I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a big fan of the military sci-fi writings of John Ringo.

I like his books. He writes some great fast-paced military sci-fi, with a great sense of humor, AND is rare among similar writers by including geek-culture references everywhere.

Tell me, how many other military sci-fi writers do you know that would have continuous in-jokes from the webcomic Sluggy Freelance? Or write an entire section of a book (not in this series) poking fun at other well known sci-fi writers based at a convention?

I love serious military sci-fi, I really, really do. Some of my favorites are David Drake, David Weber and William C. Dietz.

John Ringo brings his own special touch to the genre, though. It’s good military sci-fi with a, well, he doesn’t take himself very seriously. Love him or hate him, he’s got a sense of humor and it comes through.

What John Ringo hasn’t brung in years is a serious payoff in the Posleen War saga.

I’ve been following his Posleen War saga for a long damn time now. Eleven books to date over ten years, each one a big read with lots of great stuff. The entire thing is more serious in overall tone than most of his other works. It’s nothing less than the absolute invasion and dominance of Earth by alien invaders, and the centuries long struggle for humanity to survive and fight back. Still touches of the Ringo humor, but very gritty.

I read ‘em, I love ‘em, but it’s been a struggle.

Why a struggle?

Eleven books, and the first ten built up more teasers, glimpses and plot hooks that I thought possible outside of The Wheel of Time. John Ringo created, developed and grew great main characters, then took them in different directions, never to meet again.

Time after time… everything kept spreading out. Just like the real universe, the story kept expanding, leaving all these damn things hanging there, unresolved for the reader.

I love the books, but I’ve been feeling battle fatigue. When the hell was he finally going to wrap some of these things up, PARTICULARLY the personal relationships, and everyone getting focused on hunting down and killing the true evil scheming manipulative bastards in the story?

Seriously. It’s been ten books of everyone killing alligators across the galaxy, but nobody really getting to grips with draining the damn swamp!

They’re great books, but after ten in the series, I was ready for some resolution.

I picked up the latest book, numero eleven, wondering what fresh hell this would bring, and finally… FINALLY it’s all coming together.

Not just one or two things getting resolved, either. I’m halfway through Eye of the Storm, and he’s already nailed down and brought to fruition the plot hooks left dangling from damn near all ten previous books. All of it.

We’re doing nothing but going forward now, and I for one am nothing but happy for it.

I know it’s silly, but after a while of reading any series, much like watching a TV series, no matter how good it is, I want some things to wrap up, I want things to change, I want the entire story to move forward.

I don’t want Star Trek, I want Babylon 5. I want growth, change, and a journey. And, eventually, I’d like to see a destination get reached.

There it is.

Now that there is finally a book that wraps some of the deepest emotional issues up and advances the story in cool new directions, I’m once again delighted with it. I feel like I held in there, and now I’m being rewarded.

Here’s hoping the books continue to deliver, ’cause so far, they’ve really kicked butt. And just knowing that, yes Virginia, there is an eventual payoff, makes the whole thing better.

If you’re looking for a new (old) military sci-fi series to get into, I invite you to check these out.

Posleen War by John Ringo
1. A Hymn Before Battle (main story 1: war)
2. Gust Front (main story 1: war)
3. When the Devil Dances (main story 1: war)
4. Hell’s Faire (main story 1: war)
5. The Hero (side story elsewhere in same universe) (with Michael Z Williamson)
6. Cally’s War (main story 2: black ops)(with Julie Cochrane)
7. Watch on the Rhine (side story set in Europe during main war storyline)(with Tom Kratman)
8. Yellow Eyes (side story set in Panama during main war storyline)(with Tom Kratman)
9. Sister Time  (main story 2: black ops)(with Julie Cochrane)
10. Honor of the Clan (main story 1 and 2 brought together)(with Julie Cochrane)
11. Eye of the Storm (The payoff! Brings together all stories from 1, 2, plus characters from Europe and Panama)

21 Responses to “John Ringo finally brings the payoff”
  1. Analogue says:

    Spoiler! It’s not the end… but you’re sure right, it was awesome getting all those plot threads wrapped up together and feel like we’re finally getting somewhere. Sluggy Freelance lead me to “A Hymn Before Battle” which lead me to “Baen is the greatest publisher out there”, Keith Laumer, Christopher Anvil, Poul Anderson and all the other stuff that was sadly out of print back when I was a twelve year old reading Heinlein.

    I did find it annoying that what I thought was a plot hook at the start of EotS did not turn out that way, and that Ringo made some rather sloppy editing errors (see: two versions of Mike finding out that Cally married Stewart)

  2. Althalas says:

    I can’t be the only one that saw this title and thought –

    Doc Holiday – “Why Johnny Ringo!”
    Ringo – “Helllo Lunger.”

    And then the gunfight ends in a very different way.

  3. Redbowl says:

    A new read for me! Thanks!

    I’m currently waiting for the last two parts of the last book in the Wheel of Time series before I read them. I friend read the first ‘part'(book), and said the new author managed to keep the tone, although at times the…flavor…was different.

  4. Concord says:

    Been a big fan of Ringo for a long time, though not so much of his collaborations with Kratman. Not sure why, but Kratman has an edge to him that rubs me wrong. Without getting spoilery, I’ll just say that EotS doesn’t wrap up all the hooks but rather gathers them together and *begins* to wrap them up. This new threat (and new revelations about some people we *thought* we knew) are staging for some awesome mil-sf over the next couple of books.

    Have you read any of the Dersden novels or Codex Alera by Jim Butcher? Dresden especially has that same humor/snarkiness as Ringo. But with wizards and faeries instead of power armor and carnivorous cannibalistic sauroid centauroids. Oh, and vampires, but not the sparkly kind.

  5. Sarabian says:

    Convenient that I read this post while in the library. I just checked out A Hymn Before Battle. I hope you haven’t gotten me addicted to yet another book series. Or am I…

    To reciprocate, if you have not read everything by David Eddings then you are seriously missing out on some good fantasy.

  6. Averna says:

    Bummer – I just checked out the library website at the University I work at, and no dice. Nothing by John Ringo.

    I’ve been looking for a good series to sink my teeth in, and these sound pretty awesome. Maybe I’ll check out the Boston Public Library. I’m glad it’s all coming together in the end. One of the big reasons I stopped reading the Wheel of Time books was because, while being awesome, they just kept spreading out. And going around in circles. And fighting the same evil thing but not really getting anywhere. I think I stopped reading around book 7 maybe? I was young; I forget. I remember I had a huge crush on Perrin. ^^

  7. Joel says:

    I had given up on the Posleen series, assuming it would just drift off into a sea of unresolved hints and plot points until John Ringo died. I bought a month’s worth of Baen books that included Eye of the Storm and was thrilled to see that he’s starting to pull things together again. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with “and now there’s an even bigger bad guy!”, but at least there’s hope that it will all come together.

  8. Bob says:

    After picking up Hymn Before battle what must be pushing a Decade ago and really Not ‘getting’ it (and not really being in a position to grab other books in the series to explore further) I’m currently running at about the Third read through of Gust Front in a twelve month period after picking up the series prompted by, as I recall the ‘Oh John Ringo No!’ post. I’ve still to read Honour of the Clan, Yellow Eyes and The Hero (thanks for mentioning plot elements/characters are tied in from Yellow Eyes btw, I’ll be sure to grab that before hitting up EoTS).

    DAMN YOU BEAR!

  9. Thaumaturgos says:

    Great point, and personally one that links equally with WoW. In real life, and in great literature/ yarns, the universe changes. Characters grow – heck they even grow old! People change. The earnest young revolutionary becomes a battle-hardened, somewhat cynical, war-weary veteran. Etc, etc.

    A good MMORPG has some change: a GREAT one builds change into its very fabric.

    The series Babylon 5? The best by far! If they made a MMORPG not just based on that universe but with the sense of meta-narrative built into it, I would never play another game.

    So, WoW needs to grow, the story needs to develop. The world needs to move on. If Everquest had learned that before launching EQ 2, WoW might never have been the hit it is.

    Great blog, great point, nuff said

    Thau

  10. Thaumaturgos says:

    Follow up:

    If you are struggling to find these books and want to pay a good price for them, try http://www.bookdepository.co.uk Free delivery world-wide, and really good prices. No scam,and an encrypted site. Check it out.

  11. bigbearbutt says:

    Bob, I’ll be honest with you.

    Yes, Yellow Eyes would make a good read, as would March on the Rheine. Both books develop major characters, are the establishing novels for these characters, so that when they appear later as major players in Eye of the Storm, you are right on top of who the hell these people are.

    The Hero… I’m sorry, but if you haven’t read it, don’t bother. It is little more than a short story fleshed out. It is set so far into the future, and touches so minimally on the last events, that it is nearly useless as a part of the actual series. What it is, is a thriller thought piece similar to “The Most Dangerous Game”, but pitting human versus darhel in a race for survival in the jungle rather than two humans.

    I’m not saying it’s bad, what I’m saying is, do not wait on getting a copy before reading the rest of the series.

  12. bigbearbutt says:

    Let me back that up… you never actually see Panama or the locales of Yellow Eyes. BUT, the main characters from Yellow Eyes play a pretty massive part of the story in Eye of the Storm, and they are, well, so freaking weird that it kinda helps to have some warning.

  13. bigbearbutt says:

    Concord, I want to read the Dresden books, but they neverhave the first three at the library, and I don’t want to start later on.

    BUT… thanks to your reminding me, I’m gonna logon to my local library net and request them be reserved. Hey, forward planning. Who woulda thunk it?

    Averna… I’m waiting for the final book to be released in the Wheel fo Time, and then I’m going to finally sit down and reread the entire bloody thing in one go.

    Well, I’m sure it’ll take a week. Plus bathroom breaks. But you know what I mean….

    And Perrin is certainly one of my favorites… I used to think was my most favorite… but you know, Matt stole my heart after the hanging tree, mercenary that he is.

  14. Mannyac says:

    I believe you can read the first one for free online. Go to baen.com, there is a free library of books. They have almost all the authors BBB likes! And bunch of others you can sample too

  15. zahraah says:

    I Like him too, just the every mans fantasy sex scenes that pop up in between really good action – it’s sorta distracting.. :) (

  16. Redbowl says:

    I’m a big Perrin fan myself, but Mat has become far more interesting now that he is leading a people of his own. Perrin’s story started to grate on me as they dragged out the saving of his significant other through siege.

  17. Reversion says:

    I am a big Ringo fan too. Some of my hardbacks are signed. I went out to lunch with him and some other fans one time at the Mall of America Hooters.
    I got in on the ‘red shirt’ submissions one time on the Baen forums and actually got my name in one of his books :D

    If you are not done yet I seriously hope you don’t think he will wrap everything up there ;p

  18. Eric says:

    Bear! John Ringo did a collaboration with David Weber, the ‘Empire of Man’ series. Phenomenal books so far, with more to come! First one is called March Upcountry, 2nd one is March to the Sea and the 3rd is March to the Stars. I guess there is a fourth one too, entitled ‘We Few’, though I haven’t read that yet. SO GOOD!

  19. Eric says:

    Oh and Baen gives em away online in various e-reader formats. Link on the wiki page below (which I meant to include in my first comment as well, oops)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_of_Man

  20. Cozy says:

    Following Eric, We Few is the fourth in the series, and it also rocks.

    According to David Weber’s fansite, he has plans for various books set in/around what he’s already written, and to keep near topic, when he and John Ringo have time together, they’re planning another book in that universe, set around the original Miranda McClintock.

    Best wishes.

  21. KiwiRed says:

    I have to add my own thank you for bringing this series to our attention – and isn’t the availability of ebooks great for instant gratification? (I’m midway through the second book now, and enjoying it thoroughly)

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