Don's Reviews > Camouflage

Camouflage by Joe Haldeman
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's review
Jul 25, 12

bookshelves: sci-fi
Read from July 24 to 25, 2012

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 attachments to the humans surrounding it. Having experienced commitment to an abusive mental hospital and being a US Marine in the Bataan death march, it understands the horror of being treated badly. It develops a conscience and begins to treat humans with respect and forbearance, with restraint.

Meanwhile, a similar being has existed but remains a remorseless predator. It assisted Dr Mengele in his Auschwitz experiments and, becoming aware of the more restrained being, determines to destroy it so as to remain at the top of the food chain.

This book is well written and I enjoyed the inherent ethics in it. What really thrilled me was seeing an accomplished author since the 1970s still producing thoughtful and stirring work, science fiction which brings back the old feeling that the universe is a pretty cool place and there is hope for things to turn out well. This is an optimistic work which renews the flagging hope that life is a really cool adventure and it could be just beginning...
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