Joe William Haldeman (born June 9, 1943) is an American science fiction author. He is best known for his 1974 novel The Forever War. That novel, and other of his works including The Hemingway Hoax (1991) and Forever Peace (1997), have won major science fiction awards including the Hugo Award and Nebula Award. For his career writing science fiction and/or fantasy he is a SFWA Grand Master and since 2012 a member of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
Many of Haldeman’s works, including his debut novel War Year and his second novel The Forever War, were inspired by his experience serving in the Vietnam War, where he was wounded in combat, and by his adjustment to civilian life after returning home.
Haldeman was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His family traveled and he lived in Puerto Rico, New Orleans, Washington DC, Bethesda (Maryland), and Anchorage (Alaska) as a child. In 1965, Haldeman married Mary Gay Potter, known as “Gay.” He received a BS degree in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Maryland in 1967.
He was immediately drafted into the United States Army, and served as a combat engineer in Vietnam. He was wounded in combat and received a Purple Heart. His wartime experience was the inspiration for War Year, his first novel; also later books such as The Hemingway Hoax and Old Twentieth which deal extensively with the experience of combat soldiers in Vietnam and other wars.
In 1975, he received an MFA degree in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Haldeman resides alternately in Gainesville, Florida and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since 1983, he has been an Adjunct Professor teaching writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is also the fictional setting for his 2007 novel, The Accidental Time Machine. In addition to being an award-winning writer, Haldeman is a painter.