Just a couple of things to note down. Thing one: If you haven't read any of John Scalzi's stuff, what on earth are you waiting for. RAH is not coming back from the dead, you know. We think. And "Old Man's War" is maybe the best military sci-fi I've read since "On Basilisk Station". And if you haven't read that then how did you end up here?
Thing Two: I've begun to see a pattern in my designs. I fight an incessant need to include lots and lots of not fun stuff. And in this case I mean stuff as in stuffing or padding. I think the new cut of G.E. works because it lacks this padding. I'm starting a new anti-padding campaign!