cover image The Best of Joe Haldeman

The Best of Joe Haldeman

Edited by Jonathan Strahan. Subterranean (www.subterraneanpress.com), $45 (504p

Demonstrating that the hard-to-market novella is perfect for science fiction, this collection of 19 stories by SFWA Grand Master Haldeman (Earthbound) features several tales that bring out his ability to wrap hard science speculation with deep human feeling. “Seasons,” an experiment in multiple viewpoints, uses biology to trump anthropology, as human observers on a primitive world race to escape a cyclical sacrificial rite. “The Hemingway Hoax” (winner of the 1990 Hugo and Nebula Awards) braids a looped-time narrative that binds up an academic, a transdimensional time guardian, and Hemingway’s legendary lost manuscripts. With equal facility at lesser lengths, Haldeman spins a taut story of haunted military morticians (“Graves”) and a short-short of a virtual penal system that shows how the most escape-proof prison lies inside one’s imagination (“Complete Sentence”). Fans of his novels will enjoy seeing the early works that inspired his classic The Forever War (“Hero”) and his Heinlein-inflected Marsbound series (“The Mars Girl”). (Apr.)