Author: prog002

Mental health is always on the top when it comes to talking about the perfect lifestyle. But still, there are lots of things unknown in this context and people wanted to know more and more about it. Many things are still in a debate like increasing the social network and other criteria for living a balanced life with perfect mental health.

You must have heard the fact that some people do suffer from mental disorders and take heavy medications to get rid of it. But it is most important to know the fact that living the perfect life is also related to your routine habits. To live with a perfect mental health there are some positive changes that you should make in your life.

Medicine and drugs

Many types of medicines are not safe for us when they are taken without prescriptions of the doctor. Thus you should analysis about them well and know every single aspect of them before starting them. No doubt that under the strict supervision of the doctor and preplanned circumstances those medicines will be working like a wonder for you and you will be able to get full benefits from them.

Active routine life

It is commonly seen that people who are living a lazy lifestyle have more risk to mental disorders and other problems. They can face the problem of anxiety, despair, negative thoughts and depression. On the other hand, people who are active in their life can have more fun and entertainment. Thus you should stay active most of the time and be on the top of your self-confidence.

Meditation

No doubt that our mental health is very important for leading a happy and healthy life. This can be maintained by the meditation. In the starting, you may find a bit difficult to focus but later when you will start receiving the huge benefits, you will certainly admire it. Physical exercise is compulsory for our body and meditation give our mind relaxation and you can think and behave in a more appropriate manner. Thus you should spend quality of time on the meditation.

Smoking and drinking

Smoking and drinking can put serious harm to our brain and nervous system. Smoking put a serious impact on the other parts of the body as well which can reduce your working stamina and capacity. In the same manner, due to excessive use of alcohol in your life, you may get several mental disorders. Thus you should avoid them as much as you can to get the perfect mental health.

Maintaining mental health is also compulsory to live a prosperous life. But this depends on some factors by which you can maintain the healthy and happy life. Mental health should be maintained properly here in this context by everyone. There are some particular points that you can take into your consideration.

Talk about your emotions and feelings

Talking is very important when you are thinking about the perfect mental health. By taking you should express your feelings and emotions. By telling about your feelings and emotions, you will feel really great and will be able to stay natural and healthy. On the other hand, when you are not able to tell about your hearty feelings you will feel suffocated.

Stay active all the time

Exercise and other physical activities are great when you are willing to improve your confidence. You should try your best to stay active all the time. Taking part in the physical activities can give you a good workout and help you to maintain your health without any obstacle. Exercise can also provide you with many mental health benefits.

Take proper diet

Omega 3 and potassium are very beneficial for mental health. You should also make sure that you are taking enough nutrients and vitamins in your diet. Right, and healthy food habits also put a correct impact on mental health. Thus you should try your best to maintain perfect health by keeping your diet balanced.

Drink enough water

Water is essential for mental health. Our mind is made up from the water and thus you should keep your body hydrated with the water to make sure that your mind is working properly. You should also avoid the hard drinks in excessive quantity because they can dehydrate your body very fast.

Stay in touch with society

Staying in touch with the society will give you moral support and you will be able to cope up with the inner conflicts easily. Thus you should try your best to stay in touch with society. Make new friends and go out with them. You should also help them out and contribute to something good.

Don’t shy to ask help

Whenever you are in trouble, don’t hesitate to ask for the help. You should try your best to help others to deal with the situation. You should never feel hesitation when you need someone. In the normal society, people love to help each other.

Take short breaks from working life

Taking a short break for the stressful life and also give your mind a break. You can visit the places where you feel more comfortable and full of life. Real life is full of ups and downs and thus you should never hesitate to take some breaks from it.

 

You need water to survive in the life which is essential. Did you know that the body is made of 60 percent water? The body contains the water in the cells and organs. The water maintains the health and controls body temperature. You can protect the body tissues with filature which are impossible without the h2o. The water has made with two moles of hydrogen and one mole of oxygen. These are easily available around us.

The body uses water for different activities such as blood filters making and strength. If a person wants to improve his/her body power, then he/she takes the water. To the power, the organs and tissues need the proper care, so we take water because it is filtering them.

To maintain health, some helpful facts are enough to understand and given below:

Protections from H2o:-

  1. Tissue protection
  2. Spinal cord protection
  3. Joints protection

The water regulates our body temperature and keeps the tissues in moist. It provides the wet to different body parts such as nose, eyes, and mouth. If you feel that the mouth is becoming dry then takes the water to remove the dryness. The water is also good for the spinal cord or joints and they get the pain after some hard works. It gives the relief from the pain. In both situations, the h2o is compulsory to the health.

  1. Removes waste – the water enables our body to excrete waste with the help of perspiration and urine. We have two kidneys in the body for the storage of water that filters the waste from the water. The organ and liver help to remove the waste and the water apply the pressure. The h2o pushes the waste and removes them.
  2. To the soft constipation – to soft constipation the water is helping very well. Everyone wants to feel relax and comfortable, so we use the water in the morning before freshen up. It will take care of the complete body and health.
  • Prevents from dehydration – the body loses the fluids after the workouts and hard exercises. There is a big reason behind that. We do several kinds of exercise in the heat, and it comes in the body with a fever. The heat creates fever with the illness, and by this, we do vomiting and diarrhea. If we lose the fluids in these situations then drinking water is good. The drinking water is good to restore the natural hydration levels.

Conclusion – the water is our life and protecting our body and making the better health. So we take the water to the longer life and freshness or power.

Yoga helps you in many ways to live a healthier and happier life. This allows you to live longer and you can better tackle any situation easily. Yoga gives you more power to keep calm in every difficult situation. From that, you can better handle with any difficult situation easily. Also, yoga helps you to remove anxiety, depression and loneliness problems. More of benefits are there of doing yoga and meditation daily. You can better take more benefits of it, some of the benefits are given below to keep you know more about it:-

  • Makes you feel better

Yoga gives you internal satisfaction which allows you to feel better. You can do any work with better mood and happiness. All know that happiness is the key to live a longer life. So you can also live a long and happy life with doing yoga daily, as it makes your mood better. You are able to remove all the stress and problems out from your mind and can feel better.

  • Sleep well

It is essential for all human beings to take a better sleep to recover well. During sleep, our body recovers all the energy to do the daily work properly. In this case, if you sleep with more tensions and stress, this is not good for your health. Yoga helps you to remove all the stress and problems from your mind. From that, you can take a better sleep and sweet dreams to recover better. Also from that, you will get more energy to give better performance in every work.

  • Boost your strength power

By doing yoga, you are able to prevent many dangerous disease and injuries. Yoga boosts your strength at the greatest level, and you can live a better life. It improves your metabolism and immune system which helps you to make every task easy. With more physical strength power you can exercise better and do any work better with the greatest performance. You can make your body in a better working and functioning condition with more strength.

  • Helps you to focus

With yoga, you can better focus on your goals to achieve them. It makes your mind so sharp to perform better every task. It makes your mind alert to focus at every important decision. You can better achieve your life goal by focusing on it.

We all are well known to the fact that health is one of the most important parts of our life. It is really important that we keep our mind and body healthy. Having good health helps us to live longer and stay fit throughout our entire life.

Things to keep in mind

There are huge number o things that we have to consider so that we can maintain good health. Here are some of them that can be helpful to do this work in the best way.

  • One of the most important things everyone has to keep in mind is that stay away from negativity. There are a lot of people who spread negativity whenever they go. So make sure that you stay away from them so that you can keep your mind healthy. Negative people toxic your life and you need to make sure that you don’t let them. They will affect your inner will and make it get low.
  • Best thing that the user can do while getting a huge amount of stress is breathing deeply to reduce it. It is very helpful as it relaxes your inner soul and mind. So if in stress and you are unable to find a solution then start berating deeply. This will relax your mind, and you can easily think of the right solution.
  • Posture is one of the most important things that affect our health. It is really important that you have the right posture. This will also help you to improve your breathing. Along with this it will keep your stomach in proper shape and reduce stress and fat. Along with this, your backbone will get stronger.
  • Another important thing that you have to keep in mind is that making a goal to achieve. If you have a goal in your life, then you will get concentrated on it and will not get distracted. Along with this, it will keep you motivated. Not only this, the stress and tension will also not affect you, and eventually, you will become more healthy mentally.
  • One of the most important things that everyone has to consider is staying away from all the bad habits like drinking, smoking, and drugs. These habits have an adverse effect on your health in the worst way. These habits affect your health and body parts as well. So if you need to maintain good health, then it is really important that you make sure that you stay away from all of them.

An interview with Kerry Greenwood:
2001 photo of Kerry Greenwood, by Geoff
Photo by Geoff (2001)
Getting Feral With Kerry!
Kerry Greenwood is writer of historical, young adult, crime, science fiction and fantasy novels and a smattering of short fiction. She is probably best known as the author of the “Phryne Fisher” detective stories set in Melbourne in the 1920s. She has also written a number of science fiction novels aimed at young adults: “The Broken Wheel” (winner of the Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Science Fiction), “Cave Rats”, “Whaleroad” and “Feral”. We thank her for taking the time to be interviewed by email for our newsletter. Our questions are in bold type.
— the Editors.
Please describe your background.

I’m an eldest daughter, and an elder sister, which makes me bossy, over-achieving and far too sure that I am right. These are all useful traits for a writer. I was lucky enough to go to a very multicultural school which gave me a smattering of languages, made me an honorary Greek (and honorary wog) and rubbed off any prejudices I might have had about people who were different being inferior. All of them were taller than me and most of them were stronger than me, and some of them were smarter than me, so I forgot about categories and just got on with working out who I liked, who liked me, and who was going to hit me.

I got used to being an outsider – a perfectly comfortable outsider – but all writers have a small corner which observes, watches, makes notes, isn’t involved, and we cannot abandon ourselves to the moment except in very unusual situations (even when I almost drowned, there was a small oberver saying, “Hmmm, so this is drowning!”, while the rest of me strove and panicked and flailed).

Cover of Murder In MontparnasseWhat influenced you to become a writer?

I’m a storyteller.

Why do you write?

I have to. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, I’ve gotta write.

Who is your favourite fictional character/invention? Why?

I like all of them!

How do you develop such characters?

They walk into my head and say, “Here I am!”

Your historical/detective novels (eg. Phryne’s world or your revisitations of ancient mythology) clearly involve research and painstaking care. How much of the authoring process involves such tasks?

I don’t know. I spend three months researching and three weeks writing, but the three months also includes thinking about the book. It’s finihsed in my subconscious before I ever write it down.

Cover of FeralDoes writing science fiction also involve a similar need for research? Does it have any particularly unique requirements?

Always. But it can change. I thought that “Feral” was going to be about shapeshifting, so I read Ovid’s “Metamorphosis” and lots of mythology and some forensic psychiatry. Then I found out that I had solved the whole shapechanging problem in two chapters and the book was actually about freedom and slavery… so it was back to the books and Seneca had the perfect words for it.

The science part of SF needs work. Magic is easier, but the writer can thus become sloppy so the magic needs constraints.

How would you define the term ‘science fiction’?

Ooh, there’s a nice question. Perhaps I’d define it as unreal or not yet real… but that’s not very good. Guess and wish?

Your science fiction stories seem to have mythological overtones. Do you feel SF a modern form of mythology? Fantasy dressed in different clothes, perhaps?

We are mythopoeic creatures and no one’s more myth-making than me. I think that SF and fairy tales and religions and folk tales all overlap to make a new story. And I love the idea of being able to read the old myths in a new dress – it also makes it easier to spot patterns if you do that, and all writers are pattern makers.

How much of science fiction is about exploring “the alien within”? Do Australians have any particular affinity with this concept?

I really don’t know if Australians have a talent for it, but SF does allow the writer to dislocate characters in time and space and look at them without constraints.

Cover of WhaleroadLooking at your science fiction characters – eg. Sasha in “Feral” or Alain & Tyrell in “Whaleroad” – would it be fair to suggest that they might have metaphoric overtones for gay and lesbian readers?

Certainly. What I want to say is there is someone for everyone, whatever their sexuality, gender or specific problem (telepathy, blindness, fear, empathy, shapechanging).

Have you ever written specifically gay/lesbian/queer characters? Are there any restraints to your doing so?

Yes, often in my detective fiction. In my latest book, Phryne’s sister is revealed to be a lesbian. And in a forthcoming SF book called “Stormbringer”, the main character falls in love with an androgyne – who, moreover, is the acolyte of a bad tempered prophetess.

What response have you received regarding your queer characters?

One review where a reviewer accused me of having too many gay characters – in every book, she said – which isn’t true. No other negative feedback, which surprised me a little.

Do you believe that a “queer sensibility” may be helpful (or necessary) in writing queer characters? Or in writing science fiction?

I myself am straight but not narrow, and I believe that every writer with that small outsider inside is queer and cannot escape a queer sensibility. Also, it’s useful when you want to be outside reality, to look at the world through a distorting mirror, from underneath or to the side.

Cover of Cave RatsWhat are the difficulties in writing science fiction?

The same as any other fiction: to be convincing. To make the reader suspend their disbelief and trust you.

What general difficulties or constraints do you see for Australian authors – or for female authors?

The Aus market is very small and there aren’t many publishers in it. This means you conform to the house style or you dont get published. I don’t think it’s harder for female authors now – it’s just all round bloody hard to get into print. We don’t have many magazines, though there are more SF mags than detective ones.

It might once have been suggested that Australia suffered the “tyranny of distance” for writers or other purveyors of culture. Does this still apply? Have mass communication and the Internet made any difference?

I think the web has made a difference, but you still have a long, long journey if, for instance, you want to meet a Perth author, and the outliers still feel neglected and sidelined by NSW and Vic. And Melbourne feels like most of the publishers and all of the grants are in Sydney.

Do you believe we have a specific “Australian” culture or do we rely too heavily on overseas influences (eg. in science fiction)?

I think we are as Australian as we can be. Sci Fi is a meta narrative, anyway – we all add our bits to it.

Cover of CassandraAustralians appear to be large consumers of fantasy literature – why do you think this is so? Is this a healthy sign for a nation?

Was it healthy for the British to read Trollope during the Blitz? I think so. If you can’t influence events and the real world is too ugly and sad, the ones who will go out on the street to protest will go anyway. And they’ll read a lot of fantasy as well. We have to go somewhere for a happy ending.

How important is fandom in science fiction or other forms of literature? How important has fandom been in influencing your work?

Not important. I write like I write and the fans like it (Goddess bless them). But fandom is important. It’s the biggest information exchange around and an excellent way to get recommendations from people who think like you do and like the same sort of books.

Is it accurate and fair to say that science fiction is still a male-dominated genre while fantasy is female-dominated (both authors and readers)? If so, why do you think this is the case?

Yep. And not only is ‘hard science’ in the hands of men, it is percieved as morally superior and more difficult than ‘soft fantasy’ in the hands of women. Bah. A similar thing with detective stories – the mean steeets are male and somehow realistic, and the cosy is female and unrealistic. While both are fiction, and as unrealistic as each other, and writing a cosy novel is just as stringent and difficult as writing a mean streets novel. Cover of Medea
Who is your biggest group of readers: men or women? Why?

Women. Probably because I usually have a female hero.

What do you see as the future directions for science fiction or fantasy?

The only thing we know about the future is that it will be a surprise. I’m agog.

What do you see as the future for Australian fiction in general?

It will be fine if Allen and Unwin remains intact. We just need to keep the faith and keep writing. And I’m going to do that because I can’t not.

Anything else you would like to say?

Someone needs to find out (and then tell me) why Joe Haldeman said that he couldn’t have a gay character in “Star Trek” because the whole story would need to be about him (the gay character). Why? It’s been annoying me since he said it at Convergence last year. But everyone in the audience just nodded. What did I miss?

Further information on Kerry Greenwood can be found athttp://www.crimefactory.net/kerrygreenwood.htm

Kerry discusses writing at http://www.allen-unwin.com.au/authors/greenwood.asp

For an interview with Kerry concerning her most famous character, Phryne Fisher, seehttp://www.crimefactory.net/funnelweb/greenwood/kerrygreenwood%20interview.htm

A complete Bibliography of her work can be found at http://www.crimefactory.net/funnelweb/greenwood/kerrygreenwood%20biblio.htm Cover of Away With The Fairies
Her Phryne Fisher novels include:

Cocaine Blues 1989
Flying Too High 1990
Murder on the Ballarat Train 1991
Death at Victoria Dock 1992
The Green Mill Murder 1993
Blood and Circuses 1994
Ruddy Gore 1995
Urn Burial 1996
Raisins and Almonds 1997
Death Before Wicket 1999
Away With The Fairies 2001
Murder in Montparnasse 2002

The Forever Awarded:
An Interview with Joe Haldeman
© 2002 by Geoff
Joe HaldemanJoe Haldeman is a charming and gracious gentleman. He happily consented to an interview in between his “official” duties as Guest of Honour at Convergence (the 41st Australian National Science Fiction Convention), freely profferring wine and conversation. He even helped out when my portable cassette recorder played up, allowing me to use his own for this interview.

Geoff: Can you give us an autobiography, particularly in relation to, “The Forever War”?

Joe: I was a foot soldier in Vietnam; I was drafted, against my will. I was a pacifist, but I was drafted anyhow. I’m an atheist – I was then, too – and the only way to get out was to get a letter from your minister, so that was not available.

Anyhow, I was a soldier. I turned that into my first novel, “War Year”, and then wrote a couple of other books. “The Forever War” was always in the back of my mind. I’ve just re-read a story of mine called, “Timepiece”, which I believe was the third story I had published. It has almost all of the elements of, “The Forever War” in a short story.

But I sat down, literally – I just sat down, put a piece of paper in the typewriter, and wrote the first line of the novel: tonight we’re going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man. And I kept going with that. After about twenty pages, I realised that here was ‘the Vietnam science fiction novel’ that I could write.

I think that the title of the novel originally was, “Hero” – my editor said, “That’s not science fictional enough”. I was driving along with my brother, brainstorming, and he said, “What about, ‘The War That Went Forever’?” I said, ” ‘The Forever War’!” and he said, “Yeah, that’s it.”

Geoff: You wrote that in the early 1970s?

Joe: I wrote it between 1970 and 1974. It came out in December of 1975.

Geoff: And it was obviously a great success.

Joe: Yes, but you wouldn’t have thought so, because it was rejected by eighteen publishers before the nineteenth one bought it. If I hadn’t had an agent, I would probably have got discouraged and moved onto some other book.

Geoff: Why do you think it was so successful?

Joe: I guess it was time for a science fiction war novel that was anti-war but not anti-soldier. That’s all I can figure. It’s a well enough written book – I feel that I’ve written many better books – but it’s the one that keeps in print. So I don’t know – war novels were popular – but that doesn’t explain it all. It’s also a love story, and I think – although I didn’t plan it this way – the fact that it has a strong female character and a love story, as well as a strong male character and a war story, I think gives it twice the possible population of readers.

Geoff: How much of William Mandella is Joe Haldeman, or vice versa?

Joe: The basic description of his life would be pretty much me, because he had a Degree in Physics, he was my age when I was drafted, and he was drafted against his will and went out to fight an unknown enemy, being incredibly distant from his home. And his homeland was not affected by the war, except financially. All those things are a reflection of the reality that I lived through. But I didn’t pattern him after myself; I didn’t try to stay true to any image I had of myself. He was just a character in a book. My name is Joe William Haldeman, so William Mandella is an anagram of my name.

Geoff: I remember that, on a previous visit to Melbourne in 1980, you discussed the name Mary Gay Potter.

Joe: Yes, that’s my wife’s maiden name. But this was just a book I was writing. I didn’t pattern the character on her, either.

Forever War
Geoff: One of the things that, “The Forever War” is known for, these days, is the fact that you included homosexual characters.

Joe: Yes, and they were all okay guys.

Geoff: Why did you do that back in…the early 1970s?

Joe: I guess it was 1970 or ’71 when I wrote that part. I think I wrote it just to isolate the main character. He was the only straight guy in a gay Universe. And so they called him, “the old queer” because he was the only queer character. I wanted to isolate him. That is what it was about. There’s not much there about sexuality, or about real homosexuality, which is to me just another way of going about it.

I have – I had; he died of AIDS – I had a great friend. He read the book, and he was annoyed at the feminine characteristics of the homosexuals. He said, “We aren’t like that; we’re just regular people”. I said, “Well, okay, it’s a cartoon, it’s meant satirically. If you’re offended, I’m sorry”. But he just wanted it to be more realistic.

I’m certain that if I wrote it today, I wouldn’t have this feminisation of the gay people.

Geoff: If you wrote it now, are there other things you would change?

Joe: Well, I’d write a very different book. I’m not 27 any more. I was 27 to 29 years of age when I wrote it. I think I would write a better book, but it might not be as popular a book. In a way, I think, “Forever Peace” is a better book, but I have different standards now. Other people seem to like “The Forever War”, but then, the people who buy “The Forever War” are closer to the age I was when I wrote it. Maybe it speaks to them.

Geoff: In 1970, just to mention gay people, in a way that was not completely derogatory, must have been a brave move?

Joe: Yes, it got some interesting reviews in that regard. I didn’t think the issue was that unusual, because I knew a lot of gay people. When you have friends who are straight, you don’t enquire as to details of their sexual behaviour, and so why does that make any difference if they’re not straight?

I’ve had friends who were a lesbian couple, who were the DJ and Bouncer at a transvestite bar. All their pals were were going through gender reassignment, sex change operations and so forth, and that is a terribly profound problem to have – you ‘gotta say that’s a problem. They were really interesting people

I was born the way I am, and never wanted to change. So there’s a whole Universe of stuff that they have to deal with, that I don’t have to deal with. It’s worse than being black; it’s worse than being something that you couldn’t help, that other people can see. Because you can look at the person and not understand the storm that’s going on inside him or her; because they want to be someone completely different.

To me, it’s profound and I’ve never written directly about it. I’ve had transitional gender people in my novels occasionally, but they’re there as: “Look at us up here in the future, how we can change genders.”

Old Cover Forever War
Geoff: The main character in “The Forever War” is trying to make sense of his identity in a world where he doesn’t fit in, where everyone is expecting him to be one thing – but he’s another. You’ve never directly written about transgender people – maybe you’ve written indirectly about them?

Joe: I guess so, because he is the only queer in the Universe. But what is interesting to me, in retrospect, is why he didn’t even think about going over and being homosexual himself. I think if I were in that situation, I would just do it, if there was no female around who was going to be interested in me.

Twenty years later, I came to write the female version of it, in a novelette called, “A Separate War”. It takes the female character who was ignored in the original book. And she’s in a Universe full of lesbian woman and gay men. She says, “Oh well, I’m never going to get back to the Universe I left, so I’ll just find a woman I love.” And she gets on with it. Which I think is, psychologically, fairly realistic.

Geoff: “The Forever War” was adapted into a play by a gay theatre troupe?

Joe: Yes, that was interesting. They were a wonderful troupe of experimental theatre. When the casting call went up for “The Forever War”, the line was around the block. This was one time I realised how popular the novel was, especially in the gay community.

They did a fine job. I really enjoyed working with them, because no-one does experimental theatre for money, you just do it for love. They would get together every week, and go over the lines, go over the parts and argue about what to do. It was just marvellous. None of us made a nickel out of it (laughs).

Geoff: How was the play received?

Joe: It was received pretty well, except by the gay press! The gay press panned it – not universally, but most of them panned it, because the homosexuals were not like real homosexuals. But I had already worked that out with the actors. I mean, the play was not about homosexuality; it was about isolation. The main character, who was straight, was surrounded by gay people. And the gay actors…they said that was cool, it was no problem with them. But the gay press, who was used to seeing pro-homosexual plays by this company, wondered why they put on a blatantly heterosexual play.

Geoff: “The Forever War” has been purchased for TV?

Joe: Yes, they’re going to do a mini-series next year. I’m looking forward to that. I’ve been in contact with the writer and he seems like a nice guy. He wrote the movie, “Tombstone”, which I liked very much.

Geoff: Have you ever had “The Forever War” compared to other science fiction novels, for example, “Starship Troopers”?

Joe: Yes, always “Starship Troopers”. And I think it’s a simplistic comparison to say that it’s an answer to “Starship Troopers”. When I wrote it, “Starship Troopers” had been adequately answered by other people. If there were any books “Forever War” was related to, it was my own war novel, “War Year”, and Stephen Crane’s, “The Red Badge of Courage”. I hadn’t thought about “Starship Troopers”, though I had read it, of course.

Robert Heinlein, that gracious gentleman, said he loved “The Forever War”. He said, “You and I will never agree on politics”, but he liked the book a lot – he said he read it three times. So I can subtract one time for his being a gentleman, but it’s a wonderful compliment.

Forever Peace
Geoff: You wrote “Forever Peace” after that, but it was a companion, not a sequel.

Joe: Right, but that was twenty years later. I wrote it as a sort of “The Forever War” twenty years later, and because the face of war had changed so much in twenty years. I was essentially writing about America’s attitude towards war: the idea of expending a lot of enemy lives and no American ones if at all possible, which is practical politically. It seems like an impractical way to fight wars, although if I were a soldier, I’d be all in favour of it. But I took it to a logical science fictional extreme.

Geoff: So you’ve written three now in that series?

Joe: “Forever Free” was an actual sequel for, “Forever War”. It picks up the same characters.

Geoff: You’ve just published that recently?

Joe: Yes, and that was an oddity. I’d always wanted to write a novella, or a novelette, about the things that happened after, “The Forever War”. It wound up being a novel. Curious.

Geoff: The theme in “Forever Free” is quite different.

Joe: I like it.

Geoff: How would you describe it?

Forever Free
Joe: Theological…or ontological. To me, it’s consistent with “The Forever War”, but almost in a trivial way. At the end of “Forever Free”, you have a whole different idea of the laws of physics and the nature of causality, and why people do things and why the Universe does things. In “The Forever War”, the Universe – that is to say, the life of soldiers – is capricious and is ruled by forces that they don’t understand. In “Forever Free”, that becomes true of all humanity, and of reality in general. Some people say, ‘What does this have to do with anything? It’s a deux ex machina device.” I say it’s completely consistent with the first novel.

Geoff: You’ve said that you’re an atheist, but you’ve got theological themes in this novel.

Joe: (amused) Atheism has a need for theology too! (laughs)

Geoff: Are there any more books planned in the series?

Joe: I couldn’t imagine writing another one, but then, I never thought I’d write a sequel to, “The Forever War”. People offered me lots of money to write a sequel, but I kept saying, “No”. And then I wrote one – it was just one of these things that happens.

I was ready to write another novel anyhow, so I just did the outline for that and sent it in. Actually, I wrote one paragraph. It was accepted just on the statement: “This is the sequel to ‘The Forever War’.”

Study War No More
Geoff: You also edited “Study War No More”.

Joe: Yes. It’s way out of print now. That was the first book of mine that was translated into French. And it was interesting. I can’t speak French well enough to remember the title, but it was, “The Third World War Is Not Going To Happen” and it had an introduction by Margarite Yourcenar, a wonderful, scholarly lady. That was a real ‘first’ for me; it was wonderful.

I had edited a collection of science fiction humour. That was pretty easy. So I thought, “Why not try one about anti-war stories?” and I wrote everybody whose work I admired, and asked if they either had something, or could write something for me. I wound up with some stories, and I think it was pretty successful. Didn’t make a lot of money. It’s been out of print for twenty-five years, I guess.

Geoff: Would you say that war has been a large inspiration for you?

Joe: Not all of it. I wouldn’t say even half of it. I wouldn’t want to be typecast as a Vietnam novelist, or a war novelist. Nobody wants to be typed. But I often come back to war, at least as a minor chord in my books. In the books that aren’t about fighting war, often there is a war going on in the background. But that’s like life; that’s like now.

The book I’m doing now goes back to World War Two in places. It’s a novel that has two threads: one in the past, and one in the future.

Geoff: In the “Forever Taboo” panel at Convergence, you stated that “The Forever War” is not so much about homosexuality as about isolation and being different. You said that, “Everyone is queer in someone else’s eyes.” Is that a personal philosophy?

Joe: It’s just an observation. I think we’re all very much alone. I come from a small family, and none of them is alive any more – except for me. Even before that, I had a sense that I was an isolate. I think a lot of my friends have it – you know, at three o’clock in the morning, you’re sitting around, and there’s nobody else but you. You just have to get through life. William Mandella had that in spades. There was demonstrably nobody else like him in the Universe.

But just as a simple statement, it’s true. Of course everybody is unique; of course nobody is like you. But whether that should lead to isolation or enjoyment of variation, may be just a matter of attitude. I think that whatever person doesn’t have that kind of aloneness is probably kidding himself. I’m not bothered by it. I like being alone. I just spend so much time in front of cameras and in front of audiences, and so forth. I think it’s pretty obvious that a person like that will relish times when they can just sit and look at the stars, or sit on the beach. That’s what I am; that’s where I’m happiest.

I was just thinking, this morning, that I write best – or I most enjoy writing – when I’m camping and tramping. When there’s a campfire, a log to sit on, a notebook to write in, and nobody can find me at all. I’m totally alone. I enjoy that.

Haldeman’s books include:
War Year, 1972
The Forever War, 1975
Study War No More, 1977
Planet of Judgment & World Without End (Star Trek novels) 1977 & 1979
Worlds, 1983
Worlds Apart, 1983
Forever Peace, 1997
Forever Free, 1999

His awards include:
Hugo Awards: The Forever War (1976) and Forever Peace (1998)
Nebula Awards: The Forever War (1976) and Forever Peace (1998)
Galaxy Award: Mindbridge
Ditmar Award: The Forever War.

Further information on Joe Haldeman can be found on his web site at http://home.earthlink.net/~haldeman

“The World Well Lost”
by Theodore Sturgeon
Ruminations by Dick Jenssen
A Saucer of Loneliness book cover
The world which was very well lost
Theodore Sturgeon’s story was an amazing breakthrough in the positive depiction of gays – not only in SF, but in the wider literary world.
The story first appeared in the US – in the first issue of the magazine Universe, June 1953 – and was, immediately, a centre of controversy, largely because of the prevailing attitudes to homosexuality and morals. Australia was very much like the US in these regards, but with an even more inflexible and puritanical approach to moral rectitude and to personal freedoms. It may seem unbelievable to us at the turn of the new century, but fifty years ago Australians were subject to an incredible amount of censorship and thought control. Films were banned or mutilated by the censors’ scissors so that even the totally innocuous The Thing from Another World lost major portions. Books and magazines were banned, and thus no Australian was deemed fit to read, or even see, Weird Tales. These are seemingly trivial examples, but if pieces like these were found unsuitable for the mythical “general public”, imagine how more substantial works (D. H. Lawrence, Leo Tolstoy, for example) suffered by being banned, and how films (by Ingmar Bergman, Henri Clouzot…) were emasculated.

It should be no surprise to learn, then, that homosexuality was anathema to Church, State and Police. In the US, homosexuality was still – officially – a mental illness. Here, gay-bashing was treated as a non-offence (and if a gay reported one, he was considered the criminal rather than the victim), to the extent that it seemed to be routinely practiced by the police themselves. On a more personal note, at least one of my gay friends was forced by his mother to undergo electro-shock treatment to “cure” him of his anti-social illness. Unsuccessfully, of course, but leaving him with life-long emotional scars. Just being gay was a crime, as one of my friends discovered when, in the middle of a lecture at Melbourne University, the police burst in and arrested him because an ex-lover had accused him of being so.

For most gays, then, their lives had to be of a schizophrenic quality – socially straight, privately gay. But if one was discreet, then one survived in a covert, hidden manner. The closet was, for most, a necessity, and self-doubt, even self-hatred, was a common, crushing burden. Strangely enough, though, for someone as unsure of themselves as I was, I was nonetheless always secure in my sexuality (the reasons are another story) and while I was very discreet, I never denied, or tried to hide my gayness. As one wit put it, I “was in the closet with the door wide open”. Anyone who knew me more than just casually would have known, or suspected, that I was gay. But I was lucky, and the bigotry that fell on others seemed to pass me by. I knew that gays were neither all stereotypical, nor perverts preying on the young, nor mentally sick, nor evil – because I knew a lot of gays who were none of these things, and who seemed to be, by and large, much more preferable to the bulk of straights. But, nonetheless, there was always the hope, the need perhaps, that we would eventually be seen by the heterosexual world for what we were – people who loved as well and as deeply and truly as all humanity, but whose objects of affections were not the norm.

As often happened, science fiction gave me hope that my hopes were not totally unrealistic with the appearance of Sturgeon’s story. There were positive gays in literature well before Sturgeon (a great number of the characters in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time were gay, were most definitely not stereotypes, and the majority could be cast as role models), but most novels or stories which were predominantly gay ended in death, or at the very least, in tragedy.

Sturgeon’s breakthrough
The Earth has been visited by a pair of aliens, beautiful, charismatic, lovable, and very much in love with each other. Humanity is enraptured, partly in love for the pair themselves, but mainly in love for their love. (Should this seem unlikely, just think of how almost everyone responds so positively, and emotionally, to Pandas. And if a pair of Pandas cuddle, well…)
Like a sudden bloom across the face of the world came the pecu­liar magic of the loverbirds. There were loverbird songs and loverbird trinkets, loverbird hats and pins, bangles and baubles, coins and quaffs and tidbits. For there was that about the loverbirds which made a deep enchantment. No one can be told about a loverbird and feel this curious delight. Many are immune even to a solidograph. But watch loverbirds, only for a moment, and see what happens. It’s the feeling you had when you were twelve, and summer-drenched, and you kissed a girl for the very first time and knew a breathlessness you were sure could never happen again. And indeed it never could- unless you watched loverbirds. Then you are spellbound for four quiet seconds, and suddenly your very heart twists, and incredulous tears sting and stay; and the very first move you make afterward, you make on tiptoe, and your first word is a whisper.
This magic came over very well on trideo, and everyone had trideo; so for a brief while the earth was enchanted.

There were only two loverbirds. They came down out of the sky in a single brassy flash, and stepped out of their ship, hand in hand. Their eyes were full of wonder, each at the other and together at the world. They seemed frozen in a full-to-bursting moment of discovery; they made way for one another gravely and with courtesy, they looked about them and in the very looking gave each other gifts-the color of the sky, the taste of the air, the pressures of things growing and meeting and changing. They never spoke. They simply were together. To watch them was to know of their awestruck mounting of staircases of bird notes, of how each knew the warmth of the other as their flesh supped silently on sunlight.

And then the aliens’ planetary government contacts Earth, explains that the loverbirds are criminals, demands their extradition, and declares that Earth will forever be shunned as “a world well lost”. The main story then begins and concerns the flight to the aliens’ home of Dirbanu as prisoners. In the course of this journey one of many twists complicates the plot – even though the morphology of the individual aliens is as different one to the other as the morphology of man is to woman, they are revealed to be of the same sex. And hence Dirbanu is depicted as a planet of homophobes. But when the nature of the aliens is exposed, so is human homophobia – even though, for some, the revelation simply increases their appreciation and affection for the aliens.

Themes
By initially concentrating on the loverbirds’ emotional immersion in each other, Sturgeon is pointing out that their acceptance by humanity is not based on surface appearance – because, after all, they are aliens – but on what lies beneath.
Dirbanu’s homophobia, on the contrary, is based entirely on surface, and so is seen to be irrational and illogical because it ignores much deeper, more positive and substantive concerns – love itself.
The love of the aliens for each other transcends any trivial accident of surface, and is so powerful that humanity responds in a flood of acceptance and affection.
The homophobic response of humans again illustrates just how perverse their bigoted reaction is, for the aliens have not changed, only the interpretation of their behaviour by small minds fostered by societal hatred.
What is being said, then, is that what is important is love itself and not the object of that affection.
Although it is not made explicit, I believe that Sturgeon’s major theme is that while surface appearance is important for the act of falling in love, it is largely trivial for the state of being in love. Most everyone falls in love for superficial reasons – we have a physical (or erotic) ideal to which we respond, and which triggers feelings of lust and affection. Once we know more deeply the object of our amorous attentions we may, if we are extremely lucky, actually be in love with them – not the surface, which usually is still erotically arousing – but with their person, their inner core, their very soul . In short we fall in love with the form, but are in love with the content­ – it is the package which attracts, but it is what is inside the package which creates our love.
This is an idea which is found in literature of quality, but not at all often in more popular branches of writing – geared of necessity towards a more general audience and for whom, especially in Hollywood films, falling in love is a euphemism for falling in lust. (Once again, an excellent example of the difference between falling and being in love is to be found in Proust, in The Way by Swann’s which is the first part of his In Search of Lost Time.) In my view this is what real love is all about – even if the object of our love changes physically, we still love them because their innermost being is unchanged. The ravages of time will not, cannot, if our love is true, make our love diminish, but will cause it to grow, vaster than empires and yet more slow (as Marvell would have it).

The story is enhanced by the quality of Sturgeon’s prose, which, for someone who claims that they are not gay themselves, displays a passion and a poetry redolent of approval of all forms of love, appearance notwithstanding. In fact, the story concludes with what I take to be lines of poetry, though I can discover neither the source nor the poet:

Why must we love where the lightning strikes
And not where we choose ?
But I’m glad it’s you, little prince,
I’m glad it’s you.
These lines have stayed with me for the last fifty years, and encapsulate much of the true meaning of being gay. It is love, gay love, straight love, any love which matters, and not the accident of form.

The World Well Lost is one of my favourite SF stories, one of my favourite short stories, and one my favourite romantic stories. We, and science fiction, would be all the less had it never been written.

This story is available in the Sturgeon collection, A Saucer of Loneliness, from amazon.com