July Books 1) Camouflage

1) Camouflage, by Joe Haldeman

Now only five Nebula winners left to read – Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin, A Time of Changes by Robert Silverberg, The Healer's War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Stations of the Tide by Michael Swanwick, and The Terminal Experiment by Robert J Sawyer. This got Haldeman his third Nebula for best Novel earlier this year (and led to him surfing my website).

Well, its high points are less high but its low points not as low as the three other books on the Nebula shortlist which I had read (Air, Going Postal and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell). It bears a very strong resemblance to Octavia Butler's Wild Seed, with the story being the interweaving of two threads about immortals (in this case, probably alien) living in our world, who are drawn together by an alien artifact discovered in the Pacific Ocean in 2019. Indeed, perhaps the award of the Nebula was partly a tribute to Butler's novel. Haldeman, of course, puts his own riffs on it – basically, he brings in much more science, and much more of the military, and makes it into a love story as well. All adds up to a very enjoyable book, which I would certainly have overlooked if it had not won the award.

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