Johnny Ringo western outlaw.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Watch on the Rhine

The picture up above is Johnny Ringo, the outlaw. He really has nothing to do with the book under discussion, aside from the similarity of his name and the name of one of the authors.

Watch on the Rhine is co-authored by John Ringo and Tom Kratman. I’ll let the reviewers on Amazon and elsewhere fill the reader in on the plot.

What I ask for in a sci-fi book or pretty much any work of fiction is that it have an interesting world, and that it be peopled by characters that I care about. Not a very high standard granted, but one that say Jane Austen doesn’t fill for me. I realize that Jane is a saint to some people, but in all honesty I find her concern with marrying off her young ladies not very interesting. Oddly enough, all of Jane’s married couples are not terribly happy, and her clergymen seem more concerned with their income than they are with the salvation of souls. This may point to one reason why Anglicanism, which has no real theological raison d’etre, is dying.

Now all of this ranting about Jane aside, is the world that Ringo and Kratman have created, interesting, and does it hold your interest? Well, if you’ve got a yen for BEMs (Bug-eyed Monsters), who ultimately suffer defeat, yes. Are the characters interesting? How can a Waffen SS guy who is seeking personal redemption, and ultimately winds up finding it, not be interesting?

Ringo and Kratman share a conservative viewpoint. Over at Amazon they’ve gotten some negative reviews precisely because of this viewpoint. Some have raised the question of how realistic is it to expect that liberals, bureaucrats, and other creatures would collaborate, even indirectly, with a species that want to exterminate humans. Actually, it’s a very real possibility. Consider the decision that the Supremes came up wit that ruled, incorrectly, that an article of the Geneva Convention directed towards civil war applied to the lraq conflict. If that’s enough to convince you look to the hoopla in Canada over Mark Steyn. If that’s still not enough to convince you, find a copy of James Burnham’s book Suicide of the West. His contention is that liberalism is a form of societal suicide.

Ultimately it’s a very satisfying book for a reader who likes to see alien butt get kicked to Alpha Centauri and beyond.