Great book. Great narrator. The story was detailed and engaging with out going overboard with endless sci-fi technicalities that can give you a headache. The author does a good job of creating just enough levity to make the main character serious but amusing. Looking forward to the sequels.
I've been a Ringo fan for a long time, and this was definitely one of my favorites. Great plot, excellent writing, and I just could not stop listening.
There is a little bleed over from some of the stuff in the last centurion, (political philosophy, not plot or content) but it didn't bother me.
First john hits a very political note here, with high tongue in cheek fun. Its entirely possible people would be offended. To those people i would point out that this is a fiction story and the political elements are part of what makes the story work. For everyone this story is great fun! with a ton of humor, and alot of good science (disregarding the magic science of the gates)
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.
I enjoyed the writing, concepts, and narration of the book. That being said, I know that John Ringo is a guest commentator on Fox News, but the constant political bashing does get a bit old after a while. I get it, you don't like liberals but geez... In any case, I did enjoy the book enough to get the following two books :-)
I am so glad I decided to start this series! I almost past on this book due to the reviews warning about it's political nature. I guess I'm just ignorant because I did not notice the politics. Maybe any Horatio Agler 'rags to riches' type story has a political bend? I don't know, but I loved this book.
The scifi foundation was very good, but I was suprised how often I found myself laughing out loud while listening. I almost wet my pants laughing when one of the main characters, in response to seeing an enormous fleet of hostile aliens about to attack, say's "ooh that's bad...that's bad on toast". The description of aliens getting stoned on maple syrup was quite funny as well.
The narration was excellent also. Mr. Boyett did a very good job with the alien voices, not cheezy, but enough to make you visualize something other than human talking.
Since listening to this book, I have listened to book two, Citadel, also excellent, and can not wait til book three, Hot Gate, is available.
I enjoyed this books so much that I have played it three times in the last three months. I can not wait for the next installment and have searched the internet to find out when it would be avalible.
As for the bad reviews, I will say that it is a sad fact that politics are a way of life and those that wish to stick there head in the sand, well there is nothing anyone can do. and the rest is about trying to imagine what an alien race would do.
If this was to really have happened Washington would use a nuke to get Tyler for the Horvath.
On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through
I realize that this is nearly the 100th review of this book, so no one is going to read it, but I feel compelled to write about it anyway, the book was that disturbing.
I read a lot of military science fiction. Ringo, Weber, etc. are all rather right-wing, and, though I don't always agree with the politics, I don't get bent out of shape about it. Good science fiction is good science fiction, and many of the great and good in classic SF (from Heinlein to Delany) have their own weird axes to grind. Science fiction is supposed to require an open mind, after all. I have read Ringo before as well, and even know about the "OH JOHN RINGO NO" meme (seriously, Google it), so I thought this would be fine. But this was really, really upsetting politics, even for Ringo.
The first third of the book feels like classic Heinlein - one brilliant polymath saves the world through clever tricks, gets to tour alien worlds, and sets up a megacorporation. Lots of fun all around, some entertaining writing, and a good plot. Stop there. Really.
You should stop, because, as the book goes on, the authors worldview comes out in ugly ways. Female characters, when they appear, are only sex objects, but that is only par for the course. Worse, in an excruciatingly long section, the author comes out with a way to kill most of the poorest people in America (with some not-subtle implications that this includes most African Americans), while simultaneously blaming them for their own deaths. In the same mass slaughter are, explicitly, most Africans and most Muslims. And his characters, after mourning for a second, then go and stating that this will be better for society, a point which the book proceeds to demonstrate.
I prefer my science fiction with a lots less eugenics and coded racism. The book would have been 3 stars without it (the last two thirds of the book are much less fun and imaginative than the first third) but I found it entirely unpalatable with. If this wasn't an audiobook, I could have skimmed the nasty parts, but listening to it was incredibly painful. Read some Tanya Huff or David Weber instead, still conservative, still military SF, still idiosyncratic, but much less disturbing.
1*=I didn't like it..... 2*=It was OK...... 3*=It was good but I will never read it again.......... 4*=Maybe I will read it again in the future.............. 5*=I will definitely read it again(maybe more than once)
We are the Grtul. We come in peace. The ring in your sky is a gate to other worlds. We produce these rings and move them into star systems. Use of the ring requires payment. The payment schedule will be sent to you.
In the last ninety million years we have been asked most conceivable questions. We will answer the three most common questions asked and then we will terminate this call.
"By 'anyone can use the ring' do we mean that another species can use it to enter your system?
Does that mean that hostile or friendly forces can use it?
Are you allowed to block the ring?
This is just a beginning of one of my favourite Science Fiction books
In my opinion this book is a culmination of John Ringo's talent, because I consider it to be his best work yet!!!! All the previous books were just training and sharpening of skills to make this book just the way it is!!!
Alien races and Space battles, technological development and human ingenuity, trade agreements and biblical plagues.
AND THE BEST HUMOUR I READ IN YEARS AND ALL OF IT SUPPORTED BY GENIUS NARRATION!!!!!!!!
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at FanLit.
Humans were alarmed when the first aliens that arrived to introduce themselves to Earth set up a hypergate that immediately connected Earth with all the outside universe. We were no longer alone. At least the Glatun were friendly aliens.
Tyler Vernon, a smart hard-working guy who chops wood for a living, decides to take this opportunity to improve his fortune. He finds a product that our new alien friends love and begins a business empire. Soon he’s the richest man on Earth, and that means he’s got a lot of influence on how things get done. When another alien race, the Horvath, come through the gate, declare themselves Earth’s “protectors” and start demanding tribute, Tyler is the only human who seems ready to take them on.
Live Free or Die, the first in John Ringo’s TROY RISING series, starts strong. Tyler is, at first, a likeable entrepreneur whose clever business plans are fun to read about. I enjoyed watching him begin to trade with the aliens (although I thought they weren’t alien enough) and build his empire. Some of this was amusing and some was just silly, but it was clever and fun.
But once Tyler gets rich and powerful and starts throwing his weight around, he becomes egotistical, dogmatic and obnoxious. Suddenly (or maybe I just didn’t notice it earlier) he begins espousing John Ringo’s political and economic philosophies. It’s clear that Ringo is a libertarian (or possibly a right-wing conservative) and he definitely wants us to know it. His politics is not my problem — I lean toward the conservative/libertarian side of the spectrum myself. The problem is two-fold.
First, I never want to read someone’s political or religious treatise in my fiction. That’s not what I read fiction for. It completely throws me out of the story when I can see the author back there behind the words waving his arms around and telling me what I ought to think. I don’t mind so much if the author is talking about something beautiful — transcendent religious experience, redemption, freedom, etc, but not when the point is simply to promote one’s own views while belittling people with different views. It’s like those obnoxious Facebook friends who never post anything but links to posts about how right their political views are and how wrong and stupid everyone with the opposite view is. This is ugly no matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on. There is a lot of this in Live Free or Die.
Second (and most bothersome), Tyler Vernon’s claptrap isn’t just the typical small-government /family values philosophy that are at the core of American conservatism today. It’s even beyond the distasteful pretentiousness spouted by Rush Limbaugh. For example (and these are just a few examples of many) Vernon (Ringo?) suggests that people of low socioeconomic status are lazy and stupid and don’t care about their kids, liberals are socialists, the French are weak and whiny, the Civil War was the “War of Northern Aggression,” and the American president (clearly Obama, this was published in 2010) is an idiot. He even seems to say that our world would be better off if all the old folks, sick or disabled folks, Muslims, and those who don’t have genes for blue-eyes and blonde hair somewhere in their DNA got wiped off the planet. Um… what??? Are you serious??? Tyler Vernon may do the right thing, but in his heart he’s a Nazi, and it’s clear that John Ringo wants us to admire him. Vernon’s deeds are praise-worthy (he’s saving the world, after all, even those people who he secretly thinks we’d be better without) but his thoughts are very ugly. I want to emphasize again that this is not how the great majority of politically conservative people think and I am embarrassed when I think that some readers will assume Vernon’s politics are representative of conservatism. They are not.
It’s ironic that Tyler complains that liberals see him as rich and powerful and assume he’s greedy and domineering because… they’re right, he is. He expects the government to kowtow to him. When he decides to go messing around with mirrors in space and starts melting asteroids, it’s hard to believe that the world’s leaders would let him get away with that just because he’s rich. All of this disgusted me, but when the aliens send a virus that makes blonde women go into heat, I dismissed the whole thing as John Ringo’s ugly wish fulfillment fantasy. (And all women are appraised by whether or not they’re “stacked.”)
I listened to Mark Boyett narrate Live Free or Die. He was a terrific reader. Too bad he couldn’t fix this story by leaving out some of Tyler Vernon’s thoughts. If I could have just read about his actions, I would have enjoyed Live Free or Die. I’m fascinated by the space station (Troy) that he was constructing at the end of the book and I want to know what it looks like when it’s done. I will try the next book, Citadel, only because I want to see Troy and because Brilliance Audio sent me a copy for free. I wouldn’t pay for this.