August 11, 2015

WorldsWorlds is an ambitious attempt by Joe Haldeman. The title itself is revealing; it is a story of many worlds. Mankind is starting its next colonization, conquering spaces. Many giant space stations are built as new human habitats. Man also starts mining the moon and asteroids. A new interplanetary politics is building, between the old earth and the Worlds.

The premise is interesting, new politics caused by the new colonization, while the old earth is trapped in conservatism and ecology disaster. But it looks like that the author failed to capitalized it. I cannot help but to compared it with Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson. The premise is almost the same; the colonization of Mars creates a new tension in politics. Where Robinson succeed, Haldeman failed.

The first third of the novel is very good. The characters are properly introduced and the world building is amazing. Haldeman successfully captured the new culture caused by the separation from earth quite well. I would give FOUR STAR for the first third. But the second third, when the main character, Mariane O’Hara starts her campus life, it is plain boring. The details do not add well to the story. Instead of building the story, I find it as impediments to the main plot. The revolution spirit is not well captured. Maybe it is caused by the usage of just one POV, Marianne, which herself is almost oblivious the revolution. TWO STAR only for this part. For the final third, the story is improving. The revolution starts, and Marianne find herself in it, helpless and hopeless. The tension is well built. THREE STAR for the last part. So, on average, I give this novel a THREE STAR. Not great, but not bad as well, exactly is the middle.

I would say that this novel is not Haldeman’s best. Nice to read, but not really engaging.


three star

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