Find This Scifi Book
December 19, 2003 7:00 PM   Subscribe

This is yet another "what was this book" question. It's a sci-fi book. [More inside...]

I read this about 10 years ago from a library. It was probably published in the late '80s. It had a goofy painted cover.

It started with a group of friends who decided to become soldiers for hire, by allowing themselves to be frozen for the next 50? years to be used as members of the reserves. When they come out they have a nice amount of money, but feel out of place. So they sign up again.

Eventually they are no longer frozen, but are dehydrated and reconstituted with water? Hundreds of years past that they are able to be cloned and no longer have any say in quitting. Everyone can now cloned, and the rich no longer fear death. The main character eventually locates the central database where his makeup is stored and destroys it, once again allowing individuals to exist.

If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear from you. Thanks!
posted by the biscuit man to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
 
Wow, this is a hard one.

This sounds like a weird combination of Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War" and "There is No Darkness", Larry Niven's Future History, and the original Batman movie from the sixties.

I've been looking through various headings in John Clute and Peter Nicholls' Encyclopedia of Science Fiction - a hugely valuable resource for anyone who is interested in Science Fiction - but I can't find anything.

I'm going to keep looking around, but my best advice for now is this: try to find anthologies of Science Fiction stories that are about war.

Joe Haldeman edited a couple, and I think that there are a few by Jerry Pournelle and Fred Saberhagen also. Read the short stories in them. You may come across someone writing in a tone that you find familiar, and this may lead you to your book.
posted by interrobang at 9:29 PM on December 19, 2003


Do any of these books look familiar?

You may also want to check out their military section as well.

Tough question. Do you remember anything else about the book?
posted by cup at 10:14 PM on December 19, 2003


Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War"

Oooo, good call. There was also a short story (whose author I don't recall) called "The Million-Dollar Wound" about a war in which injured soldiers could be almost infinitely repaired (much to their dismay). I can't think of one that fits all the characteristics you mention, though.
posted by j.edwards at 11:36 PM on December 19, 2003


No help on the correct title, but it absolutely is not The Forever War. The time travel effect in the Haldeman work is due to the relativistic effects of near lightspeed space travel, and the protagonist was emphatically not a volunteer, at least not at first. Good book, though I prefer Mindbridge or Worlds, but that's not what you wanted to know, was it?
posted by mojohand at 11:17 AM on December 20, 2003


Thanks for the input. I'll take a look around at SciFan. The Forever War sounds interesting, even if it's not the one I'm after. I'll definitely take a look at it.

I remember reading it when I was about 13. It was off on the adult side of the library on their scifi shelves. I even spent a day there looking for that book, a few years after having read it. I doubt that it was that good, but the premise seems to have always stuck with me. I guess I read it at a formative time.

The narrator talked about the memory of their own horrible deaths being erased when they were re-cloned. That made it easier for their fellow soldiers to finish them when all that was left was their torso. However the other soldier was left the memory of having done it. I think the narrator escaped from the military, and is hiding when he finds out that everyone can also be cloned. I don't remember if he find a woman who works there or knows where it all is stored, but she takes him to it and he destroys it I think killing himself in the process. I can't remember much else about it.

Thanks again!
posted by the biscuit man at 12:54 PM on December 20, 2003


Forever War is one of the best science fiction books ever written. It has frightening action as well as hard sci fi exploration of effects of future technologies like FTL. But really it's about using sci fi as a vehicle to explore a contemporary issue, in this case the Vietnam War and the experience of returning to civil society as a veteran.

No offence, but from the plot summary you posted I'm guessing that it is a much much better book than the one you're trying to find again. Perhaps you should let your fond memory of it from years past stand. :-)
posted by Voivod at 1:51 PM on December 20, 2003


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