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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

The Coming

Copyright 2000 by Joe Haldeman

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (3/5)

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 friendly.

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.

Excellent stuff.

Loaded on the 10th December 2001.
Cover of The Coming