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Immortality can get boring after a while, especially when most of Earth's population and many of its treasures have been destroyed in a war between the haves and the have-nots. Jake Brewer, a virtual reality engineer, decides to liven things up by agreeing to run a virtuality machine on a starship looking for Earth-type planets. The passengers use the machine to roam through the recreated past, experiencing repeated virtual deaths because they have no expectations of real ones, until suddenly the oldest among them start dying seemingly of natural causes and the machine tells Jake, "We have to talk." This makes for an odd sort of locked-room whodunit. Is the newly sentient machine causing these deaths, or did the immortality treatment simply fail? Hugo- and Nebula-winner Haldeman (The Forever War) makes these questions tremendously compelling with his usual brilliant knack for detail and characterization. He draws the reader in even through a surprisingly boring expository first chapter, and the increasingly fascinating bulk of the tale makes the abrupt ending all the more shocking and unsatisfying. Haldeman's numerous fans will eagerly snap this one up, but few will reread it.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In a world in which mortality has been defeated, people seek thrills and meaning with great dedication. Virtual-reality technician and cook Jacob Brewer joins the crew of Aspera on a thousand-year trip to Beta Hydrii and a new world to settle. The past accompanies them in a computer that lets them visit earlier times, when people's lives were shaped by the promise of death. The most popular destination is the last century of mortality, the twentieth. Trouble first shows in inconsistencies in the data from certain periods, and when someone dies in virtuality, there is understandable concern, especially because word from Earth is that something strange is going on there, too. Then an avatar of the machine, which has achieved sentience and is deeply curious about humanity, contacts Jacob. Reality and virtuality aren't as well-defined as we may assume they ought to be in Haldeman's nicely circular story concerned with the consequences of immortality and the potential of a truly convincing virtuality. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Love Haldeman stories. Recently discovered him and have blown through all of his stories.
Joe Haldeman’s The Old Twentieth (2005) - I’ve been a big fan of Mr. Haldeman since he wrote several of the early classic Star Trek pro-novels (some of the better ones in my... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Tom Howard
Nicely written, as previous books by Joe Haldeman. The twist in the end really caught me by surprise.
I've read 3 or 4 books by him and never got disappointed. Read more
Slow start then . . . just as it's getting readable and semi interesting.
It's like Joe just gave up or had another project and did not want to be... Read more
I love the permission of this story, and Joe write-up well with wit and believable characters. I am not a fan of the ending, which seems bland and imprecise for a stand alone... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Violet Spider
This book is a mess, with a several barely-connected subplots, unoriginal ideas and a meaningless ending. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Alex V
A very compelling, well written, excellent story, not quite predictable.
Haldeman ties history, sociology, philosophy, IT and SciFi all together in a very entertaining... Read more
I like Haldeman's writing in general, but this book was a turkey. Before anything actually happens, you have to wade through an extremely long opening section cluttered with... Read morePublished on July 1, 2013 by Benjamin Crowell
Old Twentieth (2005) is a standalone SF novel. it is set aboard five spaceships heading toward a probably habitable planet in the Beta Hydrii system. Read morePublished on May 29, 2013 by Arthur W. Jordin