Denser than any substance known to man, it has broken every drill bit they've tried on it and will not budge an inch. It resists every effort to breach it - or communicate with it. So the government turns to marine biologist Russell Sutton for help.
Meanwhile, unknown to any of them, two creatures have wandered the earth for generations. The aliens have no knowledge of each other, but possess a residual memory of the artifact - and an affinity for deep water. One, which calls itself the changeling, has survived by adaptation, by taking on many different forms: man, woman, snake, shark. The other, which calls itself the chameleon, has survived solely by destroying anything or anyone that threatens it.
Now, finally brought up from the bottom of the sea, the artifact calls to them both...to come home. For all these generations there have been two invincible creatures on Earth. But the chameleon has decided there's only room for one.
A novel of human and inhuman nature, Camouflage will take you to the depths of the sea, to the limit of man's imagination - and beyond.
©2005 Joe Haldeman; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
Nebula Award, Best Novel, 2005
"Haldeman trips through history wearing alien goggles but his message is all about human nature." (Entertainment Weekly)
An extremely intelligent thriller." (Washington Post)
Humanization of changeling
The changeling went through many lives before it discovered what love is. It, the changeling, began the story by killing a human as it came out of the sea, where it had been living as a great white shark, a killer whale, and other denizens of the deep for a million years. It was immortal and unkillable but vulnerable. It could be seriously injured, but its nature was immortality.It spent so much time roaming the oceans that it had forgotten its past and didn’t know where it came from.After killing its first human and taking over the persona of its victim, it began learning the meaning of being a human. At one point, it had a graphic sexual encounter with its nurse, then injured another woman while attempting forced anal intercourse, and then took an active part in a homosexual incident. Later, it decided to carry on as a woman.Finally, while trying to uncovered the mystery of a million-year-old relic that had amazing physical properties, it befriended a man while it was in the guise of a woman, and fell in love.
Reading Fantasy and SCI-FI on audible.
This book is one of those where you will have to suspend your beliefs to enjoy it. The idea of two immortals that end up on earth a very long time ago and as humanity evolves decides to partake in society (one brutal, one less so) and how the two entities find each other....an engaging story. Its sort of disturbing that you know that the humans can do nothing about the situation - only the two entities. It leaves you feeling a bit helpless.
But I liked the story. It is a quick read will keep you entertained.
I like how the story was written... it did jump around a little more than your typical sci-fi book, but nothing to bad and actually made the story a bit better to listen to. Towards the end you kind of figure out how it is going to end though. Which for me was a bit of a let down.
I really can't think of a different book to compare this to... it's kind of got it's own flavor that you really can't quite figure out.
Not really... but it takes quite a lot for me to want to listen to a book all in one sitting.
This was an excellent book, keeping me riveted right up until the final 10 minutes or so of the recording. I might describe the story as a mash-up between "Forrest Gump", "Contact", and "Rendezous With Rama", if you can imagine that. Right up until the final scene, I could hardly put it down! Unfortunately, the book turns very cliche at the end. I would have given it 5 stars without hesitation if not for the ending. Without giving anything away, I felt it was very "Disney-esque", with a little "Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull" thrown in (if you hated the way that movie ended, you might feel the same about this ending). Everything is resolved WAY too quickly, with a heavy dose of deus ex machina. I do recommend it, just because it's such an enjoyable ride, but in my opinion the author just got lazy at the end. It could have been much better.
The "artifact" is little more than a side show in this book. It does little more than exist until the not so exciting conclusion. The only excitement this book delivers, notwithstanding the obligatory half dozen wham-bam-thank-you-mam sex scenes, the gratuitous violence, the travel log to near and distant places, and a short history of the late 20 the century, comes into focus about half way through the book. At this point, it is hinted that there might be a clash of two non-related, super humans. What the clash may or may not be about or what the winner would win is never actually developed because the usual pattern of three clashes is condensed to one quick skirmish of the super humans. Then, just when the long expected clash is finally at hand one of the super human realizes that the parking meter on their spacecraft (AKA the artifact) has expired.
Stop everything! So sorry, we are out of quarters, we'll have to finish this fight at home. Goodbye.
The narration was professional, which is more than I can say for Camouflage by Joe Haldeman.
Avid audiobook addict!
Excellent writing, very thought provoking. The best science fiction audiobook I've ever downloaded!
"I'll be a story in your head, but that's OK. We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? The Doctor
Yes! Different than any other story I've read in a long time.
I like the Changeling and his mission to understand and become more human. I wish I could hear more about his "adventures". I liked the way it was studied and was interested in why people and groups of people act the way they do was very intriguing story line. The Bataan Death March section was the most interesting. It seeing and wanting to understand why the Japanese treated the Service Men the way they did, but also concluding that he never again wanted to kill indiscriminately.I also liked the contrast of the Chameleon. However, I wish we could have delved deeper into his story so we could see more of his beginnings.
I though he did a great job.
Yes. In fact I was sad when I had to get out of my car. I even listened at lunch.
This isn't my first Haldeman; if it had been I probably would not do another. However, his Forever War is amazing and I hope that this book is just an outlier.
The love story toward the end was entirely unconvincing. I don't think it fit, but if Haldeman really wanted to have it he should have spent more time showing an evolution to make it possible and more time giving it grounding in true emotion.
Haldeman starts with an intriguing premise and, for a large portion of the book, delivers on it. The idea is that there are two extraterrestrials on the planet, though we spend a lot more time with one called "The Changeling" than we do with the other, called "The Chameleon." As a third line of plot, meant to take place in the near future just as the two alien storylines are followed in flashback to the past, we have humans discovering an artifact buried in the ocean. The artifact quickly reveals itself to be a technological feat outside of current human understanding.
From this premise, we get brief vignettes from each alien as they move through time, as well as a near future storyline as scientists try to divine the nature of the artifact. The Changeling spends millenia in the sea as various sea creatures before discovering humans and taking human form. The Chameleon appears to have always been some form of human, but capable of changing appearnce in an instance. The book is most interesting when it follows the Changeling and lets us see humanity through its eyes. The book remains engaging when it shows the Chameleon, clearly an apex predator with what humans would identify as psychopathy, maneuvering through human wars and atrocities, drawn to them for their violence. The book is least interesting in the near future storyline, but still passable. However, the book jumps the shark (a pun I most definitely intend, given that the Changeling used that form for thousands of years) toward the end and takes a promising SF tale of first contact and human nature seen from another perspective and turns it into a lackluster love story. The love story feels alien (pun also intended) and Haldeman makes this worse by not giving the reader any reason to believe in it - it is rushed and pat and unconvincing. The eventual climactic scene feels sudden and the final resolution cliched. In the end, I found the book disappointing, its promise consumed by a tacked on and out of place ending.
I loved the concept presented of what the changeling is, what it can do, and hearing *some* of its journey to understand humanity. However, the details into its journey were very tedious at times, going into far too much detail without much actually happening in terms of the overall story. I felt that the author hooks the readers on the questions of "Where did the Changeling come from?" and "What is it?" and we keep listening for hours to find out the answers. Then, when they are finally all revealed, it is a mere five minutes at the very end. The listeners don't really find out much that we didn't already know (it's more the characters finding out) and other questions, such as where the Chameleon came from, how it got here and what it is were completely omitted. I wish he had spent several hours less narrating all the gory details of war and sex and another solid hour explaining in greater depth about the two aliens. I felt very short-changed with the ending -- too short and far to neat and tidy. Aren't there editors at work out there to tell the author to go back and fix such issues before sending a book onto publishing??
I thought the narrator did an excellent job in both his performance and creating different voices without resorting to the horridly annoying tactic of relying on gaudy exaggerated foreign accents to distinguish characters. Great job on the narration!
I have been reading Haldeman for decades and most of his work is marvellous. This book has all those marvellous elements but does tend to lose you now and again, so I had trouble concentrating at times.
You don't compare Haldeman to anyone, you compare others to him if you must play such a game.
I want to say one, but at the same time it was also the one who annoyed me just as much. Find out for yourself, it is certainly an interesting adventure.
Not a happy as I usually am with his books, but at the same time I am damn well pleased I did read it - another master writer.
One of the better books I have read in the last two years, some will find it tedious, and some will find it adventurous. Either way, it is good.
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