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Verso le stelle by Joe W. Haldeman

Verso le stelle (edition 2012)

by Joe W. Haldeman

Series: Marsbound (2)

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304668,176 (3.36)6
After spending six years travelling to a distant solar system that is home to the enigmatic, powerful race known as "The Others," in the hopes of finding enough common purpose between their species to forge a delicate truce, Carmen Dula and her husband return to Earth to find a massive flotilla of warships defending Earth against The Others. But The Others have more power than any could imagine--and they will brook no insolence from the upstart human race.… (more)
Title:Verso le stelle
Authors:Joe W. Haldeman
Info:A. Mondadori (Urania) (2012), Brossura
Collections:Your library

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Starbound by Joe Haldeman


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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 |
Starbound is the second book in Haldeman’s Marsbound series. As with Marsbound, the tech in this book is believable and the aliens are truly strange. They are powerful, seemingly amoral (at least from a human perspective), possibly sadistic, and almost certainly paranoid.
In this book, seven humans and two ‘Martians’ are sent to bring them a message of peace (please don’t kill us), and it is the mystery of what the delegation from our solar system will find out about the aliens -- what they are, what they want, and what they will do -- that kept me reading.
But that was about it. The characters are not especially likeable. The humans struck me as immature, unimaginative, sex obsessed, and not especially bright -- in short, distressingly average. If humanity ever does send ambassadors to speak with aliens, I hope they can do better that these guys. They are far from the best and the brightest.
As with Marsbound, this novel is told in first person, but in this case, not the same first person. It switches the point of view character between chapters. Many are written as personal journal entries. This is done well enough so it is not terribly confusing. After a few sentences, you can tell which “I” character is speaking, but it is still a bit annoying.
The multiple points of view did not bother me. In fact, I tend to prefer novels written from multiple POV because they can provide a deeper understanding of motivations, perspectives, and story plot, but I personally find that this works best as third person, limited omniscient. First person multiple POV is clumsy to read because the person meant by “I” keeps changing. Still, this might have worked here if the characters had more personality.
Without giving away any details about the ending, I can mention one other thing I found dissatisfying about this novel. The aliens are so powerful that nothing the humans do has any hope of affecting them. The humans are pretty much reduced to ants pleading with a gardener not to spray any more insecticide. It’s not a fun read.
( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
Not a bad story of space travel and alien contact. It has its ups an downs but enough twists to keep it going. Surprising ending, and that is always good as far as I am concerned. Will I give another Haldeman a try? Yes, most likely. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
I read "Marsbound" a few years ago and had some problems with it, so would not have read this book except I was in the mood for hard SF and I found this at a dollar store.

As with the first book, I had some problems with this one, although I certainly wanted to read to the end to find out what happened. This book alternates between first person narration by Carmen from the first book (who as a teen discovered the "Martians"); Namir, a 50-something Israeli spy who no longer has a country; and Fly-in-Amber, one of the Martian species created by the "Others" to keep tabs on humanity. This was problematic, because there was no indication at the start of each chapter as to who was speaking. It is perfectly acceptable, and preferable, to head the chapters with the name of the character; I've seen it in lots of other books and it is helpful. Instead, I sometimes had to go more than a full page before I realized who was speaking or found that I had assumed the wrong character. In other cases, a clumsy reference was slipped in, seemingly as an afterthought, to signal who was narrating.

I also had a problem with characterization. At some point in her life Carmen became a xenobiologist with a Ph.D., but I had no sense of her as other than the teenage girl from the first book, either emotionally or intellectually. Her relationship with her husband Paul is one big blank canvas, with no actual emotion. Their marriage isn't monogamous and Carmen admits that she prefers masturbation to sleeping with her husband, but we're supposed to believe that she is unsettled by another female crew member's promiscuity in case that woman has designs on Paul. I didn't get the sense that Carmen is even overly fond of Paul, let alone passionate enough to be able to produce a spark of jealousy.

The ending is abrupt and suffers from middle book syndrome -- it's a cliffhanger, more or less. I'm not inclined to read the third book. ( )
  amysisson | Dec 18, 2012 |
This is the newly released sequel for Marsbound which I really liked, so I was excited when this arrived the other day. This book is much like the previous one stylistically, being written as a set of mostly first person diary entries. However, the people writing these entries are older now, and this feels less like a teen fiction novel. There is also more than one narrator in this book, unlike the first, with generally each chapter being narrated by one of three people. This can be a bit jarring at first, because it takes a while to realize that a new person is narrating and that's why the point of view changed. You get used to it though. This book is also quite Heinlein like in this level of sex, which is similar to Marsbound, but not true of all of the Haldeman books I've read -- I think it might be a relatively recent change to his style.

Overall a good book, I enjoyed it, and I can't wait for the next one in the series (which Joe finished at the end of 2010).

http://www.stillhq.com/book/Joe_Haldeman/Starbound.html ( )
  mikal | Jan 9, 2011 |
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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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An hour after my children were born, we went up to the new lounge to have a drink.
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After spending six years travelling to a distant solar system that is home to the enigmatic, powerful race known as "The Others," in the hopes of finding enough common purpose between their species to forge a delicate truce, Carmen Dula and her husband return to Earth to find a massive flotilla of warships defending Earth against The Others. But The Others have more power than any could imagine--and they will brook no insolence from the upstart human race.

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