Camouflage is a science fiction novel by American writer Joe Haldeman. It won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award in and the Nebula Award for Best Novel in A million years prior to the dawn of Homo sapiens , two immortal , shapeshifting aliens roam the Earth with little memory of their origin or their purpose.
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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Camouflage by Joe Haldeman. Camouflage by Joe Haldeman. Two aliens have wandered Earth for centuries.
The Changeling has survived by adapting the forms of many different organisms. The Chameleon destroys anything or anyone that threatens it. Now, a sunken relic that holds the key to their origins calls to them to take them home—but the Chameleon has decided there's only room for one.
Get A Copy. Mass Market Paperback , 1st edition , pages. Published August by Ace first published August More Details Original Title. Award Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Camouflage , please sign up.
Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Camouflage. May 17, Stuart rated it it was ok Shelves: near-future , alien-contact.
Norrell for the Nebula Award in ? It was also made into a major BBC miniseries and received many accolades. In contrast, who remembers Camouflage now? How many people recommend it to friends as a great science-fiction book? I breezed through the audiobook of Camouflage in just 8 hours, and while it was fast-paced and action-packed, it left almost no impression at all.
It is the story of two shapeshifting aliens who have lived on the Earth for millennia: one interested in studying humanity, the other a vicious hunter that thrives on human misery and killing. We have two alternating timelines, showing how these shapeshifters have moved throughout human history, often causing legends of resurrection like Jesus Christ to arise, but always adopting new bodies to remain camouflaged, simply mimicking human behaviors to preserve anonymity.
In the future period set in , Dr. Russell Sutton runs a small engineering firm that handles deep undersea projects. One day Admiral Jack Halliburton walks in with an intriguing proposal — recover a military sub that has gone down in the Tonga trench near Samoa, a project that is code-named Poseidon. It has lots of interesting details about how the two shapeshifters take different approaches to interacting with humanity. We are never really told why the Chameleon is such a one-dimensional sadist — I guess some shapeshifting aliens just are that way.
As the Changeling moves closer to the present timeline it starts to wonder about its own alien origins and SETI projects, etc. Meanwhile, the Chameleon cares little for humanity other than to thrive on killing, death, and misery. Probably the most visceral and emotionally intense part of Camouflage relives the Bataan Death March from the eyes of the Changeling. We see the depravity and inhumanity of man against man.
We also get plenty of thriller action as the story converges in American Samoa, where scientists have raised the alien artifact and are trying their damnedest to break through the impossibly hard exterior. Why is it that humans just want to break into things they should probably leave alone?
I would hate to question their judgement, but I thought the treatment of gender in Camouflage was fairly superficial and mainly an excuse for explicit sexual encounters between the Changeling and regular humans.
So is Haldeman suggesting that of the two genders women are less aggressive and more thoughtful? Sutton, who we are told is well known to be a pushover for attractive women.
In the end, if Camouflage were a first novel written by an unknown author and not by Joe Haldeman, renowned SFWA Grand Master, Science Fiction Hall of Fame member, and multiple Hugo and Nebula Award winner, not only would it not have won the Nebula Award, it may well have made the rounds of publisher rejections as so many books do.
There are far better books in the science-fiction genre more deserving of the Nebula Award than this. View all 7 comments. Apr 26, Robert rated it liked it Shelves: sf. What makes you human? SF writers have been exploring this question for a long time. One approach has been to use an android - said machine goes on a lengthy quest to emulate its "superior" human creators.
Generally, the android starts out more or less niave and incomprehending of human nature and gradually learns to emulate humans more accurately. Emotion and death seem to be characteristi What makes you human? Emotion and death seem to be characteristics singled out as definining humanity. Well, that's been done before, so why not do it with aliens instead? In fact, let's have two aliens that try to hide amongst the Earthlings and contrast how that affects them.
These aliens are not the same species as each other but they both turn out to be physically much more robust than life from Earth in general, so they survive through a looooong time on our planet and see many changes.
Both are looking for others who are also not local The story is diverting enough and easy to read. I feel that I should have guessed how the ending would play out but I didn't. A competent but not greatly remarkable book. View all 3 comments. Jul 05, Dawn C rated it it was amazing Shelves: loved , media-audible.
This was completely brilliant, engaging and thrilling! I love stories with a narrow, character-based focus, and following two non-human life forms as they stumble across time and land, learning all that is good and bad about humanity, was highly fascinating. The two beings clowly narrow in on each other, without their knowledge, being drawn to the same old artifact found in the ocean, each with their own perspective and focus.
Nov 07, Scott rated it liked it Shelves: science-fiction. As always, Haldeman delivers a pacy, interesting and thoughtful story. Two immortal, shapeshifting beings journey through time in very different ways, experiencing human life and searching for others like them. I've always liked Haldeman's characters and his deft portrayals of war so I found this an enjoyable, if fairly brief read. The story is let down a little however by the sudden and in my opinion, rushed ending, and a rather rapid and unconvincing romance that is a key part of the narrati As always, Haldeman delivers a pacy, interesting and thoughtful story.
The story is let down a little however by the sudden and in my opinion, rushed ending, and a rather rapid and unconvincing romance that is a key part of the narrative.
Both felt like they could have used a few more pages to be fully fleshed out. Dec 10, Lionel rated it really liked it. The story visits mostly briefly several bloodthirsty episodes from Earth's history and includes a longer episode from World War 2 the general anti-war position probably results from Haldeman's own experiences in Viet Nam and then moves on to a nicely-paced love story as the end approaches - nicely paced for someone who doesn't normally other with Romance or porn - this has just a hint of both, enough to add a trace of spice without getting it labelled as either Romance or Porn - nice balance!
An excellent read after the rather familiar concepts in the opening chapters and highly recommended for anyone who appreciates Haldeman's other work. Those opening chapters mean I can't give 5 stars - but this is a very comfortable Apr 13, Greg Strandberg rated it it was amazing Shelves: science-fiction , favorites.
I absolutely loved this book and read it in just one day. It's a pretty quick read for a couple reasons. First , the story just pulls you in. Second , the writing is great. Finally , it's one of those books where you're not seeing the words on the page, you're seeing the things being described. I love reading Haldeman's books and I really should read this one again. The alien was great, had feelings, and changed. I can still remember some of those earlier incarnations in the '50s or so where 'she' m I absolutely loved this book and read it in just one day.
Russell Sutton owns a small but expert marine research company. Seven miles down, at the bottom of an oceanic trench, reposes a small, metallic, impenetrable object. Russ and Jack soon join forces and raise it. On a site in Samoa, they attempt to probe its secrets, but the superdense, superheavy object proves impervious.
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