Beginning a New Series by a New York Times Best-Selling Author.Will the People of Earth Bow Down toAlien Overlords—or Will They Live Free or Die?
First Contact Was Friendly
When aliens trundled a gate to other worlds into the solar system, the world reacted with awe, hope and fear. But the first aliens to come through, the Glatun, were peaceful traders and the world breathed a sigh of relief.Who Controls the Orbitals, Controls the World
When the Horvath came through, they announced their ownership by dropping rocks on three cities and gutting them. Since then, they've held Terra as their own personal fiefdom. With their control of the orbitals, there's no way to win and earth's governments have accepted the status quo.
Live Free or Die
To free the world from the grip of the Horvath is going to take an unlikely hero. A hero unwilling to back down to alien or human governments, unwilling to live in slavery and with enough hubris, if not stature, to think he can win. Fortunately, there's Tyler Vernon. And he has bigger plans than just getting rid of the Horvath.
Troy Rising is a book in three parts—Live Free or Die being the first part—detailing the freeing of earth from alien conquerors, the first steps into space using off-world technologies and the creation of Troy, a thousand trillion ton battlestation designed to secure the solar system.
©2010 John Ringo (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
Emergency physician and fantasy nerd in Chicago.
This is actually solid and creative sci-fi. A few of the reviews I read accuse the book and the author of racism but I think this is going way too far. The story is basically about Republican physicists saving the world. Even as someone who is very politically progressive I enjoyed it immensely. The conservative stuff is not hidden, the author just throws it right out there and in that way it's almost funny. The good guys are heads of corporations who are trying to save humanity despite government interference/regulation. There's a bunch of little digs in the vein of "if we can just keep the damned government off our backs" and even a slam on space-environmentalists ("we've trashed our own planet enough...")
That said I didn't find any of this overbearing and in reality the author is probably correct that first contact with alien species would not dry up all the hundred year old political squabbles on earth.
Alot of this book is concerned with the size/scope/power requirements of spacefaring. I bring that up to say that despite the levity of the dialogue it's actually pretty hard core sci-fi. Those hoping for laser battles or light-saber fights will be disappointed by this novel. The major battle scene reads almost like a physics textbook.
Overall this is a fun read. The narrator is excellent, he does some voice modulation for different characters but does not go to the ridiculous lengths to which some are tempted.
This book kicks off the Troy Rising series with the standard Sci-Fi scenario of mankind's first contact with aliens. As is often the case, things don't go well for Earth as we are outclassed both technologoically and militarily when the Horvath come to claim our resources. Earth's governments have no recourse but to comply to the demands and Earth becomes a subservient planet.
Enter Tyler Vernon into the story and things start to change. Tyler Vernon not only steps up to save Earth but he also saves this entire series of books. He is an interesting, opinionated character that isn't willing to allow Earth to remain slaves to the Horvath. Any time the book (and series) focuses on Tyler Vernon and his plans it flies by and is a joy to listen to.
There are, however, lulls in each of the 3 books in the series so far where Ringo spends way too much time on boring subjects. In the first book it is the difficulties of mining in space with a "laser", in book 2 it is ship maintenance and welding in space, and in book 3 it is the culture clash faced by the Latin American military in space. Each of these are important to the overall story, but could have been addressed in far fewer pages. The bloat fills the gaps between the interesting parts of the story related to Tyler Vernon and the fight for humanity's freedom.
Mark Boyett does a decent job with the material, although he is forced to repeat "Tyler said" thousands of times due to the way the book is written. He is also a bit dry in his overall reading.
If you are willing to take the good with the bad then give the Troy Rising Series a shot. It is a 5 star story arc stuffed with boring periods that drag it down to 3 stars.
While the basic plot is interesting and there's no doubt Ringo is a capable writer, Live Free or Die is bogged down by constant political commentary. I'm slightly right of center politically and not normally bothered by this sort of thing (especially as I live in a very conservative area) but it was really extreme and detracted from the otherwise good story.
The theme of "Liberal city idiots" exploiting the hard working country patriots is repeated on nearly every page of this book. Global warming is a joke, Democrats are lazy moochers off the government while Republicans are working multiple jobs, CNN is a bunch of foolish idiots and Fox News is the only station worth talking to and Washington DC should be nuked. Even the aliens society is failing because they are liberal. Even if you agree with all this, the non-stop nature of the barbs is amateurish and very distracting.
I'm sure I will get down votes on this review by people who will vote purely for political reasons but if you stop and analyze the book from the perspective of a Sci-fi fan, not a political rant, you will see the political aspect of the book was so overdone it ruined the intent. There is much to be said of subtlety.
If you enjoy john ringo then you will absolutely love this book. Memorable characters, great science, solid story and clear writing, it's all there, along with his political views.
Point is, there is nothing in this book that will be surprising to any Ringo fan. If your a new fan of a politically right bent, you'll love this book.
If you're not, or you haven't been a fan of ringo in the first place, then, like the person who gave the book a 1 star, just avoid this book. It's that simple.
To the Ringo fans out there, Rest Assured, he'd done it again.
First, the book was a great listen. The characters were interesting, the SF was hard and fast, the story was well told. That said, the author's conservative views were a major part of the story, but not an overwhelming part. What got me was his view that after a devastating act on the ENTIRE planet, their wouldn't be a push to unite the planet under some common response.
He does a decent job of chronicling the bickering that might take place with different cultures, economies, and the historic grievances that run deep that would prevent a common response, but it just seems implausible. Then, again, maybe I'm one of the do-gooder liberals he bashes so often in the book. :)
All that said, it's a good listen and I'm on to the next installment.
John Ringo delivers again with a sweeping epic of the near future. He draws on some old sci-fi themes from classic stories of the past, throws in a Howard Hughes-like character, and gives us another great story. Ringo's conservative political views tend to come out in his writing, but are a minor distraction from an otherwise great story. This audio book was well-narrated with good characterization. I am looking forward to Ringo's sequel in what I understand will be a triology. I recommend this one.
I like this book.
I have given a 5 star rating because it does exactly what it promised in the first few minutes: to discuss politics, war and relationships.
I will note that I am sucker for the Heinlein homage that seeps through Ringo's writing in this novel. If you like Robert Heinlein's classic characters Lazarus Long or Jubal Hershaw, you will like Ringo's Tyler Vernon. However, the converse sentiment also holds true, you will likely see in Tyler Vernon the same audacious (maybe even arrogant) attitudes found in Heinlein's writing which alleges that bureaucrats are the single biggest danger to humanity (even more than the dreaded "liberals").
I will note that for the record, the author takes creative liberties with many (read most) of the details regarding space exploration, political/economic philosophies and the suffering that comes with Alien Domination. While I accept that current literary theory holds that authors only tell the stories they themselves believe and as such Ringo must see himself as Tyler Vernon, I will note that the same criticism has been labeled at Heinlein. I would say that if all you hear or read in the character of Tyler Vernon is a fictional caricature of the ideal "rugged individual," you have only seen one dimension of Tyler Vernon.
As a work of Science Fiction, this is not a book that reads like a technical manual nor is it filled with in-depth or vivid descriptions of milieu, environment and setting. Yet careful listening to the words will demonstrate that the relative unimportance of details is a central theme in the life of Tyler Vernon.
At the same time, it must be noted that Ringo is not Tom Clancy. I say this to note that Ringo does not bury you in minute details simply to prove the expertise of his characters or his own depth of knowledge and extensive research. Ringo implicitly requests his readers/listeners accept his authorial fiat on the subject of details in order to tell us a new twist on an old story.
I vacillated between entertained/engaged, mildly amused, bored, and confused.
There are definitely a lot of redeeming qualities here. Humans harness the power of the sun to create massive death lasers, and wipe out some oppressive aliens. Good Stuff.
However, that only described the final 75-100 pages. The rest of the time you watch the main character scheme and build up earth's infrastructure to give us the ability to do the aforementioned badassery. To be honest, it was kind of fascinating to see the obstacles and challenges in catching up to star-faring races. The bureaucrats and the media personalities are often ludicrously stupid and obstinate (I wonder if Ringo has any opinions there).
As fun as all of this was, it was not on par with what I wanted out of the book. (namely alien death-by-laser)
One other major problem that stuck out to me was that certain parts of the plot read like a white-supremacist's wet dream. (the writing doesn't really seem racist but it's still weird) Let me explain: Understandably, Earth takes a beating in the beginning, but for some reason, wiping out major cities isn't enough for the aliens. They also craft a disease that kills off people without the genomes for... [drum roll please] ... blonde hair. The disease then alters the DNA of all blonde females to make them much more orgasmic, and makes them go into heat, monthly. Uhhh... ok. I'll admit that there is SOME justification from the alien perspective... but still.
At least the main character admits it's not very cool that he thinks the world is better-off after most of Africa and the Middle-East get wiped out. Right?
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.
John Ringo is a great Sci Fi writer. All his books have humor, and historical insight applied to future imagined. To top it off Mark Boyett is the best narrator I've heard yet. This is a great book and hopefully part one of a series. The aliens are funny as hell without trying. The novel ideas for using crude brute force engineering to achieve sophisticated goals makes this a must read.
I love this book, I have listened to it twice now. The narrator is fantastic, his Vermont accents absolutely spot on and very funny. This is one of the most unusual sci-fi stories I've read and also the funniest. I don't like Russell's review of this book, I can't help thinking that he misunderstood some of the politics and humour. It is interesting and odd that Russell has also posted the exact same, word for word review on Amazon of the paper back book.
Don't be put off, this series is thoroughly entertaining and clever.
"Predictable but fun"
This title has received criticism of being right-wing propaganda...
Apparently, one can't even read a book anymore without politicising it.
I for one had fun with this and I'm not ashamed for it.
Yes, the story is a bit cheesy and predictable, the main character a hero who single-handedly saves Earth, but so what?
It's not like Hollywood has done any better lately. At least the characters in Live Free or Die have more depth to them.
If you're looking for something whimsical, surprising or deep, you'll be disappointed, but if you like the majority of SciFi movies, you will enjoy this.
Just what I love. Story about mankind's resourcefulness set in not so far future. Mankind triumphs thanks to few special individuals and ability to cooperate and work hard. In short " Don't mess with the Terrans"
"Best audible SF book ever"
Absolutely brilliant SF book, really big what if storyline, had me riveted and unwilling to get out the car and go into work n
Sticking it to the Horvath
Clear and well paced.
Troy station coming online and defending the world
Listen to it, awesome.
FAST PACED BLOOD AND GUTS-TYPICAL RINGO SCI-FI A BOOK YOU DON'T WANT TO PUT DOWN/STOP LISTENING TOO.WILL BE BUYING THE NEXT EPISODE.
"Juvenile, and not in a good way."
This is a very mediocre sci fi romp, not awful, not a work of literature either.
The problem is that this is a very, very thinly disguised piece of EXTREMELY right wing propaganda.
Through a series of rather forced deus ex machina, the author's utopia of blond, illiberal hard working, non-muslim humanity with a hyper-libidoed female population is brought into being. Conveniently by the evil aliens without the heroes' approval or intervention thereby enabling everyone to enjoy the resultant paradise without that pesky guilt that more mundane ethnic cleansing usually brings.
It is, in a word, juvenile. The lead character, super smart yet a good ol' man of the land, is transparently just a mouthpiece for the author's prejudices. He becomes the richest man in the world overnight and routinely shows up those liberal city folk (the President, corporate executives, etc.) for the low down cowardly sneaky liars they are. And in the end of course, saves everybody with only the asians, africans, middle easterners and city folk falling victim to the ensuing conflict. No loss there then.
I would expect this kind of thing to be written by a geeky teenager as a wish fulfilment fantasy after he'd just been snubbed by the prettiest girl at high school when asking her to the prom.
From a published author, it's just a bit sad.
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