Not a sequel to Haldeman's 1974 masterpiece, The Forever War, though the concepts and issues inevitably are similar. In 2043, the US-led Alliance is fighting a prolonged and dirty war against the third-world force of Ngumi, or ``rebels.'' ``Mechanic'' sergeant Julian Class, a black soldier fighting for a predominantly white establishment, cyberlinks via a jack implanted in his skull to a robot ``soldierboy'' body—and to the other members of his platoon. The result is full, instant telepathy, in which secrets are impossible. Meanwhile, Julian's white lover, professor Amelia Harding, discovers that a particle accelerator experiment being assembled near Jupiter could destroy the entire universe. Then a colleague of Julian's, the military researcher Marty Larrin, reveals that prolonged cyberlinking ``humanizes'' people, that is, renders them incapable of killing. Julian, a near-pacifist, agrees to help Marty humanize all the military's bigwigs while he and Amelia attempt to halt the accelerator project. Trouble is, the Alliance armies are riddled with ruthless religious-fanatic Hammer of God moles, who think that the end of the universe would be a splendid idea. Hardworking, often absorbing, and agreeably narrated, but the hard-to-fathom plot rubs uneasily against the chaotic and not altogether convincing backdrop. Read full book review >
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