Marko Kloos Essays Online - Homework for you

Homework for you

Marko Kloos Essays Online

Rating: 4.2/5.0 (50 Votes)

Category: Essay


Marko kloos essays online

" Terms of Enlistment "
by Marko Kloos
Added by: Rscreader

clangeleyes says:
I'm a bit upset, I didn't start this book sooner. It is fun and well paced. The story is nothing groundbreaking, but a great read through a military based futuristic thread. I have to admit though, after a great ground campaign. Some tense escape scenes, I was actually a little let down by the final sequence. It wasn't that it was lacking in pace or anything, just disappointed it went straight for the alien race more advanced than us and in that advanced race, no one stopped to ask if there could be any coexistence. That trope is a bit tiring, but I will definitely pick up the rest of these and give them a go.
Simmy says:
I very nearly didn't finish this book. Around page 100 I faltered. Fifty or so pages on things began to improve, and the story became bearable, if not particularly exciting.In so many ways, this book is a repackaged Starship Troopers; the story follows a recruit through basic training, and eventually (quite eventually!) into space and a war with some very bug-like aliens. However, Heinleins fifty-six year old novel is a landmark, innovative for its time (men and women serving together in the frontline military!) and infused with Heinlein's political views. Terms of enlistment lacks both innovation and anything much to say.The central character (aptly named Grayson - a descriptive name for a man with few defining features) escapes from the vast, soylent green-like slums of earth into the military, where he endures a textbook yelling-drill-sergeant, get-down-and-give-me-twenty training regime. His potentially interesting slum background is never evident as he is well spoken, oddly well-read and seems to have neither friends nor any connection at all to where he spent most of his life. Within a couple of months he is part of a squad killing hundreds of rioters in a slum similar to the one he grew up in, and he barely bats a sociopathic eyelid at his transformation from oppressed to oppressor.After the slum riot section the story begins to pick up a bit, but it's still fairly bland stuff. There's a thin romance, some aliens, and some not very impressive tech that would perhaps have been futuristic in Heinlein's day. Ho hum.If you're looking For military flavoured sci-fi with an edge and something interesting to say I recommend you explore writers like Heinlein and Haldeman.

10 of 10 Votes: 2

Terms of Enlistment

Other articles

Читать онлайн Lines of Departure автора Kloos Marko - RuLit - Страница 70

She puts down her mug and leans back with a tired sigh.

“What about you?” she asks without taking her eyes off the SRA drop ship settling on its skids outside.

I consider her question—not that I hadn’t made my decision pretty much the moment they put the options in front of us. We’re free to decide whether to stay part of the garrison force on New Svalbard, or join the combined NAC/SRA ragtag battle group to go back to the solar system and try to force the blockade.

“If any ship can make it through to Earth, it’s the Indy ,” I say. “Colonel Campbell says we’re welcome to tag along for the run. Stealth dash back to the inner solar system.”

“You’re going back there ?” Sergeant Fallon smiles. “Whatever happened to wanting to breathe the free air of the colonies? I thought Earth’s a shithole?”

“You’re staying here ?” I say, aping her tone exactly. “Whatever happened to sticking with the shit you know? I thought the colonies are desolate wastelands?”

She rolls her eyes, but the smile doesn’t leave her face.

“Last time I tried to do my job right, they shipped me off into exile. They’ve been barely holding it together as it is. What do you think Earth’s like right now, with the Lankies on our doorstep?”

I try to imagine the PRCs, perpetually in unrest anyway, gripped in end-of-the-world hysteria, hundreds of millions of frightened and hungry people aware of their imminent extermination. I know that that’s about the last place in the universe I really want to be right now. But I can’t help thinking of Mom and Halley and Chief Kopka, and my former squad mates in the 365th AIB at Fort Shughart. If our species is going to end anyway, I want to make my stand with the few people I care about. I want to be in charge of my own fate, not wait for my death in a frozen hole at the ass end of the settled galaxy.

“Earth is a shithole,” I say. “But it’s our shithole. And they can’t fucking have it.”

Sergeant Fallon looks outside again and picks up her coffee. She takes a long, slurping sip.

“Come to think of it,” she says. “The apocalypse is at our door. The survival of our species is in doubt. That’s going to be one bitch of a fight. I’d hate to miss it.”

Outside, the snow flurries have stopped. As we watch the latest arrivals swoop in low over the runway and set down on the snow-swept concrete with blinking position lights, there’s a sudden break in the cloud cover, and the light from the distant sun paints the mountaintops on the horizon in shades of pale blue and white.

“Let’s go and pack for one bitch of a fight, then,” I say.

The list of people to thank gets longer and longer.

Thanks to Marc Berte, who made sure the science in the book isn’t total and utter handwavium.

Thanks to my developmental editor, Andrea Hurst, who suggested ALL THE CHANGES. She made me rewrite the stuff that sucked until it didn’t, and it’s a much better novel for that.

Thanks to my local Upper Valley writer posse: Laura Bergstresser, Patricia Bray, and John Murphy. I know none of you ever got to critique this novel, but our regular chips-and-beer shop talks have done a great deal to keep me going when I considered hanging up the pen and exploring a new career as a store greeter.

Thanks to my agent, Evan, who brokers my novel deals in the smoke-filled, shady backrooms of the publishing world where a clueless newbie like me would get shanked and left to die in the gutter next to remaindered copies of Fifty Shades novels.

And a big “Thank you” to everyone who bought Terms of Enlistment. especially those of you who took time out of your day to write a review or recommend the novel to your friends. You are all beautiful people, with exceptionally good taste and OK I’LL SHUT UP NOW.


Photo by Robin Kloos, 2013

Marko Kloos is a novelist, freelance writer, and unpaid manservant to two small children. He is a graduate of the Viable Paradise SF/F Writers’ Workshop.

Marko writes primarily science fiction and fantasy because he is a huge nerd and has been getting his genre fix at the library ever since he was old enough for his first library card. In the past, he has been a soldier, a bookseller, a freight dock worker, a tech support drone, and a corporate IT administrator.

A former native of Germany, Marko lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two children. Their compound, Castle Frostbite, is patrolled by a roving pack of dachshunds.

Terms of Enlistment

Lines of Departure

En Marko Kloos Audiobooks Collection

"I feel that having an established reader base had a lot to do with the success of my self-publishing experiment. I�ve built a modest audience over about ten years of blogging, and a lot of my readers were familiar with my writing because I have been posting free stories and essays over the years. When I finally decided to bring the novel out myself, I had a built-in audience that helped the book get its initial sales push.
Interacting with readers is a great way to get validation and feedback. I�ve had readers alert me to typos I had overlooked, I keep getting comments from people who enjoyed the novel, and the whole give-and-take via blog and social media makes me very aware of the fact that I am writing for an appreciative audience, not just for a paycheck or a personal sense of accomplishment. In a way, writing is every bit a performance art as acting or singing, and online interaction brings us closer to the readers than just answering fan mail and doing book signings every once in a while."

Marko Kloos - Terms Of Enlistment (read by Luke Daniels)
Marko Kloos - Lines Of Departure (read by Luke Daniels)
Marko Kloos - Angles Of Attack (read by Luke Daniels)

Marko kloos torrent

marko kloos

Full marko kloos Download 1772 kb/s marko kloos [Verified] 1194 kb/s Direct marko kloos Download 1385 kb/s

12 torrents (0.001s) Order by rating | date | size | peers

MarkoKloos Frontlines Series 1 4 epub&mobi » books fiction 1 2 months 9 MB 11 0 MarkoKloos Frontlines 4 Chains of Command ^Wildwielder^ CPUL epub » books fiction 1 3 months 1 MB 8 0 MarkoKloos Terms of Enlistment Frontlines #1 » books 0 2 years 264 MB 2 0 MarkoKloos Frontlines #1 3 Sci Fi; Military ePUB MOBI » books fiction 1 9 months 4 MB 2 0 MarkoKloos Lucky Thirteen Frontlines » books fiction 1 9 months 0 MB 1 1 Lines of Departure by MarkoKloos » books 0 2 years 0 MB 1 0 MarkoKloos Lines of Departure » books 0 2 years 250 MB 1 0 MarkoKloos Lines of Departure Frontlines#2 » books 0 2 years 250 MB 1 0 MarkoKloos Angles of Attack Frontlines # 3 ^Wildwielder^ epub » books 0 1 year 0 MB 1 0 MarkoKloos Angles of Attack Frontlines #3 » books audio 1 4 months 271 MB 1 0 Terms of Enlistment Kloos. Marko epub » ebooks 0 3 years 0 MB 0 0 MarkoKloos Angles of Attack 3 Frontlines Trilogy » books 0 1 year 192 MB 0 0

Not enough torrents?
- Check your spelling
- Try less or different keywords

© 2003-2016 Torrentz

Marko Kloos

Marko Kloos

Marko Kloos is a novelist, freelance writer, and unpaid manservant to two small children. He is a graduate of the Viable Paradise SF/F Writers' Workshop.

Marko writes primarily science fiction and fantasy because he is a huge nerd and has been getting his genre fix at the library ever since he was old enough for his first library card. In the past, he has been a soldier, a bookseller, a freight dock worker, a tech support drone, and a corporate IT administrator.

A former native of Germany, Marko lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two children. Their compound, Castle Frostbite, is patrolled by a roving pack of dachshunds.

Visitors to this page also looked at these authors

Interview with Marko Kloos

Interview with Marko Kloos

In the latest in our series of interviews with self-published authors, we talk to military science-fiction writer and bestselling Amazon author Marko Kloos.

For those who are unfamiliar, can you tell us about your book?

Terms of Enlistment is a military science fiction novel. The protagonist, Andrew Grayson, is a kid from the welfare slums of Earth, which has a slight overpopulation problem in the 22nd century. Andrew is tired of eating reconstituted soy and being stacked in dole housing, and he decides to apply for military service, which is one of the few ways out of the Public Residence Clusters. He wants to get off Earth and go into space but, as he finds out, in the military things don’t often go your way once you’ve signed that enlistment contract.

When did the idea for Terms of Enlistment first occur to you?

I wrote the first few chapters as my application piece for the Viable Paradise SF/F Writers’ Workshop, which is held every year on Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts. I wanted to write a genre staple, Young Man Goes To Boot Camp And Then Off To War, but I wanted to make my version just a little different. What if the military got a hundred applicants for every boot camp spot, and could afford to be highly selective as a result? What would boot camp look like if the instructors didn’t care whether you made it through or washed out?

I also wanted to sprinkle in some of the experiences of my own military service (I served in the German military as a non-commissioned officer), and the military SF genre seemed like a fun playground for that.

When did you find the time to write?

I wrote Terms of Enlistment and its sequel while being the stay-at-home parent to two small children. I had to write early in the morning before everyone got up, or in the evening after everyone went to bed. I also got in quite a few pages sitting on benches in playgrounds while the kids played. Being a full-time parent is great for writing discipline--you learn to carve your writing time out of the day whenever you can. That means cutting out a lot of the stuff that’s not as important to you as finishing a novel, of course. I didn’t spend very much time in front of the TV, and my World of Warcraft characters sat around in inns and got fat and lazy.

You write mainly science fiction and fantasy – who has influenced you in your writing? Was there a particular book or film that inspired Terms of Enlistment?

The obvious answer would be Robert Heinlein, but that’s only partially true. I’ve always been a fan of military adventure from a soldier’s perspective--a prime example would be James Cameron’s Aliens. I wanted to throw a bunch of grunts into extraordinary circumstances and write about the way they deal with them without making the military veterans in the audience go, “Oh, come on!”

I also wanted to throw in a bit of social commentary without being preachy about it. Joe Haldeman’s Forever War was a good yardstick for that. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. as good a read and as seminal a genre influence it is, really whacks the reader over the head with the politics stick, and I wanted to avoid that kind of approach. A twenty-year-old kid from the projects wouldn’t care much about civil rights and social policies--he’d care about getting real food to eat and having the opportunity to get out of the concrete gerbil mazes of the PRCs. The social conscience and the moral compass tend to only kick in once the belly is full and the roof over your head doesn’t leak dirty rainwater on you while you sleep.

Can you tell us anything about the sequel, Lines of Departure?

Lines of Departure takes place five years after the events in Terms of Enlistment. Andrew has matured a bit since he left the PRC with an induction letter in his hand. He is half a decade into a dangerous military career on the sharp tip of the spear, and things aren’t going so well for Team Humanity, both on the overcrowded Earth and out in the colonies past the Thirty, the 30-lightyear sphere around Earth that marks the boundary between the Inner and Outer Colonies.

Yet despite being at war constantly for half a decade, Andrew and his girlfriend, drop ship pilot Halley, still try to do what young people do regardless of the circumstances--have a relationship with one another, even if it only takes place on leaves that are spent mostly in Fleet recreation centers light years away from Earth.

Why did you choose to self-publish? Did you try the traditional route first?

I finished the manuscript for Terms of Enlistment in 2009 and immediately sent it to an editor who had previously requested the completed work. As far as I know, it’s still sitting somewhere in his office, in a box marked PRIORITY MAIL. (The postage was almost as cheap as First Class mail, and they do let you use that nifty free box.)

I also submitted queries to just about every literary agency in the book, and I sent submissions to most of the major SF/F publishing houses in the country. I got two or three requests for partials, and that was pretty much it.

Until recently, I was firmly against self-publishing and fully intended to go the traditional publishing route exclusively. My reasoning was that most self-published books don’t make a whole lot of money for their writers, and that I would need the distribution and marketing acumen of a major publishing house to ever make more than beer money with the novel.

The breaking point came a few months ago. I noticed a call for military SF submissions from an agent on Twitter. I remember getting out of bed again to go downstairs to the computer to look up her submission guidelines and send her a query. It was short, professional, and exactly following the guidelines.

The next morning, I had a form rejection in my Inbox. She had rejected the query without even asking for a partial--without having read a single sentence of the novel.

I said a very naughty word at the screen. Then I realized that I really didn’t have very many more places to send the manuscript, and that it would remain a trunk novel if I didn’t get it out in front of readers myself. So I activated a Kindle Direct Publishing account, formatted the novel for the Kindle, bought some stock art and made a cover, and uploaded everything to the Kindle Store. I think it was live and available for purchase eight hours after I had received that last rejection.

Would you have taken the opportunity to go down the traditional route if that had been a possibility?

I would have been delighted to sign a publishing contract if someone had offered it. I did, in fact, end up going the traditional route after three months of self-publishing. Terms of Enlistment did exceptionally well on the Kindle store--not just for a self-published novel, but for a novel, period. (At one point in April, it climbed all the way up to #2 on Amazon’s SF bestseller list--not just Kindle books, but all Science Fiction, print and audio as well as ebooks. Alas, I didn’t make it past Stephenie Meyer, for which I will nurture a LIFE-LONG GRUDGE.) All of a sudden, I started getting approached by agents interested in the novel. I ended up signing with an agent who ended up getting me a traditional two-book deal about two weeks after I signed with him.

What do you think the greatest advantage of self-publishing is?

For me, it’s the control. With KDP, I am able to track my sales in real-time, so there’s no guesswork about how your novel is doing.

Amazon also pays royalties monthly rather than twice a year like most publishers, and you’ll know exactly how much will be coming in because the royalty statements are also updated on a weekly basis.

Then there’s the royalty model--I get to keep 70% of the sales price versus maybe 15% ebook royalties from a traditional publisher. (Of course, KDP books won’t make it into brick & mortar bookstores, which still account for most book sales, so there are disadvantages too.)

Overall, however, I like the transparency and control I have with self-publishing. Yes, I have to be my own accountant and marketing department, but I’m never in the dark about when and how much I’ll get paid.

On the other hand, is there anything you feel self-published authors may miss out on? Such as the editor-author relationship.

I think the main thing that self-published authors may miss out on is a sense of outside perspective as far as writing quality and marketability is concerned. Your editor is there to make sure your novel is the best it can be. With the immediacy and instant gratification of self-publishing, you can finish a draft on Friday morning and have it up on Amazon by lunch, and from the amount of mediocre (and downright terrible) self-published stuff on the Kindle store, I suspect that a lot of self-published writers put their stuff out without getting a skilled second pair of eyeballs to look at it.

How, if at all, has having an agent been of benefit to you?

Getting an agent was the single best thing that has come out of my self-publishing venture. I signed with Evan Gregory of the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency, who got me a two-book deal with 47North. He knows the business, and we discussed every aspect of the contract offer before I made the decision to sign. I really came away from the whole deal with the feeling that Evan is concerned with what’s best for my career, not necessarily what generates the bigger agency fee. It’s a big relief to have someone in my corner who knows the business so I don’t have to spend my writing time going through contracts and negotiating terms. I can focus on writing, because he takes care of finding a place for my stuff and making sure the contracts are fair and favorable.

You have a blog and a website – how important do you feel interacting with your fans has been?

I feel that having an established reader base had a lot to do with the success of my self-publishing experiment. I’ve built a modest audience over about ten years of blogging, and a lot of my readers were familiar with my writing because I have been posting free stories and essays over the years. When I finally decided to bring the novel out myself, I had a built-in audience that helped the book get its initial sales push.

Interacting with readers is a great way to get validation and feedback. I’ve had readers alert me to typos I had overlooked, I keep getting comments from people who enjoyed the novel, and the whole give-and-take via blog and social media makes me very aware of the fact that I am writing for an appreciative audience, not just for a paycheck or a personal sense of accomplishment. In a way, writing is every bit a performance art as acting or singing, and online interaction brings us closer to the readers than just answering fan mail and doing book signings every once in a while.

Do you feel there is more of a sense of community with self-publishing than there is with traditional publishing?

I have found the opposite to be true. For me, there’s more of a sense of community in the traditional publishing scene. I have a few home turf conventions I attend every year, and one tends to see the same faces because our genre is fairly small and familial. I made twenty-four new friends at Viable Paradise, the first writing workshop I ever attended, and every time we get back together, it’s like a family reunion.

I’m not saying that the self-publishing scene doesn’t have the same sense of community, but self-pubbing congregations--whether online or in the real world--tend to be more about self-promotion and sharing or gaining tips & tricks for selling books. A lot of self-published authors confuse “community” with “potential audience/customer base for my work”, and that’s always awkward at best - and downright repellant at worst.

How important is marketing yourself in the early stages of your self-publishing career? Any tips?

Self-marketing is a tricky thing. Your biggest problem as a self-pubber is obscurity--nobody knows you exist. But self-promotion is incredibly toxic to social interaction in large doses. I have a strong aversion to pushing my own work on social media. I see Facebook and Twitter as a way to keep in touch with friends, and I try to be entertaining by posting fun updates. People can smell when you’re not genuine, and when you use social media mostly for self-promotion, you use your followers as a means to an end. That kind of thing gets you unfollowed and unfriended faster than anything else. Announcing the availability of your novel on your blog is totally fine and may help you get sales if your readers like your other writing already. Spamming Amazon links five times a day on Twitter or Facebook isn’t fine. It annoys people and makes them not want to read your stuff. Self-promotion is best used in very small doses, and ideally packaged with humor or personal relevance.

Did you design your own cover? How important do you think cover design is to a potential reader?

I did design the cover for Terms of Enlistment. I purchased some stock art I liked, and worked it over in Photoshop for a little while to put a title and byline on it that matched the colour scheme I wanted. I have gotten very positive comments on it, but I also know that some people hated the cover and almost didn’t pick up the book because of it. (Hooray for Amazon’s “Try a sample before you buy” Kindle option.)

The cover is what catches a reader’s eye, and if it looks amateurish, it’s a huge strike against the book. Self-published novels already have to overcome a reputation of half-baked amateurism (which is sadly deserved for a great number of self-pubbed Kindle titles--there’s a lot of first draft material out there packaged as a novel), and the badly designed cover is pretty much a hallmark of the badly-written self-published novel.

Finally, do you have any advice for writers looking to self-publish?

Forget all the nonsense about a “personal brand” or any of those other marketing buzzwords out there. There’s no marketing trick that will guarantee you sales or a readership, and people don’t appreciate being used as a means to an end.

Write a good novel. Edit the hell out of it until it’s the best possible work you can produce. That’s the first and most important part of the process--if you don’t have anything written that’s good enough to interest, excite, and entertain, no social media sales strategy will help you.

If you do decide to go the self-publishing route, be aware that it’s all on you: marketing, ebook formatting, accounting, cover design, public relations. All of that takes away time from writing--a lot of time. Every hour you spend messing with cover art or fonts for your book cover is an hour you don’t get to spend writing.

Don’t expect sudden riches. The self-publishing success stories you hear are about as rare as lottery wins. Be glad for every sale you get, and be grateful for every bit of feedback readers give you. Don’t engage with critics of your work online--there will always be people who dislike your book, and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. And for God’s sake, don’t read Amazon reviews or check your Amazon ranking. (You will, of course, but don’t hold me responsible for your newly developed neurosis if you do.) Once it’s out in public, it’s out of your hands, and people have the right to love it or hate it.

Reviews and recommendations are worth their weight in gold. Word of mouth is how we find new writers to like.

Be very sparing with self-promotion. People can smell when others are trying to sell something, and pushing your own stuff excessively will make people tune you out or downright avoid you.

Above all, be glad your stuff finally has an audience, however small or big it may be. Not many people can say they’ve finished a novel, and fewer still can say that other people paid money to read it. Whatever your sale numbers, you’re better off than you were when that novel was sitting on your laptop’s hard drive. And don’t obsess over any of it - put it out there, let readers find it, and get to work on the next thing.

To find out more about Marko and purchase his books, take a look at his blog here and follow him on Twitter here.

The Big Idea: Marko Kloos - Whatever

The Big Idea: Marko Kloos

It’s not often that a highly successful military science fiction series involves me in some way. But here’s Marko Kloos explaining how I was in a small way tangentially a part of the creation of his highly successful military science fiction series, of which Chains of Command is the latest installment.

The first book of what is now called the Frontlines series came to be because of a highly effective motivator: last-minute deadline panic.

Eight years ago, I applied for a slot in a writing workshop called Viable Paradise. I knew a few people who had attended VP, and they all spoke highly of it. When I checked the roster of instructors, I was happily surprised to see the names of some heavy hitters in the SF business: Steven Gould, Laura Mixon, Elizabeth Bear, Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Jim McDonald and Debra Doyle, and some guy named John Scalzi. To top off the list of arguments for attendance, the workshop was reasonably affordable, geographically close (it takes place every year on Martha’s Vineyard, and I’m in New Hampshire), and took only a week, which was eminently swingable on both my stay-at-home parent schedule and stay-at-home parent wallet.

The only trouble was that I heard about the workshop a week before the close of the submissions/application period, and I needed a few short stories or novel chapters to send in as application pieces for evaluation. I had neither.

So I sat down and wrote a few chapters of a fantasy novel that, in retrospect, should have been titled “The Journeys of Generica: Book One of the Derivative Kingdoms Saga.” At the time, I thought it was decent enough, and I gave the samples to my wife to read. She did so, and then tactfully suggested that I may want to send in, uh, something else .

With six days to go on the application deadline (and having to subtract two days from that to account for Priority Mail), I was in a bind. While I had always wanted to write SF or fantasy, I had no finished or even reasonably progressing projects in either genre on hand. I had two trunk novels sitting on my hard drive, but they were general fiction. I had recently read a novel called Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, and figured that because I enjoy reading military SF, I’d probably enjoy writing a military SF story. I served in the German military during the tail end of the Cold War, and I had always wanted to have a vehicle to make use of all the little sensory details and experiences from my own military service, and baking it all into a Military SF novel seemed like a good idea.

The boot camp sequence is practically a trope in the Military SF genre, and “Young Person Goes To War” is shorthand description for three quarters of Military SF debut novels. That’s not a terribly bad thing—when you go to the zoo, you’re either happy to see the giraffes again or you aren’t, and Military SF readers in particular like to see the giraffes, so to speak. But I had this idea in my head to put a different spin on my version of Space Marine Boot Camp. Current recruiting practice treats the new applicant as a valuable resource because the military usually has to work hard to fill all its slots with volunteers. Most future boot camps in fiction do the same—the old saw about tough drill instructor love, motivating the recruits to excel and be All They Can Be.

What if you had a future military that was so swamped with applicants that the D.I.s wouldn’t have to give a rat’s behind whether their charges make it through training or not? What if the D.I.s could wash people out at will because they knew exactly that five hundred applicants would stand in line tomorrow to take that slot?

From there, it was a simple exercise: thinking up a near-future version of North America where life sucks. Overpopulation, pollution, rampant crime, scarce resources, a population limited to 2,000-calorie-a-day rations of processed crap that’s made to taste awful on purpose to discourage overconsumption. Things would have to be so awful so much for the majority of the population that the prospect of death in battle would seem a fair trade for a shot at a paycheck and food that isn’t made from soy and recycled human waste.

With only a few days to think about the world-building and actually doing the writing work, I drew that crapsack world in rough sketches—just enough detail for the reader to get the idea, not so much that I’d have to spend weeks and months making up maps and diagrams and elaborate timelines. So Terms of Enlistment. the first Frontlines book, established the main conceit of the series, the grunt’s-eye view of the conflict, told in first person perspective. We see what the protagonist Andrew Grayson sees. We know about the world and its technology what he knows—no more, no less. It sort of puts the tech and the political machinations into the background bit and makes them scenery. With that kind of storytelling approach, other things move into the foreground: all the sensory details and awfulness of battle as experienced by the guy who doesn’t have a god’s eye view of events, filtered through the worldview and morality of a twenty-year-old kid from the future version of the projects.

With Chains of Command. the Frontlines series is now four books strong, with a fifth one in the works and a sixth under contract. My hasty half-ass first few chapters set the foundation for everything that followed, and it turned out to be a fortuitous restriction. With the immediate viewpoint and the broad-stroke pictures of the world as Andrew sees it, I was free to focus on character development instead of meticulous world-building and exposition. And as Andrew gets older and more experienced, the novels start addressing things that he would begin to think about after a few years of service to a system that tries to hold the lid down on a pot that’s about to boil over. Do you always follow orders, or are there just and unjust ones? At what point do you use your own judgment and question authority while fulfilling your oath of service? Military SF is often focused on the pulling of triggers (complete with three-page descriptions of the weapon system to which said trigger is attached), but how do you decide when not to pull the trigger?

Frontlines makes an attempt to address that conundrum, and it has been great and challenging fun to let young Andrew Grayson mature over the course of four novels and find his own answers to those questions.

Share: Post navigation

This is a great series, and this latest installment is excellent. There are two elements that raise it above most other mil-SF I read:

1) The aliens are just plain interesting. They’re different from the usual antagonists, who tend to fall towards the “basically human with some weird elements” end of the spectrum. Which I enjoy, to be fair. The Lankies, though, are fascinating because they’re so different. Their sheer size, first of all, coupled with the fact that humanity really has no idea what makes them tick. I’m really hopeful that books five and six will start revealing more of their psychology and culture.

2) The humans are just plain assholes. Not all of them, obviously, but enough of them to make things much worse than they have to be. Most mil-SF settings that include humans waging war against each other show said humans uniting when aliens arrive to threaten the entire species. That happens here, too, but only after a depressingly realistic amount of time where the humans continue trying to kill each other as well as fight off the Lankies. And then the ultimate bit of assholery that ended the last book and forms the basis of the plot for this one just puts a lovely cherry on the top of the shit sundae that is humanity.

Great books, go read ’em.

Going to have to go look for these. I am a huge fan of the approach Marko speaks of here, where the worldbuilding is part of the background scenery and you come to understand the environment of the author’s universe through the characters’ experience of it, not through them monologuing about it for pages.

I humbly suggest getting a Kindle Fire, buying this book, and then adding the audio book for only $1.99.

1. Mr. Kloos deserves all the sales we can possibly give him. Remember last year when he renounced a Hugo nomination for book #3 in this series?
2. The combo of ebook and audible book on the Fire platform is awesome IMHO. It lets you listen when in the car, and keeps track of where you are when it’s time to go back to reading actual words.

(I have no affiliation with Amazon, except as a happy customer.)

@Rick Mr. Kloos’ publisher is 47 North, Amazon’s imprint. Not surprisingly, the e-book is limited to Amazon’s platform.

I love the Frontlines series, for all the reasons Marko mentioned. Both books I’ve read (the first two) had the feeling of someone just telling it like it is rather than being overly jingoistic or anti-war, which was a nice little change. Plus sometimes it’s just straight up funny. Looking forward to being able to delve deeper into Andrew’s psyche and see what else you got!

I’ve read every one of these (since Lines of Departure) the day it came out, and loved each one. I was especially happy to read your afterword in Chains of Command. You were ill used by the puppies, and it should not have cost you a Hugo. Hopefully Mr. Scalzi’s gift of Scotch soothed the burn somewhat. Please, keep up the great work!

I’ve been meaning to pick these up, particularly since the author showed himself to be a person worthy of respect last year.

Woot. I first heard about the Frontlines series on Whatever, there was something that Scalzi posted about it.

I’ve been reading them as quickly as they come out. Once I saw this posted yesterday, I bought it and read it on the plane ride from PHL to ATL. Thanks for the reading material, Mr. Kloos. It’s some fun stuff.

How dare you think about human issues instead of just hardware. )

Just read Terms of Enlistment and liked it quite a lot. You’re not Linda Nagata. ) but the potential is there and your aliens are quite interesting, so I’m going to check out what they do next. Andrew doesn’t wallow that much over dilemmas in the first book — he knows the odds are stacked against him in every direction. But it’s his grim determination in the face of all those odds that keeps you interested in where he’s going and he does have a learning curve, which is always good.

Also, should you ever decide to actually write The Journeys of Generica: Book One of the Derivative Kingdoms Saga, I would totally read that. Or maybe Scalzi will let you take a crack at continuing The Shadow War of the Night Dragons for him.

I’ve enjoyed this series since Terms of Enlistment, and for precisely the reasons that the author mentioned. Having served in the US armed forces, the dialogue and environment ring true. I’m loving Chains of Command so far, and I’ll be looking enthusiastically for the subsequent books!

Floored by Scalzi's awesomeness says:

I just picked up Terms of Enlistment based on this column, unwisely since it’s a week before finals. I like it a lot.

And, as for “The Journeys of Generica”…the Belgeriad is generic as hell, with pretty much every trope in the books, and yet it’s a cracking good read. I think you’ve got the talent to pull off something like that, Mr. Kloos. Or just go full parody, that would be worth a good laugh, too.

Comments are closed.


I'm in book-writing crunch time right now, so posts here will be less frequent, primarily Big Idea posts and various photos (probably mostly of cats and sunsets), and comment threads will be capped after two days. Everything will go back to normal (probably) when the books are done.

Whatever Days