Sunday, 11 May 2008

Review: "A Separate War & Other Stories" by Joe Haldeman

After reading through the omnibus edition of "Forever War", "Forever Free" and "Forever Peace", I picked up a copy of "A Separate War & Other Stories" based on a friend's recommendation. The collection is short, but good. "A Separate War" is a parallel narrative to the last section of "Forever War", in which we follow Marygay Potter's last campaign in the Forever War.

Recent works like the "Ender's Shadow" series by Orson Scott Card have tread this territory, mining the author's most famous work and constructing a parallel narrative. Where even the best of the "Ender's Shadow" series seemed a bit convoluted, "A Separate War" flows naturally and is a fine companion piece to the larger work.

The rest of the collection is quite enjoyable, particularly the paired stories "Out of Phase" and "Power Complex". What really makes the collection especially enjoyable are the author's introduction and notes. Haldeman teaches writing, and shares his insights about the craft of writing in a natural way that's a refreshing accompaniment to the stories themselves, kind of like a good director's commentary on a DVD.

Well worth picking up and a very quick read.

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