Beginning a New Series by a New York Times Best-Selling Author.Will the People of Earth Bow Down toAlien Overlords—or Will They Live Free or Die?
First Contact Was Friendly
When aliens trundled a gate to other worlds into the solar system, the world reacted with awe, hope and fear. But the first aliens to come through, the Glatun, were peaceful traders and the world breathed a sigh of relief.Who Controls the Orbitals, Controls the World
When the Horvath came through, they announced their ownership by dropping rocks on three cities and gutting them. Since then, they've held Terra as their own personal fiefdom. With their control of the orbitals, there's no way to win and earth's governments have accepted the status quo.
Live Free or Die
To free the world from the grip of the Horvath is going to take an unlikely hero. A hero unwilling to back down to alien or human governments, unwilling to live in slavery and with enough hubris, if not stature, to think he can win. Fortunately, there's Tyler Vernon. And he has bigger plans than just getting rid of the Horvath.
Troy Rising is a book in three parts—Live Free or Die being the first part—detailing the freeing of earth from alien conquerors, the first steps into space using off-world technologies and the creation of Troy, a thousand trillion ton battlestation designed to secure the solar system.
©2010 John Ringo (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
I had my misgivings about this book from the comments posted about the politics that suffuse the narrative; but I'd hoped that it was part of the humour, something playful.
But I just couldn't settle. There was the "politics", but also that I just didn't care for any of the characters. In part I think this was down to the reading, which gave the narrative a hokey sound.
But then I heard "frack", "fracking" and "nimrod" and realised the book was probably more for the juvenile market. Frack and Fracking being silly alternatives to F**k, etc; and "nimrod" I think I first heard coming from the kid character in "Terminator 2". PG13?
The story concept really had some potential.
"Republican Physicists in Space!!!"
This is actually solid and creative sci-fi. A few of the reviews I read accuse the book and the author of racism but I think this is going way too far. The story is basically about Republican physicists saving the world. Even as someone who is very politically progressive I enjoyed it immensely. The conservative stuff is not hidden, the author just throws it right out there and in that way it's almost funny. The good guys are heads of corporations who are trying to save humanity despite government interference/regulation. There's a bunch of little digs in the vein of "if we can just keep the damned government off our backs" and even a slam on space-environmentalists ("we've trashed our own planet enough...")
That said I didn't find any of this overbearing and in reality the author is probably correct that first contact with alien species would not dry up all the hundred year old political squabbles on earth.
Alot of this book is concerned with the size/scope/power requirements of spacefaring. I bring that up to say that despite the levity of the dialogue it's actually pretty hard core sci-fi. Those hoping for laser battles or light-saber fights will be disappointed by this novel. The major battle scene reads almost like a physics textbook.
Overall this is a fun read. The narrator is excellent, he does some voice modulation for different characters but does not go to the ridiculous lengths to which some are tempted.
"Tyler Vernon to the rescue!"
This book kicks off the Troy Rising series with the standard Sci-Fi scenario of mankind's first contact with aliens. As is often the case, things don't go well for Earth as we are outclassed both technologoically and militarily when the Horvath come to claim our resources. Earth's governments have no recourse but to comply to the demands and Earth becomes a subservient planet.
Enter Tyler Vernon into the story and things start to change. Tyler Vernon not only steps up to save Earth but he also saves this entire series of books. He is an interesting, opinionated character that isn't willing to allow Earth to remain slaves to the Horvath. Any time the book (and series) focuses on Tyler Vernon and his plans it flies by and is a joy to listen to.
There are, however, lulls in each of the 3 books in the series so far where Ringo spends way too much time on boring subjects. In the first book it is the difficulties of mining in space with a "laser", in book 2 it is ship maintenance and welding in space, and in book 3 it is the culture clash faced by the Latin American military in space. Each of these are important to the overall story, but could have been addressed in far fewer pages. The bloat fills the gaps between the interesting parts of the story related to Tyler Vernon and the fight for humanity's freedom.
Mark Boyett does a decent job with the material, although he is forced to repeat "Tyler said" thousands of times due to the way the book is written. He is also a bit dry in his overall reading.
If you are willing to take the good with the bad then give the Troy Rising Series a shot. It is a 5 star story arc stuffed with boring periods that drag it down to 3 stars.
"Ayn Rand in outer space"
I agree with a great deal of the politics in the book, but, Ringo really shoves in your face. It's really a political screed in the guise of a science fiction novel. The sad thing is that I think it might have been a more effective at making its political points with some subtlety, and would have been a better novel to boot.
It might not bother too many others, but to me the very technical, very blatantly expository dialogue got very tedious very quickly. And there's LOADS of this here. I followed it for awhile, but the exobiology lessons in the form of dialogue made my brain drift. And then I would have that sinking feeling that I've just spent the past 15 minutes wondering idly about things like when Toyota intends to change the Corolla in a meaningful way, or weighing the pros and cons of buying the smaller 700 watt or the larger 1000 watt microwave while this audiobook droned on in the background. So I'd have to weigh whether to back it up or not. Mostly, I said "screw it."
With characters existing to advance political didacticism and deliver wooden expository dialogue, your expectations for character development should be low. Well, lower them yet further and you'd be about right.
After a point, I lost patience with it, which is sad, really, because I think the premise IS intriguing.
"For Better or Worse: Ringo Channels Heinlein."
I like this book.
I have given a 5 star rating because it does exactly what it promised in the first few minutes: to discuss politics, war and relationships.
I will note that I am sucker for the Heinlein homage that seeps through Ringo's writing in this novel. If you like Robert Heinlein's classic characters Lazarus Long or Jubal Hershaw, you will like Ringo's Tyler Vernon. However, the converse sentiment also holds true, you will likely see in Tyler Vernon the same audacious (maybe even arrogant) attitudes found in Heinlein's writing which alleges that bureaucrats are the single biggest danger to humanity (even more than the dreaded "liberals").
I will note that for the record, the author takes creative liberties with many (read most) of the details regarding space exploration, political/economic philosophies and the suffering that comes with Alien Domination. While I accept that current literary theory holds that authors only tell the stories they themselves believe and as such Ringo must see himself as Tyler Vernon, I will note that the same criticism has been labeled at Heinlein. I would say that if all you hear or read in the character of Tyler Vernon is a fictional caricature of the ideal "rugged individual," you have only seen one dimension of Tyler Vernon.
As a work of Science Fiction, this is not a book that reads like a technical manual nor is it filled with in-depth or vivid descriptions of milieu, environment and setting. Yet careful listening to the words will demonstrate that the relative unimportance of details is a central theme in the life of Tyler Vernon.
At the same time, it must be noted that Ringo is not Tom Clancy. I say this to note that Ringo does not bury you in minute details simply to prove the expertise of his characters or his own depth of knowledge and extensive research. Ringo implicitly requests his readers/listeners accept his authorial fiat on the subject of details in order to tell us a new twist on an old story.
"Another John Ringo classic"
John Ringo delivers again with a sweeping epic of the near future. He draws on some old sci-fi themes from classic stories of the past, throws in a Howard Hughes-like character, and gives us another great story. Ringo's conservative political views tend to come out in his writing, but are a minor distraction from an otherwise great story. This audio book was well-narrated with good characterization. I am looking forward to Ringo's sequel in what I understand will be a triology. I recommend this one.
If you enjoy john ringo then you will absolutely love this book. Memorable characters, great science, solid story and clear writing, it's all there, along with his political views.
Point is, there is nothing in this book that will be surprising to any Ringo fan. If your a new fan of a politically right bent, you'll love this book.
If you're not, or you haven't been a fan of ringo in the first place, then, like the person who gave the book a 1 star, just avoid this book. It's that simple.
To the Ringo fans out there, Rest Assured, he'd done it again.
"Not the Hubble"
Back in the 80's I read a long article in Discover Mag. about the making of the mirror for the Hubble telescope. It was just before the Hubble was to be launched into space. It was exciting, because we were excited about this huge telescope and what it would mean to science. It was interesting because it was about real people and the real things they had to do to get it done right. ( which turned out they did not do right).
Ringo spends two to three hours telling you how to make a mirror in space out of an asteroid. While this is very interesting, ten minutes would have been plenty. In my non-fiction I want details. In my fiction I want a story, not step by step directions on how to do something for hours. In one part when building a large machine he even goes into the building of giant washers. He does the same with economics. You get a few hours of econ 101 with this book.
Embedded in the hours of take peg A and insert in slot B, is a really really good story. There were chapters I could give 5 stars too, because the story was so good. Take out all the other though and you only have about a four hour story.
I try not to dish on fellow reviewers, as I am pretty sensitive myself, but for some reviewers to say they did not see the politics is ridiculous. Ringo hits so hard on liberals and anybody who lives in a city, that I thought maybe he was trying to do an opposite of "Stranger In a Strange Land". That he was so extremely conservative to show conservatives how overboard they can go. In one part of the book, it is mentioned that most of Africa gets wiped out of existence and he responses by saying they were worthless people anyways. The name of the book is "Live Free or Die".
If you like your science fiction full of the nuts and bolts it takes to build things and economies and if your not politically sensitive, then you will love this. If you like a really good story, it is there, you just will have to wade through hours of instructions, but it is there.
"A Question of Tonnage - Hard Engineering Fiction"
I couldn't believe how much I liked this book when I launched into the first few chapters. I also couldn't believe how much I disliked this book when hour after hour was spent discussing the pros and cons of various engineering problems.
Instead of the rapid-pace events of the book's beginning, be prepared for bureaucrats, negotiations, engineering brain-storming sessions and one meeting that leads to another that leads to still another, seemingly endlessly.
I appreciate that John Ringo has given this a great deal of thought and wants to include the detail he has imagined for this project. However, I just really don't care how you are going to solve the problem of cutting a door through a nickel-iron chunk of asteroid.
This is not really hard sci-fi, which I love, but hard engineering fiction where a person is supposed to enjoy the debates about advanced engineering topics. Included in these long discussions are questions about how much tonnage some device should be, and the pros and cons of having an interior 9 kilometers across versus 10 kilometers because they didn't use enough volatiles when expanding the sphere.
"A fresh approach to alien contact"
The story takes an interesting approach to alien contact. An advanced race, the Glatun places a space gate close to Earth, which makes possible to travel huge distances. Doing so, they connect the Earth to the other species. But instead of a big hype, they simply give a "phone notification" to the presidents of the most important countries, and then they leave.
Another unusual turn is that another race, the Horvath oppresses the Earth, taking our valuable metals.
Usually, in other books what comes next is a heroic fight for the freedom of the planet, but not in this one. Vernon takes small steps, first trading with the Glatun to get finance for other projects, and then he buys space ships to mine asteroids. Finally he builds a super asteroid-fortress to defend the Earth from the Horvath. This makes the story more "real", more believable.
Another point, which distinguishes this story from the tiresome hollywood plots is that people die in the fight. Whole cities are destroyed.
The one thing I found disturbing is that the author gave too much scientific details. While it could be compelling to someone working in the research or science field, sometimes it was boring for me.
I think the title really fits the story, because the main character, Tyler Vernon rather dies than let the aliens occupy the Earth. Vernon is not a hero like Superman. He is an ordinary man, but still he has strong values.
I enjoyed this audio book, and recommend for listening.
"Laugh out loud funny"
John Ringo is a great Sci Fi writer. All his books have humor, and historical insight applied to future imagined. To top it off Mark Boyett is the best narrator I've heard yet. This is a great book and hopefully part one of a series. The aliens are funny as hell without trying. The novel ideas for using crude brute force engineering to achieve sophisticated goals makes this a must read.
"Predictable but fun"
This title has received criticism of being right-wing propaganda...
Apparently, one can't even read a book anymore without politicising it.
I for one had fun with this and I'm not ashamed for it.
Yes, the story is a bit cheesy and predictable, the main character a hero who single-handedly saves Earth, but so what?
It's not like Hollywood has done any better lately. At least the characters in Live Free or Die have more depth to them.
If you're looking for something whimsical, surprising or deep, you'll be disappointed, but if you like the majority of SciFi movies, you will enjoy this.
Just what I love. Story about mankind's resourcefulness set in not so far future. Mankind triumphs thanks to few special individuals and ability to cooperate and work hard. In short " Don't mess with the Terrans"
I love this book, I have listened to it twice now. The narrator is fantastic, his Vermont accents absolutely spot on and very funny. This is one of the most unusual sci-fi stories I've read and also the funniest. I don't like Russell's review of this book, I can't help thinking that he misunderstood some of the politics and humour. It is interesting and odd that Russell has also posted the exact same, word for word review on Amazon of the paper back book.
Don't be put off, this series is thoroughly entertaining and clever.
Eveything was great. But shouldnt have included political commentary. Out of place. The tidbits of slacking off liberals and hailing conservatives. Thankfully there wasn't too much of it.
Other than that close to perfect book and one of the best narration performances ive heard.
It was a good book, would not normally go for this but tried other series from the author which i enjoyed. The book and idea was simple but fun, why not have one man whom stands above overs :) did go on a bit but overall enjoyable :)
"Best audible SF book ever"
Absolutely brilliant SF book, really big what if storyline, had me riveted and unwilling to get out the car and go into work n
Sticking it to the Horvath
Clear and well paced.
Troy station coming online and defending the world
Listen to it, awesome.
"terrible story, horrible politics, not for me!!"
this starts well, the guy can write, but after about 2 hours the story descends into a slightly distasteful right wing, misogynistic rant. I had to stop listening, in fact I'll be asking for my money back on this one.
FAST PACED BLOOD AND GUTS-TYPICAL RINGO SCI-FI A BOOK YOU DON'T WANT TO PUT DOWN/STOP LISTENING TOO.WILL BE BUYING THE NEXT EPISODE.
"Juvenile, and not in a good way."
This is a very mediocre sci fi romp, not awful, not a work of literature either.
The problem is that this is a very, very thinly disguised piece of EXTREMELY right wing propaganda.
Through a series of rather forced deus ex machina, the author's utopia of blond, illiberal hard working, non-muslim humanity with a hyper-libidoed female population is brought into being. Conveniently by the evil aliens without the heroes' approval or intervention thereby enabling everyone to enjoy the resultant paradise without that pesky guilt that more mundane ethnic cleansing usually brings.
It is, in a word, juvenile. The lead character, super smart yet a good ol' man of the land, is transparently just a mouthpiece for the author's prejudices. He becomes the richest man in the world overnight and routinely shows up those liberal city folk (the President, corporate executives, etc.) for the low down cowardly sneaky liars they are. And in the end of course, saves everybody with only the asians, africans, middle easterners and city folk falling victim to the ensuing conflict. No loss there then.
I would expect this kind of thing to be written by a geeky teenager as a wish fulfilment fantasy after he'd just been snubbed by the prettiest girl at high school when asking her to the prom.
From a published author, it's just a bit sad.
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