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The Hemingway Hoax

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  1,092 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Around 1991, Haldeman wrote: ""What is the book about? The subtitle A 'Short Comic Novel of Existential Terror' is accurate. In a way, it's a horror novel tinged with ghastly humor, as the apparently insane ghost of Ernest Hemingway murders a helpless scholar over and over; the scholar slipping from one universe to the next each time he dies, in what is apparently a rather ...more
Paperback, 155 pages
Published May 1st 1991 by Avon Books (first published January 1st 1990)
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Average rating 3.50  · 
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 ·  1,092 ratings  ·  102 reviews


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J.L.   Sutton
Jun 27, 2018 rated it liked it
The premise of Joe Haldeman’s The Hemingway Hoax is interesting. Having a Hemingway scholar forge the manuscript which Hadley had lost at a train station in Paris. It seems straightforward, but planning how best to create said forgery quickly takes a backseat to deception, betrayal and blackmail. And then it gets weird! Really weird! Apparently, Haldeman’s (unused) subtitle for The Hemingway Hoax was ‘A Short Comic Novel of Existential Terror.’ The terror in the subtitle is real. Creating a ...more
Peter Tillman
I think this is Haldeman's masterwork. The novella is tighter, but the short novel is near-great, too. The long novella is the version that won all the prizes, and that's the version I recommend.

Here's the author's description, cribbed from his website circa 2003. This could be construed as spoiler-y. But not very, and it may avoid some of the puzzlement that other readers noted here. Trust me, this is a great work of art.

Haldeman:
"What is the book about? The subtitle A 'Short Comic Novel of
...more
Patricija - ReadOff
Sep 14, 2019 rated it liked it
2.5
I liked the premise, but at times I was confused or bored. Didn't like Bird as a character at all, especially his ethics, nor Lena or Castle. I only liked Pansy. A little slow paced at times.
Toby
Sep 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
A bizarre and fascinating book, that features time-travel and parallel worlds without making your head explode too often.

It's all very straight forward, three people plot to create a lost Hemingway manuscript, the Eternals get involved to stop the world from being destroyed only things don't go as anyone planned.

But really it's a bit weird as one character retains their memories as they die and shifts in to a parallel world that's slightly different. You saw The Butterfly Effect right? And as
...more
Jamie
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dark, paranoid, absurd and more than a little perplexing it really felt like Haldeman was channeling his inner Philip K Dick here. The first half of the story feels more like a crime pulp than anything else with the protagonist contemplating pulling off a literary forgery, but by the second half has clearly evolved into so much more with the introduction of multiple timelines and/or universes, supernatural beings who live outside time and space, and some strange goings-on. By the end things have ...more
Kemper
I like this book, but I still can’t believe that I can be this confused after just 160 pages.

Joe Haldeman’s FAQ at his website says that the subtitle of the book is A Short Comic Novel of Existential Terror. That describes it about as well as anything I could come up with. Haldeman also states that: “It may be the most literary of my books, but it also has the most explicit sex and the most gruesome violence I’ve ever written. Nobody will be bored by it.” And he’s absolutely right about that
...more
Natalie
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Wow, this book relentlessly explores not just Ernest Hemingway's style and how it works on different readers and different characters but also "all the ways" people can go wrong, get things wrong, or get their just deserts . . . I can somehow picture Walter Mosley handing this to Dr. Faustus who then goes to sit reading this book by the fire while all hell breaks loose outside. Readers of the The Paris Wife, Mrs. Hemingway, or the Timeless episode "The Lost Generation" and ever rolled their eyes ...more
spikeINflorida
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A short, crisply written story of alternate reality, time travel, and parallel worlds. It won both aHugoand aNebula for bestnovellain 1991. Four solid stars. ...more
Trike
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This reads as if Haldeman got drunk, ate a peyote brownie, then sat down to imitate Philip K. Dick. It’s as erudite as it is bonkers.
Denis
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Best piece I've read by Haldeman thus far. Clever, creative and fun. And a must for a Hemingway fan as well.
Susan
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
In 1922 Hemingway’s wife Hadley lost a bag containing his unpublished work. John Baird toys with the idea of fabricating some or all of the missing fiction and making millions. It required considerable suspension of disbelief when this idea was presented as consequential enough to affect the fate of the multiverse but, according to non-linear dynamics, such causal connections are remotely possible. I find the idea of multiple universes in which plot alternatives are played out rather exhausting, ...more
Andy
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the novella that won the Hugo/Nebula awards (rather than the novel) and it starts with a fine premise (a Hemingway scholar is enticed to 'create/find' the missing Hemingway early stories), throws in an unexpected angle, then gets crazier and crazier becoming increasingly abstract, bizarre and metaphysical. It's taut, funny, freaky, sexy and violent. It's a delight. The ending is so far from the beginning and yet ties everything up in a satisfactory way. Excellent stuff and well worth ...more
Moriartyandherbooks
This book? Not needed at all. Did pick up in speed eventually which made for easy reading. Lost its 3 star rating for unnecessary and random use of the n-word...multiple times. Author later goes on to call the character who used the word misogynistic (which is valid), but not racist, so clearly the author has a lack of self awareness.

Once again...I only read this because of my book club.
Prospero
Haldeman pastiches two of his favourite authors - Hemingway and Heinlein - in this slim novel. Heinlein readers familiar with "All You Zombies" or "By His Bootstraps" should have no problem guessing the outcome by the midway point.

Amusing. 3.5 stars.
Mark
Apr 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Winner of the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award in 1991, this novella has been on my to-read list for a while now. I am a fan of Joe’s work, but this one I’ve kept putting back on the pile.

I’m never quite sure why, but I think the main reason is that I’ve always assumed that the story will work best with a knowledge of Ernest Hemingway, something I don’t have. (A basic working knowledge, sure, but little more.) As a result, I’ve always felt that I probably wouldn’t ‘get it’.

Well, the good news is
...more
Mjhancock
This is one of those stories that's probably better as a concept than a narrative. Haldeman himself frames it well in the afterword (I'm paraphrasing): "I realized that if someone could make a lot of money at a lot of risk for creating a counterfeit Hemingway story, then I could make a little money at no risk writing a story about that." And that's essentially the plot: Hemingway scholar Baird is an aging academic with a depleted trust fund, a war injury that damages his sex drive, and a ...more
Christine
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was the perfect plane read for me. I love Hemingway, I'm falling for Haldeman, and this book kept me engrossed! I am always intrigued by plots involving time travel and this one fit the normal bill. I'm learning that Haldeman means there will be violence (always somewhat graphic, never glorified) and some sex. His writing style keeps me wanting to turn the page and often makes me chuckle out loud. I enjoyed the description of the Hemingway collection at the JFK library outside of ...more
Bob Lopez
Mar 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Fun, little book. Hemingway scholar attempts to recreate H's early style and forge one of H's lost stories. Great concept...then there's the sci-fi, multiple-dimensions of probability (many of which are explored). The story had a strong enough concept that the sci-fi element sort of interferes with it and slows it down unnecessarily. Quick read in the cold with a few cups of coffee...really hit the spot.
Peter Tillman
My five-star rating applies to the award-winning novella. My recollection is that the expansion (not by that much) to short-novel length diluted the intensity a bit. The novella is the one I reread, and I should again. What a story!

Here's my review of the novella: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Trevor McGuire
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a quirky little book that clearly had a lot of thoughtful research put into it. I found myself Googling many things throughout the book to verify the authenticity; after a while I just started believing things.

Some parts were funny, others serious; some parts were confusing, especially the ending. I can't say yet that I fully grasp the ending. I might reread the last 20 pages.
Kris Sellgren
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This is a solid and well-written science fiction tale of a Hemingway scholar who runs afoul of a murderous time agent charged with preventing future catastrophe. The world building was terrific, and especially creative in the details of how different time lines differ. Alas, the ending confused me, which brought it down star for me.
Kay Smillie
Despite winning both a Hugo and a Nebula for best novella this works better as an idea rather than the finished article. Probably helps to be a fan of Hemingway and I am ashamed to admit that I have never read any Hemingway. Perhaps I should correct that?

Ray Smillie
Travis Luther
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very creative book. I appreciated the real life Hemingway historical references interlaced with the sci-fi fiction. For any Hemingway fan, it's definitely worth the read - very fast, and very sharp.
Jeffrey Cobia
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible
Excellent
Matthew Massengill
Jul 19, 2018 rated it liked it
The ending was crap. Not as in the hero dies crap but it was just gibberish. The last 2 chapters that is. If they were left off I would have been 4 to 5 star happy I love haldeman.
Sean Kottke
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
A bloody cool literary noir tale that morphs into a trippy, very adult, Doctor Who-like adventure ... with Hemingway! Papa Who, perhaps?
Seth
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great time travel story, very entertaining.
Michelle
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
Sword. Short. Interesting tho the end bemuses me.
Mike F
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
At least it was short. In the entire universe of books, this is not one I would recommend to anyone.
Henri Pill
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a plot. Ending was something that I wasn’t expecting..
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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
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