A young man must fight—literally—for the opportunity to escape his backwater home planet and journey to the stars.
A towering young giant growing up on a high-gravity world of perilous plants and savage creatures, Carl Bok is thrilled when he’s offered a one-year scholarship to Starschool. As a new student aboard the space-traveling institution, Carl will get the opportunity to visit and learn from sixteen colonized worlds. Best of all, he’ll finally escape the dangerous and grueling life of his home planet.
A poor “country boy” cast among rich children of privilege, Carl perseveres as he and his classmates prepare to rocket from world to world. While he’s still on Earth, however, an unexpected and desperate need for funds forces him to become a professional fighter, a job that well suits his massive size and experience.
Carl hopes to earn the money he needs to continue with Starschool by battling a slew of human and bestial adversaries for the entertainment of others. But there are forces behind the scenes with an alien agenda that Carl can neither see nor comprehend—as he and a cadre of young companions undertake an educational odyssey that carries them from Earth to the astonishing artificial planet Construct to a war-torn world called Hell.
A Science Fiction Grand Master, the acclaimed author of The Forever War, and the winner of numerous awards including the Hugo and Nebula, Joe Haldeman collaborated with his brother, biologist and science fiction writer Jack C. Haldeman II, to create this gripping tale of a young man’s self-discovery and remarkable intergalactic adventures.
About the author
Joe Haldeman began his writing career while he was still in the army. Drafted in 1967, he fought in the Central Highlands of Vietnam as a combat engineer with the Fourth Division. He was awarded several medals, including a Purple Heart.
Haldeman sold his first story in 1969 and has since written over two dozen novels and five collections of short stories and poetry. He has won the Nebula and Hugo Awards for his novels, novellas, poems, and short stories, as well as the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the Locus Award, the Rhysling Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. His works include The Forever War, Forever Peace, Camouflage, 1968, the Worlds saga, and the Marsbound series.
Haldeman recently retired after many years as an associate professor in the Department of Writing and Humanistic Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He and his wife, Gay, live in Florida, where he also paints, plays the guitar, rides his bicycle, and studies the skies with his telescope.
Jack C. Haldeman II studied environmental engineering and biology and received his degree from Johns Hopkins University. His scientific career included work in parasitology, field studies of whales in the Canadian Arctic, and study of the greenhouse effect. The tapeworm Hymenolepis haldemani was named after him.
The older brother of science fiction author Joe Haldeman, Jack Haldeman wrote five novels and published more than seventy-five short stories. “High Steel,” which he wrote with Jack Dann, was a Nebula Award finalist; it was later expanded to novel length.
Haldeman died of cancer in 2002 in his home of many years, Gainesville, Florida.
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