May 1st, 2013

Feathery dinosaur

Baffled crows and book #21

165 icons and not a single bird one! I guess a dinosaur with feathers is nearly close enough.

I've been hoping for a bigger bird to come to my bird feeder, maybe a blue jay. I should have been careful what I wished for!

(Taken through the window/screen, forgive the quality!)

That crow spent fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to get by the squirrel baffle and to the seed, then came back a second time to try to figure it out. He hops to the lower part of the fence and then leans waaay down so he can see under the baffle (which is clear) and tilts his head back and forth.

Ellie doesn't care much about the little birds anymore (except when the window is open), but the crow and squirrels still drive her crazy.

Book #21 was the one I mentioned in my last post. Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos.

Despite my dislike of Kloos's stance on guns, I have to admit that I liked this book. Was it perfect? No. But it was self-published, which makes this only the second self-published book I ever liked.

I found five typos in it, which made me unhappy, but on his website I saw that when readers submit typos they find, he fixes them and re-uploads it to Amazon. So, while I wish he or an editor had found them before it went out, I'm glad that at least he cares enough to fix them. (Unfortunately I read that when I was nearly finished with the book, otherwise I would have marked them down and let him know.)

I'm pleased that he wrote this as one book; he could have easily stretched it out into a trilogy.

Part one was the best part. His world building was great. The book was set in the near-ish future, where the poor have gotten much much poorer. They're kept in government owned/run areas, they're fed by the government (man-made proteins, tasteless bars of protein, X calories of it per week). The water they drink is recycled from waste water, and rumor has it the protein is recycled from "waste" as well. We're introduced to the main character, who understandably wants to get out of this area.

The only way out is to join the military. Unlike today's world, everyone wants to join up -- there are hundreds of people who apply for each recruiting slot, and recruiters are paid based on how many people they turn away instead of how many they get to sign up. (The military offers real food and pays soldiers, so all the poor people want to get in.)

Unsurprisingly, the main character gets accepted, which leads to part two: The army.

This part of the book was somewhat less interesting for me. All rah rah military we run 20 miles for fun and piss manly man piss. And guns! Lots of guns! (By this time I had known the author's feelings on things, and it colored this part for me. So maybe if I hadn't known, I would have liked it more. And it wasn't all bad by far.)

Part three of the book was a first-contact with aliens situation. I liked his idea for them, and I mostly believed how it played out.

So all in all, I enjoyed the book. I feel bad I can't see it through neutral eyes -- I suspect I'm being harder on it than it deserves, especially since it's self-published. (I knew going in it was, and I usually don't buy them, but it had so many good ratings on Amazon I gave it a chance.) I think I would buy another book by him, if he puts another out. (The ending of this one was certainly open enough for another, but it wasn't one of those annoying ending-on-a-cliffhanger trilogy ones.)

Unfortunately my next book, Zoo (The Enclosure Chronicles) by Tara Elizabeth is self-published as well. I don't know how I missed it, it's marked clear as day ("Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform"). It's... not as good. The writing is rough. I hope it's good enough to finish.