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Thread: John Ringo

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    John Ringo

    Just got done with another one of his series, I think that he is an amazing author, yeah he has his flaws but he has an awesome talent, just wanted to know your guys opinion about him and/or his books, wanted to discuss some of his books feel free to post

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    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Ringo gets some discussion around here. One of our members, Ouroboros, is a big fan of his books, particularly the Legacy of the Aldenata series. I have A Hymn Before Battle on my ever-growing to read pile, but just haven't made my way to reading it yet.

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    I am a big fan too Prince Roger, Kildar, Council Wars and Vorpal Blade are my top series. Aldenata so-so, though I liked some of the books in the series a lot. All in all I've read all his books and collaborations and outside the Bolo book Road to Damascus that I found boring, I've enjoyed them.

    The Last Centurion, his blog novel is funny, though a bit too preachy and with less action than normal to be in the top, but I am looking forward to the release any day of the e-arc of Claws that Catch - Vorpal Blade 4.

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    Japanese in Wisconsin shinyaSS's Avatar
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    The only book I've read is "Ghost" and it was beyond my capacity... Is it a fairy tale for rightish people?

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    Repudiated Ursus s271's Avatar
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    Yep, Ringo seems extreme right, or at least posing as one, up to the point of denying global worming and hating tofu and other low-fat food. For some obscure reason he think low-fat food is unpatriotic

    Edit: I mean "global warming"

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    Japanese in Wisconsin shinyaSS's Avatar
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    Hating tofu? I'd like to cook a great tofu steak with many fat for him
    Anyway, which is his best military SF?
    As you can imagine, military SFs are not so popular outside the States(at least in Japan), but I personary like realistic space war stories.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shinyaSS View Post
    Hating tofu? I'd like to cook a great tofu steak with many fat for him
    Anyway, which is his best military SF?
    As you can imagine, military SFs are not so popular outside the States(at least in Japan), but I personary like realistic space war stories.
    The Prince Roger series starting with March Upcountry is the best in my opinion. It is co-written with D. Weber and launched Ringo as a big-name author after he had already made a splash with the first Aldenata books which were published form the slush pile.

    The Roger books are almost all Ringo though, Weber did the plot, setting, editing, but Ringo did the writing as it is easily seen for the style. Sadly now that John Ringo is almost as a big bestseller as David Weber, Prince Roger moved on the back burner and despite fan prodding we may never see beyond book 4. Still book 4 is an acceptable ending for the series to a large extent.

    Mr. Ringo bristles when anyone mentions this subject since I guess he got harassed enough about it and asking "When is next Roger book coming?" is a sure way to get him annoyed
    Last edited by suciul; May 21st, 2008 at 08:08 AM.

  8. #8
    Give me liberty! Ouroboros's Avatar
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    As mentioned, I'm a big John Ringo fan.

    Broadly speaking I think the first two books in his 'Legacy of the Aldenata' series are his strongest work. Personally I think the quality drops off a little bit after that, but the series remains a serious contender for "best mechanized combat suit series" of the recent past. There are nods aplenty to Heinlein but the sensibility is very contemporary and redolent of Dravid Drake's gritty appraisal of the best and worst of military life.

    The 'Council War' series wasn't as well-received as had been anticipated, which is unfortunate because they have some great SF/Fantasy cross-over elements. The first book is the strongest. After that they begin to exhibit some of the same elements that his 'Paladin of the Shadows' do: That is, quite a bit of erotica involving S&M and some pretty dark stuff by most people's standards. Personally speaking this is not for me and I think the books are the weaker for it although this is a subject of some debate among Ringo fans. Ringo has penned an article defending himself against accusations of getting a bit carried away on his website, worth a read if you're on the fence.

    'Through the looking glass' and its sequels really appealed to me, and came at a time when I was a little bit cheesed off at what Ringo was doing with the series mentioned above. I haven't read all of the series, but it's reminiscent of the golden age of SF for me, in terms of some of the themes- first contact, scientist-as-hero and whatnot.

    The 'Empire of Man' / 'Prince Roger' series with Weber is solid but I don't think it's his best work. The first and last book in the series worked for me, but the middle books felt really samey and repetitive.

    There's no doubt that Ringo (and much of the Baen stable of authors) are well right of the centre in their social and political outlook. Pro-military, all for the freemarket, Mom, Uncle Sam and Apple Pie. Personally I dig all that stuff and I aggree with far more of this outlook than I take issue with. Ultimately your mileage will vary. If someone is uncertain as to whether they will like it I'd suggest 'A hymn before battle' as their starting point. Particularly if they ever read and enjoyed 'Starship Troopers' by Heinlein.

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    Japanese in Wisconsin shinyaSS's Avatar
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    Thanks for very detailed reviews, guys. 'A hymn before battle' has been added to my piles.

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    What I love about Mr. Ringo's style is its energy, and characters. The opinions do not bother me - I am a bit more on the libertarian side, but I have the same contempt for all the corrupt tranzi institutions like the UN, and the like, and the s&m I mostly ignore.

    On the other hand I do not care that much for the hardcore military action of the Aldenata series and I do not like any and all of the O'Neill clan so that may be one reason that series appeals less to me. Similarly I think the main issue of the Council series is not the s&m but it is actually Herzer who is the least interesting of Ringo's characters. And Bast while funny is a joke...Duke Talbot is much better and if he would have structured the book around him like Dance with Dragons, I think it will have been more successful. At least thankfully Mr. Ringo canned the original 2nd book about Herzer in that obscure town since if he would have done that it most likely would have been the last book in the series. This way, who knows the series may revive.

    But Sergei Roger Ramius McClintock and the gang around him, human and Mardukan and the Kildar and the gang around him Western and Georgian are absolutely great...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ouroboros View Post
    After that they begin to exhibit some of the same elements that his 'Paladin of the Shadows' do: That is, quite a bit of erotica involving S&M and some pretty dark stuff by most people's standards. Personally speaking this is not for me and I think the books are the weaker for it although this is a subject of some debate among Ringo fans. Ringo has penned an article defending himself against accusations of getting a bit carried away on his website, worth a read if you're on the fence.
    I also agree on that note, i kinda thought it comical more than offensive, the funny thing is, is i dont know if he found that readers hated it or if he just didn't want to write about it anymore but the last 2 books of "paladin of shadows" was completely void of any s&m let alone sex, he lead into it, but gave no details, but you guys must remember this series was a personal project that he was working on so Im sure he let himself go a little more than he usually would, the reason for the release was plain and simple, he needed money, Baen found out that he was writing this series and he pitched it at there request, they liked it and published it.

  12. #12

    John Ringo

    So... is he any good? I've been looking for new authors to try and i'm not having alot of luck. I noticed that Ringo seems incapable of writing a book by himself which is a little off putting. I think one of the authors he has worked with is David Weber and I just finished my first Weber, Off Armageddon Reef, which was ok and i'll read the sequel when I can get my hands on it, but not good enough that I ran out to get the Honor Harrington series. Possibly seemed like it was written for a younger audience. Is Ringo on par with Weber? Better?

    FWIW I consider Simmons, Hamilton and Reynolds the best SF writers out there.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michigan View Post
    So... is he any good? I've been looking for new authors to try and i'm not having alot of luck. I noticed that Ringo seems incapable of writing a book by himself which is a little off putting. I think one of the authors he has worked with is David Weber and I just finished my first Weber, Off Armageddon Reef, which was ok and i'll read the sequel when I can get my hands on it, but not good enough that I ran out to get the Honor Harrington series. Possibly seemed like it was written for a younger audience. Is Ringo on par with Weber? Better?

    FWIW I consider Simmons, Hamilton and Reynolds the best SF writers out there.
    Mr. Ringo wrote quite a few books solo including the first 4 Aldenata books that catapulted him from the slush pile to recognition, the 5 Kildar books, the 4 Council Wars books, Princess of Wands, Last Centurion.

    Then the 4 Looking Glass books starting with In the Looking Glass were written pretty much by him, with Travis Taylor providing scientific assistance in the last 3, the 4 Prince Roger books though cosigned with D. Weber were written by him on a Weber outline and then editing/fill in.

    The books he outlined and edited but not written are the ones with Col. Kratman in the Aldenata series, the ones with Julie Cochrane also in the Aldenata series and 3 other books with Mad Mike Williamson, Linda Evans, Travis Taylor, one Aldenata far future, one Bolo, one standalone.

    I read all his work and the Prince Roger series and two of the 4 Council books (1 and 3) are among my all time favorites. I eagerly follow the Looking Glass series which is sort of pulp sf with modern physics and modern military atitudes, and I liked Ghost and Kildar despite their being quite controversial, but slowly I got tired of the setup in books 3-5 since thrillers are not my favorite kind of books.

    Last Centurion could have been a great book but it was too much tell, too little show, Princess of Wands had a funny middle but it was too thin a story overall and Aldenata got somewhat boring after a while though I still follow it

    As a former paratrooper Mr. Ringo writes very well about the US/US-like military, including stuff that may be unpopular with the liberal elites and he is probably the best writer of hard core military sf out there - David Weber writes mil or space opera or military epic fantasy but not real hard core, infantry slugging mil sf. As a participant in the s&m scene, Mr. Ringo writes very well hard core sex with s&m elements and that has been a turn-off for some fans, but I could not care less about the explicitness.

    So hard core right winger - only Col. Kratman beats him in that from the authors I read - hard, explicit s&m sex in many books, death, darkness galore, characters killed left and right including many favorite ones - he even killed his alter ego, a sf author that sounded and behaved like him, in Princess of Wands for example - and excellent military sf.

    Some of his heroes like Duke Talbot, Prince Roger, Captain Pahner, Two-Gun, are among my all time favorites, and some of the scenes in his books are again some I read many, many times.

    I would try Prince Roger 1 - March Upcountry - the series while supposed to go 7, may stop at 4 since for some reasons Ringo and Weber are not likely to work together again, but it has clear closure so it's worth even so - or There Will be Dragons - which is Council #1, or Looking Glass and its immediate sequel Vorpal Blade

    All of the above and most of Ringo's novels for that matter are free online in teh Baen's library or in the Baen CD's which are available at Joe Buckley site below for example, so you can try them for free and see if they are on your taste.

    I used to put Mr. Ringo at #4 in my top authors after Weber, Hamilton, Bujold but his recent work has not been on my taste so much, so now he is still in my top 10 established sf authors, but not in my top 5 - Neal Asher is #4 for now.

    Link:

    http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/

  14. #14
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Hi Michigan,

    You might find some other folks's thoughts on Ringo in these threads:
    Your opinion on Baen?
    John Ringo's Vorpal Blade
    John Ringo
    Military Sci-Fi

  15. #15
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    John Ringo apparently wrote an ultra-right-wing piece of polemic called The Paladin of Shadows (or something) which is by all accounts up there as one of the worst books ever written. This led to this blog post and the coining of a new catchphrase which was all over the internet in days: "OH JOHN RINGO NO!" There are now T-shirts and everything.

    Apparently Ringo repented the work afterwards, and took the whole thing in good humour.

    I've heard his other books are much better, well, at least in the fine switch-off-your-brain-and-enjoy/David Weber tradition.

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