cover
ISBN: 0441012523

Perfectly believable.

I’ve read all of Haldeman’s works up to this point. This is my favourite one of all.

Detailed without being overwhelming (like one part where Haldeman describes how they used a rocket to move the artifact)

Story is told from years 2019 and 1931.

An alien artifact is found in 2019. Scientists perform all sorts of tests on it but don’t get any reaction. It’s made of something totally unknown (and Haldeman convincingly conveys this). Until near the end the artifact seemingly decides to react…

This novel is SciFi meets First Contact meets Thriller.

As with most Haldeman’s novels, you are treated to subplots along Military lines (I’d be disappointed if there weren’t.)

Define camouflage – blending in. Human records as “protective colouration”.

The story is also described from the alien’s perspective. It has the ability to transform itself to anything. It starts “life” on earth as a shark. And like a shark, it kills and reacts without malice or remorse. Until slowly it participates in human endeavours and comes to adopt human values and even apply the concept of love (end part – it flies to the stars with one of the human scientist). E.g. Jimmy ‘s sexual awareness and awakening. Joining the marine corp and ending up as a Japanese POW in the Bataan Death March.

Part 13 – we are introduced to another being like Jimmy. This one is called the Chameleon. It can only transform itself as humans but not objects (unlike the alien). in the end there is a standoff.

Part 18 – the chameleon meets the nazi war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele.

P27. Tulip Carson – quote about being in the middle of a gender reassignment (subtle referencse to The Forever War and Forever Peace?

Definitely a 10 out of 5. Far exceeds my expectations, and doesn’t get tired reading this the second time round.

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