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There is no darkness by Joe W. Haldeman

There is no darkness (original 1983; edition 1983)

by Joe W. Haldeman, Jack C. Haldeman

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367843,534 (3.26)1
Title:There is no darkness
Authors:Joe W. Haldeman
Other authors:Jack C. Haldeman
Info:New York : Ace Books, 1983.
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:read long ago, SFF

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There Is No Darkness by Joe Haldeman (1983)



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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
It's a good adventure tale, but not a lot of inner character to our hero, if you get me. Still enjoyable. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Feb 11, 2019 |
A group of young adults in a program called Starschool travel to select planets to learn interplanetary affairs but are too caught up in their self-created problems to learn much of anything until mysterious aliens force an impossible amount of knowledge past the human students' thick skulls.

I'd expected more about Starschool -- what life on the ship felt like, what the people on the students' home planets thought of their participation, why the students chose to participate, and how the 16 planets supposedly in the program's curriculum compare to each other. There's almost nothing of Starschool itself. Instead, the authors showed us three planets (Earth, Hell, and Construct) that have little to do with one another. What we see of Earth primarily revolves around blood sports. On Hell, a remarkably boring war takes away from an otherwise interesting trip. (How did the Haldemans make rock climbing more exciting than a bloody war?!) Construct is an interesting artificial planet, but the events there don't really feel connected to what's happened before.

The title, There Is No Darkness, is just as strange. A biblical reference? There is no religion in this story. Something must have gone over my head. ( )
  aspirit | May 7, 2018 |
Carl is a student from Springworld on a tour of many different planets. When he’s charged a ridiculous entry fee to Earth because of his large size, he begins an attempt to earn the money back that leads him to fight animals, men, and his own stubborn pride. The end kind of whirls off in a very different direction due to an alien encounter; didn’t hold together very well. ( )
  rivkat | May 25, 2017 |
As much as I love Joe Haldeman, this tale is for kids. It was first published by Ace in 1955 and, while it is still fun, it is not really a book that today's adults are likely to enjoy.

I received a review copy of "There Is No Darkness" by Joe Haldeman (Open Road Media) through NetGalley.com. ( )
  Dokfintong | Feb 27, 2017 |
My reactions to reading this novel in 2004.

I find it interesting that most of the stories, with the exception of the ones in Joe Haldeman's All My Sins Remembered, set in the Confederación universe are narrated in the first person -- a favorite viewpoint of Joe Haldeman (the influence of Ernest Hemingway?) and that several of their titles are taken from Shakespeare: All My Sins Remembered is from Hamlet, this novel's title is from Twelfth Night, and "A !Tangled Web" is also from Shakespeare.

This is an effective adventure tale with moral questions that is the best sort of work Joe Haldeman does. I haven't read enough of his brother to get a sense of his style. I seem to recall Jack C. Haldeman II liked sports tales so he might have made contributions to the several gladiatorial combats fought in the first third of the book. Joe Haldeman's combat experience and study of history probably accounts for the war-as-game theme of the part on Hell. It also reminded me of some of the war as formalized, bloody sport stories in the anthology he edited, Study War No More.

The two brothers dedicate the book to their parents, but they could have dedicated it to Robert Heinlein since it captures the flavor of some of his juveniles. Protagonist Carl Bok learns, in his various combats on Earth as he attempts to pay back a tax others are willing to pay for him, that life isn't easy but that one must strike a balance between self-reliance and giving and receiving charity. His time on Hell teaches him the darker side of humanity as he gets shangaied into a mercenary army. The part on the alien Construct, as he encounters a bunch of different aliens, including several not seen before, reminded me of the end of Joe Haldeman's Guardian.

It's difficult to construct a chronology of the loosely connected Confederación stories, so it's hard to know if Construct was discovered before any of the stories except "The Mazel Tov Revolution". Though there are no aliens in the first two-thirds of this Confederación installment, the last thid is loaded with all sorts of alien species we haven't met before. Carl Bok and his friends (and I like how the students grow closer in each installment as they come to trust each other with their lives) help change human society (again, it's hard to fit this in to the timeline of the other stories) when their encounter with the alien Lobsters gives them and humanity precious knowledge -- somewhat accidentally -- when they undertake to save the life of their Dean.

It's interesting to note that, as with the other alien-human encounters in this series, there is no outright implacable alien hostility, just misunderstanding even in the most extreme case of the aliens in "Seasons". This represents Haldeman's comment on sf with alien-human interaction and, I suspect, his belief that violence between sentients is the result of misunderstanding or innate human violence. ( )
  RandyStafford | Mar 21, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joe Haldemanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Haldeman, Jack C.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Burgdorf, Karl-HeinzTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burns, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elson, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A young man must fight--literally--for the opportunity to escape his backwater home planet and journey to the stars. A towering young giant growing up on a high-gravity world of perilous plants and savage creatures, Carl Bok is thrilled when he's offered a one-year scholarship to Starschool. As a new student aboard the space-traveling institution, Carl will get the opportunity to visit and learn from sixteen colonized worlds. Best of all, he'll finally escape the dangerous and grueling life of his home planet. A poor "country boy" cast among rich children of privilege, Carl perseveres as he and his classmates prepare to rocket from world to world. While he's still on Earth, however, an unexpected and desperate need for funds forces him to become a professional fighter, a job that well suits his massive size and experience. Carl hopes to earn the money he needs to continue with Starschool by battling a slew of human and bestial adversaries for the entertainment of others. But there are forces behind the scenes with an alien agenda that Carl can neither see nor comprehend--as he and a cadre of young companions undertake an educational odyssey that carries them from Earth to the astonishing artificial planet Construct to a war-torn world called Hell. A Science Fiction Grand Master, the acclaimed author of The Forever War, and the winner of numerous awards including the Hugo and Nebula, Joe Haldeman collaborated with his brother, biologist and science fiction writer Jack C. Haldeman II, to create this gripping tale of a young man's self-discovery and remarkable intergalactic adventures.… (more)

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