This book plays in the middle of the 21st century, in near future, as science fiction would label it, and describes an earth on the brink of self-annihilation, mostly at the hands on incompetent politicians worldwide.
Then, suddenly, an astronomer discovers a signal from space. Aliens announcing their arrival three months hence. This puts events in motion on earth, of course, and we get to follow those.
The author tells the story from the perspective of dozens of participants, quickly switching around, making it difficult to follow. To make matters worse, the characters are fairly one-dimensional and I simply didn’t find them interesting enough to follow. I did read the book, if you count my quickly skimming over the boring parts, those where I didn’t care about the characters and I didn’t find enough interest in their contributions.
The story was not as interesting as I’d hoped from the back cover description, which was the reason I picked it up in the first place. It was worth a read, but that’s all. This was only the second Haldeman book I have read, so I can’t cast judgment yet. If this had been my first Haldeman, I would never have picked up another one. Given I loved The Accidental Time Traveler, I’ll go for a few more.
But I think you can skip this one.