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The Coming

Joe Haldeman

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Ace Books

Published : 2000

Copyright : Joe Haldeman 2000

ISBN-10 : PB 0-441-00876-3
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-441-00876-6

Publisher's Write-Up

From the depths of space comes a startling message: "We're Coming."

On the brink of war and hysteria, Earth must prepare for the arrival. But the question still remains as to who-or what-will actually arrive.

Joe Haldeman presents an intriguing new tale of Earth in the twenty-first century. Astronomy professor Aurora Bell gets a message from space that seems to portend the arrival of extraterrestrials. According to her calculations, whoever is coming will arrive in three months - on New Year's Day, to be exact. Earth is in chaos, struggling in the wake of nuclear war and certainly unprepared to face invasion of any kind. But the more Rory investigates, the more she doubts the authenticity of the transmission. If the message is an elaborate hoax, who's behind it, and why? And so the world waits. But the question remains as to what, exactly, everyone is waiting for...

'His most successful and rewarding book in years.'


'A large-scale story [that] provides food for thought as well as fast-paced action.'

Library Journal

'If there was a Fort Knox for the science fiction writers who really matter, we'd have to lock Haldeman up there.'

Stephen King
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Paul Lappen (310112) Rating (9/10)

Review by Paul Lappen
Rating 9/10
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 travelling 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 interstellar capabilities, won't they have defences 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.
Paul Lappen (31st January 2012)

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