Books


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.

Buy Earthbound from amazon.com.

Carmen Dula and her husband have spent six years traveling to a distant solar system that is home to the enigmatic, powerful race known as "The Others," in the hopes of finding enough common purpose between their species to forge a delicate truce.

By the time Carmen and her party return, fifty years have been consumed by relativity-and the Earthlings have not been idle, building a massive flotilla of warships to defend Earth against The Others. But The Others have their own plans.

Buy Starbound from amazon.com.

Carmen Dula and her family ride the space elevator fifty thousand miles straight up, and that's just the first adventure in their voyage to Mars. Carmen, like other girls her age, is ready for experimentation, but the discoveries that await her in the red dust are like nothing any human has experienced before.

Marsbound is the first in a trilogy. Coming soon, Starbound, with Earthbound to follow.

Buy Marsbound from amazon.com.

MIT graduate student Matt Fuller puts together a black box that's supposed to calibrate photons for his professor, but instead, it turns out to be an idiot time machine that only goes forward, and waits for you.

He's lost his car, his girl, and his job, but he still has the machine. It's totally useless -- or is it?

Buy The Accidental Time Machine from amazon.com.

Publisher's Weekly says of Joe Haldeman's latest story collection: "Old pro Haldeman (Camouflage) has a gift for seeing issues in a sympathetic but dispassionate perspective, as shown by the 15 tales in this collection. How can we live as human beings in an uncaring universe? he asks. The title story returns to the conclusion of the Hugo- and Nebula-winning novel The Forever War as seen by another character, discovering uncomfortable but ultimately encouraging things about our capacity to adapt and endure. Other selections, such as "Finding My Shadow" and "Civil Disobedience," are much bleaker, as they angrily extrapolate trends in American politics and our abuse of the environment. Set on a far future Earth, "For White Hill" is one of the most memorable tragic love stories ever written as SF. . . . Haldeman's work is never less than clever and sometimes much more.

Buy A Separate War and Other Stories from amazon.com.

Old Twentieth, published in August 2005, is about immortals escaping from their tiresome utopia in two ways -- aboard a space ship bound on a risky thousand-year voyage and within a "time machine," a virtual reality device that takes them back to the old twentieth century -- the last century when every human life traveled the natural rainbow arc from birth to death.

Publisher's Weekly says "tremendously compelling with his usual brilliant knack for detail and characterization . . . . Haldeman's numerous fans will eagerly snap this one up."

Buy Old Twentieth from amazon.com.

War Stories, published in January 2006, is a 405-page collection of all of Joe Haldeman's writings about Vietnam. It includes two complete novels, War Year and 1968, as well as seven short stories, two narrative poems, and three essays.

Publisher's Weekly says "Haldeman is much more than just a military SF writer, but it's clear that Vietnam remains central to his existence and the nightmare inspiration for some of his best work. . . . . Far from escapist, Haldeman's art provides a devastating retrospective of a particularly black time in American history."

Buy War Stories from amazon.com.

A mysterious object, found in the depths of the Pacific, guards its secrets from the scientists who have discovered it. But it holds the key to the origins of two age-old creatures who converge on the artifact to meet in battle.

How do you recognize your girlfriend if she's an alien who won't stop shapeshifting? If this is a problem for you, get this book.

Buy Camouflage from amazon.com.

Guardian, published in December 2002, is a hard-sf novel set in 1894, 1952, 2004, and points beyond. It answers the age-old question "What should you do if a raven keeps appearing on your doorstep and giving you advice?"

If this is always happening to you, maybe it would be a good idea to buy a copy.

Buy Guardian from amazon.com.

The Coming is a first-contact story, in a way; it's also the story of a small town fifty years from now in a Florida that hasn't improved with age. An astronomer fighting politics of the garden- and academic varieties while trying to protect her husband's dark secret. A little Hispanic and Mafia culture thrown in for spice, and virtual-reality sex in different flavors.

Buy The Coming from amazon.com or an autographed first edition.

The novel FOREVER FREE is an actual sequel to THE FOREVER WAR -- William and Marygay Mandella are tired of living under the benevolent dictatorship of Man. They get together with other veterans of the Forever War and try to take control of their destiny. They encounter resistance from an unexpected source.

Buy Forever Free from amazon.com.

 

Forever Peace is not a direct sequel to THE FOREVER WAR, though it does look at many of the same questions from a perspective that would not have been possible twenty-some years ago.

It's the year 2043, and the Ngumi War is raging -- a cluster of dozens of smoldering conflicts between the First World and the Third. Limited nuclear strikes have been used by both sides. The Ngumi forces are limited to merely human soldiers with a few robots, but our side uses "soldierboys" -- almost indestructible war machines run by remote control by soldiers safe underground, hundreds of miles away.

Julian Class is one of these soldiers, and the psychological strain of being jacked into the soldierboy (where he's in a group mind with nine other soldiers, not all nice people) is about to make him crack. It might be worth dying, just to stop the pain of living.

For twenty days out of every month, Julian's out of uniform, working as a physicist. His lover and partner, Amelia Harding, discovers that a huge experiment being conducted in Jupiter's orbit may literally put us back to Square One, recreating the Big Bang.

Julian's not sure that would be a bad idea.

Buy Forever Peace from amazon.com or an autographed first edition.

Buy 1968 from amazon.com or an autographed first edition.

1968 comes directly from my experience as a combat soldier in Vietnam and as a "child of the Sixties" before and after the period of my conscription.

It's sort of a "braided" novel, with three plaits: One is the story of John Spiedel, Spider, who is drafted and sent to Vietnam, and after wounds and psychological trauma has to deal with his problems stateside. Another is the story of his ex- girlfriend, Beverly, who drifts into the counterculture and sees the other side of the unsubtle not-quite-revolution that rocked American life in 1968. The third strand is a running commentary, perhaps objective, about the world they survive in their separate ways.

I hope the book is shocking and startling as well as being gentle in places; gently humorous and sexy.

An aspect of the novel that is interesting to me, and perhaps a few scholars, is that it is a reaction to 1919 , the middle novel in the fine USA Trilogy, by John Dos Passos. Dos Passos saw history as a social science, and his novels reflect that sensibility, and that hope. I tend rather to see history as a branch of fiction.

I started the book in 1974, but was too close to the material, and put it away for almost a generation. I hope that it gains in insight whatever it might have lost in immediacy.

The first couple of chapters, and a picture of the author back in 1968, trying to look cool leaning against a bunker in Vietnam, are available through 1968.

None So Blind is a collection of science fiction stories and a couple of narrative poems. Several of the works -- the title story, "The Hemingway Hoax," and "Graves" -- have variously won the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards.

I enjoy writing short stories, but only do one or two a year. Like most practical writers, I spend most of my time and energy producing novels, since that's where the money is.

Buy None So Blind from amazon.com or an autographed first edition.
Here's a free sample -- the title story "None So Blind"

(And if you're the one in a thousand who reads poetry, try this -- "18 Years Old, October 11th")