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Camouflage Mass Market Paperback – July 26, 2005
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"An extremely intelligent thriller." —Washington Post
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Top Customer Reviews
All this is by way of saying that when I encountered "Camouflage", I expected just such a story and had set my techno-bableometer to dampen. Boy, was I surprised!
Instead the story is told from the point of view of the alien and explores one of the most basic of literary questions, "What does it mean to be human?"
Joe Haldeman's writing is simple and direct and he does not search for colorful language. Instead, he weaves together three separate story lines, each with its own time scale, that come together in the finale. Occasionally you might think the author was moving into irrelevant areas but ultimately he brings the unities home. Moreover, at the same time as the main character is developing, Haldeman uses the device of the doppelganger, that is, a parallel personality, to contrast with the character of the hero. Moreover, he sets the story against an historical perspective of the last two thirds of the twentieth century, with a major portion of the story set against the fall of the Philippines and the horror of the Bataan death march at the beginning of World War II.Read more ›
1. A sympathetic shape-changer who has lived on earth for millions of years, but only as a human from the 1930's on.
2. An unrelated and malevolent shape-changer who's been around as long as man, whose favorite human is Josef Mengele.
3. A mysterious and impregnable metal artifact dredged up from the ocean floor by a science reasearch team in Samoa, drawing the attention of both aliens.
Thematically, the book is fascinating. The decidedly non-human characters highlight oddities of our behavior we simply take for granted, like courting rituals and various aspects of sexual and romantic love.
The plot, unfortunately, doesn't measure up. JH starts out strong, neatly interweaving the three stories, sweeping through time and setting up a profound mystery with the artifact. But eventually these stories bog down as JH concentrates on a love angle, pretty much dropping the more interesting (to me anyway) exploration of the artifact and the nature of the evil shape-changer. A rather contrived ending ties it all together, but I hope he does a sequel to further develop his intriguing ideas.
The year is 2019 and marine biologist Russell Sutton is working in the Pacific with his company that specialises in deep-ocean salvaging (his crew achieved fame through their rising of The Titanic). Russell is approached by Jack, a retired naval officer who enlists him to retrieve a mysterious oval object lying off the coast of Samoa. In the second storyline, we follow the "Changeling", an alien that has been on Earth since the dawn of evolution. Having taken the form of marine animals for most of its time, the Changeling takes on a human form in the 1930's and begins its journey to learn about humans.
The secondary storyline of the alien's development over a period of a century is typical Haldeman - an entertaining memoir like account of events and happenings that brings us in to liking the character. However, problems arise when we jump back to the present with Russell and Jack. These characters are less developed than the Changeling and in the end they come across as one-dimensional characters. It is not a good thing when the alien character appears more human than the humans.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed 'Camouflage' very much.
First, the writing is simple and straightforward, while textured with wit and perceptiveness, as to be easy to read yet rich and... Read more
I discovered Joe Haldeman quite recently and have started reading his novels. He has a unique style and the story lines are always interesting. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Keeps you hooked! Alien POV is really well made, plot is sound, the author could have worked a little more on last pages as the end feels somewhat missing of something. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Michelangelo
This book had many of the key elements I need to enjoy a story... Well written and imaginative. Looking forward to reading more Haldeman...Published 8 months ago by Curtis Bobsin
This was the first of Haleman's stories that I have tried - and I listened to it instead of reading it. Read morePublished 10 months ago by V. Schmidt
Whenever this author puts out something I read it. So when this came out I didn't hesitate.
Was it worth the read? Read more
Interesting story that moves along with little interruption. Some character development, but not much ... it's either a long short story or a short novel. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Richard Dillman
Great read! Highly recommend it. Definitely worth the time. Great character development and good science fiction piece. Good for any agePublished 11 months ago by luis