Bill Wellham's Reviews > The Coming

The Coming by Joe Haldeman
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Mar 04, 2010

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The Coming is an interesting and shortish novel set in mid twenty first century America, concerning a small group of characterss and their relationships to each other, while the world is awaiting the arrival of some aliens from outer space. A message has been recieved 'We are coming'. Nothing else is known about the visitors, so tension and conspiracy rises throughout the world and humanity. Of course we have the scientists insisting that the visitors will be peaceful, whilst the US govenment are preparing to attack first.

Our group of individuals include a scientist, a gay militant musician, a mafia gang, an old homeless person, a gay policeman, a virtual reality porn artiste... oh and a hopless president along with her advisors. They are linked up to each other in various ways throughout the plot. Their stories are somewhat affected by the coming arrival of aliens, but I also feel that the book could have been written without any alien backdrop.

The world of 2040 something is not remarkably different from our own, although everything seems to have gone down hill in many ways. The science part of the book is only brushed upon in places, and not always obvious. Actually, I think Joe Halderman is quite correct in this respect; I am sure that life of twenty to thirty years hence is never quite as advanced as we think it will be. He has set the novel against the backdrop of possible war in Europe, as well as a global warming scenario.

The Coming is a fast read with very little complexity. The characters are all quite believable and work well through the plot. I did not find anything here that really annoyed me in the way that some near-future science fiction can do.

Overall I can only say this book adequate! This is only just Sci-Fi. The biggest problem for me was the somewhat damp ending. I was left with the thought... 'ohh, is that it then?'

Not bad, but not great.
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