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Joe Haldeman

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
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Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Work Done For Hire (Excerpt)

, || Wounded in combat and honorably discharged nine years ago, Jack Daley still suffers nightmares from when he served his country as a sniper, racking up sixteen confirmed kills. Now a struggling author, Jack accepts an offer to write a near-future novel about a serial killer, based on a Hollywood script outline. It's an opportunity to build his writing career, and a future with his girlfriend, Kit Majors. But Jack's other talent is also in demand. A package arrives on his doorstep containing a sniper rifle, complete with silencer and ammunition?and the first installment of a $100,000 payment to kill a ?bad man." The twisted offer is genuine. The people behind it are dangerous. They prove that they have Jack under surveillance. He can't run. He can't hide. And if he doesn't take the job, Kit will be in the crosshairs instead.

Work Done For Hire (Excerpt)

Check out Work Done For Hire by Joe Haldeman, avaialble January 7th 2014 from Ace Hardcover.

Wounded in combat and honorably discharged nine years ago, Jack Daley still suffers nightmares from when he served his country as a sniper, racking up sixteen confirmed kills. Now a struggling author, Jack accepts an offer to write a near-future novel about a serial killer, based on a Hollywood script outline. It’s an opportunity to build his writing career, and a future with his girlfriend, Kit Majors.

But Jack’s other talent is also in demand. A package arrives on his doorstep containing a sniper rifle, complete with silencer and ammunition—and the first installment of a $100,000 payment to kill a “bad man.” The twisted offer is genuine. The people behind it are dangerous. They prove that they have Jack under surveillance. He can’t run. He can’t hide. And if he doesn’t take the job, Kit will be in the crosshairs instead.

[Read an Excerpt]

On July 20th, 1969…by Joe Haldeman

No good deed goes unpunished. I missed the moon landing by being nice to a stranger.

Gay and I were spending the summer (my first since returning from Vietnam) in Guadalajara, Mexico. We’d taken a long weekend to go enjoy the beach at San Patricio, a fishing village.

We planned to get back to Guadalajara long before the Apollo landing. But they moved the landing up by several hours—and there was no way for us to know! San Patricio is in the shadow of the mountains, and couldn’t receive any radio or television.

So we got back to Guadalajara with only minutes to spare, but I didn’t know that. I dropped Gay off at the house where we were staying, and then drove across town to take an American hitchhiker home.

So she saw the landing, but I had to watch the re-runs. Which were pretty interesting; American video with Mexican audio. I saw Walter Cronkite looking really serious while the sound track went “¡Tequila Sauza est tequila mas fina!”


Joe Haldeman is an American science fiction author, perhaps best known for his novel The Forever War. His work has received many awards, among them five Hugos, five Nebulas, and a Campbell award.

Series: Moon Landing Day

Museum Trips

We spent a couple of interesting days in San Francisco last week, and I experienced two odd coincidences linking my writing with museums…

Yesterday we went out to Golden Gate Park and walked through the Japanese Tea Garden.  Had a pot of tea and sketched a splashy watercolor (see left) in a little Moleskine notebook I carry for quickies.

 

We had lunch at the de Young art museum, and went in to view various things, primitive and modern.  Some striking—but none more so than a clunky assemblage that seems to come straight from my novella “For White Hill.”  Here’s the description in the story—

Inspiration is where you find it. We’d played with an orrery in the museum in Rome, a miniature solar system that had been built of clockwork centuries before the Information Age. There was a wistful, humorous, kind of comfort in its jerky regularity.

My mental processes always turn things inside out.  Find the terror and hopelessness in that comfort. I had in mind a massive but delicately balanced assemblage that would be viewed by small groups; their presence would cause it to teeter and turn ponderously. It would seem both fragile and huge (though of course the fragility would be an illusion), like the ecosystem that the Fwndyri so abruptly destroyed.

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On Updike

John Updike died on Tuesday. I liked a lot of his writing, especially the zany The Centaur. He could have been one of us fabulists, if fame and fortune hadn’t pulled him away. He said a simple and wise thing:

“The artist brings something into the world that didn’t exist before, and he does it without destroying something else.”

Of course political art—not always a contradiction in terms—can destroy institutions, or eat away at them. Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Guernica.

It’s fair to say that white America wouldn’t have elected an African-American president without the integrating effect of black music, from Louis Armstrong to hip-hop, and black drama and fiction, commercial as much as “serious.”

(Genre people are always wrestling with that word, because it’s a shorthand antonym for “commercial.” So what do you call commercial work that has serious consequences? Effective, I guess.)

When I first started working at MIT, back in the 80s, our writing department had a joint cocktail party with the Harvard writing department. It was kind of oil-and-water. One exchange stands out in my memory. A Harvard professor had said something dismissive about science fiction, and a colleague reminded her that she had taught The Left Hand of Darkness.

“That’s true,” she explained patiently, “but that’s not science fiction. It’s literature.”

So I went home and wrote about flying squids.