Live Free or Die (review)

Live Free or Die (review)

You know Iran can’t have a nuclear power plant. But did you know Disney could?

This pissed me off a decade ago, so I wrote a scathing novel about theme parks growing into “duchies” with their own laws, courts, and (it turned out) armies. And as I wrote it, I found myself really chewing on those enablers of theme parks, the shambling middle class. With their annual passes and their comfortable entertainment expectations, my novel did everything it could to give them a wake-up slap, a cosmic black eye.

One agent asked me, “So, if you piss off everyone, who’s going to read it?”

Evidently, John Ringo’s agent didn’t provide such advice for him for “Live Free and Die”, his new sci-fi yarn.

I bought it because it looked “Battlefield Earth”y; Our planet is suddenly thrust into the tumultuous alien-packed galaxy. Cites get clobbered, the president bows to their might, humans are vassals. Okay, fine. But then the true evil of the galaxy is revealed.


Yes, it turns out that the President (identified as Obama in an obvious slip) is willing to grovel. And the clever hero, when faced with the threat of human cities being destroyed from space, taunts the aliens to go ahead because they are populated with lefties. The two evil races are socialist and communist, and the good race (free-market merchents, of course) is in decline. When the hero asks one of their corporate princes (a creature who raised himself from the gutter to rule a commercial empire, the usual conservative fairy tale) how this came about, he is told that, yes, their empire is slowly falling rotting from the liberals within it.

I enjoyed the hero’s rise to power, his clever manipulations of a unique earth export (maple syrup) into unlimited wealth. I also liked his applications of space mirrors to provide everything from defense to a unique way to produce a battle station hull. But every page it seemed, there was another slap at progressives and liberals.

Given that it insulted my beliefs, I’m not at all charitable towards this book. In that, I’ll point out that the aliens were not very alien at all (rather Star-Warish in that their society mirrors ours). Furthermore, the space battles really weren’t tactically interesting, any more than a game of space invaders is. Much of the technology is a little baffling. But overall, I stuck with it to see just how it would play out.

Turns out, I discovered, that this is the first of a series.

This is my stop. I get off here.