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Lines of Departure (Frontlines) Paperback – January 28, 2014
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“Much like Scalzi's Old Man's War and its sequels, Terms of Enlistment and Lines of Departure are combat-grade Military SF, and should come with an addiction warning.” —io9.com
About the Author
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.
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While technically military scifi, these books delve a bit deeper than just details of battles and their attendant strategies. There is more than one interesting character but the protagonist is, of course, most featured and his POV is dominant. Both volumes are interesting as Earth faces a vastly superior, implacable and fantastically aggressive foe which comes out of nowhere known to throw humanity back on its collective heels time and time again.
Again, in both books, the protagonist develops, the stages he finds himself on vary quite a bit and his interactions with others mature as he himself matures. As with so many of this genre today, the underlying sense is one of pessimism unlike, say the 'humans learn instant tech and dominate' common to the antique scifi of the so called golden age of the '30's, '40's and '50's.
This pessimism is deeper than most. Not only is the Earth severely threatened and humanity facing extinction, but the humans aren't sure that's a bad thing. The Earth itself is vastly overpopulated at over 10x it's current population most of who live in welfare sucking squalor piled into 'projects' and living a Hobbs-like life which is brutal, nasty, poor and short. Many complete it by being solitary.
At several points in the book, humans speculating on their own and their species extinction, say it may not be a bad idea. The implication is that since humans failed to control their own population, they deserve an outside influence to so control it.
Many future oriented books set the future as dystopian but few take it this far. Still, an exciting read with interesting people as speaking characters (NPC's if you will) and a highly sympathetic protagonist. I enjoyed both entries to this series and will surely be on board for any others that Kloos writes.
Lines of Departure is Act III of Terms of Enlistment. I'm not sure why this particular chapter in the war against the Lankies was split into two books, but Lines of Departure reads like the second half of a single (long book) and continues to develop its characters and alien warfare story in a way that's consistently engrossing. I enjoyed the first book, but Kloos improved in this one by giving us some real emotional stakes for the protagonist and building on the consistently entertaining story started in Terms of Enlistment.
I sped through this book in several days and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys good military sci-fi, with the caveat that you *must* read Terms of Enlistment first. I'd suggest buying both Terms of Enlistment and Lines of Departure and reading them as a single book. Unlike Terms of Enlistment, Lines of Departure ends the story at a reasonable place, expanding the universe and setting the stage for future encounters while also resolving most plotlines introduced in Book 1. I immediately went out and bought Book 3.
Also like Scalzi, the books are full of F-bombs. I got a lot of shade for pointing this out after the first book, but I'm sticking to it. I'm not niave, I know how stereotypical soldiers talk. I also know some soldiers who don't. It'd be easier to swallow if it presented itself as a character trait of one or two characters. But to have EVERYONE dropping F-this and F-that all the time just wares me out--almost lazy. Don't tell me you HAVE to swear when you write military novels, I don't believe it. There's no gory violence. Can't we leave out the lazy language too?
The story is fun, and I recommend it to all who can handle the language. There's another book in the series written, and one more due sometime in the future. I'll probably take a break and wait until the 5th book is out before moving to book 4.
Most recent customer reviews
I hoped to see more technical, technological details regarding aliens and their technology but author decided to...Read more