Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos
In a future America the only way to escape slum life where you spend your life ducking bullets and eating non-appetizing welfare food is to join the military. And that isn't easy. The main character manages to do it and even finishes the basic training which is designed to drop out about half of the candidates. He is disappointed when he is ordered to the Terrestrial Army as he was hoping to get to the navy to see space and alien worlds. But even being an ordinary army grunt beats the slum life, but army life isn’t easy or safe either. After a few unfortunate events he gets what he was wishing for - a transfer to space - but it turns out that fighting battles on Earth might have been preferable.
An easy to read and fast moving book, which is certainly entertaining. What I was hoping for was some information on the social and economic structure of the world. Now it was kind of hard to see how the world functioned. And the killing of scores of civilians (and the why and how the said civilians were fighting with such powerful weapons) was pretty much glossed over. The writing isn’t worse than very similar books by Robert Heinlein or John Scalzi (Haldeman’s Forever War – another book with a very similar basic plot is better written in my opinion), but what is lacking is the description of society which was essential even in very militaristic Starship Troopers. Also, when the aliens (yes, there are aliens - this is science fiction even if parts in the beginning didn't really feel like it) appear, they are pretty strange beings who apparently have never heard of the square cube law of animal (and machine) size. I don’t exactly see how such creatures could exist. In spite of some problems, this was a nice and extremely entertaining read of old-fashioned fiction which aims just to entertain without any other goals. I wonder if the society will be described better in the next books of the series. I will probably have to read them to find that out…
Proofreading by eangel.me.