The results are in. And they’re shocking! Apparently, the meat and cheese diet is bad for you: Meat, cheese diet study
Also, this just in! Sitting around all day is bad for your too: ‘Brain Fog’: Sitting for hours negatively impacting health…
Also, angrier people are more likely to die of heart attacks: Angry people ‘risking heart attacks’
Ah, the hell with it: 25 Of The Most Obvious Headlines Ever
Here’s one that seems to engendered some heated responses. Poor, abandoned girl or spoiled, entitled young adult? Judge rules against New Jersey teen suing parents for support
Fake Chef Fools Midwest Morning Shows, Makes Reporters Eat Gross Food. Apparently, he’s THIS GUY K-Strass, the incompetent yo-yo master who goes around midwest morning shows, pretending to be a yoyo master. Here he is talking about, among other things, the Hobos for Yoyo’s Program:
“Lisa Malak, who anchors the “Sunday Morning” show on WFRV in Green Bay, thought it would be fun to book somebody who said he was a yo-yo champion. When Strasser showed up April 11, he said he forgot the string for his yo-yo. With no tricks, Malak and Strasser spent their live TV segment talking.” (http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/93209399.html)
Our Book of the Month Club discussion on Marko Kloos’s Terms of Enlistment continues. If you haven’t weighed in with your thoughts yet – what are you waiting for?
Chris writes: “It seemed too clean to me, one minute he is under arrest almost brought up on charges the next he is given a navy assignment that most people would kill for.”
Answer: Yes, it really felt like a huge missed opportunity missed. There was so much that could have been explored re: the moral and ethical implications of domestic warfare but, instead, the dilemma our protagonist faces is quickly and conveniently swept under the rug and the story moves on to the next dramatic chapter. It almost felt like the author was trying to cover too much ground in too limited a page count.
Tim Hendrix writes: “I didn’t get my hands on the book until last night and I just finished reading it 20 minutes ago.”
Answer: Well, that says a lot about Kloos’s ability to really engage a reader. There’s no denying the fact that, despite my issues with the characters and some of the narrative choices, it was a fun read.
arctic goddess writes: “However, Grayson’s regular coincidental good luck stretched credulity. If my life was anything like his, I would likely have won the lottery by now.”
Answer: Ah, you’ve hit on one of biggest pet peeves in fiction = coincidence and convenience.
skua writes: “The first third of the book, suffers from characters without relief during training camp about everything. This seems to me, more a professional deformation , since Kloos as a former instructor NCO from the Heer ( Bundeswehr ) can not avoid showing us, his military vision, here denoted in the treatment of recruits. which sergeants can not see them but as moldable material that will not be true soldiers until they pass the ordeal and are transmuted in efficient inventory assets.”
Answer: I understand that, but it would have been nice to get to know some of the other characters (to say nothing of Andrew’s feelings) during these training sessions so that we could have been more emotionally invested in them later.
thornyrose1 writes: “If the vast majority of people are trapped in these cities, how can the government sustain both a military and a colonization effort, especially with competing political entities? If these slums are the exception, how many people are we talking about living on the planet?”
Answer: All great questions. The battle sequences were detailed and compelling. I wish as much effort had gone into the world-buillding.
DP writes: ” Kloos went to little effort to get me to care about the things Grayson cared about, but what little he did, I had to distrust because if a guy can walk away from his mom and never look back, he can do that with any other element of the story that seems important.”
Answer: Agree in the general sense but I believe his enlisting put him in a better position to provide for his mother. The alternative would have been to live with her in poverty.
DP writes: ” I fell off the turnip truck once upon a time just like him and I was looking forward to comparing scars with him, but that didn’t happen.”
Answer: Hmmm. I see potential here for a great future Book of the Month Club selection. Or anecdote.
DP writes: “The action was incredibly well-written. It was flawless in terms of physics. It’s not easy to write this kind of action without some kind of plot-hole and the temptation is to summarize to avoid one, but he described play-by-plays for extended sequences without flaw.”
Answer: There’s no denying he’s a terrific writer and I have no doubt that the subsequent books in the series will be even better as he continues to hone his skills.
Sparrow_hawk writes: “But I liked the Gulliver aliens.”
Answer: So did I but, like the previous Earth-bound story, I wish we could have known a little more about what was going on. I realize it’s the first book in a series but, even so, I wanted a little more light shed on these aliens.
JeffW writes: “Since I come from a family with a lot of military service, I found Kloos’ treatment of military themes to be excellent and I personally appreciated it. His depth and understanding of military life shows in his writing.”
Answer: They say “write about what you know” and it’s obvious Kloos knows about the military. As I said in my critique, he reminds me of David Weber in that respect.
cat4444 writes: “I was also somewhat taken aback at the way Andrew manipulated his having killed non-combatant civilians by way of serious overkill into getting himself transferred to another branch of the military – specifically the one his lover was assigned – and then further manipulated things to get himself assigned to her ship. There wasn’t really any downside or negative consequences to his actions up to that point, since everything worked out in his favour.”
Answer: Yes, this was one of my biggest bumps. Not only was he able to easily escape responsibility for his actions, but he didn’t seem at all troubled by the deaths of the civilians. Sure, I buy him excusing his behavior but for him to display no sympathy for the deaths felt borderline psychotic.
cat4444 writes: “However, I felt the ending was a bit of a let down, since so much was left unresolved. I suppose, though, that the ending was deliberate and done to entice readers to pick up the next “chapter” of the story.”
Answer: I’m sure that’s what it was but, like you, I would have liked some resolution or end-point despite the fact that it’s an ongoing series.
Airelle writes: ” Joe, how do you find out about these books?”
Answer: SFSignal.com lists all of the genre releases for the month. I go through the list, choose the half-dozen that interest me, then post them on this blog as nominees for our Book of the Month Club and let you all decide.
Line Noise writes: “I’m intrigued by the alien race we encounter towards the end of the book. I don’t think they are intentionally aggressive towards humans. I think we are like ants to them, beyond their notice except as a minor annoyance. I will be reading the following book(s) in order to find out more about them. So much sci-fi revolves around alien races that are either very similar to humans (mentally, if not physically) or so alien as to be incomprehensible but ultimately humans come out on top. I’d like to see a story about what happens when humans discover that they are so weak and insignificant that they are not even noticed by other races.”
Answer: I’m intrigued as well and curious as to how things will develop. On the one hand, they seem quite advanced but, on the other hand, as someone else already pointed out, their actions seem crude, savage almost.
Mike P. writes: “Why does no one try and communicate with them?”
Answer: I guess the question would be “How?” – especially after it appears they wiped out a colony.
The Hump: “I would have liked it to spend more time on Earth. I thought the over population and social tensions more interesting than the alien invasion.”
Answer: I thought they were both interested but ultimately underdeveloped. I would have preferred the first book to focus on his time on Earth and really flesh out that story, then save the alien encounter for the second book and give it it’s due as well.
dasndanger writes: “ I have to painfully admit that – being the shallow person that I am – the title ‘Old Man’s War’ does absolutely nothing to compel me to read the book. Now…maybe it if it was called ‘Young, Hawt Guy’s War’, or ‘Pale, Long-locked Dude’s War’, or even ‘Scottish Lads in Kilts’ War’, then maybe I’d give it a go.”
Answer: Okay, how about Old Man Joins the Military and Gets Brand New Young Hot Body War?
dasndanger writes: “While I may have enjoyed a bit more character devel, this book reminded me of first-person Naval accounts I’ve read from the 18th and 19th centuries. More facts than emotion – almost diary-like – put down to paper by someone who guards his feelings well. That was my impression of Grayson – someone who took life as it came, never over-analyzing it, and never getting too emotionally caught up in anything. I kinda liked it, actually.”
Answer: Interesting take. I know people like this and respect them but, when I’m reading a book, I like to know a little more.
Shana writes: “One of the things I enjoyed was the fact that he was given an earth bound deployment in the beginning. I actually wouldn’t have minded if he’d been earth bound for the whole book.”
Answer: In total agreement with you. If nothing else, having him head off into space at book’s end would have felt like a more satisfying conclusion to a chapter.
N writes: “I was a little confused. I found the sequence in Detroit surprisingly engaging (surprising as I’m not always so into action sequences) and it was mentioned a few times that the weapons that the residents had were far superior to what was expected. I thought maybe he was going to uncover some kind of secregovernment plot designed to keep the masses in their place and I was glad to have some focus for the story since it had taken a while to get there (although, again it wasn’t a difficult read) but then the main character got transferred and suddenly the story was about something else altogether. I kept waiting for the plot to come together and blow my mind somehow but it didn’t. It just ended. WTF?”
Answer: Now that you mention it, it did feel like we were being set up for something more. Possibly something that pays off in the next book?
2cats writes: “I also placed a pre-purchase order on his (yet to be released at the time) sequel, Lines of Departure. While I didn’t read this one quite as quickly, I did thoroughly enjoy it too — go read it!”
Answer: Based on your recommendation, I’ll put it on my To-Read list.
18 thoughts on “March 4, 2014: News of Note! Continuing our Book of the Month Club discussion!”
But.. I love meat and cheese. And sitting for hours. Can’t a person have any fun? *sigh*
I wonder if your news articles mean internet trolls have shorter lifespans.
Great Q & A! I don’t want to give any spoilers so I’ll just say a few answers are provided in the next book.
I picked up Kloos’ novella Measures of Absolution today. If you want some more of the action from Detroit check it out. It’s from Corporal Jackson’s POV and not only provides a little more detail of the Earth situation but serves to set up further story lines. Plowing ahead with Lines of Departure tonight. Great thing about being retired is there are no (well, few) consequences when I stay up all night reading. Living dangerously as I write this, sitting on my duff angrily devouring a cheeseburger.
Girl in Jersey? Spoiled biatch. 😉
RE: ToE – Joe, in reading the comments above I came to the conclusion that the whole first person thing just doesn’t work for you (and many others). I’ve always enjoyed first person storytelling because the narrator doesn’t know all the whys and wherefores. He’s only telling what he knows, or what he cares to know. One of the worst things is when the first person narrator accidentally mentions something that they shouldn’t know…like if Grayson had mentioned going from near court martial to dream job. If he had told me everything that went down I would have been annoyed…and I would have found his narration suspect (in other words, it may have meddled with my suspension of disbelief – this was one of the first books in a long time where I was NOT aware of the author).
Instead, my imagination was allowed to filled in the blanks – Big Boss Chickie Do pulled some major strings. Honestly, I would have been bored silly is Kloos had decided to include all of that (or, if he had decided to go the whole full court martial route). That’s not the sort of story he was writing, imho. The ethical questions were all asked – and answered – by Grayson right on the battlefield. Also, keep in mind that an author doesn’t want to explore ALL plot devices in his first book – save something for later. Not sure if that’s what Kloos has in mind, but I’m glad he didn’t delve too deeply in the repercussions of the one battle. Had he done so then that would have been the end of the book, and though you could argue that the space part could have been saved for a second book, I’m good with it being included in the first book.
Ugh…really pissed ’cause I just discovered that my DVR cut off the end of NCIS. Dammit. Nothing’s been going right today. 😛
The book definitely had a “part one” feel to it towards the end. I, too, would like to know more about the aliens, that was really the one part of the book I found intriguing. But I’m just not a fan of heavily military ficiton (sorry das).so I probably won’t read the next one.
So – based on Joe’s revised description, can I sell you on Old Man’s War???
I hear some ideas if you’re interested to stargate atlantis books, prints created on like the ZPMs.
I realize it’s the first book in a series but, even so, I wanted a little more light shed on these aliens.
OOOOOH. I didn’t realize this. It kind of puts a new spin on it.
As a self-contained book, I was really let down. While it was very engaging and a speedy read (as others noted), it lacked characterization (also noted) and the plot suffered at the hands of the military action descriptions. I read the back cover/summary and assumed we’d get some political intrigue and so when the PRC event happened and nothing much occurred, the character didn’t find out the plot behind PRCs or someone funneling weapons to the rioters, or something (I’m totally with N on this!), it was a real let down. And then in space they come across these aliens…and then the book ends. Not to mention – while typical – the “shoot first” response to the aliens was still bothersome. I know, I shouldn’t be concerned with aliens that (apparently) use chemical warfare and terraform a planet with people on it, and we find out about the release of mine-like things in the space around the planet…but it still seemed hasty? I don’t know. Limited resources (the fuel for the drop ship) and all, but where was the recon? SG teams traverse entire miles; no one thought to check out the aliens from their escape pods? The only intel had to come from the drop ship (recognizing that yes, once they discovered the town, no one was going into said town)? I guess in the back of my mind, I still have The Forever War in my head where the centuries-long war between the aliens and humans happens because of an accident and misunderstanding (plus the many other sci-fi media that has similar plots). I was going to say that, while enjoyable, it was rather flat in both character and plot – and I do still think the book suffered from that.
That said, if there are sequels, there may still be answers to the PRCs (how did the rioters get military grade weapons, for one), plus more room for the aliens and such. Still, I’m not sure if I’ll actually pick up the sequels. I applaud the kickbutt female pilot (a young Starbuck, perhaps?), but again, I didn’t even pick up descriptions for most of the characters, only names. I’m not sure this book motivated me enough to want the answers in the next 400 pages, rather than in one book with a limited point of view of a blah main character.
about the 25 of the most obvious headlines ever; that last one sounds like a joke i heard once. and most of them seemed to have come from the old headlines segment jay leno did on the tonight show.
I like a bit of style in fiction. It doesn’t all have to be Neil Gaiman or Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but a bit of lyricism and beautiful language goes a long way for me. I know this was written in first person by a narrator without much ‘beauty’ in his life experience, so maybe the simple language was on purpose. I just found the style very spare. When he did try to use similes, they seemed very awkward, e.g., when he compared crumbling buildings to “broken teeth in an already unhealthy jawline”. Really?
Then again I can’t write a paragraph of fiction so who am I to judge? I did enjoy it as a quick read with great action sequences and suspense. I found it just a bit unsatisfying, “like cotton candy melts to nothing all too quickly.” Haha.
Writers sit for hours, Joe. Writers sit for hours!
After reading the Terms of Enlistment, there were 3 other books related to this, so I bought and read them as well. It was basically an easy read – all of them. Not particularly striking except, I wanted to find out more. And, without giving away spoilers, I want to know what happens next while they are on the “winter planet.” It ended abruptly…kinda like you writers do the cliff hangers to make us want more.
Yes…a bit slow getting started.
What was obvious is similarities to other stories like Star Troopers, Alien series, Falling Skies, Soylent Green, and a couple others whose titles escape me. But this did not stop me from reading more.
One aspect where there is money for the military, government, and the privileged class – but not for the poor. Government and society does not change.
Yes,…was more interesting and engaging when the action started.
And, going to space was the most interesting and the aliens. Like others it would be interesting to learn more about the aliens, but there has been no communication. That said, with the other titles I mentioned above, there is little to no communication between earthlings and aliens either.
I did enjoy all of the books. Have to admit I started to do more “character” analysis in the beginning perhaps because I was a little bored. But once the action started…I just read for enjoyment.
thanks for suggesting this. Now to start annihilation.
In the line of The Most Obvious Headlines. I have a a scientific contribution after months of collecting statistical data.:
The Mallozzi principle. For each 100 people watching television, 50 are half.
– Akemi´s corollary to the Mallozzi Principle: If the episode any of these viewers was watching was write by Joe someone has to die.
It seems that soon we can raise this principle in the law category, since it seems (studies are being developed for this purpose) is fulfilled not only in America but in Europe, Asia and Africa. Existing high consensus that perhaps equally in our galaxy at least.
hello, sir joseph Mallozzi, my name is Enoch and I have some ideas for a new book stargate atlantis, on how the ancient created the ZPMs, and crystals for that unit in atlantis and planets.
if you’re interested my email is: [xxx]
das, I hadn’t really thought of this as a diary, But that makes sense.
And that is why I like these book discussions – they help me look at literature from new perspectives.
Gods, I am glad to see the book club back. Loving seeing other folks’ views, not to mention your own astute comments. As for the Jersey girl, someone needs to spank her lawyer. He’s the father of her friend, and has allowed this girl under his roof, presumably without demanding any limitations on her behavior. An he is the one who instigated the suit, demanding the parents pay the girl’s legal fees as well as their own, thus enriching himself. By undermining the efforts of the parents to demonstrate actions have consequences, he’s worsening the situation between parents and child.
I have started reading Lines of Departure, which is the follow up book.
The war with the aliens is being looked at in more depth. Book one is feeling more like part one of a set.
I would have liked the books to be longer to get my teeth in to something.
Some writers do longer books, Frank Herbert’s Dune or Peter F Hamilton’s everything he writes.
I did enjoy Terms of Enlistment and agree the story is engaging, I felt like the book was on fast forward.
Oh, this isn’t suspicious at all: (From the “Meat and cheese are bad for you” article) “The main message is to go to a safe level of protein and try as much as possible to have those proteins come from plant-based products,” said study author Dr. Valter D. Longo, who is the director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California and the founder of L-Nutra, a company that makes plant-based meal replacements.