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Guardian
 
 

Guardian [Kindle Edition]

Joe Haldeman
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Uprooted from her Southern home during the Civil War, Rosa Coleman settles in Philadelphia with a husband whose compassion quickly turns to cruelty. But when that cruelty is inflicted upon their only son, she picks up and flees with the boy across the uncivilized Western frontier - and into Alaska to start anew among the region's gold fields.



But even the harsh journey across America has not prepared Rosa for the infinite possibilities that await her. Something not of this world has approached her. It has revealed the universe's secrets to her. And it will take her on an extraordinary odyssey as she discovers the role she must play in bringing peace to Earth...

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 287 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gateway (14 Dec 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AES06Z2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #345,451 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Joe Haldeman was born in Oklahoma in 1943 and studied physics and astronomy before serving as a combat engineer in Vietnam, where he was severely wounded and won a Purple Heart. The Forever War was his first SF novel and it won both the Hugo and Nebula awards, a feat which The Forever Peace repeated. He is also the author of, among others, Mindbridge, All My Sins Remembered, Worlds, Worlds Apart and Worlds Enough and Time.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not classic 5 Jun 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Always a pessimistic writer, Haldeman creates a rustic late nineteenth century yarn and then lobs in a homage to Olaf Stapledon's Starmaker and makes everything better, or at least different.... Not a patch on the Forever War or All My Sins Remembered, it proceeds better than Worlds Enough and Time or Forever Peace, and does not leave you disappointed. If you are new to Haldeman, stick with the classics first.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't trust Ravens 14 Mar 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a fan of J.H. mostly, but provided you don't expect too much from this novel you won't be disappointed.It starts off with a very realistic and detailed (you feel there) backdrop.It leads to :- here you have to form your own opinion.All I will say it is not what you expect.Not profound but as a light read on a sunday afternoon on a sunlounger with a beer in your hand, enjoyable.
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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good historical fiction; a bit thin on the science fiction 30 Dec 2002
By W Boudville - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It is difficult to imagine that the author of this also wrote the Forever War. Though it has been over 25 years between the two. Nonetheless, the latter is exemplary hard military science fiction. But what about this book?
Its descriptions, told in the first person, of the late nineteenth century in the United States, are wonderfully done. They span the Civil War to the Alaskan gold rush. Reconstruction and the Gilded Age. But unlike say Jack Finney's "Time and Again", there is little intrigue here. Rather, we see society through the eyes of a single woman trying to raise her son. The constraints and norms it imposes on her seem so confining to us, but she describes them matter-of-factly, which deliberately adds to the dissonance that the author intends between the subject's experiences and ours.
Read this if you want some understanding of what it meant to be female and not wealthy or powerful in that United States.
Ah, but what about the SCIENCE fiction? A little sparse. Such as it is appears only in the last quarter or less of the book. The first three quarters is straight historical fiction, though within which, the subject keeps alluding to this mysterious thing. Slightly annoying. When it finally does happen, it is rather hokey. Bloody risible, actually. I found it unconvincing and simply not up to the author's standards in his earlier books.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interestingly-offbeat sort-of-SF novel 13 Mar 2003
By Peter D. Tillman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This interestingly-offbeat sort-of-SF novel starts off as a late 19th century memoir, 'as written by' the protag-lady circa 1952. Rosa Coleman moves to Kansas to escape an abusive husband, then moves on to Alaska when the brute find out she's in Dodge City -- a town Haldeman picked, no doubt, with malice aforethought [note 1]. The 'memoir' is well-researched and pretty good, but has no special sfnal frisson until Rosa is led on a galactic fantasy-tour by an Alien Guardian disguised as a Tlingit Raven shaman... [note 2]

It wouldn't be fair to reveal how Raven got involved, so let's just say that many-worlds is the law in this universe, with interesting consequences. Haldeman's writing is as good as ever (a relief after Forever Peace), and the galactic-tourist scenes with Raven and Rosa are as thrilling and strange as the encounters with the weird continuity-guardian in The Hemingway Hoax [note 3] -- high praise indeed.

The spirit-guardian out-of-body trip leader was a pretty common conceit in 19th century proto-sf, and Haldeman specifically identifies a Flammarion novel [note 4] as a parallel work to his. A somewhat similar book, that ordinary readers may have actually read, is Lindsay's Voyage to Arcturus. Personally, I would have preferred more galaxy-touring and less history in Guardian, but I wasn't disappointed with the book at hand. And, at 231 pages, no great time-committment is required. Recommended.

I glanced through the online reviews for Guardian. About a third wanted more history and less SF. Another third wanted more SF, and the rest were happy with Haldeman's chosen mix. Um, Publisher's Review panned it as "odd and unsatisfying". So YMMV.
____________
Note 1). -- town of a thousand bad cliches. Yup, she got the hell out of Dodge...
Haldeman used to live nearby, in Oklahoma (and grew up in Alaska).

Note 2). Raven has roughly the same position in Northwest Coast mythology as Coyote does in the American Southwest, or Loki in Nordic myths.

Note 3). They also make more sense than those HH scenes.

Note 4). You won't be surprised to hear that John Clute has a copy of the Flammarion in his personal library. Ah, it's Lumen, newly-translated by one B. Stableford...

"Haldeman must be commended for his meticulous recreation of period America."
--Paul di Filippo, **CAUTION -- SPOILERS**
[...]

Review copyright 2002 Peter D. Tillman
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing enough to prove hard to put down 8 Mar 2003
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Readers might anticipate a story of an encounter with alien powers from the description - and might be disappointed. In reality this is the story of Rosa, a woman who escapes an abusive husband and journeys across country with her child in post-Civil War days, to make a new life for herself. While the hints of encounters with a world-changing alien lie throughout the story line, it's only in the final third of the account that any science fiction elements shine through. Guardian is still engrossing enough to prove hard to put down, despite its lack of emphasis on the alien experience itself.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book but not typical Haldeman 15 April 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It took a little bit for me to adjust to this book. After all, we like to type cast our authors and we don't expect them to change genres. Of course Haldeman has been peaking into new genres for a while (Hemmingway Hoax and Buying Time come to mind) so I've come to expect new things in each of his novels. However this is a pretty big departure for him. What is it? Well basically it's a really good turn of the century adventure/drama though Haldeman does dabble his toe into the sci-fi waters a bit at the end.
In short this is a novel about a woman's journey with her son across late 1800s America as she flees an abusive husband. That physical journey mirrors here spiritual development as a person, which builds to the surprising twist at the end of the novel that makes it science fiction. So yes, it's a great book, but it is definitely not hard science fiction.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but very "quiet" reading 24 Jun 2005
By Paul Lappen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Written as a memoir, much of this book takes place in 19th Century America. Rosa Coleman was a part of high society in Philadelphia. After witnessing her husband sodomizing Daniel, their young son, she picked him up and fled across uncharted America by train and steamboat. Pinkerton detectives working for her husband were never far behind.

Months later, they found themselves in San Francisco, heading to Alaska to look for gold. Alaska was also as far way from Philadelphia as Rosa and Daniel could go. They were in the company of Doc and Charles, an older man and his son, also looking to strike it rich. Rosa and Doc hit it off, by 19th Century standards, pretty quickly. The only strange thing about Rosa and Daniel's journey was that every so often a raven would come down out of the sky, land in front of them, and squawk the words "No gold" before leaving.

Rosa decided to stay in the town of Sitka, rather than join the men in the Alaskan wilderness. She got a job as a schoolteacher, and met Gordon, part Russian priest and part shaman. They are both there to teach, and hopefully convert, the local Tlingit (native) children. The raven is considered a trickster in many cultures, including Tlingit.

After several months, Rosa received a letter from Charles saying that Doc and Charles were shot and killed in a streetcorner dispute. In a fit of despair, Rosa took out a pistol that she kept for protection, and was prepared to use it on herself. At that moment, a talking raven, part Gordon and part trickster, flew into her cabin and took her on a journey. She visited a planet of man-sized, mobile, intelligent plants. She visited a planet whose sun was stationary in the sky. She visited a devastated Times Square, far in her future. She was turned into a golden eagle, and into a carnivorous dinosaur. Rosa was taught all about alternate universes, and was returned to one where Doc and Daniel were still alive, because they hadn't yet made the trip into the Alaskan wilderness.

This is an excellent novel, but a pretty "quiet" novel. The science fiction doesn't start until about the last quarter of the story. By the end, it gets nice and weird, and will give the reader plenty to consider. Two thumbs up.
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