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Forever Free (1999)
by Joe Haldeman
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0441007872, Mass Market Paperback)You can't lose for winning--especially, it would seem, if you're Joe Haldeman. Suffering the same fate as many an author who's dared to pen unconventional sequels to a ferociously loved book (in this case, The Forever War), Haldeman has risked the ire of his many devoted admirers a second time (the first sequel was the award-spangled Forever Peace). But Haldeman's call--not too surprisingly--proves to be a deft one, giving us a book that, while significantly different from its predecessor, turns out to be equally captivating and sensitive, in many ways even more thought-provoking. (Sure, it doesn't match The Forever War for sheer impact, but then again, what does?)
As in The Forever War, the heart of this story is the dry, ironic bite of fighting-suit vet William Mandella, now middle-aged and a parent (along with his love and comrade-in-arms Marygay) to two teen-aged kids. The family leads a spartan life on the cold and desolate planet Middle Finger, which serves as a sort of genetic safe-deposit box for the current incarnation of humanity, an inhuman race of group-mind clones known as Man. But the animals in the zoo are getting restless, and a core group of vets led by William and Marygay plot an unusual escape: hijacking a reconditioned time ship and using it to take a 40,000 light-year tour (over 10 years of their own time) to rejoin the world they know only after 2,000 generations have passed. Much of the action involves the hatching and fruition of this plot, but Haldeman doesn't really mix things up until nearing the end, when he dissolves physics as we know it and calls down the wrath of God itself. --Paul Hughes
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:47 -0400)
Space travellers return to their planet after a long absence and find everyone gone. The intriguing aspect is the amount of clothing lying everywhere, as if people undressed before vanishing. The travellers head for Earth and find the same happened there.
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