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Earthbound (A Marsbound Novel) by Joe…

Earthbound (A Marsbound Novel) (edition 2011)

by Joe Haldeman

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1437123,735 (3.18)4
Title:Earthbound (A Marsbound Novel)
Authors:Joe Haldeman
Info:Ace Hardcover (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 272 pages

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Earthbound (A Marsbound Novel) by Joe Haldeman



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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Reviewing the full trilogy, (here be spoilers)...

#1 - Marsbound

Quite a good book and a very good opener to the trilogy. One of the more interesting aspects was the way Haldeman subtly managed to change the voice of the protagonist as she grew up from a teenage girl into a young woman. At the beginning of the story, Carmen Dula is leaving her Florida home to go live on Mars for a few years with her family. By the end of the book, she is a 'Martian', quarantined away from her home planet, and now facing a mission to another star system to try and deal with a vastly superior alien threat.

#2 - Starbound

A solid middle volume. The pace slackens a bit from the first novel but, considering it's mostly about a team of human emissaries traveling to another star system, it cruises along pretty well. There is some weird pseudo-science stuff that is essentially explained away using Clarke's Axiom; "Any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic". Apart from that, the rest of the science in the book seems pretty solid while not getting in the way of keeping things moving forward, (note: I am not a rocket scientist so please don't lambaste me if the science is actually completely wonky).

Overall, this is a good book that carries the reader nicely from the end of Marsbound into the beginning of Earthbound.

#3 - Earthbound

The third book in the trilogy is a solid closing volume. The team has now returned from their trip to meet with The Others to find that the Earthly quarantine has been lifted. In this book therefore, most of the action takes place back on Terra. And there is a good amount of action. Haldeman paints a brutal and, to my mind, realistic picture of how things might progress should a scenario like this ever come to pass. Despite the grim narrative, the novel does end on a hopeful note.

The Trilogy (spoiler warning!)

A word about the entire trilogy: Haldeman takes the first-contact trope and stands it a bit on its' ear; Instead of humanity being initially out-classed by a vastly superior race and then somehow figuring a way to triumph through, y'know, "good old-fashioned human ingenuity & stuff", Haldeman imagines a scenario where humanity is not up to the task of overcoming the stacked odds. I've read many negative reviews of this series and, frankly, I don't get it. Does everyone want a happy ending all the time? The writing is smart, the characters are fairly well-developed - especially the protagonist, and the plot moves well throughout all three books. The situation is, quite honestly, about the most likely thing that we would face if another species happened to be keeping an eye on us. Think about it; A race of beings that have the ability to travel through interstellar space would realistically be so technologically advanced compared to us that, if they wanted to wipe us out, and we tried to fight back, it would be like a pack of squirrels trying to stop a bulldozer.

I give books #1 and #3 four solid stars each. Book #2 gets 3.25 stars and I average the trilogy at 3.75 overall. ( )
  ScoLgo | Jan 28, 2019 |
In this third novel in the Marsbound series, the crew of the Ad Astra return to Earth after their brief and unsatisfying meeting with the mysterious “Others.” Their welcome back celebration has barely begun before the virtually omnipotent aliens to decide to torment humanity again. We never learn much about them from direct communication, but from their actions, it is clear the Others are a sadistic bunch, treating humanity they way a budding psychopath might treat a fly, pulling off one wing and then one leg at a time for whatever amusement that might provide.
Humanity itself is presented as almost as bad. One of the torments the Others impose on Earth is to deprive it of electricity. Any technology requiring electricity stops functioning. Generators, no matter how simple, cannot create a current. Batteries won’t store it. Nothing electrical will work. Within an hour of this happening, people start shooting one another. Those whose veneer of civilization is not so thin and do not respond to disaster by immediately visiting their neighbor, murdering them, and stealing their canned goods are apparently in the minority.
Carmen Dula, the Mars Girl, from the previous two books again provides the first person point of view in this book. She has matured and not nearly as irritating as she was in the other two. Many of the other characters are back as well, but some of them die. New characters are introduced, and many of them die. Several unnamed characters die, and billions of nameless people are presumed to die quickly from violence or ultimately from starvation. This is not an uplifting story.
One interesting character, a humanoid construct of the Others called “Spy,” appears -- and then disappears. He pops in and out of existence and we never learn much about him.
This trilogy (so far) begins with humanity reaching for the stars and discovering new life and ends with it a squashed from outside, its achievements destroyed, and its ability to recover denied. I can’t say it was a fun read for me.
Sorry if that’s a spoiler.
( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
loved the characters.

just going to say the end was depressing and kinda unfulfilling.

first book was the best. second was worth it if you liked first enough. would only recommend third to completionists
  halkeye | Feb 4, 2014 |
This was the third book in the Marsbound trilogy and I had not read the other two. i was very disappointed in the book in that there was very little 'meat' to it -- especially given that it was from a Hugo Award author. Character development must have occurred in a previous book as there wasn't much here -- to the extent that one was not at all emotionally attached as various ones met their demise in the wars following the 'Others' turning off the energy on Earth. I would not recommend this book. ( )
  skraft001 | Jan 15, 2014 |
This is the third book in the Marsbound series. The Others have just turned off all electronics on Earth, and now we need to survive. One problem with this book is that it jumps straight into the action -- I had to go back and re-read Marsbound and Starbound in order to understand what was happening in this book. That was ok because those two books are excellent, and I enjoyed re-reading them. In fact, those two are probably a little better than this one.

Overall Earthbound is pretty dark, and there isn't a lot of hope presented -- its just a series of scenes where the main characters attempt to deal with an all powerful adversary. Perhaps if the Others weren't so powerful this would be a better book, because you just know that everyone is doomed. I also respect authors who are willing to kill off lead characters, but that happens a lot in this book, which sort of bothered me. Perhaps that's what combat is really like though -- people you have an attachment to just stop being there. There's no warning or explanation.

The end of this book isn't very satisfying. There better be a sequel or I'm going to be annoyed.

http://www.stillhq.com/book/Joe_Haldeman/Earthbound.html ( )
  mikal | Jan 18, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joe Haldemanprimary authorall editionscalculated
DeFex, Annette FioreCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gambino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 044102095X, Hardcover)

"One of science fiction's most reliable practitioners" (San Francisco Chronicle) continues his saga of space exploration.

The mysterious alien Others have prohibited humans from space travel-destroying Earth's fleet of starships in a display of unimaginable power. Now Carmen Dula, the first human to encounter Martians and then the mysterious Others, and her colleagues struggle to find a way, using nineteenthcentury technology, to reclaim the future that has been stolen from them.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:16 -0400)

The mysterious alien Others have prohibited humans from space travel--destroying Earth's fleet of starships in a display of unimaginable power. Now Carmen Dula, the first human to encounter Martians and then the mysterious Others, and her colleagues struggle to find a way, using nineteenth-century technology, to reclaim the future that has been stolen from them.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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