FAQs about my FREE short story, Mole Hunt

July 1, 2011

Mole Hunt is my new short story published in June, 2011.

FAQs about Mole Hunt:

What is it?  Mole Hunt is a short story that takes place in the “universe” created in the five book Orphanage series and two (so far) book Orphan’s Legacy series.

How do I buy it?  You don’t.  It’s free.  Go to www.Baen.com and there it is, beginning on the home page and available to read in its entirety.  After it’s headline run on the homepage, Mole Hunt will continue to be available in the Baen Free Library online.  Eventually, it, and other such short stories by Baen authors may be assembled into a tree-killer physical anthology.  That, however, won’t be free.

Chronologically, where does Mole Hunt fit?  Mole Hunt takes place just after the end of Undercurrents, the just-released second book in the Orphan’s Legacy series, and thus just after the end of the seventh overall “Orphan” book.

Eeeww.  I have to read seven books or I won’t understand this story?  Nope.  It’s a stand-alone story.  If I didn’t just tell you, you’d never need to know anything went before Mole Hunt.  On the other hand, if you have read the prior parts of the series, you will recognize and enjoy revisiting plenty that you will find in Mole Hunt.

The intro says the story is Shakespeare.  That doesn’t sound like the Jason Wander – Jazen Parker Orphan books.  If you get the Shakespeare connection, cool.  If you don’t, you’ll never miss it.




July 1, 2011

The four winning entries have been selected in the review contest, which ended June 30, 2011, to win autographed books.  Look for a list of the winners with links to their reviews here, once all winners have been notified.

Win Free Stuff – New Series Edition

May 26, 2011

The Problem: The series that began with Overkill in March, 2011, and continues with Undercurrents July 5, 2011 is the follow-on to the five Jason Wander/Orphanage books.

Most of you have read all the books.  But some of you have read the Jason Wander series, but not Overkill, and some of you have read only Overkill.

The Solution:  We at RobertBuettner.com are encouraging readers to review Overkill.  In this we are motivated wholly by a spirit of public service, rather than any desire to increase readership.  And the Himalayas are made of fudge ripple.

The Bribes:  We here at www.RobertBuettner.com are fresh out of Carribean vacations for two (you’ll have to read Overkill).  But we do have signed copies (physical books, not ebooks or audio books, because those are hard to sign) of any and all of the books, including forthcoming Undercurrents, when it comes out in a little over a month.  We even have SWAG promotional items like signed posters, and signed Orphanage camo flashlights.

We will be giving away four “first prizes,” winners-choice, from the bottomless authorial treasure chest.  We reserve the right to award additional  prizes if we feel like it.  Why would we feel like it?  If you are serving on active duty in the US or allied armed services, odds are good.

How to Enter:

1.  Post a review (preferably but not neccessarily gushingly favorable) of Overkill online, then send the link to author@RobertBuettner.com   Do note whether you are on active duty, or tell us who the prize would go to who is serving. If you are entering to WIN Overkill and have not read it, feel free to substitute a review or reviews of any of the other five Robert Buettner books.

2.  Where might you post?  On the reviewed book’s page on Amazon.com, for example, or the book’s pages at Borders, Barnes & Noble, or Waterstone’s in the UK.  On your own ‘blog or webpage.  On a ‘blog or webpage you visit.  In an e’zine.  Reviews in hard copy publications are fine, too, but an electronic or hard copy of the review would have to reach us (P.O. Box 9, Lebanon, GA 30146) before the entry deadline.  Yes, school newspapers, Battalion newsletters, etc. count.  No length requirements or restrictions.

3.  Entry deadline?  Working links or hard copy received at Author@RobertBuettner.com by midnight, US Eastern Standard Time June 30, 2011 will be eligible.

4.  Four winners will be selected at random from eligible entries.  Additonal winners, if any, will be selected from among the remaining entries based upon the caprice, whim, and hubris of the panel of judges.

5.  Winners will be notified by return email, along with detailed information on available prizes.

6.  Other Stuff:  Winners don’t pay shipping, the bottomless authorial treasure chest does.   If you are Ayman al Zawahiri, please include return address or current GPS coordinates. Taxes are the responsibility of the winner, but the books retail for between US$7.99 and US$15.00, for crying out loud.  By entering, reviewers agree that their reviews or excerpts from them may be republished (real names/email addresses will be excluded on prior request) without further notice or obligation.   


March 24, 2011
If you’ve read Overkill, you know that an Abrams tank figures in the story. If you haven’t read Overkill, then you should, so you’ll know what you’ve been missing, because it’s pretty cool. 


If you’ve read all of Overkill you also know that fitting an Abrams into a story set  light years in distance and a hundred years in time from here and now, and doing it accurately, requires more than an author’s vivid imagination.

So, I want to say thanks, again, to all the soldiers of 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, the Sledgehammer of the Rock of the Marne, who took time out from preparation for deployment to the Republic of Iraq, to bring this last-century intel puke and tanker’s son up to date on what makes a modern tank, like the 3rd HBCT Abrams shown below right, thundering across the red clay of Ft. Benning, Georgia.

Even more special thanks to my host, 3rd HBCT’s Cpt. Charlie Barrett, at left (looking even spiffier in his Class A uniform than in pixillated camo).

Also thanks to SFC. Stephen Burden (above) and Staff Sgt. Joseph Maughon who showed me how an Abrams gets prepped for a long journey.  Although Iraq is closer – a lot closer – than where Overkill’s Abrams winds up.

Thanks also to Harry Sarles and Brenda Donnell of the Department of the Army Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, and to MAJ Lon Widdicombe, USA, for making it all possible.

Any errors regarding tanks and tankers are mine, not any of theirs.

But I, and all Americans, owe 3rd HBCT, and all those who serve, thanks for far more than that. Not just for their courage in navigating the fog of war, though certainly for that.

But also for the way they represent our better nature to the world, like this 3rd HBCT soldier.

Overkill – It’s an Original Hit! Even Better, it’s a Sequel!

March 17, 2011

Overkill, book 1 of the Orphan’s Legacy series, has only been on shelves, online, and available as an audiobook for a couple of weeks now, but you like it a lot, which makes my day.  Before the world got connected, authors and publishers had to wait on print reviews, sales figures that came back from stores months later, and the occasional fan letter to gauge reader reaction to a new release.

Today, though, readers post comments online instantly.  Reader reviews of Overkill have been, well, as shamelessly squibbed below:

“a great book…one of the most imaginative pieces of science fiction I have read in a while”

“Brilliant, I couldn’t put it down. Actually I bought it to go on my kindle but didnt even wait long enough to transfer it and read it all on a laptop screen in one sitting!”


“Robert Buettner’s first novel, Orphanage, will forever be one of my all time favorite military science fiction novels…Overkill…gave me a close approximation of the joy I felt while reading Orphanage.”

That last comment addresses my sole concern to date.  Some new Overkill /Buettner fans don’t know that there are five books out there, beginning with Orphanage, that set the stage for Overkill.  Most of those newbies seem to be getting that pleasant surprise when they read the Afterword at the end of Overkill.  But Overkill was designed as, and appears to be working as, a stand-alone novel.

It’s a pleasant problem for an author to have.

Deadly Slugs Invade France

November 30, 2010

In November, 2010, the new Eclipse imprint of Bibliotheque Interdite released Orphanage’s French-language edition, Les Orphelins.  Take a look at Eclipse’s stylish youtube trailer for Eclipse’s November lineup (it was supposed to be their October lineup, but France was on strike-seriously) including Les Orphelins, here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9YjPjEhqXA

Eclipse also asked me to create a “Chinese Portrait,” a brief interview format popular with French readers.  In English, it read like this:

Robert Buettner’s Chinese Portrait
If you were a quality?  Perseverance (what I call it) 

If you were a flaw?  Stubbornness (what my wife calls it)  

If you were a work of art?  Something that hangs in the Louvre. It’s the only way I could ever afford a place in Paris. 
If you were a sound?  One hand clapping (without my wife); a symphony (with her)  
If you were a song/music?  Something too complex to be reduced to a ring tone.
If you were a word?  A short, meaningful one.

If you were a time period?  The late Cretaceous. Like life, lots of roaring and screaming, followed by a loud bang and chilly silence.

If you were a personage of fiction?  Yoda. What could be better than eight hundred years of life without a single text message?

If you were an animal?  Something that hibernates.

If you were a celestial object or body?  Mousetrap, a hollowed out moonlet that exists in my books. It serves as an interstellar crossroad. Why Mousetrap? Because I’ve met so many interesting people there.

If you were a motto/a quotation?  “Expect the worst from the gods of war, and they will seldom disappoint you.” – General Jason Wander, narrator of the Orphanage series

If you were a movie?  Le Course en Tete, the documentary about the cyclist Eddy Merckx.

If you were a book?  I already am. A novelist whose essence isn’t in the novel has failed.

You can see my Chinese Portrait here, as it appears in French on the Eclipse site/’blog, which you should check anyway, because it is wicked slick.  However, I’m pretty sure my patois American lost quite a bit in translation:  http://editionseclipse.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/portrait-chinois-n%c2%b04-robert-buettner/

The Re-enchanted Man, Revisited

November 10, 2010

This post restates on this Veteran’s Day, 2010, my post for Veteran’s Day, 2008:

Most Americans know C.S. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia.  Fewer know that in the late 1930s he wrote science fiction set on Mars and Venus.

More to the point, on this Veterans Day, C.S. Lewis served as an infantry officer wounded at the Battle of Arras in 1917.

I am indebted to Baen books’ publisher Toni Weisskopf for recently pointing me to Lewis’ 1946 essay, Talking about Bicycles, which, as you may suspect, talks not so much about bicycles as about the four ways in which authors think – and write – about war.

“The Unenchanted man sees (quite correctly) the waste and cruelty and sees nothing else…the Enchanted man  – he’s thinking of glory and battle-poetry and forlorn hopes and last stands and chivalry.  Then comes the Disenchanted Age…But there is also a fourth stage, though few people in modern [1946] England dare to talk about it.  You know quite well what I mean.  One is not in the least deceived:  we remember the trenches too well.  We know how much of the reality the romantic view left out.  But we also know that heroism is a real thing, that all the plumes and flags and trumpets of the tradition were not there for nothing.  They were an attempt to honour what is truly honourable: what was first perceived to be honourable precisely because everyone knew how horrible war is.

“The war poetry of Homer…for example, is Re-Enchantment.  You see in every line that the poet knows, quite as well as any modern, the horrible thing he is writing about.  He celebrates heroism but he has paid the proper price for doing so.

“You read an author in whom love is treated as lust and all war as murder – and so forth.  But are you reading a Disenchanted man or only an Unenchanted man?  Has the writer been through the Enchantment and come out on to the bleak highlands, or is he simply a subman who is free from love mirage as a dog is free, and free from the heroic mirage as a coward is free?  If Disenchanted, he may have something worth hearing to say, though less than a Re-enchanted man.  If Unenchanted, into the fire with his book.  He is talking of what he doesn’t understand.  But the great danger we have to guard against in this age is the Unenchanted man, mistaking himself for, and mistaken by others for, the Disenchanted man.”

To serve is to leave forever the ranks of the Unenchanted, and of the Enchanted.  Whether you have emerged Disenchanted or Re-enchanted, thanks.

Robert Buettner’s new book, Overkill

August 3, 2010

Coming March 1, 2011 from Baen Books

Good News: Book 1 of the Orphan’s Legacy series, Overkill will be released March 1, 2011 by Baen Books, distributed by Simon & Schuster.

Here’s the cover:

Here’s the story:

           At twenty-three, Jazen Parker has completed his Legion hitch a hero.  But in four months, he’ll have a price on his head.  Worse, he’s lost his past, and he can’t find his future.  Worst of all, he’s chosen to search for them on the deadliest planet known to mankind.

            When Jazen reluctantly hires on to a Trueborn Earthman tycoon’s safari to bag a deadly trophy, the reluctant mercenary finds himself shipped out to Downgraded Earthlike 476, the outpost at the end of the universe known to everyone except its tourism bureau as “Dead End.”

            But the hunt goes terribly wrong, and Jazen must survive a tough, beautiful local guide who hates mercenaries, an eleven ton beast that can crush main battle tanks with one claw tied behind its back, and the return of a nightmare that has haunted Jazen since birth. Then Jazen learns that the stakes are not merely his own life, but the fate of an entire alien race.

The Year that Was

May 13, 2010

The fifth and final volume of the Jason Wander series.

It’s been almost a year since my last post here, and a lot has happened during that time.

The last two volumes of the Jason Wander series were published by Little Brown Orbit in US and UK editions, and books 3 and 4 were published in Czech by Fantom Print. 

In mid 2009 Baen books, the venerable giant of military SF, distributed by Simon & Shuster, bought the first three books of the follow-on Orphan’s Legacy series.  I turned in Book I of the new series, Overkill, in January, 2010 and Baen will release it in Spring, 2011.  The research involved the generous cooperation of the Office of Public Affairs of the US Army and a close encounter with an M1A2 Abrams tank that resulted in only minor damage.  To me, not the tank.  I’m now at work on Book II.

In March, 2010 Baen also released The Green Hills of Earth/The Menace from Earth, a collection of Science Fiction Grand Master Robert Heinlein’s golden age short stories, for which I was flattered to write the afterword.

Afterword by yours truly, cover art by Bob Eggleton, Foreword by Heinlein scholar Bill Patterson

I’ve also been busy with a general fiction project that I may someday actually show to my agent.

Next post:  I’ll try to answer some of your FAQs about writing, publishing, and the Jason  Wander series.

Free Stuff Winners

June 4, 2009

Thanks to all of you who posted comments or sent emails to win autographed copies of Orphan’s Triumph.

Congratulations to the winners, Henry Wu, from Montreal, Canada, and SSG Melvin Lara of Riverside, California.