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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews


Copyright 1977 by Joe Haldeman

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Very good (4/5)

I first read this in 1977 and most recently in July 2000

In the world of the near future, faster-than-light travel has finally been discovered. but it doesn't work quite as anticipated. You arrive instantly at your farflung destination, but it's only a temporary visit, shortly return automatically. This clearly make colonisation difficult, but you know us humans, if there's a place and a way to get there, we'll colonise it.

Jacque Lefavre always wanted to join the Agency for Extraterrestrial Development, to find and to develop new worlds for humankind. He's finally achieved his ambition: he's qualified as a "Tamer" and is off to explore his first new world, the planet Groombridge. If he's in the lucky 50% maybe he'll even survive it to return.

Jacque and his team discover a telepathic alien slime mould (Okay, maybe not exactly a slime mould, that just sort of slipped out) with strange and deadly properties. This remarkable life-form will have a profound effect on his life and on the world itself.

This was Haldeman's second book and it's almost as good as "The Forever War". It's very different - it's not directly an anti-war book but it certainly considers the value of pacifism and non-violence. Still forget about the politics, this is also a love story with a rather surprising ending.

His style is understated and yet his writing conveys such powerful emotions. As everyone knows, he's a great writer so read his books, especially "The Forever War" series and "Tool Of The Trade" (which I'm reading this very hot Sunday evening out on the balcony with the skyline of Tokyo in front of me).

What's it got? space exploration, telepathy and teleportation and very interesting aliens.

Loaded on the 13th July 2001.
Cover of Mindbridge