Saturday, August 21, 2010

Persy -- Into The Looking Glass by John Ringo

There's nothing like the good old science fiction with actual science and alien invaders. Nor is there anything like soldiers blasting said aliens to heck. And there's definitely nothing like a great Alice In Wonderland-inspired novel. Please tell my you're interested by now.

One normal day on planet earth, a huge explosion blows up a large portion of Florida, specifically centered around Florida University. The National Guard immediately jumps into action, thinking it's a nuclear bomb from terrorists, but when they finally reach the scene, there is no traces of radiation or EMP (electromagnetic pulse, a form of radiation). What is there startles and confuses everyone. A large, circular something made of an inky black substance, resembling a black hole, stretches across a huge crater. It is soon determined to be a gate to another planet, possibly another universe.

Just as everyone's getting used to the one gate, more and more start opening up, and not all of them are as docile (if you can use the word) as the first one. A denomic race of aliens starts pouring through one of the gates, rapidly pushing the soldiers and other volunteers away and gaining ground.

Dr. William Weaver (Bill) is both brilliant and from the South, so it's natural that I fell in love with him at once. It's his job to figure out where the heck the gates came from and how to close them before the demon aliens take over the entire planet. Well, that was his job at first. He tends to get stuck in the middle of the action, and has to rapidly learn how to aim a gun, but that's beside the point.

One note: if you pick this book up in a bookstore or library, don't even bother reading the back, because the book is nothing like what it makes it out to be. After reading the back, it sounds kind of like it'll be a somewhat perky, fun book with a main character with mixed priorities, but half the stuff the back of the book mentions take up no more than two paragraphs of the entire book.

Now, I haven't read much hard scifi, with actual science and such, so maybe I don't have anything to compare Into The Looking Glass with. But that definitely does not stop me from adoring this book to death. As I mentioned before, I love Bill, and SEAL Command Master Chief Miller is also pretty dang awesome. I love how there's both a lot of scientific explanations and details about high-tech weaponry and huge shoot-outs and awesome mecha and aliens and explonations and all get-out. And you can tell John Ringo really does know what he's talking about (though in the beginning, he says that lots of the science isn't actually quite right, both to protect secrets and because he's probably made some mistakes).

I originally got this book from the library because of the title, but really, it doesn't have a lot to do with Alice In Wonderland. You can only see the resemblance because you're already thinking about Alice from the title. So if you're looking for an Alice In Wonderland retelling, this probably wouldn't be my first recommendation (try the Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor, and I could also go on for hours about the various Wonderland-themed music and allusions in all kinds of stuff). Also, if you aren't a fan of science-fiction, hard science-fiction, or military fiction, this probably isn't the book for you.

That's not to say, of course, I wouldn't thrust this book upon you no matter how much you protested.

Into The Looking Glass is the first book in John Ringo's Looking Glass series, followed by Vorpal Blade. The last three books are also contributed to by Travis S. Taylor who helped John Ringo with some particular forms of science. In Vorpal Blade, Bill's got himself a spaceship and goes flying around hunting down aliens, as far as I understand. Oh yeah, it's gonna be freakin' awesome.


NOTE: This book contains some adult content such as language and some violence.

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