Marko Kloos, the undisputed king of military science fiction

I first heard about Marko Kloos when his novel Lines of Departure was nominated for a Hugo award in 2015. For whatever reason, his book was included on a slate of titles put together by the right-leaning group of fans who called themselves the Sad Puppies. Their goal was to take over Worldcon, the organization whose members vote on the Hugo Awards and elect their hand-picked slate of recipients.

When Marko Kloos found out how he ended up as a finalist for Best Novel, he asked the Worldcon organizers to remove him and his novel from contention. He didn’t want anything to do with the so-called Sad Puppies or their agenda.

I didn’t know anything about Marko Kloos, but I immediately liked the cut of his jib. I immediately bought Terms of Enlistment, the first book in the Frontlines series and I was hooked. When I finished reading that, I moved on to Lines of Departure. Since then I’ve purchased every other book in the series as soon as it’s published.

Marko Kloos writes the best military science fiction I’ve ever read. Yes, I’ve read Robert A. Heinlein, Joe Haldeman, and John Scalzi. Marko Kloos is the better writer of military science fiction. Don’t believe me? Read Terms of Enlistment and then the other books in the Frontlines series.

I’m currently reading or more accurately, thanks to my Audible membership, listening to Points of Impact. I’ve been taking my time with the book. I read on Marko’s blog that his next book will take place outside the Frontlines universe. That means it may be a while before I get to read the sequel to Points of Impact.

Marko Kloos, the undisputed king of military science fiction.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out what a cool guy Marko Kloos is. He was born and raised in Germany and even served in the West German military. He now lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two kids. He writes his books in English, not his native German. Just thinking about that makes me feel puny and insignificant. I speak only one language and at times do so quite poorly.

 

2015 Hugo Awards nominees announced

The 2015 Hugo Award nominees were announced yesterday, and the list of nominees is reportedly rife with controversy.

I wouldn’t know. I look at the list of finalists for Best Novel, do a quick mental check to see if I’ve read any of them, and then generally move on with my Internet browsing.  The list of finalists is controversial supposedly because lists were published encouraging voters who to nominate, not based so much on the merits of the work, but on the political leanings (or lack of political leanings) of the finalists.

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Some have criticized the Hugo Awards for being manipulated by so-called Social Justice Warriors (SJWs), people who believe white men have too much clout and power at the cost of non-white, non-men. SJW’s try to even the playing field by promoting, usually on Twitter and Tumblr, less deserving women and minorities over more deserving white men.

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Or maybe the women and minorities are more deserving than the white men, but the white men are getting ahead because their whiteness or maleness is just too overpowering, like too much Old Spice slapped on by an octogenarian with a head-cold.

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The main list of recommended nominees was Sad Puppies 3, published by writer Brad R. Torgersen. Many of the finalists on the Sad Puppies 3 slate made the final cut and are now in the running to be winners of the 2015 Hugo Award.

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The Hugo awards are weird. Though they said to be the most “prestigious” award in the world of science fiction, fantasy, or speculative fiction. The cold hard fact of the matter is anyone willing to fork over $40 for a membership to Worldcon, can nominate finalists and vote for the Hugo Awards.

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Anyone means anyone. Technically, you don’t even have to be a fan of the genre. If you have $40, your opinion is just as important as anyone else who is voting for the Hugo Awards.

What this “controversy” really does is illustrate just how meaningless and stupid the Hugo Awards are. If you have an extra forty bucks and you’re  willing to spend it for the privilege of voting, your say is just as important as anyone’s.

As I said earlier, I mostly pay attention to the list of Best Novel nominees. With this year, I haven’t read any of the titles nominated. That’s not to say I won’t eventually. I purchased Ancillary Justice, the first book in the same series of Ancillary Sword, I just haven’t read it yet.  I also want to read The Goblin Emperor. Although I have never heard of it before, it sounds like an interesting read.

These two books that I want to read, Ancillary Sword and The Goblin Emperor did not appear on the Sad Puppy 3 slate, yet were nominated anyway. They also seem to be the only novels written by women. The other books nominated for Best Novel did appear on the Sad Puppy 3 slate.

I’m starting to think the Hugo Awards are kind of silly and stupid

The Hugo Awards are given each year for great works in science fiction and fantasy for the prior year. This year’s winner for Best Novel is two novels, Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis.

Blackout was published first and then All Clear was published as a sequel. How can two books win one award? It sounds like a basic math problem to me. Since both books won the Hugo, does this mean Willis gets two fancy rocket trophies?

No, she doesn’t.

Blackout isn’t even the beginning of the story. The story begins with Doomsday Book, published in 1992. I tried reading it awhile ago, but I found it to be a tad boring. The pacing was slow. Reading it made me feel as though I had taken a fistful of Excedrin PM and washed it down with a forty of malt liquor.

I wanted to read it. I really did. It involves time travel, a genre I love, and it won the Hugo in 1993. For a book to win such a respected award, it has to be good, right?

Right.

Let this be a lesson to sci-fi authors everywhere. If you want to win the Hugo for Best Novel, write two novels, not just one. A single novel just wont cut it.