This isn’t going to be a review of the books, because I’m totally biased in favor of this series.
What I’ll focus on instead are some of the reasons why I think you should want to read these books if the name John Ringo didn’t already make it a done deal.
The reasons I think you should read them.
First, the language in these books is PG. I know, I know, you’re familiar with John Ringo, and he’s pretty well known for having his characters, especially military characters, freely use language best called ‘salty’.
I can assure you, after reading both of the books currently released, he’s used none of the usual salty language, while still retaining that John Ringo action style and quick pace. If that’s something that concerns you, for yourself or your children, then you can rest assured that the language is cool.
When I think of other situations where I’ve felt rough language added to the experience, the Die Hard movies come immediately to mind. I love those movies, and Bruce Willis spouting lines like “Yippee Ki Yay, M&*F&*^” are burned into my enjoyment of them.
I would have said before reading these that if you stripped out the vulgarity in his writing style, something would be lost.
The truth is quite different. It reminds me of when I was in boot camp back in the day, and the drill instructors weren’t allowed to use actual ‘swear’ words when talking to you.
Did that prevent drill instructors from insulting you or yelling at you with passion and enthusiasm?
On the contrary, they amazed and impressed me with their ability to rip you a new defecation oriface without using any ‘bad words’ at all. It was more as if the limitation inspired them to rise to new heights of inventiveness.
John Ringo doesn’t use any salty language in this series… by the letter, OR by the spirit. He writes the language clean, letting the situations, action and sheer scope of destructive potential get the message across for him. He doesn’t mess around trying to slide one by you. When he wants to be colorful, he does it through solid, inventive writing without using any crude shortcuts, and it was a lot of fun.
Does he ever specify why he did this? Not that I know of, not in the foreward or afterward, but I’m going to hazard a guess and wager that it’s out of respect for the author he was inspired by for this series.
Here we come to the second huge reason for you to read this series. The books of Troy Rising are written by John Ringo, and it’s a story entirely of his own creation, but it was inspired by one of John Ringo’s favorite webcomics of all time, and takes place in that other author’s universe.
Troy Rising takes place in the universe of Schlock Mercenary, created by brilliant science fiction author and artist Howard Taylor.
Oh, have I finally captured your attention? You’ve heard of Schlock Mercenary, have you?
I should hope so.
In the foreward of the first book in the series, Live Free or Die, Howard Taylor makes it pretty clear that while he might not have had this exact story in mind for how Earth entered the politics of the galaxy, it very well could be… and might be retroactively inserted as his new ‘that’s how it always was’ plan.
Are the names of races likethe Glatun and Horvath familiar to you? Do you not only know who the Gatekeepers are, but understand why having them show up in monkey space was a bad thing?
Have you ever wondered what kind of insane introduction to the universe would motivate the Earth to develop the Battleplate as a weapons platform? A battleplate, for those that are not familiar with Schlock Mercenary, is a spacefaring warship roughly in the shape of an equalateral triangle, if each side of the triangle was about 6 kilometers long.
Have you ever wondered, if earth uses battleplates to send outside the system, what did we use to protect our own space? And was it even scarier?
John Ringo not only plays in Howard Taylor’s Schlockverse, but he pays incredible respect to the rules and spirit of the series, does his homework, and then thinks big in the best tradition of the golden age of science fiction. And no matter how crazy it all gets, it still fits.
Have you ever read that someone is going to take something you love, and then go back thousands of years? What’s your first thought?
When I heard that they were taking Star Trek and doing the Enterprise show, my first thought wasn’t excitement about the series.
No, my first thought was, “I already know the limits of technological development in the current universe. If they go back to an earlier point in the storyline, they’re going to have to stay constrained by what was shown to be the limits of tech. Will they be able to handle that and still have great stories?”
Well, if this series had a theme, it would be ‘go big or go home’.
Oh yes, let your mind be settled on that score. John Ringo goes big, in fact I think he took pride in thinking, “Should I do that? No. No, it’s too bloody small. I can go bigger. I can go bigger than anyone ever dreamed. Let’s crank this pig to eleven, and then cube it. And then lets cube THAT.”
There is one point where enemy aliens ripe on destroying our planet get their first look at what we built for a defense… and one of them goes insane, right there on the bridge of their battleship. Just loses it. Has a fit, has to be put down.
It’s Howard Taylor’s universe with John Ringo’s action and characterization, and a story that is a gigglefest of “Oh, he did not just…”
So, I’ve given you two reason to read.
Now, if that was not enough, I’m going to give you a third reason to go read them.
I’m in them.
Specifically, John Patricelli is a character in the second book, “Citadel”.
That’s right. The most incredible geek fanboy confluence I can imagine has occured. I am a character in a John Ringo story set in the Howard Taylor Schlockverse.
I’m not going to give out any spoilers, of course. If you haven’t read it, then all I’m going to say is that a very minor character in the story, who just happens to be a Space Marine, is named John Patricelli, and might see a little action. Just a little.
Come on, that’s gotta be enough to get you to go check it out, right? If only to see if I die a horrible, violent, gruesome death. Hey, it’s space, I might have simultaneously frozen while blowing up. You can only hope.
I wasn’t going to say anything about it at first, because the point isn’t that I’m in the story, the point is that this is some awesome science fiction from two author/creators I love dearly.
But you know, just because I write some articles that people read doesn’t mean I’m somehow above being a squeeing little geek fanboy. Does anyone ever get above that kind of thing? I sure as heck hope not.
So get on out there, get the books and enjoy a great read.
If you feel like being generous, and you’re thinking about buying the books anyway, may I suggest you visit my website Library. If you click through to Amazon.com from the links there, and you end up buying a book, I eventually will get a little kickback from it. I think.
I don’t know how it works exactly, I just know that when I went and bought Citadel in hardcover from Amazon, I had $16 in credit there, and the only way I can figure that I got it is from awesome folks like you buying books through my website.
And while I’m on the subject, that you very much for that. I never expected to ever see someone buy a book through the website, so I was completely stunned to get most of a hardcover book from Amazon.com free, thanks entirely to your generosity. That was amazing.
If you love science fiction, I just hope you read them, no matter how you lay your hands on them. Buy them, get them from your local library, borrow them from a friend, whatever. Lounge around in your local Barnes and Noble reading them on a couch while drinking a coffee. However you get your geek on.
But do yourself a favor, go check them out!