Tuesday, March 26, 2013

By the way...

The five of you who haven't bought Marko's debut self-published novel, Terms of Enlistment, should totally do so.

I am not a fan of most self-published works. Even if the writer is capable of crafting a decent plot and keeping it moving along without meandering expository detours, can write followable dialogue, and avoids the temptation of making the protagonist an obvious self-insert only with godlike skills and rogue-ish good looks, they tend to be so riddled with spelling and grammar errors as to be practically un-readable.

MAJ Caudill's debut effort clears even that last hurdle, and easily. It's a fast-paced and accessible book, even for folks who are not fans of that particular flavor of genre fiction and, further, it passes my test for A Good Read: As the (virtual, in this case) back cover gets closer, I found myself wishing there were more pages. This book's covers are too close together.

Breakout works from this ghetto are noticeable by their scarcity, and this book is fit to join them.


LCB said...

Looks good...I'll give it a try...

Anonymous said...

I'm not a science fiction fan but I couldn't put it down. Was wishing it was longer.

Hope the next one is already well down the pipeline.


Jon said...

Word from Marko is Lines of Departure will be released in May.

Terms of Enlistment was awesome, if too short. Definately worth reading, most definately worth the price. I bought two, so I could share one.

cj said...

Have to add it to the list. At one point, I took a creative writing course after the course description described the instructor as a 'published author'. Turns out she'd self-published 2 books which had no reviews...anywhere, and she was a complete flake. So I appreciate your reassurance (and the currently other 58 other reviewers) on this one!

Anonymous said...

*Raises Hand* More and more of us self-published types are hiring copy editors. Believe me, the complaints about editing have been heard, especially by those who are in it for the long haul.


perlhaqr said...

My card that I have on file with Amazon got snookered by someone, somewhere, and odd charges began showing up. So I have to wait until the replacement comes in to get the book, but it's on the list.

Kevin said...

I'm about 2/3rds through it presently. I concur - it's too short.

Other than that, I haven't a single complaint. The next one comes out in May? I'm all over that!

Sport Pilot said...

Marko's Term's of Enlistment compairs well with more establised authors. Now consider it is self published, well edited and tightly focused whigh makes it excellent. Those of you who don't recieve Dillon's Blue Press should check the online versons for some of Marko's very well written articles too.

staghounds said...

That's Major Caudill, U.S.M.C. to you!

Anthony said...

Marko's book was awesome and there are many like it on the big Amazon. The self-published bleak picture is more suited to 2008 rather than 2013.

3/4 of the books I buy might be classified as "self-published" in the $0 to 4.99 range. but there are a significant percentage that I can't tell if they are small press, medium press or independent. I'm increasingly finding indie books better edited than books from a larger press.

Here's what I do: I use the Amazon "Look inside" feature to read the first part of the book. It's blazing obvious (like, flaming pages with spotlights and a siren going woooop woooop woooop) at the end of the free look that is a book worthy to buy.

Another feature I use heavily is sending the first chapter to my Kindle. If I like it, I just press the buy button, even if I'm in bed.

Anyway, totally recommend Marko's book. It's way better than the most military sci-fi pubs other than Baen are trying to get us to buy.

Kristophr said...

Marko has Larry Corriea edit his book for him ( another author other readers of this blog need to be reading, IMO ).

A good editor can take a Mary-Sue out behind the barn and execute her without a single fuck being given.

Kristophr said...

"had", sorry. I need an editor.

Tam said...


Some other blogger you might have heard of has the book in a several-year-old .doc file on a dead hard drive herself.

I don't want to give away any spoilers as to who that blogger might be, but she used to be on staff at THR with Larry and Marko and was Marko's roommate back '00-'02... ;)

Tam said...

(IOW, it didn't need a whole lot of editing. As can be gleaned from his blog writings, if more people wrote as well as Marko, there would be even more unemployed copyeditors than there already are... ;) )

The Freeholder said...

I thought Marko was dead set against self-publishing? Glad he decided to go with it; I was hoping to read this one--I read his preview way back when and it sounds a bit too familiar to be comfortable. Given my skewed way of looking at the world, that makes it right up my alley.

Now if you will all excuse me, I have something to go sit in front of the fire and do this afternoon, rather than working like I ought to.

Divemedic said...

I liked the book. It was enjoyable, and did seem too short. I am eagerly waiting for the next one.
If I had any criticisms, they would be this:
There were a few spelling errors, but not many.
The story seemed to be exploring a story line a couple of times, then the story line was abandoned by a plot twist and never heard from again.

Still, much, much better than the norm for self published work.

Joanna said...

Self-publishing is the writing equivalent of recording an album in your basement. Anyone can do it, and most people who try turn out crap. But the people who put in real effort, maybe shell out a little money for some professional help, can produce some top-level stuff that way.

Amazon's Kindle is the equivalent of mid-2000's MySpace.

Kevin said...


Sturgeon's Law says that 90% of everything is crap. That's true of professionally published as well as self-published books. The difference is, professionally published books tend to get professional promotion. Self-published books count on word-of-mouth.

The Internet provides a LOT of mouths.

Joanna said...

Kevin: I was referring more to production values -- big-name publishers can hire people whose entire job description is "take out unnecessary commas". Stephanie Meyer's work is terrible in terms of content, but the line editing is impeccable.

Ajdshootist said...

Tam go to The Drawn Cutlass and have
a read of Bob's short story "Lost Lamb" its worth a read.

Kristophr said...

Ah, so you were partially to blame for this?


I am happy that Marko decided to stop trying to sell this to the publishing industry dinosaurs.

JNU Dave said...

Just started reading "Terms of Enlistment" today. Looking forward to the story.

fast richard said...

Just read that last week. I liked it and will watch for his next one.

Drang said...

Downloaded it last Sunday morning, finished it last Sunday afternoon.

As a retired Cruel Tyrant Sergeant, I can be somewhat unforgiving of .mil fiction; this is good. I dunno if Gunny Ermey reads SF, but I think he'd like this. (I kept wondering why a certain character wasn't named "Caudil"...)

Bill "Daily Pundit" Quick has gotten fed up with the Publication machine and decided to go self-publishing route himself. He decided that the changes his agent was demanding to his latest work was not only making it a story other than one he wanted to tell, it was becoming one he didn't want to read.
I think Marko would have found the same.

RevGreg said...

Don't do it! Blew through it in a day and now I'm pissed that there isn't more!

Tim Ellwood said...

Just found out I am scheduled for a sleep study on the 1st and needed a new kindle book to download for that night,jumped on here and voila, you had a recommendation. Just downloaded it, now if I can hold off reading it for 5 days everything will be good

Chris said...

Got it shortly after it became available. Downloaded it Saturday afternoon, finished it Sunday (sleep intervened). It seemed short because it moved along briskly without rushing the reader. IOW, well-paced. I've been reading SF and fantasy for over 50 years, and have become quite picky, but "Terms of Enlistment" cleared that bar with a few miles to spare. Highly recommended.

Robert Fowler said...

Bought it, just haven't had time to read it yet. SW has a appointment this morning so I can get started while I wait on her.

NotClauswitz said...

Not available as a non-Kindle...

Anonymous said...

It seemed okay, and better written than stuff like Monster Hunter International.. but the ending part was a letdown. Unless Mr.Kloos can pull out a good explanation of the various howlers in the sequel..

Some quibbles about physics, absence of drones/robots etc, and the 30 lbs armor defeating a .50 BMG hit?

3 or what mm flechettes being superior at armor penetration? He should have let someone proofread it..

Fuel-air explosion of an SSTO dropship? Just fuel with air inside dropship-- that would be a fart. Fuel combined with oxidizer..
Let's just say smaller nukes have been fielded. The energy needed to get to orbit ...


Tam said...

Dear NoCureForAspies,

Google "space opera". Then google "George Lucas's net worth".

Seriously, FTL travel and artificial gravity deck plates and dropship flight models that are 25% Shuttle and 75% hand-waving and it's the flechettes that have your nose out of joint?

Anonymous said...

FTL and gravplates are something else than inconsistence. I'm okay with single instances of well-defined handwavium, such as the almost infinite thrust drives (stabilized wormhole to another universe's big bang supposedly) or cryo-arithmetic Alastair Reynolds uses.

Dropships did bother me some. Could have been easily solved by putting in some antimatter.
Brits have a design that might be a viable SSTO spaceplane (see Sabre engines), a some extra power could account for the armor and hover capability.

No way a tiny little flechette with maybe 1500 joules of kinetic energy can be a better penetrator than a .50 travelling at 1/2 or 2/3 of the same speed..

Pity about the gravplates too.
It's one thing to have FTL, artificial gravity is worse.. and there is no need for it. Simpler to give spacers some gene-tweaks so their bodies don't atrophy .. or just scoop the brain and stick it in a spacecraft, keep the bodies on ice somewhere.

That goes for the soldiers too. By 2100, retroviral engineering is going to be as old hat as LCD displays are these days.. Same with brain-computer interfaces and the like.

But he's a new writer, so one can hope.


Gerry N. said...

Swayte Jaysus on a hay wagon. It is fiction. Lighten up for the love of {deity of choice here} and just enjoy the story.

Some people's children........

I read it in one sitting, and am waiting with bated breath for the next one.

Gerry N

Steve B said...

I have thusly ordered me it. I am a serious distopian-post-apocalyptic flee the dying planet military sci-fi junky, so this sounds like my thang.

If it's not, oh man, just WAIT for the strongly worded comment to a blog post! I know, right!?

Kristophr said...


What is the flechette's mass, and how fast is it traveling? I don't recall the author specifying these.

If I can drive a 3mm projo fast enough, it is going to make an M-2 projo look like weaksauce.

Unless you can show some numbers from Mr. Kloos book, you are not impressing me. Get back to us when you are better at nit-picking.

And exactly how many novels have you self-published, and how well are they doing on Amazon right now?

Cybrludite said...

Read it this morning between support calls at work. Only editing issue I noticed was one missing opening quotation mark.

Anonymous said...


If I can drive a 3mm projo fast enough, it is going to make an M-2 projo look like weaksauce.

The rifles in the book bear more than a passing resemblance to G11 rifles (variable fire rate, caseless, puny bore), which, not entirely coincidentally the extremely lucky Mr. Kloos got to shoot. The bastard.

They're also described as controllable in fully-automatic fire, which rules out fast enough flechettes.

Some numbers:
.50 BMG : ~18,000 J, 45 g @ 900, p=40.5
.5.56 : ~ 1500 J, 4.5g @ 910, p=4,1
.30-06 : ~ 3800 J, 12g @ 820, p=9.84

Velocity of the flechettes is never stated, but let's be generous and assume amazing future propellants and material and take 3000 ms-1 (~9000 ft/s) for muzzle velocity..
For that to equal .50 Ek would imply 4 g flechettes, and with some very good magic nano future propellant 6g rounds. Assume 10% overhead for magazines...2750 g ones, for a total of 13 kilos of ammo (30 lbs). Book never mentioned how heavy the ammo is, but present-day mg'ers carry at least that much..

But, that'd cause momentum of 12 Nm per shot, more than a 30-06.

G-11 had the ability to fire off 3-round bursts @2000 rpm while the gun assembly was just sliding inside the gun which was the whole point of the design and the recoil was only felt after all the bullets were out of the muzzle..

Actually seems doable. Cooling would be an issue, because each shot would raise the temperature by ~4 kelvin, so half a magazine inside a minute would heat up the gun to temperatures where steel starts to soften, and a full magazine would get it almost red-hot.. (1300 K)


And exactly how many novels have you self-published, and how well are they doing on Amazon right now?

It's like saying I can't say or write anything negative about a gun unless I've designed and sold some. Uh-huh.

and just enjoy the story.

I'd have, but then he put freaking aliens into it. Not good. Mil-sf aliens with superior tech have to be ridiculous, or else the war would last something like 6 mins..