Book Review: Camouflage by Joe Haldeman

Book Title: Camouflage | Author: Joe Haldeman | Genre: Science Fiction | Call Number: PS3558.A353 C36 2004 (Shelved in the Recent Fiction Collection in Briggs Library)

Millions of years ago, the Changeling came to Earth from a group of stars 10,000 light years distant. It had the ability to change itself into any species of life and imitate not only the appearance but also the physiology of the species. It spent thousands of years as microscopic organisms in the sea where it landed and left its ship. It spent thousands of years as other sea creatures including killer sharks and whales. In 1931 it crawled out of the sea near San Quillermo California and encountered a human, who it killed and assumed his identity. It was fascinated by humans and learned quickly about them, and over the years, it lived as both men and women. It served in the Army and was good at killing, but it also earned several college degrees including several PhDs. It lost track of its ship and forgot about where it was from. However, it knew it was different and sought information about its origin. Meanwhile in 2019 a salvage company discovers a strange artifact that had been buried deep beneath the ocean floor. Although not large, its mass was inexplicable. A team of scientists is assembled to study the artifact, but it proves to be impenetrable. The Chameleon was another alien (a different species) who had lived on Earth for millions of years. It could also imitate the appearance of other species but not as easily as the Changeling. The two creatures did not know of the existence of each other, but they were constantly searching for other beings like them. The Chameleon was not really interested in humans, except to exploit them and kill them. Both the Changeling and the Chameleon were drawn to the site where the unknown artifact is being examined. The Changeling in the guise of a woman scientist lands a job with the project and develops a relationship with one of the lead scientists. The inevitable confrontation between the Changeling and the Chameleon, along with the love affair between the Changeling and the scientist, creates a very exciting and satisfying ending. This well-deserved Nebula Award winner is another very interesting novel by Joe Haldeman. – Reviewed by: Newt 

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