A different kind of red shirt

I’ve mentioned on here a few times before, that John Ringo is one of my favorite authors. He writes truly great military Sci-Fi with tons of black humor, and he also has had lots of fun with different genres, like fantasy, and what could be called GURPS Black Ops, and just knocked them out of the park.

Oh yeah, Princess of Wands. Great book, and I hope like heck more in the series are coming.

For those of you that don’t know, GURPS is a table-top role playing game system developed by Steve Jackson Games, a set of rules that are supposed to be a ‘generic universal role playing system’, meaning that you can grab the basic book, and then have rules for how fast characters can run, how much damage you take by being hit upside the head by a blunt object, that sort of thing. Then, you design your own setting, apply the rules, and away you go.

In reality, the draw of GURPS for me were the hundreds of books that laid forth special rules and background for various settings. GURPS Supers, GURPS Robots, that sort of thing.

And GURPS Black Ops was a world setting for playing special agents of a black ops department of the government that takes care of ‘things man was not meant to know’.

Think the movie Men In Black, but with the possibility that the bad guys weren’t just aliens, but could also be remnants of ancient civilizations, mythical creatures, time travelers, dimensional explorers, demons, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and anything else that could go bump in the night. Super agents vs Cthulhu. You know exactly what I mean.

I ran one GURPS Black Ops game once where the agents went down to Georgia to investigate a strange energy spike, and got tangled up in a plot that involved the Russian government, nuclear waste disposal, dimensional travel and space orcs. It was a lot of fun, and I spent many hours researching it, too.

Anyway, my point here is that John Ringo wrote one of his books, Princess of Wands, creating a brand new approach to the black ops concept that just blew me away, not just with the stories but with the character and the world setting. I wanted to play a role playing game set in that world, and I can’t wait to see more books in the series.

As great as his books are, though, one of the best things about John Ringo, to me, is his willingness to go places you just can’t believe he went, and then to wonder just how many folks read what you just did, stopped, and stared at the page in shocked horror.

Most of John Ringo’s books are perfectly appropriate for all audiences, well-written books of adventure and war, as long as that audience is mature enough to read about honor and duty, loss and sacrifice, and the death and dying that comes from being at war. The Posleen saga and There will be Dragons comes immediately to mind.

He writes novels that are filled with death and violence as men and women struggle in war and battle against terrorists, slavers, and genocidal aliens. You know, military adventure fiction.

Yet he is getting famous in some circles for the outrage his Ghost series has caused, because in that series he included his own version of sex scenes in the same way that James Bond books would normally have scenes of seduction in exotic locales. 

Yes, I said outrage. Over sex scenes. In a book filled with people getting killed in battle. No, these aren’t picture books, either.  

It’s the same kind of distorted sense of proportion you see when politicians and lawyers are outraged over the ‘Hot Coffee’ mod for Grand Theft Auto, a mod that let you play a sex based minigame, inside of a game that is about jacking a car and killing hundreds of people by running them over, blowing them up or shooting them.

I just want to scream sometimes… “You can’t stand the thought that gamers might see a naked breast… but stopping a car at gunpoint, yanking the driver out, getting in, and running over 40 pedestrians on your way to a drug deal is okay? Are you people INSANE?!?”

Not that I want the violence banned either, mind you… I’d just like a game, OR book, to be sold to the audience it’s designed for. If it says “M” on the box, then sell it to a mature audience, not a freaking 13 year old, hmmm? And if it says “M” on the box already, and it’s a mature audience that is playing the game, and you were okay with selling a game about killing innocent people while building your criminal empire in the first place, what the heck does adding breasts do to make it more inappropriate?

Anyway… off topic from the off topic, as usual…

Bottom line, John Ringo writes great books, and at the same time is becoming notorious for writing over the top sex scenes in the middle of some of his Ghost books, books that are filled with terrorists getting killed in gruesome ways,  and it’s the sex scenes that prompt a shocked exclamation of “Oh John Ringo, NO!” Never mind that I think the writing of the Ghost series to be the best I’ve seen anywhere, for it’s sense of pure adrenaline super-spy anti-terrorist mercenary action.

This amuses me a great deal. And, as I have a particularly dark sense of humor, I saw with pride that there is a new shirt available from John Ringo’s website.

That’s right… you can now get a red shirt (to show that you are liable to die within seconds of your away team appearing on the planet’s surface) that proudly proclaims “Oh John Ringo, NO!”

The thought that this whole thing not only makes me laugh, but also makes enough other people laugh that someone created a shirt, raises it to the level of greatness.

By the way… if you are now worried that reading a John Ringo book might expose you to inappropriate material… well, then I suggest you just avoid the Ghost series, and either read Princess of Wands, the ‘Prince Roger’ series he co-wrote with David Weber that starts with March Upcountry, or the War with the Posleen saga that starts with A Hymn Before Battle (brilliant military sci-fi).

Those are all great books, and there will be nothing in them more offensive than people getting killed in battle. And maybe the possibility of all life on earth being eradicated by aliens. But at least the aliens don’t have sex, right?

Isn’t that a relief?

Sigh. Like life isn’t difficult enough without trying to find more things to be offended by. I used to watch violent, gory movies and TV shows all the time. Since Alex was born, however, I don’t watch anything with blood, guts or gore if there is the slightest chance he could come into the room and see it. That means we watch Top Chef, basically.

If I want to watch something, I wait until he’s tucked away in bed. Or go see it in the theater. I’d love to take him to see Iron Man, but some of the early battle scenes are a little more than I want my five year old to see. And I’m pissed at Transformers, because the movie toys are all marketed at his age group, and he loves the toys, he knows exactly who Bumblebee and Ultimus Prime are, but there is no way that I want him to see a Marine base in Iraq torn apart, and the Scorpion spearing Marines to death. He’ll just have to watch the cartoons. I wish that wasn’t necessary, all his other five year old friends seem to have seen it, but that’s the way it is.

So no CSI, no NCIS, and no Matrix or Dirty Harry or Platoon or Starship Troopers. He doesn’t need to see people getting torn apart or cut open and their brain removed at the age of five. Why? Because I am mature and able to tell the difference between fiction and reality, but he isn’t. And, as I am the adult, (cue the laughter), it is my responsibility to make that decision for him.

Every time someone tries to ban something outright as being inappropriate, whether they be a politician or an outraged parent, the message they are sending me is, they think that I am a child and unable to make decisions for myself, that I cannot tell reality from fiction, and only THEY are mature and wise enough to make those decisions FOR me.

Oh John Ringo, NO!

Thinking about my strong feelings towards people telling me what I should or should not believe, has reminded me of a Storytime… but it’s short, so I’ll tack it on here. 

Warning, this is another note in the “Big bear is not a nice person” file.

There was a very strong ‘born again’ congregation in Yucca Valley, CA, during my brief stay in the area back in the late 80’s. It was very common to see groups of earnest young missionaries hanging out in public areas, looking for Marines.

The group of four to five young people would, upon seeing a Marine of an imperssionable age leaving a gas station, or movie theater, or grocery store, surround the said Marine and start with the opening line “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior”, and move on from there.

Now, while I certainly have nothing against the sentiment, it was the approach, the surrounding, isolating, and pressure inherent in the way they would try to seek converts amongst the Marines off-base that I found personally offensive.

I found out about this because I had a good friend, a PFC that played in my role playing group that we nicknamed “El Destructo” because there wasn’t a single challenge he wouldn’t try to find some way to blow up, that was pretty upset by a run-in he had with them. He was genuinely scared at the way they surrounded him and treated him, because when he told them he was Jewish, he said they got pretty ugly and threatening. And to be fair, he wasn’t scared because he thought they were gonna hurt him, as much as because he knew damned well that if he got into a fight off-base with civilians, for any reason, his butt would have been in big trouble. When you’re a PFC, you dread ever being in any kind of trouble.

So yeah, I had a chip on my shoulder after I talked to him, and I planned in advance what I would do if I ever ran into that kind of trouble in Yucca.

And of course, I did have the pleasure of running into some of them… they accosted me as I left the movie theater in town, after watching the latest new release, Predator. Looking at IMDB tells me it came out in 1987, so that pins down when this happened.

They were very clean, young, somberly dressed men and women, a nice group of people, really. They certainly didn’t look like they were the kind of folks that would cause a disturbance, or start a fight. They’d been hanging out in teh parking lot of a gas station that shared a parking lot with the theater.

One of them, I guess the spokeman, walked up to and in front of me to block my way to my car, while the rest circled and closed in. It felt pretty threatening, they were well within what we think of in the states as our ‘personal space’. And the spokesman asked me the line I will never forget, “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?”

And I replied immediately, having previously thought long and hard about this exact situation, and what I would say if I had the chance. I can’t remember exactly anymore, but I practised it enough that I remember what the high points were. And I know that I was so happy that I had practised what I was going to say, that I was grinning in my most menacing way. Which, sadly, probably isn’t all that menacing, but you do what you can.

“I am a believer in the coming of Nyarlathotop, the deep old one of ancient times, the Goat with a Thousand Young. I am one of the true chosen ones that will serve to usher unto the world the great return, when the skies will turn to blood and the unenlightened shall be eaten by the mighty, and the balance of power on this world shall finally be restored to the dark gods as spoken of in the Books of Blood and the Necronomicon”.

They ran. They really did. It wasn’t the spokesman that started it, but as I kept going on, they broke and ran to their car and got in.

El Destructo laughed, and laughed, and laughed when I told him. 

Ah, good times. Good times.

I do think of those kids every so often, and wonder just what they thought. Did they really think I was serious? Do any of them still remember that? Do they tell stories in hushed voices around the campfire of the day a dark cult of devil worshippers revealed their existence? Do they make plans?

Well, as the New Testament says, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”

These days, I am much more boring. If I was accosted in the same way now, I’m far more likely to just say, “Thanks, I’ve got to be somewhere, you guys have a nice day though,” and move along.

Hey, enough rambling. Go buy a shirt! Or a book!

26 thoughts on “A different kind of red shirt

  1. I have to say, that is the best story I’ve read in a long, long time. I agree wholeheartedly with your views on ratings/parental involvement. But lord, lol, whipping out Nylarthotep on an unsuspecting group of born agains… may he bless you, sir.


  2. John,

    I also really enjoy John Ringo, even if I don’t always agree with a particular point he is making. But I haven’t gotten around to the Ghost series yet. After your comments, I am more inclined to give it a try just to see what all the fuss is about :).

    I also pretty much devour anything by David Weber. I attended DragonCon in Atlanta this past year where he was on several panels. The one I caught was on women heroes in fiction. Of the 6 or so great authors. David Weber was the only guy.

    Have you read the Belisarius series by Eric Flint and David Drake?
    Here is a link to someone’s Amazon listmania for it:


  3. Caelean, I’d actually not read that review before. I know John linked to it on his site, but I hadn’t read it, since I normally feel that it’s not too important to read reviews of books you’ve already read. What’s the point? I already know if I like it or not.

    But I did read it this time… and I’d have to say, he is spot on. The horrible, disturbing, WTF stuff in the first book is why seeing someone else make a “OH JOHN RINGO NO!” shirt made me laugh so much. Because it’s just so absolutely true.

    I’m actually re-reading the series right now, and I still can’t stop myself from skimming past the dark and evil parts that I know to avoid.

    The thing that’s really funny? I read the books in the wrong order also, just like the reviewer. And that’s the only reason I read on.

    I had bought and read all the Prince Roger books, and the Posleen books, but I’d never heard of the Ghost series before last summer.

    I don’t go into bookstores much… okay, ever. Not unless I am physically looking for something that I don’t want to wait on Amazon to ship to me, or unless I’m looking for cheap used books in an out-of-print series in a used bookstore.

    So I don’t browse shelves… I browse the public library.

    It may shock you to know that, in my county library, they do NOT stock the Ghost series in the Science Fiction department. Just because most of the rest of what he writes belongs in fantasy/sci fi, that is where I would expect to see his books. And I don’t make a habit of browsing other shelves but sci/fi and mystery and detective stories. And the graphic novel/comic books. And the political and history sections, sadly. /shallow.

    But I did a library search one time to see when the latest Prince Roger book was going to be available to reserve a harcover, and searched under his name… and this list of OTHER books by him popped out.


    Yes, my public library had all of them… every single one. Some books were at one library in the network, some were at others. but I requested them all, and noted that book 2 was in my local library on the shelf. So I drove over and grabbed it.

    And being the way I am, instead of waiting for book 1 to read them in proper order, I read what I had… and while there were some WTF moments in it, I moved on past ’em and enjoyed the over the top action. Seriously, it’s the completely over-the-top ‘oh you’ve got to be kidding me are you insane I know he didn’t just do that’ nature of the books that made me enjoy them. It’s like Mack bolan and Remo Williams on steroids for wish fulfillment, and it’s fascinating. And having read Ringo’s other books, I knew darned well taht it wasn’t an accident by a first time writer… he had to have meant to be that crazy, and done it intentionally. Almost as if he wanted to write a book that made people freak out. Oh John Ringo, NO!

    So it was after being hooked on the second book that I then got book 3, and read it, and marveled at the WTF scenes, and the way he kept the style up, so to speak… and then the library system came up with the first book.

    So yeah… the first book is a horror. Seriously, it is a run from the room screaming “OH JOHN RINGO NO!” horror. More and more often as the book goes on, too.

    But… at the same time, I knew where it was going to end up, with books 2 and 3, so I skimmed the creepy bits and focused on chasing nukes and killing tangoes. And marveling at how he was able to say all this in his book, and still not be hunted down and murdered by a mob the first time he appeared in public.

    Love him or hate him, you’ve got to admire the sheer guts of a man that would publish that book. You people thought I had courage to put out a song with me singing as bad as I do? Hah. I kid you not, I bet he gets death threats.

    But something to keep in mind… as bad as Ghost is? Think about this.

    My local public government-funded library has every. single. copy. of the Ghost series, in hardcover. Does that not blow you away?

    And they are just tucked away on the shelves, without any kind of warning at all. Like ticking little time bombs. No parental advisory label.

    Thank God you have to be able to actually read to be corrupted by them.

    The other things I see in the library… not so much.

    Cassie has heard me rant about this, so now you get to also.

    The Kingdom Come DC graphic novel, Watchmen, and The Ultimates marvel graphic novels are on the shelf with the other comic book graphic novels in my public library… right next to Superman and Shazam. And so are others, like Y- The Last Man books 1 through 8 and the powers graphic novels.

    I may say “OH JOHN RINGO NO!” and laugh my butt off at the unbelievable over the top craziness in the Ghost books, but at least what I am laughing at is fiction, text, that requires someone to read before they can be offended. And if you get offended? You can stop reading further. You cannot just see sick shit by glancing at an open page.

    It still bugs me about the graphic novels, sitting there where teens go browsing for comic books. Ultimates, to me, with the interaction with the Wasp and Hank Pym, for example, or how The Hulk takes care of one of the alien bag guys by eating him is just too mature for me to be comfortable knowing any 9 – 12 year old that’s into comics can see it. Seriously. I’m grateful you ahve them, but please put them somewhere OTHER than in the teen reading area!

    Wow this has gotten long. And it’s not like anyone is reading this thread anymore, anyway.

    But yeah, I admire someone that speaks their mind and dares the world to break them for it. Even as I would gladly put a bullet in the brain of someone in the real world that did some of the things that the character Mike Harmon did in the last part of the first book.


  4. A friend of mine co-wrote a book with Ringo.

    Have you seen the review/article that started the whole “Oh John Ringo, No!” meme? It was great.


  5. Oh I agree that Weber is really good reading. I was just saying that if you want to start Ringo, the Posleen war is a good place to dip your toes in.


  6. Is it wrong that the one thing that stood out the most to me was that Shub-Niggurath is the Goat with a Thousand Young rather than Nyarlathotep?

    Have to agree that GURPS was a fun system to make characters with and had stunning worldbooks which were useful whether or not you were going to actually use GURPS to game. My favorite sourcebooks were GURPS Illuminati and GURPS IOU (Illuminati University), which were both very thought provoking (in a world creation sense) and only tangentially related.

    On John Ringo: his uebermensch don’t bug me much initially, but they have this annoying habit of turning into nothing more than caricatures of badassery. In the Posleen War series, Bun Bun’s crew was a great group of people as much because they were a relief from the returning characters as because they actually came across as normal people in extraordinary circumstances.


  7. Ringo’s books are one of the select few that I grab as soon as they appear on the bookstore’s shelves. I always know that the story will be action packed and I can leave my conscience and logical brain in the closet while I enjoy his stories. They’re guilty pleasures, much like the supernatural romances that are all the rage today seem to be for alot of people (They’re not thinking those books are actual literature, are they?). Sometimes, I just wanna see stuff blowed up, buggered or beaten and it’s my right as a human being to get what I want if I’m willing to pay money for it!

    On a side note, check out the Matador series by Steve Perry for something similiar to Ringo but with a martial arts bend to it.


  8. If you liked the book Starship Troopers but hated the movie (I won’t even start with all the things that sucked about the movie) Try an animated series called Roughnecks that came out in the late 90s. Not exact but defintely closer to the original.

    Hymn before battle was good, but I do prefer Weber over Ringo.

    I am the one who hooked B3 on GURPS. The HERO system is pretty close in concept. But it’s hard to beat GURPS for interchangeability of genres.
    I am an old school RPG’er who prefers PnP to MMORPG, mostly because only in PnP games is there actual role-playing. There aren’t too many systems I haven’t played (I started roleplaying literally one year after the release of the original D&D). I love GURPS character generation, but the combat system needs help, D&D’s character generation has gotten better but still is inferior.It’s combat system while unrealistic, is much more playable. I end up playing good old D&D simply because that’s what a lot of people are comfortable with.

    As for the Witness’s, sometimes it is good to be big and fairly intimidating. My jewelry usually contains some pagan symbols and I just refer to the worship of a deity of that particular mythos. “What!?! You’ve never experienced the pleasures of a true Bacchanalia? Well, next full moon…” Generally tends to make them go away.


  9. RE: John Ringo
    If you’ve never read his work, you should start with “A Hymn Before Battle”. The Posleen war series is really great.

    For table top games I can’t find anything better than HERO. It really is the everything system. While the Big Bullet Proof Book might seem intimidating, it is truly awesome. Starting with HERO Sidekick is cheap and gives a good intro into the system. But for background material and genre stuff it’s hard to beat GURPS – Steve Jackson puts an awesome amount of good material in the genre books. I just think HERO is a better gaming framework.


  10. “I am a believer in the coming of Nyarlathotop, the deep old one of ancient times, the Goat with a Thousand Young. I am one of the true chosen ones that will serve to usher unto the world the great return, when the skies will turn to blood and the unenlightened shall be eaten by the mighty, and the balance of power on this world shall finally be restored to the dark gods as spoken of in the Books of Blood and the Necronomicon”.

    I’m trying to memorize this so I can say it to the next person to come up and start trying to talk to me about Jesus. I actually AM Christian, but the pushy, self-righteousness of some of these people bothers me a lot. Right now I live in a Jewish community and it’s so refreshing to walk past someone and have them say “Excuses me sir, are you Jewish?” my reply is “No, sir/maam” their reply is then “Okay, thank you sir. Have a nice day.” after enduring the sidewalk missionaries of the college campuses here.
    Now then…I am a believer in the coming of Nyarlathotop……


  11. So I’m intrigued now and will have to pick up John Ringo.

    My own funny story of Christians trying to witness to me (which is even funnier since I was practically born in a church, went to church almost every day of the week, and to this day call myself a Christian) ……. I used to wear a lot of black, complemented that with tasteful black eyeshadow (although nothing overdone) and to add to the ensemble I had a lot of tattoos very visible. This dude from Starbucks thought I was pretty cute and tried to talk to me one day but I had stuff to do at MY store next store so I brushed him off. He decided it was a lost cause and figured one day he’d try to share his personal faith with me since he thought I was pretty cool and all and it’d be awesome if I became a Christian, went to his church … you see the train of thought. Anyway, one day he was in the sci fi aisle holding a copy of the graphic novel Sin City, which I had just seen. Struck up a conversation in which he found out that not only was the girl in black a Christian, she had been homeschooled and had had many of the same life experiences he’d had. So he did what any sensible young man would do and married her.

    And to comment on moderating what you watch now that you have a kid: I too am extremely paranoid about what I will watch and what I’ll let her watch when she gets interested in the t.v. Heck, I thought “Horton Hears a Who” was too dramatic …….


  12. Yep, I have been a long time fan of Heinlein. All of Heinlein.

    I don’t just like Starship Troopers, I also thoroughly enjoyed Glory Road, all of the World as Myth books, the Future Histories, and the Lazarus Long books. I appreciated Stranger in a Strange land a great deal, and I thought some interesting points were raised about the transmigration of the soul in the concept of a brain transplant into someone else’s body from the book I Will Fear No Evil, and I thought some interesting ideas were started about whether genetically engineered people were really people with souls, or if they were property without rights, from the book Friday.

    Again… I have never felt I had to share the same worldview as the writer, in order to learn something from what he wrote. If I only ever read stuff from people that I agree with, how would I ever get challenged in my thinking?

    That being said, I loved Starship Troopers, but I loved Armor by John Steakley more.


  13. Joel, I wouldn’t say you’re naive. Not at all. But it was a shock when you were used to a certain politically correct tone in the books you read, or at least a more moderate political tone, and then you picked up a book filled with an extreme right-wing tone, yes?

    I like shocks like that. I like to read differing points of view. Doesn’t mean I have to agree with them, though.

    And as Zahrah said, just when you’re getting used to a right-wing attitude from his other books, you suddenly find yourself reading a book like Princess of Wands where the main character is completely, unabashedly Christian and proud of it, and that is where she derives her power to do good, and the book never, ever belittles anyone else’s religion, (at least as far as I could see), well it can be another kind of shock. Like, okay, how did he go from that book to this one? He’s not allowed to have different points of view!

    hehe.. I did love that the strength of that character’s faith was powerful enough to help her withstand facing and destroying demons. And the way other people she met that were closed minded in their own ways while thinking they were open minded kept being shocked at how a Christian can be smart and understanding and compassionate, too.

    Nope, if you read John Ringo and hated him, that’s fine with me. You are certainly not going to offend me by telling my you have a mind of your own. And if you at least tried it before you decided you didn’t like it, then even better.

    But you all know how I feel about sticking it to close-minded people, and when I saw the red shirt, it just made me laugh and want to share.


  14. Oh yah, seeing as how you are a fan of military fiction, have you read Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein? The movie bares little resemblance to the book itself but I find that those who have been in the military to appreciate the book more than ‘civillians’…


  15. Over the weekends here, you are generally likely to meet a bunch of over-enthusiastic Christians that starts off with the same line about Jesus… I remember the one time where I actually sat and listened for an entire hour; mainly because I was young, and she was a real hot chick and she bought me a drink at McDonalds… Of course, I never did follow-up on the promise to turn up at her church…

    But one time, the guy who approached me began to got on my nerves so I decided to play around with him a bit. Even though I’m not a Christian, I went to a Christian school and bible studies was one of the things we did. So, I had an above average clue of the Bible. Better yet, I knew how to twist some of the verses and made them seem contradictory. I spent the next ten minutes explaining to him that the Word of God as he knew it was wrong. He probably wasn’t too sure of the Bible himself and by the end of it, he was throughly confused and he walked away, mumbling about praying for guidance…

    But my favourite time was when I met a Mormon (all the way from Utah; I’m in Singapore) who was trying to tell me about Christ or something and I kept interrupting him and telling him to repent and accept the way of Buddha. I haven’t the foggiest clue about Buddism, but I figured he knew less and was just feeding him junk. I think he gave up on me and went off shaking his head…

    Good times… 🙂


  16. Kirk, I certainly understand your point. I know exactly what you mean about knowing how the main character will proceed through the story, and the turnoff of some larger than life superhero.

    On the other hand, I personally don’t have a problem with it if the story is interesting and fun. I enjoy other books like that, Honor Harrington from David Webers’ Honorverse coming to mind as an extreme example. I mean, the whole ‘came back from planet Hell’ thing was a bit over the top, too.

    Or maybe Mack Bolan, The Executioner. 🙂

    Or even better, Remo Williams, the Destroyer. Talk about a demigod! but I still enjoyed the humorous setup between him and Chiun.

    While Ghost does run to that type, even to the point of being over the top, I think that when you put it with other action-adventures like the Executioner, the genre it plays in is pretty well suited to that setup. After all, if we were talking reality, Mack Bolan would have died from a frag in book 2. We know that real people can’t do these things, but the story is entertaining as hell.

    On the other hand, I thought the Posleen war kind of stands a bit apart from the crowd. it’s just too huge.

    Hmmm, although the Legion of the Damned by William Dietz managed to have it’s major heroes, while carry them across decades by following generations. And it covered attack by aliens bent on annihilating all life in the galaxy.

    You’ve got an interesting point. I wonder if most of the books I read that I enjoy that cover war in one form or another have to have it’s Ajax or Achilles. You’ve certainly given me something to think about, Kirk.

    Another example of that kind of larger than life setup, in my opinion, would be David Drakes’ Crown of the Isles series, starting with Lord of the Isles, I think it fits the same bill. Of course, Drake is famous for Hammer’s Slammers, but my personal favorite of his would have to be The Dragon Lord.

    But I do read a ton of military fiction and sci-fi, and I know how the tone can vary wildly between authors, so I can certainly appreciate where you’re coming from.

    Hey, as with anything else, your mileage may vary.


  17. Never read John Ringo. And to make everyone laugh.. when you first said John Ringo was a book writer, I said ‘The Beatle? He’s an author, too?” Then I slapped myself upside the head and kept reading.


  18. I quit buying John Ringo’s books sight unseen after buying the first in the Ghost series. I read the warning beforehand, so I knew this wasn’t the”normal” John Ringo type book. The sex didn’t particularly bother me – didn’t turn my crank, but didn’t make me run away screaming.

    What bugged me was the Tom Clancy type assumption that the ends justify the means and that anyone who disagrees is at best a delusional, coddled, woolly-headed innocent. /pat “We know best little one, and everyone we torture admits to being a bad guy so obviously we were justified in torturing them.” When I read, I want a book with a protagonist I empathize with and can admire, not one that makes me want them behind bars. That being said, I have never been in that kind of situation, so maybe I’m just naive. “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” George Orwell

    That having been said, his other books are decent popcorn reads – nothing spectacular but fun and entertaining. I liked his Council Wars series for a Science Fiction interpretation of a Fantasy story.


  19. Princess of wands was a bit of shock in comparison to his ghost books – I wasn’t expecting such a devote character, as a female reading John Ringo some of his scenes are well lets just say interesting… but I’m still reading him..


  20. 1) The pricking of religious Pomposity… oorah.

    2) Ringo… I’m going to agree with Messyah, I don’t particularly enjoy most of his books. Oh, they’re all right, and I read sf by preference, and at ~1k words per minute I go through a lot of books, especially when they’re recommended to me. For what it’s worth, part of my problem is that his writing tends to be mythic sf. He’s not alone in this, but he’s an extreme example. The Hero (or Heroine in some cases) is Larger Than Life. Even when his humanity is scratched, it’s a chance to show how much Larger he is. For some, this is great. For me, well, I feel a bit detached. And when great pain or great success happen, it’s at a level of remove. I want to read of people, not demigods.


  21. 1.) I am a former player of GURPS, including GURPS Space, GURPS Vampire: The Masquerade, GURPS Supers and GURPS Chill. I sayformer simply because I no longer play table-top RPGs, nor to I miss them. However, IMHO, here are the best 3 table-top RPGs ever made:

    —-1 : Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
    —-2 : GURPS
    —-3 : Hero Games – Champions

    2.) I’ve only ever read “Into the Looking Glass” by Ringo and it was a good book, but his writing style IMHO is mediocre, but that’s just my opinion. I’m more of a Isaac Asimov, Phillip K. Dick and Terry Brooks fan.

    3.) Every time I see John Ringo’s name in a Book Store, I can’t help but think of the line “Why, Johnny Ringo. You look like somebody just walked all over your grave.” LOL


  22. Yep, yep… it’s very easy to forget the affect the stuff has on young minds. they believe what they see, and have no filter.

    Even after Alex came into our lives, we were enjoying CSI and NCIS and House, and I never noticed before just how many times CSI would have what I can only call gratuitous gore shots of the inner destruction of the human body. Just, stuff that doesn’t seem to me to advance the story, but is built into the show. And all the copycat shows do teh same. Finally, despite loving the show, we stopped wathcing. CSI: Miami lasted longer, they did it less.

    And House, we loved that show, until we noticed that Alex was becoming afraid of going to the hospital… because as far as he could see, everyone that goes to a hospital either diiess in gory ways, or goes into screaming fits of agony.

    And I want to watch Serenity and Firefly with Cassie, but I know that despite how awesome the show is, there are a lot of Reaver stuff that, well…

    It’s a massive change, making a home child-safe. No question about it. And it’s not just outlet covers and stove knob covers and stairtop safety gates.

    I’m sure most folks would think I’m way overboard on it, but I have a powerful imagination, and I know how much of everything I have ever seen goes into the mix of my dreams. I just want to make sure that he has a chance to understand the context of what he sees, BEFORE he sees it.

    I know he is already learning stuff from the other kids in pre-school. I know I have no control… but while I can, I want to do my best.


  23. Back in college, there’d be one or two times a year that people would stand on all the street corners on campus, handing out small pocket copies of the New Testament. As well-intentioned as they were, these people were always somewhat of a joke around campus. One of my friends finally just replied, when asked for the twentieth time that week if she wanted a copy, “Well, I’m not sure my rabbi would approve, but I’ve already eaten a whole pig today, so what the heck.”


  24. I hear ya about keeping the little ones away from gore: my young cousin was here this weekend and I was watching “The Faculty” that I had taped a long time ago. Not even thinking about it, I chatted and played with him (he’s 3, almost 4) when I saw him staring at the TV in horror. Yep, at the end of the movie, the “bad guy” turns into a creature and goes on a rampage. So I quickly change the channel to Nickelodeon and spend the next half hour explaining how “the alligator” didn’t really kill those people, it just looked like he did and in reality he was a friendly alligator that lived in the school but if you ever see a real alligator (hey, this is Florida) it is most definitely NOT friendly so don’t go petting it. His mother was less than pleased with me.


  25. OMG! It’s Optimus Prime, you overgrown fur ball! 🙂 Anyways, I’ve always wondered how (and I’m sorry to say it’s usually the Christian FAR right wing) has their priorities lined up. Apparently same sex couples tops their lists..followed by I think abortion, then sex in any form of media.. Blood, gore, and violence probably rank in the 60’s somewhere..

    I just don’t get it. Anyways, I’m not trying to offend anyone but I really don’t understand the priority system with these people sometimes…


Comments are closed.