All My Sins Remembered

All My Sins Remembered

by Joe Haldeman

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All My Sins Remembered by Joe Haldeman

In this powerful, provocative SF classic from the award-winning author of The Forever War, a young man of peace is transformed into an intergalactic killer.

Once Otto McGavin was a kind and gentle soul; then he was recruited by the all-powerful Confederación.
An ultrasecretive, government-linked organization, the Confederación’s stated mission of protecting threatened life, both human and alien, throughout the galaxy greatly appeals to the Anglo-Buddhist McGavin as he eagerly prepares to embark on a career of diplomacy and selfless works. But Otto’s new masters have other plans for the idealistic young recruit. Through a process of immersion therapy and hypnosis, and by encasing him in temporary bodies of plastiflesh, scientists can overlay Otto’s true persona with other ones, transforming him completely—body, mind, and soul—into the ruthlessly effective prime operator the Confederación wants him to be. But decades of interstellar subterfuge and violence, and years spent wearing the personae of spies and cold-blooded killers, must ultimately take their toll—and before he leaves behind the lives that have been cruelly thrust upon him, Otto McGavin will have to somehow come to terms with who he really is and the monstrous things he has done.
One of the most powerful and thought-provoking stories from the Hugo and Nebula Award–winning author of Worlds and The Forever War, Joe Haldeman’s All My Sins Remembered is a stunning work of speculative fiction.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Joe Haldeman including rare images from the author’s personal collection. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781497692411
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 12/02/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 233,083
File size: 2 MB

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. 

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. 

Read an Excerpt

All My Sins Remembered

By Joe Haldeman


Copyright © 1977 Joe Haldeman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-9241-1



Biographical check, please, go:

I was born Otto Jules McGavin on 24 Avril AC 198, on Earth, with jus sanguinus citizenship to

Skip to age 22, please, go:

Thought I was being trained for Confederación xenosociology or diplomacy post but had been with TBII for two years, all the immersion therapy that I couldn't remember, it was weapons and dirty tricks, wondered why the other students always had more to talk about but my counselor said it was normal, I tested out fine under hypnosis, it would all be clear and accessible by graduation, but all through my twenty-second year, I remember, felt like I worked harder than anyone else but

You did, Otto. Skip to age 25, please, go:

I was a Class 2 operator until mid-223, when I went on probationary prime operator status and got my first personality overlay, impersonating Mercurio de Follette, a credit-union manager on Mundo Lagardo suspected of Article Three violation

Was he guilty? Please, go:

Of course he was but we wanted to see which others were implicated, it turned out his whole surrogate-family

Skip to age 26, please, go:

That was the year I killed my first man, third assignment as a prime, it was self-defense in a way, in a way, he had me at his mercy if he only knew, I had to kill him or he would, in a way it was self-defense


in a way it was

Aardvark, worship-devil.


Gerund. Now sleep.

EPISODE: To Fit the Crime

Every direction seems uphill in artificial gravity. Isaac Crowell, Ph.D., paused to get his breath, pushed damp hair back from his forehead, and tapped on the door of the psychiatrist's stateroom. It slid open.

"Ah, Dr. Crowell." The man behind the desk was as thin as Crowell was fat. "Please come in, sit down."

"Thank you." Crowell eased himself into the sturdiest-looking chair. "You, uh, you wanted ..."

"Yes." The psychiatrist leaned forward and spoke clearly: "Syzygy. Aardvark, worship-devil. Gerund."

Crowell blinked one long slow blink. Then he looked down at the expanse of his belly and shook his head, amazed. He took a thumb and forefingerful of flab and pinched. "Ouch!"

"Good job," the psychiatrist said.

"Wonderful. You couldn't have had the old boy take off some weight first? Before I got stuck in him?"

"Necessary to the image, Otto."

"Otto ... yes. It comes back, all ... now. I'm—"

"Wait!" The man pushed a button on his desk and the door whispered shut. "Sorry. Go on."

"I'm Otto McGavin, a prime operator. A prime. For the TBII. And you're no more a psychiatrist than I am a Dr. Isaac Crowell. You're Sam, uh, Nimitz. Used to be a section leader when I was stationed on Springworld."

"That's, right, Otto—you have quite a memory. I don't think we met more than twice."

"Three times. Two cocktail parties and a bridge game. Your partner had a grand slam and I still haven't figured out how she cheated."

He shrugged. "She was a prime, too."

"'Was,' yeah. You know she's dead now."

"I don't think I'm authorized to—"

"Sure. You my briefing officer this time?"

"That's right." Tibitz pulled a long envelope from an inside cape pocket. He broke the plastic seal and handed it to Otto. "Five-minute ink," he said.

Otto scanned the three pages quickly and then read slowly from beginning to end. He handed it back just as the printing faded.

"Any questions?"

"Well ... okay, I'm this fat old professor, Crowell. Or will be when you push me back through the mnemonic sequence. Can I speak the language as well as he could?"

"Probably not quite as well. There aren't any learning tapes for Bruuchian; Crowell's the only person who ever bothered to learn a dialect of the language.

"You were under mutual hypnosis with him for five weeks, learning it. Throat sore?"

Otto reached to touch his Adam's apple and recoiled when he hit Crowell's fourth chin. "God, this guy's in lousy shape. Yeah, I feel a little hoarse."

"The language is mostly growls. I learned a stock phrase in it." He made a noise like a tenor rhinoceros in pain.

"What the hell does that mean?"

"It's in the dialect you learned, a standard greeting in the informal mode: 'Clouds are not for your family./ May you die in the sun.' Of course, it rhymes in Bruuchian. Everything rhymes in Bruuchian; every noun ends in the same syllable. A protracted belch."

"Wonderful. I'll have laryngitis after a half hour of small talk"

"No. You'll remember once you get back into the Crowell persona. You've got lozenges in your baggage that make it easier on your throat."

"Good." Otto kneaded one enormous thigh. "Look, I hope this job won't call for any action. Must be carrying around my own weight in plastiflesh."

"Very nearly."

"That report said Crowell hadn't been on the planet for eleven years—why couldn't they just say he'd been on a diet?"

"No, you might run into some recent acquaintance. Besides, part of the job requires that you look as harmless as possible."

"I don't mind looking harmless ... but in 1.2 gees I'm going to be harmless! I worked up a sweat walking down the corridor here—in less than one gee. How—"

"We have confidence in you, Otto. You primes always come through in a pinch."

"... or die trying. Goddamn hypnoconditioning."

"Your own best interests." Nimitz began filling a pipe. "Syzygy. Aardvark. Worship-devil. Gerund."

Otto slumped back in the chair; his next breath was a snore.

"Otto, when I awaken you, you will be about ten per cent Otto McGavin and ninety per cent your artificial personality overlay, Dr. Isaac Crowell. You will remember your mission and all of your training as a prime operator—but your initial reaction to any normal situation will be consistent with Crowell's personality and knowledge. Only in stress situations will your reactions be those of a prime operator.

"Gerund. Devil-worship. Aardvark. Syzygy."

Crowell/McGavin awoke in mid-snore. He pulled himself out of the chair and winked at Nimitz. In Crowell's gravelly voice: "Thank you so much, Dr. Sanchez. The therapy was most soothing."

"Think nothing of it, Dr. Crowell. That's what the ship pays me for."


"This is a bloody outrage! Young man—do you know who I am?"

The customs inspector tried to look bored and hostile at the same time. He put Crowell's ID capsule back into the microfiche viewer and stared at it for a long time. "According to this, you're Isaac Crowell, out of Macrobastia, born on Terra. You're sixty and look seventy. That don't get you past the strip-down inspection."

"I demand to see your supervisor."

"Uncheck. Ain't in today. You can wait for him in that little room there. It has a nice lock."

"But you—"

"Ne gonna call my boss his one free day; ne an some shy offworld bloat. You can wait in the room. Ne'll starve."

"Say, now, say." A stocky little man with a headful of shellacked curls strutted over. "What seems to—Isaac! Isaac Crowell! What brings you back?"

Crowell clasped the man's hand—his palm damp and warm—and searched artificial memories for a fraction of a second until the face and name clicked into place. "Jonathon Lyndham. So good to see you. Especially now."

"What, there's some kind of trouble?"

"I don't know, Jonathon. This ... gentleman doesn't want to let me through the turnstile. Not unless I do some sort of a, a striptease."

Lyndham pursed his lips and regarded the inspector. "Smythe. Don't you know who this man is?"

"He's ... no, sah."

"Did you go to school?"

"Yes, sah. Twelve years."

"Doctor Isaac Sebastian Crowell." Lyndham reached awkwardly across the barrier and put his hand on Crowell's shoulder. "Author of Anomaly Resolved—the book that put this planet on the regular spacelanes."

Actually, the book had sold well enough on Bruuch, and also on Euphrates, where the colonists faced a similar situation with regard to exploiting alien natives; but it was a failure everywhere else. Other anthropologists, while admiring Crowell's tenacity, felt that he'd let sentiment interfere with objectivity. There's an uncertainty principle in field work: it's hard to analyze your subjects if you have too much affection for them.

And as for being on the regular spacelanes, Bruuch had one cargo ship a week, usually late.

"Here, let me see those papers." The clerk gladly handed over the clearance forms. "I'll take full responsibility." He scrawled initials in a dozen places and handed them back. "This is no common tourist—without the influence of his book, you'd be working in the mines. Ne pushing paper once a week."

The clerk pushed a button and the turnstile buzzed. "Let's go, Isaac. The Company'll buy you a drink."

Crowell squeezed through the narrow opening and shuffled after Lyndham to the spaceport bar. The place was furnished with native handcrafts: tables and chairs carved from the dense black ironwood that resembled obsidian more than any other Terran material.

Crowell had difficulty drawing the heavy chair out from under the table. He plopped down into it and wiped his face with an outlandishly large handkerchief.

"Jonathon ... I don't know if I can handle this gravity. I'm not a young man anymore and ...well, I've let myself go a little." Ten per cent reminded itself: I'm thirty-two and in superb physical condition.

"Oh, you'll get used to it, Isaac. Let me enroll you in our health club—we'll shrink those extra pounds off in no time."

"That would be nice," Crowell said hastily (no amount of exercise will reduce plastiflesh), "but I doubt I'll have the time. My publisher sent me here to gather material for an update of Anomaly ... probably be here a month or less."

"Oh—that's a pity. But I think you'll find that things have changed enough to warrant a longer stay than that." A woman came and took their drink orders, two brandies.

"Changes? We don't hear much of Bruuch on Macrobastia, where I've been teaching. Some changes are obvious—"with an economical gesture he indicated their surroundings—"this port was only packed earth and a metal hut when I left last time. But I'm more interested in the Bruuchians than you colonists. Are things much the same with them?"

"Um ... not really." Their brandies came; Crowell inhaled the fumes deeply and drank with obvious relish.

"No brandy in the Confederación like Bruuchian. A pity you don't export."

"The Company's supposed to be working on that. That and the native handcrafts." His shoulders twitched in a shrug. "But kilogram for kilogram, they make much more on rare earths. Every planet makes beverages and most have busy autochthones."

"Yes, the Bruuchians ... things have changed?"

Jonathon took a small sip of brandy and nodded. "Both in the long view and, well, recently. Have you heard that the natives' average life-span is down?"

Otto McGavin knew but Crowell shook his head, no.

"In the past six years, down some twenty-five per cent. I think the average life-span of a male is down to about twelve years. Bruuchian, that is; about sixteen Standard. Of course, they don't seem to mind."

"Of course not," Crowell mused. "They would see it as a blessing." The Bruuchians preserved their dead in a secret rite and the carcasses were treated as living creatures, with more status in the family than anyone who was still moving around. They were consulted as oracles, the oldest living family member divining their advice by studying the corpses' immobile features.

"Any theories?"

"Well, most of the males work in the mines; there is some bismuth associated with the rare-earth deposits; bismuth is a powerful cumulative poison to their systems. But the mineralogists swear there's not enough bismuth in the dust they breathe to cause any health problems. And of course the creatures won't let us have a body for autopsy. It's a sticky situation."

"Quite so, I can see. But I recall the Bruuchians having enjoyed small doses of bismuth as a narcotic—could they simply have found a large source and gone on a species-wide orgy?"

"I don't think so. I've looked into the matter rather closely—God knows, Deirdre's always harping on it. There aren't any natural concentrations of bismuth on the planet, and even if there were, the creatures lack the technology, the basic grasp of science, needed to refine it." Crowell winced inwardly every time Lyndham called them "creatures."

"The Company doesn't mine it," Lyndham continued, "and it's on the 'forbidden imports' list. No, I really think bismuth poisoning is the wrong tack."

Crowell drummed two fingers on the table, gathering his thoughts. "Excepting metabolic quirks like that, they seem quite a hardy people. Could it be overwork?"

"No possibility, absolutely none. Ever since your book came out, there's been a Confederación observer, a xenobiologist, keeping track of the creatures. Every one that works in the mines has a serial number tattooed on his foot. They're logged in and out, and not allowed to spend more than eight hours a day in the mines. Otherwise, they would, of course. Strange creatures."

"True." In the home, Bruuchians were placid, even lazy. In places defined as work areas, though, they would routinely work themselves to exhaustion—not exactly a survival trait. "Took me nine years to find out why." The disappearances, the Otto part of his brain was whispering, reminding ... "You said something about 'recent' changes?"

"Um." Jonathon fluttered his hands and took another sip. "It's rather distressing. You know, we still have only about five hundred people on the planet, permanent personnel."

"Really? I'd expected more by now."

"Company doesn't encourage immigration; no jobs. At any rate, we're a pretty closely knit group; everybody knows just about everybody else. More like a family, we like to think, than just a group of people with a common employer.

"Well, people have been ... missing, disappearing, over the past few months. They must be dead, since humans can't survive on native food, and our own food supply is closely monitored, all meals accounted for.

"All of them disappeared without a trace. Three people, to date, one of them the Supervisor of Mines. Quite frankly, the general consensus of opinion is that the creatures did them in for some—"


"... and as you can imagine, a good deal of bad feeling has been generated. Uh, several of the creatures have been killed."

"But—" Crowell's heart was beating dangerously fast. He forced himself to sit back, take a deep breath, speak calmly: "There is absolutely no way a Bruuchian can take a human life. They don't have the concept of killing, not even for food. And as much as they revere their dead, and aspire to be a 'still one,' they never hurry the process ... they can't grasp the idea of murder, or suicide, or even euthanasia. They don't even have words for these things."

"I know, but—"

"Do you remember that time, it was 218, I think, when a drunken worker killed a Bruuchian in the mines? With a shovel; the native had backed a cart over the man's foot.

"I had to go to the village and find the proper household, try to explain. But the news got there before I did, and the household was in a delirious state of celebration-never had so young a one passed into stillness. They regarded it as a special favor from the gods. Their only concern was to recover the body and preserve it, and two of them were out on that chore when I arrived.

"When I told them that a man had done it, they thought I was jesting. Men are close to godhood, they said, but men are not gods. I tried to explain it over and over, using different ... modes of address—but they only laughed. Finally they called in the neighbors and had me keep repeating the story for their amusement. They regarded it as a wonderfully blasphemous joke, and it was told and retold for years."

Crowell emptied his glass in one gulp.

"I can't say I disagree with you—the accusation is absurd. But they are powerful creatures, and a lot of people are growing afraid of them," Lyndham said. "Besides, the alternative explanation is that there's a murderer in our midst, in our family."

"Maybe not," Crowell said. "Maybe there's something in the planet's environment that we've overlooked before, some hidden danger. Did they drag the dustpits for bodies?"

"Some. Didn't find anything."

They talked for a half hour on this and less bizarre topics, but Crowell/McGavin learned nothing that hadn't already been programmed into him during four weeks of personality overlay. Lyndham was paged over the public-address system.


Excerpted from All My Sins Remembered by Joe Haldeman. Copyright © 1977 Joe Haldeman. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Interview: Age 22,
Redundancy Check: Age 32,
Episode: To Fit the Crime,
Redundancy Check: Age 39,
Episode: The Only War We've Got,
Redundancy Check: Age 44,
Episode: All My Sins Remembered,
Interview: Age 45,
A Biography of Joe Haldeman,

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All My Sins Remembered 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Haldeman has produced a masterpiece in this novel. 'All My Sins Remembered' involves a secret agent, and his conscience. Killing is an integral part of his job, yet he loathes the fact that he lives for it. The novel 'Tools of the Trade' will later use some of these same themes, exploring the moralities of espionage and secrecy.