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Authors Review: David Weber & John Ringo

Well, this is going to be a tad different than my usual posts, instead of doing technical post, or maybe a SF book review, I am going to talk about two authors that I really like.

David Weber is the author of the Honor Harrington series, the Prince Roger (in conjunction with Ringo) series, the Dahak series and the Safehold series, as well as other assorted books.

John Ringo is the author of the Prince Roger series, the Posleen series, the Council Wars series and a bunch of other stuff.

Both are really good authors, although I much prefer Weber’s books to Ringo’s. Their Prince Roger series of book was flat out amazing, and it is only after I read a lot more of their material that I can truly grasp how much each author contributed to them.

Ringo is way better in portraying the actual details of military, especially marines, SpecOp, etc. Small teams with a lot of mayhem attached. Unfortunately, he seems to be concentrating almost solely on having stupid opponents. I am sorry, but fighting enemies whose tactic is to shout Charge! isn’t a complex task. He is also way too attached to fighting scenes and a large percentage of his books are dedicated to that.

Well, he is Military SF writer, after all, but I think that he is not dedicating enough time to other stuff related to war. And his characters are sometimes unbelievable. The entire concept he base a lot of the Posleen series on is unbelievable in the extreme. No, not because it is SF. Because it goes against human nature to do some of the thing he portray them doing. The end of the Posleen war, for example, was one such case. The fleet comes back home, violating orders of supposedly friendly alien masters that want to see Earth destroyed by another bunch of aliens.

The problem is not that the fleet comes home in violation of orders, the problem is that it didn’t do so much sooner than that. Humans are not wired for something like that, especially since it was made clear that long before the actual event the fleet was well aware of what is going on. I spent 4 years in a military prison, orders be damned, I know exactly how far you can stretch that. And you can’t stretch it far at all. Not on a large scale with normal psych humans.

Or when one race of aliens is trying to subvert the war effort to help another race kill more humans. That is believable. What isn’t believable that the moment it was made widely spread knowledge they weren’t all exterminated. Instead, Ringo made them rulers. It makes for a good story, but I just didn’t find it believable at all. The books are still good, but the belief suspension required to go on with the story is annoying.

On a more personal note, I think Ringo is also a right winged red necked nutcase. A great author, admittedly, but I find it hard sometimes to not get annoyed about some of the perspectives that I see in the book.

Weber, on the other hand, is great in portraying navies. And I love reading his fight scenes. Mostly because he knows where to put them and how much to stretch them. He also put an amazing amount of depth into the worlds he create in surprisingly little brush strokes.

He does have a few themes that I also find fairly annoying. Chief among them, while not as annoying as having stupid enemies (which he have to some amount as well), is having the “good” side have amazingly good information about the other. Or have one side significantly better armed than the other. Sure it make it easy to make the good guys win, but I like a more realistic scenario.

His recent books in the Honor Harrington universe has portrayed exactly such a scenario and have been a pleasure to read. Beyond anything else, he knows how to give a depth to his universe, and his characters are well polished and likable. I can’t think of a scenario where a character has behaved in a way that I would consider wrong.

Weber is currently my favorite author, and I am eagerly waiting for Torch of Freedom in November.

But hands down, the best series is the Prince Roger series, on which they collaborated. This is a tale that has both Weber’s depth in creating a universe and Ringo’s touch for portraying military people. I wish there would be more books there.

Comments

Kyle
08/23/2009 07:20 PM by
Kyle

What do you think of Elizabeth Moon? I'm liking her The Deed of Paksennarion quite a lot. I also liked the Vatta series, though it was maybe a little slow. Anyway, I really like her sense of humor, as well as her character development; it's surprising to see that in an SF (or fantasy) book.

Ayende Rahien
08/23/2009 08:35 PM by
Ayende Rahien

Kyle,

I really liked Vatta's War

The romantic pirates weren't really believable and the plot was thin at times but overall it was very engagin

Haven't read Paks yet, although I'll probably add it to my queue

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