Live Free or Die - John Ringo2021-10-22 #books #reviews #john ringo #scifi #books:2021 #published:2010 #stars:1
GoodReads Summary: 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. 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.
You can say there is something wrong with a book when you have two parts in the title, one positive and another negative, and you start wishing the protagonist would get the later.
For a story, it starts really well: It's not "humans conquer space", it is "the first contact with another species happens on Earth". So, it is interesting how human dynamics change when this happens at our door.
But the thing focus on a single guy, who suddenly discovers something a merchant species gets highly interested and that's when the story goes downhill. First, the guy gets a bunch of money. Then it corners the something he figures out, practically creating a monopoly -- most of the stuff belongs to him, and the few others that have that something are really his friends. It gets to the point that he starts complaining that nobody else is doing what he is doing. He bought everything, left just a few scraps to others and then complains that nobody is trying to do what he did. Genius.
Also, the story age pretty damn bad, specially since, right now, we are facing a virus that is killing a lot of people. In the story, there is something like that, which can be cured with some care -- basically, people have to use disinfectants to kill some parasite, which can be somewhat painful. And then our "hero" proposes that the parasite is actually a good thing, 'cause it would solve the problems with government pensions and most people that will die are those that do not care or are too weak or not smart enough. The fact that he says all this with a "Sadly" in front of it makes nothing to save his reputation.
And that's basically why, not even by half of the book, I was choosing that the hero would take the later part of the title, even if that meant that all humanity would be lost. 'Cause that guy doesn't deserve to be a "hero".
I see that the book is part of a series, and even if I still have hopes that later books will paint him as the villain, I have high doubts that that would happen.
Even if the writing style is good to read and you can churn chunks of the story in fast pace, the whole is enough to make you want to punch a fictional person in the face. Hard.
PS: Oh, there is another point to the hate for the protagonist: After a few cities were completely obliterated by said Horvath, the protagonist starts building a space force along with NASA but requires pilots to get augmentations and he comes with "I hope the government will pay for the augmentations after all the taxes I'm paying". Sure, asshole, the government has to make the thing that will make him more money (he's basically building a space station, which he plans to sell to the government); fuck the build of hospitals and roads and schools and what not what were destroyed when three cities turned to dust. Fuck the population, all you want is the government to work for you. That attitude just adds to the general sense of privilege this guy feels toward everything else. So yeah, sad he didn't die.