In searching for my next entertainment novel, I stumbled across Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos. Given that I could read it for free via the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, I figured that I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did.
Terms of Enlistment paints a dystopian view of the future. America’s major cities have deteriorated into welfare slums where people have no way out unless they are selected by lottery to colonize other planets, or they join the military. In the case of Andrew Grayson, he decides to join the military to escape the slums of Boston.
By joining, Grayson wants more than to leave Boston. He wants off the Earth. His ultimate desire is to see the colonized planets and eventually settle on one. Unfortunately, during his military training, it’s discovered that he has more aptitude for ground fighting than space support, and Grayson is assigned to the Earth’s Terrestrial Army that has responsibility for protecting the foreign interests of the United States as well as maintaining domestic peace. Eventually, Grayson makes it into space, but I’m not going to ruin the story and tell you how. You’ll have to read the book to find out.
In some ways, Terms of Enlistment reminds me of the movie Elysium (which I didn’t see by the way) in that it paints a picture of the future where Earth has become a place of squalor and despair while space is a place of hope and plenty. Even though the undertones of Terms of Enlistment are dark and dystopian, the overall story in not one of hopelessness and despair. Kloos does a great job of keeping the story moving while effectively developing the characters. The result is suspenseful battle scenes that will make the book difficult to put down, an interesting mix of science fiction that challenges your imagination, and characters that you’ll root for throughout the book.
If you’ve read The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, then you’ll certainly enjoy this book. It’s written in the same style, contains plenty of military action, and mixes in science fiction, particularly during the second half of the book. My only disappointment is that I read through the Lending Library and didn’t purchase it. In short, I’d definitely put this one in the must read category.