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Into the Looking Glass (Looking Glass, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – March 27, 2007

3.8 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Looking Glass Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Ringo's apocalyptic near-future SF novel, an experiment in creating quantum particles destroys much of central Florida, opening up gateways to other realities, some of which are inhabited by intelligent aliens intent on transforming our world into theirs. These new realities are as cosmically daunting as anything in the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, to whom the author alludes, but a resilient humanity, instead of giving in to despair, fights back. Ringo (Hell's Faire) excels in the depiction of combat, managing to capture the carnage and horror while maintaining a sense of the absurd. The plot flows naturally from the implications of the scientific background, but with the kind of unexpected twists that Ringo has made his hallmark. While the ending smacks a bit of deus ex machina, this thoroughly enjoyable ride should appeal to techno-thriller fans as well as to military SF buffs. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

John Ringo is author of the New York Times best-selling Posleen War series which so far includes A Hymn Before Battle, Gust Front, When the Devil Dances, and Hell¿s Faire, as well as the connected novels Cally¿s War (with Julie Cochrane), The Hero (with Michael Z. Williamson), and Watch on the Rhine (with Tom Kratman), and is the hottest new science fiction writer since David Weber. A veteran of the 82nd Airborne, Ringo brings first-hand knowledge of military operations to his novels of high-tech future war.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (March 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416521054
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416521051
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen M. St Onge on May 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
That was my impression when I finished this novel. Other than that, perfect.

It starts with a bang, about 60 kilotons, and goes on from there, as a physics experiment gone wrong ends up opening multiple "gates" to other worlds. Some of them connect to hostile aliens, and earth is fighting for its life against invaders with superior technology, physical and biological.

Meanwhile, there's a little girl that lived when she should have died; an alien something that looks like a stuffed toy, communicates telepathicaly, and can taser those who mess with it; "the Charge of the Redneck Brigade;" a more or less friendly alien species; talking cats; Cthulhu; and a phycisist in the middle of everything because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time -- or was it the right place?

Lots of fun, and the start of a new Ringo series. Fans of military SF can't go wrong with this one. And if you're not a fan of military SF, try it anyway for the characters, humor and ideas.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Ringo pulls off a major juggling act in this one. The take a story of military invasion by particularly nasty aliens and embellishes it with high energy physics and straight forward infantry combat. Just to keep things unpredictable, he throws in some theology with a personal appearance by none other than God. That's a pretty ambitious undertaking. What's amazing is that he manages to pull it off in a credible manner.

This is certainly not Ringo's best work but it is readable and entertaining. That's why I buy the book. It was worth the price.

The story begins with a physics experiment gone wrong. The result is a portal opened up to another world. It's a particularly nasty world and the inhabitants there are delighted at the prospect of another place to conquer. The fight against the aliens is led by, surprise - a physicist, with the help of a Navy SEAL. Along the way, they manage to enlist the help of another race threatened by the same obnoxious aliens. So too do they get a helping hand from God. I'm not kidding. In the context of this story, it worked but it would surprise a lot of the profs from my seminary.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I will state up-front that you will have to suspend your disbelief to read this book. I decided to go ahead and read this book even after I was very disappointed in another Ringo book, Von Neumann's War. While I had thought that book unbelievable, it was also a bad read (boring) and didn't have as much of Ringo's trademark military sci-fi battle scenes, so it was hard to not notice. I started reading Into the Looking Glass a bit uncertain what I'd find (but unlike the other book, Ringo wrote this book entirely on his own, consulting Taylor for the science), and I found this book very entertaining and kept me riveted to the page. Definitely an entertaining alien invasion read!

The main character of the story is a physicist named William Weaver who is called in by the U.S. government to look into the gates, how they formed, what are they, and how to control them. I got the feeling Ringo based this character off the real scientist that Ringo consulted, Travis Taylor (if you read the author blurb on the back of Von Neumann's War you'll understand why I think this.heh).

From the very beginning, this book is loaded with action and fighting from the military against the aliens that have come through the gate from another planet in the universe (or another universe entirely!). I was able to put away thoughts of "This couldn't happen", despite the fact there were some pretty unbelievable scenes in this book. For example, the way the military and scientists just get in Hazmat-type suits to go exploring the planets on the far side of the gates (hello?! Hazmat suits? Like that is adequate protection from a foreign planet?)

Anyways, the initial gate formed on the campus of a university in Florida and at first the U.S.
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Format: Hardcover
Before reading this book I was not a fan of John Ringo. Having been in the military, I am somewhat familiar with what he writes about, but I definitely do not have "NCO mentality", and do not identify with most Ringo's characters. Also, I never cared for aliens who attack Earth for completely illogical reasons and use weapons ridiculously below their technology level. Hence Posleen books left me cold -- I tried to read first and second one, and could not finish either one. Not so "Into the Looking Glass."

The characters in this book are much more varied and sympathetic, the aggressive aliens are much more believable, the references to various SF books and role-playing games are very clever, and spoofs of government bureaucracies are understandable by everyone, not just by soldiers. The "OSHA safety briefing" given to a man about to step through a dimensional gate is absolutely priceless.

Yet I give the book only 3 stars -- because sometime in the second half it ran out of steam. First, bigger and bigger bangs got repetitive. I would prefer a more subtle way of closing the gates. Second, leaving the alien "Tuffy" in care of an ordinary family with no government oversight is completely implausible. Third, the device friendly aliens give to humans in the epilogue is not connected to the plot, serves no purpose other than "WOW" factor, and breaks more laws of physics than the rest of the book put together; you'd think the physicist protagonist would at least mention THAT. And fourth, the book leaves a huge loose end. How huge? About the size of Boca Raton, FL. Or, you could say "Cthulhu-sized" :) Even if that loose end is a hook for the sequel, again, someone should at least mention it after main alien threat is defeated.
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