Haldeman, Jack C, II

Tagged: Author

(1941-2002) US author who began publishing sf with "Garden of Eden" for Fantastic in December 1971. His fifty or so stories tend to avoid the more serious Space-Opera themes, sticking generally to Games-and-Sports tales about Robot football players, precognitive Stars, and the like. His first novel, Vector Analysis (1978), sets problems in space and sees them solved. His second, Perry's Planet (1980), is a Star Trek tie, and his third, with his wife Vol Haldeman and Andrew J Offutt, all signing as John Cleve, is Spaceways #11: The Iceworld Connection (1983). There is No Darkness (fixup 1983) with his brother Joe Haldeman, amusedly pits a hick from the hinterlands of a colony planet against some interstellar difficulties, leading picaresquely to the saving of the Universe. Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of the Zombie Vampires (1991) with Harry Harrison is slapstick. But not all Haldeman's work has been determinedly light; some of his earlier stories – like "Songs of Dying Swans" (in Stellar #2, anth 1976, ed Judy-Lynn del Rey), about the death of some genetically altered humans – show genuine aesthetic skills, a sense of bluff cunning which came more and more to the fore in the 1980s. He remained perhaps most at ease in collaborations; his contributions to Slow Dancing Through Time (coll 1990), an assembly of stories written by various authors in collaboration with Gardner Dozois, are among his best work. Haldeman's last book, Echoes of Thunder (1991 chap dos; much exp vt High Steel 1993) with Jack Dann, is his best: Jack Stranger, a Native American Indian with an uncanny multi-dimensional sense of direction, is initially seen at work constructing a Space Habitat; but the full novel expands – while touring the tropes of sf and the solar system in an inspired zeugma – toward pyrotechnical Transcendence. [JC]

see also: Mathematics; Stardate.

Jack Carroll Haldeman II

born Hopkinsville, Kentucky: 18 December 1941

died Gainesville, Florida: 1 January 2002

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