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Camouflage

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  3,319 ratings  ·  189 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Multiple Hugo and Nebula Award winner Joe Haldeman's Camouflage -- about two immortal aliens wandering the Earth in numerous incarnations -- can best be described as a science fiction mystery with all the trimmings of a psychological thriller.


A million years before the emergence of humans, an alien spaceship splashes into the Pacific Ocean. A

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ebook, 304 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Ace Books (first published August 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Robert
What makes you human?
SF writers have been exploring this question for a long time. One approach has been to use an android - said machine goes on a lengthy quest to emulate its "superior" human creators. Two famous examples are The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories and Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Generally, the android starts out more or less niave and incomprehending of human nature and gradually learns to emulate humans more accurately. Emotion and death seem to be characteristi...more
Thom
It was great right up until the end, where it felt like the author just decided he was tired of all the intrigue and just killed the book with a contrived showdown that was the most predictable ending that could have taken place. Not that I blame him. The drama that built up in the last quarter of the book with all its identity theft and CIA agents and complex schemes and counterschemes was kind of tiresome, and I probably wouldn't have wanted all of that to continue for much longer. Also, the c...more
Ilya
A shape-shifting alien who can masquerade as a human but is different from humans on the cellular level (John W. Campbell's "Who Goes There?") spends several lifetimes as different humans, male and female (Virginia Woolf's Orlando?), falls in love with a human and makes him love it by shifting into a human shape (Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid"? Greek mythology?). A human-looking immortal who has been with humanity since the stone age (Clifford Simak's "Grotto of the Dancing Deer"...more
Colin
Read the prologue and stop right there.

The author, Haldeman, has apparently won several awards for multiple books. This book shouldn't win any awards. Readers should commend Haldeman for the ideas in the prologue. Haldeman needs to return to the drawing board to create a better story.

The rest of the book moves slowly and bores to frustration. I'm usually willing to accept a slow book if the end wows me. Camouflage certainly succeeded on slowness but failed on a worthwhile ending.

As a recommenda...more
Michael Valentine
I generally like Joe Haldeman, but this book was a bit of a disappointment. I guess I should have been clued in by the cover referring to it as a "thriller," a genre best left, in my opinion, for air travel. Minor spoilers follow. Basically, there are two more or less immortal aliens living on Earth. One is (eventually) good, and one is, for no clear reason, evil, and both can shape shift. They aren't the same species, and the story focuses almost entirely on the "good" one. Focuses to the point...more
Andrea Blythe
Two shape-shifting aliens of different species have been secretly been living on Earth for centuries, unaware of each other's existence. When an ancient artifact is dredged up from the depths of the ocean, the two creatures both seek it out with the aim of understanding their own origins.

The changeling (alien #1) is the main character of the story, as we see it shift from being a great white shark to a dolphin to finally a human, killing a random person as it does so to take its place. While it...more
Daoist56
Though a compelling read, the end did not deliver.
Interesting story idea, with two changelings/ shape-shifters, one "good" and one "bad," weaving their way through human history, only to meet in the near future. The author focuses most of the book on the "good," which I found a nice choice, and it I willingly followed along as the creature became more and more human, finally learning something akin to love. But the inevitable showdown seemed scripted for the big screen, and the ending as contriv...more
Brian
A very easy to read book, I breezed right through this one.

The premise is interesting, even if a bit hard to swallow, with two aliens among us and a mysterious artifact pulled out of the ocean.

Following the aliens through history has some really great moments of history brought to life, I wish he'd done more of it.

In fact, since both aliens are immortal I thought the whole time line was pretty rushed. Even though they keep telling themselves they have all the time in the world, most of the actio...more
aPriL loves HalLowEen
Assume that your beloved mum hands you a cupcake with sprinkles. She's beaming with pride. She says, "I won first prize with this recipe!" You eagerly bite in, then quickly turn away in shock. It's like old bread. Turning back, you smile. "It's fantastic, mom!" Except it wasn't.

Unfortunately, this novel isn't either. At least, for me it isn't.

Two aliens are on Earth - the Chameleon and the Changeling. Neither knows about the other, and neither can remember where they came from. They both are ge...more
Don
I just finished this book and all I can say is that I'm really glad that I happened upon it in a bookstore and bought it. This was a great find!

The basic story is this: two alien life forms have been living on the earth for thousands, if not millions, of years. Both have the ability to alter their physical shape and become other people or beings, even inanimate objects.

The interesting thing that Haldeman does with the premise is have one of the aliens develop layers of thoughts, emotions and att...more
Cameron
From my admittedly far from all encompassing experience with Joe Haldeman, he reminds me of a talented handy man struggling with his projects. He can do good work (and has done good work), but for whatever reason, be it old/broken tools, a lack of time or some other reason, he can't seem to complete a project that lives up to the expectations his previously demonstrated skill and talent lead me to have. They start out strong, but end up falling apart by the projects completion.

Camouflage tells t...more
Miriam
This story of shape-changing aliens is narrated in two and a half separate tracks, which do not intersect until near the end. The primary track is from the point of view of "the changeling," an alien who, after spending eons as a sea creature, encounters a human swimmer in the 1930s and becomes human. Over the years he takes different identities and learns about human nature. We also get short snippets of another alien who loves to kill and hurt people and travels to different war zones and cata...more
Palegithzerai
Haldeman cannot write romance from either a queer or female perspective, and it helps sink the last third of this novel. Marsbound has very similar problems, and it's something I just can't get over.

There are some beautiful ideas here-like many other reviewers have said, the prologue is great, and the depiction of a very alien creature acclimatizing to human society is just fascinating.

And then it gets to the end, which is not only anticlimatic and rushed, but it has this ridiculous romance plot...more
Farhan
Take a central idea which is anything but fresh, ask Mr. Haldeman to write a book about that idea, and he comes up with a novel that won Science Fiction's prestigious Nebula Award for the year 2005. The story revolves around two aliens who have been on earth even before life crawled out of the oceans. One of them is a brutal killer, and the other has become almost human during his stay on earth, and both of them are shape-changers. They have been on earth far too long to remember who they got he...more
Scapeghost
Sharks and Chameleons


Haldeman has always impressed me with his mature, hardboiled SF writing, usually careful to keep the conceptual wanderings well in sight of their scientific base-camp. This story of two ancient alien visitors who have both learned to pass as human, but are two very different creatures, both physically and in the way they have come to see mankind, provides an interesting guess at how an outside observer might interpret the greatest hits and horrors of the twentieth century. A...more
fiacha
Mais um escritor que me foi recomendado. Um livro que me foi oferecido e não percebo muito bem o porquê de só agora o ter lido, mais uma pérola que a FC tem para oferecer, excelente.

Um estilo de FC que me agradou imenso, pois tem um enredo muito bem desenvolvido e intenso. Pode dizer-se que temos uma mistura de Terror com FC e onde os factos nos são descritos com muito rigor (não apresenta inconsistências como por vezes aparecem neste tipo de livros) e bastante criatividade.

E o mistério é logo...more
Fred Hughes
Joe Haldeman books are what I call easy reads. The storys track fairly fast and there is minimal character development, but enough. Haldeman has a potty mouth sometimes which I don't find offensive but younger readers may not appreciate his vivid language.

All his books are entertaining and easily read. There is not too much complicated plot lines so again easy to read.

Recommended
Harvey
Wow! Great book. Great ideas, nicely written, compact (always good).

I had been kind of put off Haldeman by Forever Peace, which is a later book but one that I didn't warm to. But I'm working my way through the Nebula winners that I haven't already read and I'm now thinking I should read some more of his books*.

*Read The Forever War already, obviously.
Jason
A book that demands suspension of disbelief & does nothing to encourage it. Laughable, misogynistic sci-fi clap-trap with an ending (hurried, ridiculous, a tail pinned to an ass) that seems to betray disgust in Haldeman for having written so abyssmal a book.
Andreas
An alien winds up on Earth and spends millions of years roaming it as a shark until one day in the 1930s it decides to take the form of a human. It spends the following decades learning about humanity and growing as a person. In an interleaved plot line, in 2019 an ancient alien artifact is found in the Pacific Ocean and a marine salvage company investigates.

The growth of the alien as a human is very well written, from tentative and often disastrous beginnings to a finding of true purpose and ev...more
Jay Caselberg
A much more satisfying read that the other Haldeman I have been reading. Think Alien vs Predator but with a plot and characters and an interesting story. Quite enjoyed this.
Kurt
Most sci fi have interest plots, poor character development, and mediocre prose. Camoflage fits that pattern pretty well, except the plot is predictable.
Jimmy Corvan


Do you like Science Fiction? Oh, you do? Read this book then.
Karen Marcus
May 02, 2011 Karen Marcus rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Karen by: Jonathan
A good read for sci-fi geeks like me.
Bruce
I didn't quite know what to expect from this book, but enjoy some of Haldeman's other works, but I was hooked from the Prologue. A shapeshifting alien was sent to Earth and lived in the Oceans until it decides to come out and act like a human.

Some things seemed way too Deus Ex Machina for my tastes i.e. creating money and clothes from its skin. I liked its gradual change from an alien in human body who had no issue with killing others to one that actual sympathizes with the human condition. An M...more
Xan
La primera vez que leí algo de Joe Handelman fue una versión en comic de "La guerra interminable", que es una de las mejores adaptaciones que he visto (y esto vale para comic, cine y televisión) de una novela. Cuando leí el libro me gustó, pero me quedó la duda de que prefería: ¿el comic o el libro?.
"Camuflaje" es una historia clásica en la ciencia ficción: que pensaría de nosotros un extraterrestre que pasase mucho tiempo entre nosotros. Y como es un argumento recurrente en el género la novela...more
Janine Southard
Haldeman's novels are always -- on some level -- about the human condition. (Maybe his profs went a bit heavy on the Thucydides when he was in college.) This one is no different. This time around we have two separate alien entities hiding out on Earth. Neither of them knows about the other, and both can change shape at will.

"The Changeling" - For the changeling, this is a coming of age novel. It spent millions of years under the sea (and as various sea creatures), before deciding to check out th...more
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Les
Due to the fact that this book won the Nebula Award for best novel in 2006, it was quite high up on my to-read list. I don't know what the reasoning was behind why it won that prestigious award, but it didn't seem all that great to me. The story was interesting enough, but certainly not what I'd call noteworthy.

The story follows a couple of different ancient aliens that came to earth many, many years ago and had no knowledge of each other. They have both long since forgotten their origins. One o...more
Megan
I give Haldeman credit for an interesting construct. The 'immortal alien' bit created the opportunity for some interesting forays into history, and the 'changeling' bit created the opportunity to put the characters into a variety of situations and thus examine a variety of human experiences. On the other hand, I never really believed the construct. I like sci fi that seems plausible given our current scientific understanding and enough time in the future for technology to advance. This was more...more
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Mansfield Public ...: Camouflage by Mike Hettinger 1 1 Jul 17, 2013 10:57AM  
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12476
Brother of Jack C. Haldeman II

Haldeman is the author of 20 novels and five collections. The Forever War won the Nebula, Hugo and Ditmar Awards for best science fiction novel in 1975. Other notable titles include Camouflage, The Accidental Time Machine and Marsbound as well as the short works "Graves," "Tricentennial" and "The Hemingway Hoax." Starbound is scheduled for a January release. SFWA pres...more
More about Joe Haldeman...
The Forever War (The Forever War, #1) Forever Peace (The Forever War, #2) The Accidental Time Machine Forever Free (The Forever War, #3) Marsbound

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