Copyright 2000 by
I first read this on the 8th December 2001.
Astronomy Professor Aurora Bell receives an incontrovertible message
from outer space. It's brief and to the point and it's coming from
a spacecraft headed for Earth. The craft is decelerating at 50Gs from
near-light-speed and it's going to be here on New Year's Day.
The technological level evident in this display of force is so far beyond
what humanity can currently achieve that we can only hope they'll be
This imminent arrival stirs up a little controversy, especially
in the right-wing, narrow-minded USA of the near future. Aurora, her
husband Norman and their acquaintances will have their own issues to
resolve and and battles to fight on Earth in the short time remaining
before the aliens arrive.
This is very good. It's powerful, occasionally humorous and
succinct. It's maybe the best Haldeman in the past few years. And you
know just how good Haldeman can be. Need I mention The Forever War?
Well no, but I mention it anyway, because that book is so superb that I
feel good just writing the title.
Haldeman achieves a believable picture of a possible USA in the near
future, and it's an unsettling reflection of the USA today. For the
bourgeoisie life is pleasant with only occasional, ignorable reminders
of a darker underbelly, but for those whose life drifts a little from
the straight and true, it's a dangerous and fearful society.
One problem for me was that my anticipation of the alien arrival, at
times, overshadowed the my appreciation of the events leading up to it.
Mind you, Normal Norman's interactions with Willy Joe Capra and Solo
had me on the edge of my seat, rooted firmly in the here and now.
Loaded on the 10th December 2001.