeman Old Twentieth, Camouflage, The Accidental Time MachineOld Twentieth — (2005) Publisher: The twentieth century lies hundreds of years in humanity’s past. But the near-immortal citizens of the future yearn for the good old days — when people’s bodies were susceptible to death through disease and old age. Now, they immerse themselves in virtual reality time machines to explore the life-to-death arc that defined existence so long ago. Jacob Brewer is a virtual reality engineer, overseeing the time machine’s operation aboard the starship Aspera. But on the thousand-year voyage to Beta Hydrii, the eight-hundred member crew gets more reality than they expect when people entering the machine start to die.

Joe Haldeman Old Twentieth, Camouflage, The Accidental Time Machine


The Accidental Time Machine — (2007) Publisher: Grad-school dropout Matt Fuller is toiling as a lowly research assistant at MIT when he inadvertently creates a time machine. With a dead-end job and a girlfriend who left him for another man, Matt has nothing to lose in taking a time-machine trip himself?or so he thinks.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsWork Done For Hire — (2014) Publisher: Joe Haldeman’s “adept plotting, strong pacing, and sense of grim stoicism have won him wide acclaim” (The Washington Post) and numerous honors for such works as The Forever War, The Accidental Time Machine, and the Marsbound trilogy. Now, the multiple Hugo and Nebula award–winning author pits a lone war veteran against a mysterious enemy who is watching his every move — and threatens him with more than death unless he kills for them. Wounded in combat and honorably discharged nine years ago, Jack Daley still suffers nightmares from when he served his country as a sniper, racking up sixteen confirmed kills. Now a struggling author, Jack accepts an offer to write a near-future novel about a serial killer, based on a Hollywood script outline. It’s an opportunity to build his writing career, and a future with his girlfriend, Kit Majors. But Jack’s other talent is also in demand. A package arrives on his doorstep containing a sniper rifle, complete with silencer and ammunition — and the first installment of a $100,000 payment to kill a “bad man.” The twisted offer is genuine. The people behind it are dangerous. They prove that they have Jack under surveillance. He can’t run. He can’t hide. And if he doesn’t take the job, Kit will be in the crosshairs instead.


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Marion and Terry report on the 2013 Nebula Awards Weekend

The 48th Annual Nebula Awards weekend was held by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at the San Jose Convention Center in northern California from May 17 through 19, 2013. Terry Weyna and I, who both live in Northern California and both are aspiring writers, decided to see what a bunch of published writers get up to when they party together.

Gene Wolfe and Teri Goulding



Marion Deeds: I think what surprised me most is how light on programming the weekend was. I thought there would be sessions about the nuts and bolts of a writing career, but I guess that SFWA members already have a pretty good idea about that. Still, I thought we’d hear about things like the new Amazon publishing arms, the Night Shade Books mess, that sort of thing.

Terry Weyn... Read More