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FOREVER FREE by Joe Haldeman

FOREVER FREE

By Joe Haldeman

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-441-00697-3
Publisher: Ace/Berkley

Belated, and truly terrible, sequel to Haldeman’s classic military SF yarn, The Forever War (1974). Following the war with the Taurans, humanity has become Man, a group-minded race of clones who commune with the One Tree on Earth. The few old-style humans who decline to be linked have been exiled to the cold, dismal planet Middle Finger, where Man keeps them like zoo animals as a source of genetic variation. Bored and frustrated, Forever War veteran and narrator William Mandella, his wife Marygay, and others propose to take 150 fellow dissidents on a round-trip starship voyage at relativistic velocities. For them, only 10 years will pass, but they’ll return 40,000 years later when, hopefully, both Man and their Tauran pals will be gone. Man, prodded by the Taurans, rejects the proposal, so William and friends hijack the starship. When their antimatter fuel inexplicably vanishes, however, they’re forced to return to Middle Finger, where 24 years have passed and everybody’s vanished—right out of their clothes! A nearby Tauran planet is also ominously silent, so they head for Earth. It’s deserted too. At Disney World they meet the Omnis, immortal shape-shifters who’ve always been around undetected and know lots of stuff but claim they’re not responsible for the disappearances. People explode, Omnis explode. What’s going on? Well, see, God’s a mad scientist, and . . . . There have been bigger publishing disasters but not many. Somebody at Ace should have scotched this wretched farrago while it was still just a gleam in the author’s eye.