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The Coming (Ace Science Fiction) by Joe…

The Coming (Ace Science Fiction) (original 2000; edition 2000)

by Joe Haldeman (Author)

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442637,369 (3.03)4
Astronomy professor Aurora 'Rory' Bell gets a message from space that seems to portend the arrival of extraterrestrial visitors. According to her calculations, whoever is coming will arrive in three months-- on New Year's Day, to be exact. A crowded and poisoned Earth is moving toward the brink of the last world war--and is certainly unprepared to face invasion of any kind. Rory's continuing investigation leads her to wonder if it could be some kind of hoax, but the impending 'visit' takes on a media life of its own. And so the world waits. But the question still remains as to what, exactly, everyone is waiting for...… (more)
Title:The Coming (Ace Science Fiction)
Authors:Joe Haldeman (Author)
Info:Ace (2000), Edition: 1st, 224 pages
Collections:Loaned from Library

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The Coming by Joe Haldeman (2000)


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Showing 5 of 5
The editors of a literary magazine I'm a member of use an abbreviation that would apply to this novel: TLDGA (Too Long Doesn't Go Anywhere). You don't often see this kind of novel but when you do it's hard not to classify it as: author used text to put his own fascination and fetishes on paper. Sometimes this works to great effect, such as Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth, but in those cases the author knows to give the reader plenty of entertainment and other unrelated materials. Haldeman however foregoes that and just let's loose on his own fascinations from the get go. Roughly and vaguely this science fiction novel is about first contact. More specifically and more importantly this is a novel written by an author with an obsession of bodily functions.

Besides a litany of graphic scenes and paragraphs I could have done without, the author mainly experiments with narrative. Chapters are standalone points of view of a single character and the novel is chain of ever changing perspectives, or rather that's what it wants to be. Instead it reads as a rapid chaos fire. I could barely keep up trying to figure out who this character was I was reading about again since it only had a 1 page chapter about 10 chapters back.

I stopped reading this book because not only is it tedious, it's frustrating and insulting to the reader. In fact this novel made me angry since I felt stuck at the end of a fire hose that starts at the author's mind and which spouts personal sexual and body interaction preferences directly into my brain. ( )
  TheCriticalTimes | Dec 7, 2019 |
This book wasn't as good as I hoped it would be -- some of Joe's other work has been excellent (The Forever War, Forever Peace and Marsbound being examples). However, some of his other books are very weak, such as Forever Free and There Is No Darkness. This book is an interesting experiment in story telling style, where many different very short chapters are told by different characters. Each chapter follows on directly from the previous one. However, this style makes the story confusing to read until you can remember the names of all the characters. Worse than that though, the idea behind the story isn't terribly strong, and the resolution is weak as well.

Overall and ok read, but not Joe's best work and not a book I would recommend.

http://www.stillhq.com/book/Joe_Haldeman/The_Coming.html ( )
  mikal | Aug 7, 2010 |
In the middle of the 21st Century, Aurora Bell is an Astronomy professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville. One day, she receives a message from outer space ("We're Coming") that seems to herald the arrival of alien visitors. The alien ship is traveling at just under the speed of light, and will arrive on New Year's Day, three months from now.

Earth of the mid-21st Century is not prepared for any sort of invasion. Global warming has begun to alter Earth's climate. Much of Long Island is under water, and in Florida, going outside for any length of time without sunscreen is a bad idea. Europe is again on the brink of war. The American President, Carlie LaSalle, is an airbrushed creation of the political consultants and media managers. She tends to look at everything in terms of a conspiracy against her; the general consensus is that she has approximately six working brain cells.

LaSalle orders the deployment of a space-based laser carried on a shuttle to destroy the alien ship if it starts firing on Earth. Such a laser could also be pointed downward, like at some European city, getting Europe very upset at America. If They (whoever they are) have light-speed space travel, and intetrstellar capabilities, won't they have defenses against orbiting laser systems? Even worse, if Earth gets them angry, won't they have the ability to severely damage, or destroy, the Earth? On the other hand, who ever heard of a one-ship "invasion?" Grayson Pauling, the President's Science Advisor, is totally opposed to LaSalle's plan, opposed enough to sneak several pounds of plastic explosive into a Cabinet meeting. Amid all this, Bell is less and less convinced that aliens are coming. A longer message, detailing just where and when they will land, is in present-day colloquial English. Something is heading for Earth, but what?

This is another solid, you-won't-go-wrong story from Haldeman. It is more about Earth several decades from now than about Alien Contact, but it is still a gem of a novel. ( )
  plappen | Aug 10, 2007 |
The Coming is a near-future first-contact story. It begins with a message from an alien craft in deep space-- "We're coming."-- then follows a host of characters through the three months between the message and the arrival of the ship.

The problem is there isn't much of an idea here. The book is about the anticipation of an imminent first contact, but when it finally comes, it proves to be a minor plot twist that might, maybe, be interesting enough to support a short story. The sort of twist you might get at the end of a half-baked episode of the Twilight Zone. Worse, from the perspective of the last page, most of the many, many characters are revealed as irrelevant to the story. Were they added to pad the book up to novel length? That's how it feels.

Fortunately, the book is quick enough that its emptiness isn't painful. Haldeman's writing is always clear and pointed. The characters who get developed are interesting, and some aspects of his 50-year future are interesting. (Especially his vision of the near-future news media.) On the other hand, there are features of his near-future that are tantalizing but unexplained. Society is terribly homophobic. Why? How did we get there from here?

The structure of the book makes it a compulsive read. The narrator's eye transfers from character to character as they interact. So we might begin following an astronomer as she talks to her husband, and then follow him to his neighborhood bar, and then follow his bartender after he leaves, and so on. It makes the pacing feel whiplash-frantic while still allowing lots of detail. It's a neat technique I've never seen employed in quite this way.

Still, no amount of frantic pacing can make up for the lack of substance.

(An irrelevant aside: The President of the USA is eerily like Sarah Palin-- eerily because the book was published in 2000, when no one outside of Wasilla had heard of Palin.) ( )
Showing 5 of 5
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joe Haldemanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ducak, DaniloCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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