Friday, March 18, 2011

Into the Looking Glass

Into the Looking Glass by John Ringo
Baen Book; copyright 2005
Mass Market Paperback , 366 pages
Looking Glass Series #1
ISBN-13: 9781416521051
highly recommended

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.
My Thoughts:

Into the Looking Glass by John Ringo is the first book in his Looking Glass series. When an accident in a physics lab at University of Central Florida causes a huge explosion, physicist William (Bill) Weaver and Navy SEAL Command Master Chief Robert Miller are sent in to investigate. They discover that an experiment in subatomic physics has produced a gateway to another world - and the gateways are spreading.

This is military science fiction novel. Ringo adds some humor along with the science (and some parts were quite funny), but the star of this book is the military action. After the initial explosion the novel slowed down while the physics of the event were being explained, but the action soon took off at a breakneck pace.

Let me reiterate that this is military science fiction. If supporting the American military or the warrior culture of the military is going to offend you, don't read this book. It's pro-military. It's also science fiction, so, if (simplified) scientific explanations are going to confuse you, don't read this book. If neither the military nor science aspects are going to bother you, then by all means read Into the Looking Glass. (Additionally, keep in mind that the novel supports conservative political views.)

Ringo is not the best writer technically but then, that's not really what you'd be looking for in a military science fiction novel. He does deliver on the action and the battle scenes. I'm looking forward to reading the other three novels in this series sometime: Vorpal Blade (Looking Glass, Book 2) by John Ringo; Manxome Foe (Looking Glass, Book 3) by Travis S. Taylor; Claws That Catch (Looking Glass, Book 4) by John Ringo
Highly Recommended - especially if you enjoy military science fiction


The explosion, later categorized as in the near equivalent of 60 kilotons of TNT and centered on the University of Central Florida, occurred at 9:28 a.m. on a Saturday in early March, a calm spring day in Orlando when the sky was clear and the air was cool and, for Florida, reasonably dry. It occurred entirely without warning and while it originated at the university the effects were felt far outside its grounds. opening

The rumble of the detonation was felt as far away as Tampa, Cocoa and Ocala and the ascending mushroom cloud, roiling with purple and green light in the early morning air, was visible as far away as Miami. Flaming debris dropped into Park Avenue in Winter Park, setting the ancient oaks along that pleasant drive briefly ablaze and crushed the vestibule of St. Paul's Church. pg.2

"Right now this ... event is not consonant with a nuclear attack, sir," the specialist said, firmly. "There is no evidence of EMP or radiation. Nor ..." He paused and then squared his shoulders. "Nor does it appear to be an asteroid strike." pg. 10

The base of the cloud was dark, obscuring the light from the sun that still hadn't reached zenith. But near the ground there was a deeper darkness. There was a crater as well, one that looked very much like an enormous bomb hole. The darkness, though, wasn't at the bottom of the crater. Then an errant gust of wind pushed some more of the dust aside and the darkness was revealed. It was a globe of inky blackness, darker than the spaces between stars on a cloudless night. It seemed to absorb the light around it. And it was hovering above the base of the crater, right about where ground level had previously been. pg. 16

It was a giant insect.
It was... It had black and red markings, mottled, not like a ladybug but some of the same color. It was... his sense of perspective zoomed in and out oddly. It couldn't be as large as it looked, but if it wasn't, then the
pilot in the front seat was a child and his head the size of baseball. Crichton shook his head as the thing, using too many legs, wriggled and got to its feet. It was the shape of a roach, colored red and black and it had... more, way more, than six legs. It looked... wrong. Everything about it was wrong. It scared him more than any spider, however large and they got pretty damned large in Florida, he'd ever seen in his life.
It wasn't from this world. Not in this time. Or from any time in the past. And, hopefully, not any time in the future. It was from... somewhere else.
It was alien. pg. 17-18

What we have now is some sort of gate. pg.26

That big black ball could be a boson, but it does not meet the theory of a Higgs boson particle or its effects. Yes, something came through, that might have been from a Higgs boson universe but, again, it doesn't fit the theory. Shouldn't be able to get in or out of the universe. Also, its physics should be different, so different that it would have either died right away or, more likely, exploded. pg.27

"Where are the bugs?" the SEAL said, ignoring the comment.
"The sergeant and I trussed them up with duct tape and then dumped them in the back of a Humvee with all the windows rolled up and big signs on it not to open it. But they're both dead, sir. They just stopped twitching after a while."
"I guess something on this side is poisonous to them," Glasser said. "Which is the first good news I've had today. And bad, for that matter, it doesn't mean the other side isn't poisonous. Any idea what?"
"No, sir," Crichton responded. "They were moving fine and strong as bejeezus. Sergeant Grant helped me because he usually works in an alligator farm wrestling gators. And it took both of us on them to get the tape on them. They didn't attack us or anything but it was like riding an elephant if you know what I mean; they just didn't seem to feel the weight, even the smaller one. If I'd make a guess, sir, I'd say that it's a higher gravity world on the far side and that something in our air, carbon dioxide or oxygen, is probably what killed them. Too high or low of oxygen or too high carbon dioxide. pg.32

A year, about what it would take despite the "recommended" three years, in the People's Republic of Massachusetts was more than he could stand. pg.36

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