Into the Looking Glass by John Ringo

Medium ImageWas in a rush to download an audiobook to listen to and basically chose this one at random. I haven’t reached the end yet, but I can already give it a Murdoc recommendation. It’s not really “heavy” or “deep” or “hard” SF, but it’s got a lot of good stuff and most of the military/gun stuff seems right on the money.

Baen now launches an exciting new science fiction adventure series by the New York Times best-selling author: When a 60-kiloton explosion destroyed the University of Central Florida, and much of the surrounding countryside, the authorities first thought that terrorists had somehow obtained a nuclear weapon. But there was no radiation detected, and, when physicist Dr. William Weaver and Navy SEAL Command Master Chief Robert Miller were sent to investigate, they found that in the center of the destruction, where the University’s physics department used to be, was an interdimensional gateway to . . . somewhere. An experiment in subatomic physics had produced a very unexpected effect. Furthermore, other gateways were appearing all over the world–and one of them immediately began disgorging demonic visitors intent on annihilating all life on Earth and replacing it with their own. Other, apparently less hostile, aliens emerged from other gateways, and informed Weaver and Miller that the demonic invaders–the name for them that humans could most easily pronounce was the Dreen–were a deadly blight across the galaxy, occupying planet after planet after wiping out all native life; and now it would be Earth’s turn, unless Weaver and Miller could find a way to close the gateways…

I went in expecting a light ride through man-vs-alien warfare fantasyland and have been thoroughly enjoying it. It’s apparently part of a series though I didn’t know that until looking at the Amazon page.

I don’t read much military SF, so I can’t say how it compares to other stuff out there. But Murdoc is really digging this so far. Definitely a good summer read for the beach or a trip.


  1. John Ringo is one of the best when it comes to miltary SF. He is a prolific writer and sometimes brings in others to collaborate with. Of note: he researches the areas that he bases his stories in. You can walk the locations and see the stories. Great action and not too much embellishment on the weapons used. The “Ghost”series is not SF, but well done.

  2. if you liked that book, youre gonna love john ringo’s posleen books. the first 4 are really really good… the rest? not so much. but the first 4 books are a self-contained storyline and are among the very best military scifi ever written… the books, in order:

    a hymn before battle
    gust front
    when the devil dances
    hell’s faire

    also, john scalzi’s “old man’s war” is very good.

  3. Its a great series! If you liked this one try the others in the series. Hard science and great SF!

  4. Your first Ringo book? Don’t read much military SF? I’m stunned. I’m three books deep on this series and waiting for the next.

    Other Ringo good stuff – “Live Free or Die”, “The Last Centurion” (written as a blog)

    And of course the great “A Hymn Before Battle” the first Posleen book. Then pick your way through the series – “Yellow Eyes” and “Watch on the Rhine” are my favorites.

    Then check out Keith Laumer’s “Bolo” series (Ringo and Weber both have contributions). David Drake’s “Hammer’s Slammers” and “Grimmer than Hell” rock. And the granddaddy of them all: Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” (not the crappy movie).

    1. Well, I’ve read STARSHIP TROOPERS multiple times, anyway, first time way back in the day.

      The truth is that I don’t make much time to read fiction anymore, which is very disappointing.

      1. Ringo has his main character give homage to Heinlein’s Mobile Infantry in “A Hymn Before Battle” as he designs an Armored Combat Suit.

    2. “The Forever War”, Joe Haldeman. Aliens, spaceships, very cool battle armor. As a bonus, some very approachable discussions of near-c physics and the attendant social problems relativity might create.

  5. I dunno the plot sounds tired just from reading the precis.

    I heard this when I played the game, “Chainsaw Warrior” as a kid; “Doom” later, “Halflife”; and a couple short stories I can’t remember the name of, all centered around some kind of experiment gone wrong.

    In the ’50s when the technology failed, it unleashed radiation to create giant pissed-off animals. Today, our technology fails thereby producing a means for aliens to invade.

  6. As a long-time fan of science fiction, a brief encounter with Harlan Ellison explained much of science fiction as being less about the future than history and current events reset in the future. For instance, Joe Haldeman’s “Forever War” are his experiences as a ground pounder in Vietnam. Hammer’s Slammers is David Drake’s experiences. If I recall correctly, “Counting The Cost” is his unit’s experience during the Tet offensive.

    It is difficult to convert a book to film. Peter Jackson did fairly well with “Lord of the Rings”. So far, the TV & movie adaptations of “Starship Troopers” are awful. Read the book. If you read it as a teenager, read it again as an adult.

    1. Jerry,

      I actually read Starship Troopers for the first time when I was late 20s, maybe 30. Had heard of it, knew of it, just had never actually read it. I was struck by how little actual fighting is in it.

      I think if I had read it when I was a teenager I woulda been disappointed.

      1. I do agree but the book seems to fit the typical pace of combat operations; i.e. whole geological ages of stifling boredom combined with eternities of pants filling terror. The unit of measure for the “eternity” is microseconds.

  7. If you like it, Baen puts a significant portion of their catalog on CD’s that can be freely traded and downloaded. A very good way to ‘try before you buy.’ John Ringo’s entire Baen book catalog is on the latest CD. You can download here:

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