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review 2020-08-12 07:37
The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman
The Accidental Time Machine - Joe Haldeman

TITLE:  The Accidental Time Machine

 

AUTHOR:  Joe Haldeman

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DESCRIPTION:

"Joe Haldeman "has quietly become one of the most important science fiction writers of our time" (Rocky Mountain News). Now he delivers a provocative novel of a man who stumbles upon the discovery of a lifetime-or many lifetimes.

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.
"

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REVIEW:

An entertaining and light romp through future time via a wonky (it only goes forward and sideways) and accidentally discovered time machine.  The main character is a bit flat and I can't say the futures provided by Haldeman were terribly exciting.  The novel was entertaining but not great.  I found the beginning more interesting than the end.

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review 2019-09-04 16:49
Forever Peace
Peace & War - Joe Haldeman

As the last one of the Forever "trilogy" Forever Peace is not really a sequel nor a prequel but in some way it is still related to The Forever War and Forever Free since it is taking place in more or less the same universe as those two, so I’m going to call it a spin off, although it is not really one of those either.

Instead of an intergalactic war in time and space, humans are fighting their own battles against each other in this novel. This time, you follow along the protagonist Julian, an increasingly depressed soldier with a pacifistic conviction and a suicidal tendency, who is thrown into what reads like a very Vietnam-ish scenario. I enjoyed the story, it has a good concept, there were some nice and unexpected twists and turns, yet it was too lengthy. After a good, but already extended first half, the story slowed down almost to a point of redundancy, and shortly after it had slightly picked up the pace again, everything was suddenly crammed into the last 5 pages.

Furthermore, Haldeman is constantly alternating between first and third person narration, switching back and forth after each chapter. Since the chapters are quite short (around 1 - 3 pages) the perspective shifts quite a lot. You get used to it, but most of the time it is unnecessary and hence a bit annoying. Other than that, Haldeman has a fluid and entertaining writing style and seems to be getting increasingly fond of using punchlines to conclude a chapter. It was quite funny and cute the first couple of times, but is very much overused in Forever Peace.

While reading I had so many Pacific Rim and Avatar flashbacks, that I wonder if some of the script writers of those movies are secretly some hardcore Haldeman fans.

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review 2019-08-22 14:40
Forever Free
Peace & War - Joe Haldeman

Forever Free is the sequel to Haldeman’s The Forever War, written with a time lag of 25 years. It features the same protagonist as in The Forever War as well as some other characters from the first novel, but unfortunately, their common history doesn’t really matter since the latter function as secondary characters only and are of no real importance to neither the story nor the protagonists general emotional well-being. On the other hand, maybe that’s exactly what the novel is trying to convey – that in the end everybody is expendable, interchangeable?

The stories’ premise goes as follows: a bunch of veterans of the Forever War went back to civilian life on a wintery planet lovingly called Middle Finger, which they share with some of their former enemies, now allies: the Taurans as well as with a number of Man (yes, with a capital M since this is what mankind has become in the future – a group minded clone species). The veterans cannot seem to settle neither into their everyday life, nor into the coexistence with Taurans and Man, so they plan to escape. But it wouldn’t be a science fiction novel if they simply went to a different point in space, for they are trying to escape to a different point in time, the future.

The one thing this novel lacks the most is character development since everybody (but one hardly featured character) stays exactly the same as they were presented in the beginning, assuming they didn’t explode in the course of the novel. By itself Forever Free is still entertaining, but it is not even coming close to the quality of The Forever War.

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review 2019-08-11 17:28
A great example of Science Fiction writing
Peace & War - Joe Haldeman

This edition contains the three novels The Forever War (1974), Forever Free (1999) and Forever Peace (1997) by Joe Haldeman, this review only deals with The Forever War since I haven’t read the other two so far.

The novel has a very plausible premise: mankind starts a war against the first alien species they come in contact with (although, of course, they claim that the Taurans started the war…), a war that literally drags on forever, mainly because it is very convenient for the government. First of all, it stimulates the economy  and secondly, it gives the people in power the excuses they need to gain even more power while uniting mankind against an abstract, yet common enemy – from an American perspective, it is sort of an interstellar Vietnam.
By taking the relativity of time into consideration, Haldeman takes interstellar fighting to a whole new level and this is exactly what makes this novel special. While one training and/or combat mission takes only a year or two, decades or even centuries can pass on earth and the returning survivors are not only traumatised by their experiences, but they are confronted with completely different social and political structures and friends and family are long dead. As if it wouldn’t be weird enough for any soldier to return into civilian society (which is a whole theoretical minefield on its own).

What’s really great about this novel is, that not unlike Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, it doesn’t focus much on action and actual combat, but mainly on human emotions and strains during times of waiting and travelling – which is what soldiers probably do most of the time. Not glorifying the few actual battles further emphasises the pacifistic intentions, but the most striking theme in my opinion is the increasing alienation and isolation of the veterans. The protagonist, who was in the war from the very beginning and is therefore centuries older than everybody else on his ship, has a hard time relating to anyone, basically because due to the changes in language, cultural background as well as social behaviour, the humans are as alien and incomprehensible to him as the actual aliens.

I must say that as a child of its time, The Forever War is pretty occupied with sex and especially the topic of homosexuality vs. heterosexuality (as if anyone cares…), but unlike for example Stranger in a Strange Land, this is a really great example of smart science fiction and I am pumped for the sequel!

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-07-24 19:52
Reading Anniversaries & First-in-a-Series — April Edition

 

I know I am way behind schedule but I have been really busy what with switching jobs, earning money, and losing an important my mamujan (maternal uncle) to Parkinson’s! Please bear with me…

 

2014

 

20705702

 

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

 

So, this is weird. I didn’t have many good reads during the past Aprils. Hopefully, that will change in the future. This book stood out because I read it while still following the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. The husband-wife duo seemed to write a book that made me like the main leads again — even if I didn’t fall in love with them the way I did with Kate & Curran and still haven’t!

 

 

13076894

 

The Year-God’s Daughter by Rebecca Lochlann

 

 

Find my review here.

 

2013

 

10874177

 

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

 

Witty characters, a female protagonist, Victorian sensibilities, and impossible situations, this book should have been an instant favorite of mine. It wasn’t! Maybe, it didn’t capture my interest because I read it after finishing The Parasol Protectorate series. It could also be a lack of hilarious courtship between the protags that made it less interesting.

 

Whatever it was, I am glad I continued because the subsequent books are better.

 

 

21611

 

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

 

It has been 5 years since I read this book, so I don’t remember much. What did remain behind was the authentic display of the life of a soldier. It was that and not the story that made me go out and buy the omnibus edition. And it won’t be anything else that will get me to read the graphic novel version either!

 

P.S. I reviewed the prequel here and the second in the series (via infographic– it has skulls in it, so you might wanna check it out) here.

 

 

27003

 

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

 

When I read this book, I felt as if I’d read something that had shades of both Wilde and Dahl. I still feel the same about the subsequent books in this series. There is nonsensical fun and razor-sharp wit that makes me want to keep reading. They aren’t overly long either, so that is another plus. Of course, the protagonist being female and used to fighting her own battles doesn’t detract the reader from its beauty. If I remember correctly, this one featured a villain who had no ulterior motives — he only wanted to destroy the world!

 

More praises here and here

 

For the books read in 2017 and 2018, you know where to go…

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