David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines
hradzka

books to make my flist's heads explode: John Ringo

Lately, some folks on my f-list have been looking at Lord King Bad profic. brown_betty gave us LEOPARD LORD, and cereta reviewed THE SHEIK, and burger_eater pointed me to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books's take on Shayla Black's DECADENT. These books, it should be admitted, are deeply awful, and as portrayals of their authors' ids, they're more than a little alarming. You don't want to look, but you can't look away. The awfulness becomes sublime.

So why am I commenting about this? Well, because I feel a little like Richard Dreyfuss in JAWS, during the scar scene: "I got that beat. I got that beat."

Permit me to introduce John Ringo.

Contains excerpts of fiction revolving heavily around 1) rape and 2) whores. If you're bothered by this kind of thing, YOU REALLY DO NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT THIS. Even though it's so bad it's funny.Collapse )
Tags: books, oh john ringo no
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That's one thing that makes the series interesting. Ringo is not an incompetent idiot: he's a smart guy who got persuaded to publish his id-fic, and now is trying to figure out how to write to the audience who likes it while trying to bring some aspects of the series up to what he feels comfortable putting out. It's actually a fascinating tension.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaa

ffffffffffffff

i broke
'sokay. I did the same. (So did anybody I read bits of GHOST at.)

numol

10 years ago

Linked here by a friend of mine. Thank you for a very entertaining (and cautionary) read.
Welcome. Remember, if you ever write a book where the hero takes in whores, try to limit him to about twelve or so. After that, it just starts to strain the limits of plausibility. Or something.

cmdr_zoom

12 years ago

Okay, I will never read these but I could read your summary all day! Also, I may have to start saying "OH JOHN RINGO NO" as it is strangely compelling....

here via hernewshoes comment here.

hradzka

April 23 2008, 12:53:02 UTC 12 years ago Edited:  April 23 2008, 12:53:40 UTC

Also, I may have to start saying "OH JOHN RINGO NO" as it is strangely compelling....

Apparently it is! I know it's been quoted in the recent Penguicon controversy thread, and I've seen people using "OH JOHN RINGO NO" as a tag in their LJs and communities, so it may be catching on. (Now all I need is an OH JOHN RINGO NO icon.)

THE POWER OF JOHN RINGO COMPELS YOU.
I love Ringo's SF. I've been actively avoiding the Kildar books. Thank you for confirming my decision.

Shudder.
There is a conflict to them that's strangely interesting -- SEE John Ringo's id battle for supremacy over his SENSE OF PRIDE and CRAFTSMANSHIP! -- but yeah, really not for a lot of people.

selenite

12 years ago

And I totally support that decision

Anonymous

12 years ago

I work in a used bookstore, and I hear reviews over and over all day long. But this, hands down, has to be one of my new favorites.

I hate you and myself because now I WANT TO READ THESE BOOKS.

That is wrong on so many levels.

And I feel like I won't be able to stop saying "Oh John Ringo No" for the rest of my life.
I hate you and myself because now I WANT TO READ THESE BOOKS.

... y'know, I can't recommend or unrecommend that course of action, because I am hooked on this series, but let me assure you of this: if you do read 'em, *you will not be bored.*

And I feel like I won't be able to stop saying "Oh John Ringo No" for the rest of my life.

Several people have noticed this. I may have started something.
I had to keep stopping because I was laughing so hard I was crying. This. This. Oh John Ringo, no!

Yes. Thank you. I feel I have lived a full and terrifying life. I will never forget the moment he called the mothers to get permission for BDSM sex. That, I think will live on.

And the cat collection. Yes. That, too.
I feel I have lived a full and terrifying life. I will never forget the moment he called the mothers to get permission for BDSM sex. That, I think will live on.

And this is where the Open Source Boob thing went wrong. They shouldn't have just asked the women. They should have called their mothers and asked them, too. Because that's how it's done!

...oh. No, no, it's not. OH JOHN RINGO NO.

(ps. you know what this series needs? more whores)
This could well be the greatest thing I've read on livejournal.
Now *that's* a compliment. Thank you.

Deleted comment

Re: Linked by a friend.

hradzka

April 23 2008, 13:12:53 UTC 12 years ago Edited:  April 23 2008, 13:13:05 UTC

OH JOHN RINGO NO is my new internet slang for DEAR GOD, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?

A few people are using it that way, apparently. I... um, have wrought something?

Re: Linked by a friend.

Anonymous

12 years ago

oh god why did I keep reading

D:
Why did you keep reading? Why did I keep reading? Why will I continue to keep reading?!

(Because it's awesomely insane? ...yes.)

Thank You

Anonymous

April 23 2008, 07:30:40 UTC 12 years ago

Thank you for the best review of the Ghost books I've ever seen.

A few quick points.

The five books act as one metanovel, call it 'The Rise of the Kildar.' Viewed that way, Ghost is the sort of weird introduction to the (yes, very disturbed) character. Kildar sets the stage. Choosers is where you start to see some action, Unto the Breach is the climax and A Deeper Blue is the denouement.

To the meat of the review.

If YOU think you were thinking 'OH JOHN RINGO NO!', be quite aware that that is what I was thinking most of the time. Especially in Ghost. The book was so over the top, my working title was 'The Wanker Piece.' (Marketing forced me to drop the title. :-)

Forget the unending sex. Forget the impossibility of most of the main character's actions. Forget that he's a totally screwed up character with deep-seated sexual issues. Forget all the stuff that you had issues with. (Not disagreeing, just saying set it aside for a moment.)

You can't survive being in an unpressurized wheel-well for eighteen hours. You die of cold and asphyxiation. I've had dark thoughts in the deep of the night about having the last scene in the last book being a group of terrorists in Syria looking at a frozen body in a wheel-well and going 'Who the hell is that?' (Thus the entire series being Mike's fantasies as he's dying.)
:-)

Won't do it. Thousands upon thousands of (in many cases highly armed) very pissed readers would be worse than a fatwah.

Every good guy should die in the book. The SEAL team jumping out of the B-2 (OH MY GOOD RINGO NO!) would die. No way he defuses the nukes. The FAST group dies. The helo pilots die. Everybody dies.

I decided early in the book that I was simply going to ignore reality whenever possible. The islands in the second story in Ghost DON'T EXIST. Neither does the town in Bosnia. If I needed the sun coming up in the east, I'd do it. It's that kind of story. Reality be utterly damned.
:-)

The Valley of the Keldara I personally refer to as 'Viking Brigadoon.' Let's see, we have a group of unrepentant Vikings and pagan Scotts who somehow ended up in GEORGIA who brew the best beer in the world, all the women are lovely and (and super intelligent, let's not forget) and all the men are fey. (So are the women, for that matter.)

(By the way, I'm not that into beer and, no, I don't have the recipe for Mountain Tiger. Sorry.)

Choosers. Good God. The thing to understand is that Mike really DOES want to make the world a better place for women. He is both sexually abnormal AND at a very odd level a paladin. Probably much closer to the original paladins and true to their reality.

And that brings me to my last point.

Mike is, yes, a totally over the top character. But. One of the very odd responses (besides that it got voted Best Romance of the Year in 2005, OMFG, I giggled for WEEKS) has been from people saying 'Thank you for writing this. I thought I was the only one.'

The truth is that many people who choose to be in positions of conflict are, at some level, what most people would call 'truly evil.' They are infested by demons if you will. (Strong id if you prefer.) But they CHOOSE to manifest that side of themselves only when necessary. They keep it in a box and bring it out when they face others who don't so choose, who revel in their own evil. It is their Killer, their Machine, their Stranger. (Billy Joel song.) Cops, military, what have you. They are 'the rough men' who keep us safe in our beds at night and many of the very best... are more like Mike than they care for.

For those people, Mike is both a hero and a cautionary tale. Given the situation, what would you choose?

And, by the way, women tend to love them and men follow them.
:->

We are a very screwed up species.

I hope you like book four. (Unto the Breach.) In my opinion, it redeems the series. (At least to the level that Darth Vader got redeemed. :-)



John Ringo

('He collects them like cats!' Heh. Good one.)
:-)
If I needed the sun coming up in the east, I'd do it.

::psssst:: John, the sun *does* come up in the east! lol.

fwiw, i'm not entirely sure marketing was correct to make you ditch 'the wanker piece' as a working title.

we were discussing the books in chat last night. ::sighs:: i still have major issues. which come in subscription packs of 100, it seems. one day, i may even be able to discuss it rationally. but not right now.

:-p

-bs

Re: Thank You

ilcylic

11 years ago

Re: Thank You

susanlawton

12 years ago

Deleted comment

Re: Thank You

susanlawton

12 years ago

Re: Thank You

Anonymous

12 years ago

Re: Thank You

jbmcdragon

12 years ago

Re: Thank You

svmadelyn

12 years ago

Re: Thank You

susanlawton

12 years ago

I do wish I hadn't found the link the this page whilst at work cos jeeeez, it's really hard to explain away the combination of hysterical laughter and gasps of disbelief/horror. I am left with the strong impression that reading your hilarious - and really quite deep, at times! - dissertation on these books is probably far far better for my mental health than attempting to ever read the actual books themselves.

But thank you for immensely livening up my morning at work! :D
Thanks muchly! Always glad to help.
Oh shit. Based on this review alone, I must friend you. For the record, I've read the series, at least books 1-3. I read the first one despite the fact that John Ringo told me to NOT READ IT. That is right, I ran into him at Dragoncon and asked about what he was doing lately, (this was like 2 years ago) and he mentioned Ghost with the express warning to avoid it.

So like a dumbass, I bought it, albeit a year or two later when the warning had lost some of its poignancy. I friggin' hated that book. Hated it. I did the "OH JOHN RINGO NO" thing multiple times. Set the book down. Walked away from that series thinking that I'd never touch them again.

And (did I mention the dumbassery?) about six months later I picked up the second one. Mostly because I was feeling too good about myself and needed to engage in a little bit of self-loathing. The scary part, of course, was that I didn't hate the second one. You note that it falls squarely into the "guy who builds shit" category, and I like that category a lot. (See also for reference that time traveling engineer series, which was in many ways similar, i.e. guy builds stuff and fucks chicks.) So I burned through the second, and despite the silliness, I thought it a decent read overall.

Lastly, "Whoreverine." Cos, damn. I bow to your wordsmithery.
...is that icon from THE LAST DRAGON? Sweet!

I am shamefully fond of the Crosstime Engineer series. The ones dealing with the Mongol invasion, anyway. Beginning with CONRAD'S LADY, they start to go downhill precipitously. But the Mongol ones are just magnificent.

My great sadness is that John Ringo has no plans for a Whoreverine novel focusing on Katya. Alas!

smjayman

12 years ago

This review is amazing! My morning is now off to a good start.

However, now I feel like I should be ashamed of admitting I enjoy this series. A lot. I mean... okay. They're not literature. Just not. They're candy. They are OBVIOUS candy. They're candy that explores the difference between "identity" (I am a bad man) and "choice" (I choose not to do bad things), and the impossibility of making "the right choice" every single time.

I think there is a lot of fairly interesting psychology in this series once you get past all these mountains of word-candy (also called OH JOHN RINGO NO!). There are parts of these books that are great springboards for series discussions on stuff like morality, no-win choices, desires vs choices, thoughts vs actions, definitions of good and bad, etc.

Really, I love this series. To me it's... Drawn Together & Family Guy & that Pirates of the Caribbean parody porno & James Bond & XXX all rolled up into one, yummy, giggly, "who the fuck lets their little kids watch this shit!" light read with an occasional "holy shit I never thought of that" punch tucked away.

Possibly by accident. :-p I luv ya, John... but sometimes I wonder about you.
I was going to post solo but I think I just associate myself with this one ... I really enjoyed these books as cool stories ... I was laughing so hard during the 'Mother Discussion' that I thought I was going to injure myself ... well brandy was involved :P ... Also maybe I'm strange but I care about the characters too ... Cottontail, Anastasia, Oleg, Daria, Sawn (sigh) ... even Mike ... not the Master Chief though (butthead). Gotta admit that Mike's politics bother me more than his sexual kinks ... of course I'm bent the same direction so that's not worth much.
Great review, great discussion, looking forward to my own copy of Deeper Blue and the amplified review!!

Re: Liked it too ... more

Anonymous

12 years ago

mzmadmike

12 years ago

hradzka

12 years ago

Mark Harmon is a nightmare, but Ring did worse. You know, the Posleen novel where the only defence of humanity are a bunch of SS rejuvenated by Galactic technology...one ends up rooting for the Posleen.

Marino
(Euro, leftist and perversely attracted by JR's books. Not to the point of buying them, God bless Baen Free Library and Comrade Eric Flint for that)

Deleted comment

Re: OH JOHN RINGO NO or Sieg Heil Ringo?

Anonymous

12 years ago

Re: OH JOHN RINGO NO or Sieg Heil Ringo?

Anonymous

12 years ago

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