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Vintage Treasures: Infinite Dreams by Joe Haldeman

Sunday, May 5th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

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Cover by Clyde Caldwell

Joe Haldeman is chiefly known for his Hugo and Nebula award-winning novels, including The Forever War (1974), Forever Peace (1997), and Camouflage (2004). But he’s equally adept at shorter length, and in fact has been nominated for many major awards for his short fiction, including the novellas “Hero” and “The Hemingway Hoax,” and the stories “Tricentennial,” “Graves,” “None So Blind,” and “Four Short novels.”

Over the years I’ve hunted down several of his collections, including Dealing in Futures (1985), A Separate War and Other Stories (2006), and the huge retrospective volume from Subterranean Press, The Best of Joe Haldeman (2013). But I only recently became aware of his first collection Infinite Dreams, published in paperback by Avon in 1979 with a cover by popular TSR artist Clyde Caldwell.

Infinite Dreams gathers much of the best of his early short fiction, published 1972 – 1977 in magazines like Analog, Galaxy, F&SF and Cosmos, and anthologies like Damon Knight’s Orbit 11, and Kirby McCauley’s Frights. It contains “To Howard Hughes: A Modest Proposal,” “The Private War of Private Jacob,” “The Mazel Tov Revolution,” and his Hugo and Locus Award winner “Tricentennial.”

[Click the images for infinite-sized versions.]

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Futura edition (1981, UK); cover by Peter Jones

When it first appeared in 1978, Kirkus Reviews gave it a fine notice, saying:

Haldeman, one of the more interesting younger science-fiction novelists… is also a short-story writer of brisk ability. Whether he is dealing with a nuclear blackmail of nuclear powers, an attempt at personality-reconstruction through “”overlay therapy,”” or a computer trying to stymie a gypsy curse, he breezes through the narrative with an effortlessly appropriate pacing which convinces you that you are confronting an idea rather than a gimmick… There is much to admire, nonetheless, in the deftly juggled chills of””Armajas Das”” (the gypsy-curse number), the neat wrinkle on the soldier-as-automaton metaphor in “”The Private War of Private Jacob,”” and the witty account of a hapless “”Balt-Washmond”” citizen drafted into the municipal computer-system as a cyborg component (“”Juryrigged””). Fluent craftsmanship, with tantalizing hints of something more.

Here’s the complete Table of Contents.

“Counterpoint” (Orbit 11, 1972)
“Anniversary Project” (Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, October 1975)
“The Mazel Tov Revolution” (Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, September 1974)
“To Howard Hughes: A Modest Proposal” (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November 1974)
“A Mind of His Own” (Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, February 1974)
“All the Universe in a Mason Jar” (Cosmos Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine, September 1977)
“The Private War of Private Jacob” (Galaxy, June 1974)
“A Time to Live” (Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, May 1977)
“Juryrigged” (Vertex: The Magazine of Science Fiction, October 1974)
“Summer’s Lease” (Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, October 1974)
“26 Days, on Earth” (Galaxy Magazine, November-December 1972)
“Armaja Das” (Frights, 1976)
“Tricentennial” (Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, July 1976) — Nebula nominee, Hugo and Locus Award winner
Afterword by Joe Haldeman

Infinite Dreams was first published in hardcover by St. Martin’s Press in November 1978, and reprinted in paperback by Avon in October 1979. The Avon edition is 224 pages, priced at $2.25; the cover is by Clyde Caldwell. I bought an unread copy online for $7 last March.

Our previous coverage of Joe Haldeman includes:

Birthday Reviews: Joe Haldeman’s “Blood Brothers” by Steven H Silver
Study War No More, edited by Joe Haldeman
Tor.com on Abandoned Earths and Inhospitable Planets:
“Hey Look, It’s Joe Haldeman!”: A First-Time Convention-Goer Looks at World Fantasy 2010 by Ryan Harvey

See all our recent Vintage Treasures here.

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