four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
25-Nov-Dec-2006
By: 
Joe Haldeman
user_rating: 
0

and Other Stories

A-A Separate WarIn these 15 works written over the last three decades, SF master Joe Haldeman reflects on the best and the worst of our humanity in an apathetic, strange world. The title story returns to the heroine of the award-winning novel The Forever War. In "Out of Phase," Haldeman’s first published story, a powerful alien adolescent, resembling the main character in Camouflage, runs loose in a foreign world. "Diminished Chord" features a musician who magically showers his audience with love. The genetically engineered race in "Giza" wreaks revenge upon its creators. In the love story "For White Hill," based on a Shakespeare sonnet, love prevails over the end of the world. Notes on the stories give readers personal insight into the creation of each work.
Ace. 288 pages. $23.95. ISBN: 0441014070

Baltimore Sun 4 of 5 Stars
"[R]eaders will be hard-pressed to find a sub-par [story here]. Unlike some other writers of hard science fiction who are too busy trying to wow readers with their knowledge of applied physics or molecular biology to be bothered with such trivialities as plot and character, Haldeman never forgets that even in science fiction it’s all about us humans." John Coffren

Monsters and Critics.com 4 of 5 Stars
"Hugo and Nebula Award–winning Haldeman provides rapier sharp, often terrifying looks at future worlds that showcase humanity’s best and worst behaviors in this delightful anthology of 15 stories spanning 36 years of sci-fi writing. … Whether tragic or comedic, these tell of a future where the heart still plays an active role and warfare is fought on a frighteningly grand scale." Sandy Amazeen

San Diego Union-Tribune 4 of 5 Stars
"Thoughtfully subversive as always, Haldeman’s stories and end notes are worth your time and your dime." Jim Hopper

St. Louis Post-Dispatch 4 of 5 Stars
"Couched between an introduction about how ideas develop and an afterword that details the origins of each story, the tales in A Separate War make for a fine introduction for neophytes and a welcome update for longtime fans." Dorman T. Shindler

SFRevu.com 3 of 5 Stars
"A new Haldeman collection, especially after such a long wait, creates high expectations, but a few of the stories did not seem to me all that memorable, perhaps because of the constriction of being written for special requests of editors. … As a result, I do not think this is Haldeman’s best collection, but there is still more than enough here to satisfy most readers of science fiction." Rich Lynch

Critical Summary

A Separate War serves both as an introduction to and partial "best-of" collection of the talented Joe Haldeman, winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards. Thought provoking, entertaining, witty, and subversive, these stories—while outlandish in plot and premise—never fail to focus on humanity’s hopes, dreams, and foibles as they play out during wartime. Critics agree that the best stories in the collection include "Out of Phase," "A Separate War," "For White Hill," and "Finding My Shadow," about racism and germ warfare in Boston. A few, including "Diminished Chord" and "Memento Mori," about nanotechnology, felt lightweight in comparison. If by no means complete, Haldeman’s latest collection, notes the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, makes "an ample case for his being considered one of science fiction and fantasies’ stalwarts for years to come."

Where to Start

The Forever War (1975): Award Star Hugo and Nebula awards. Private William Mandella is drafted into a war with the alien Taurans. Because of a time warp caused by space travel, Mandella—if he survives—may never be able to return home.