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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
If the current laundry list of looming potentially world-ending threats (irreversible global warming, wayward asteroids hitting Earth, anarchists wielding weapons of mass destruction, biological terrorism, etc.) isn't enough to have readers running for the anti-anxiety meds, John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor's apocalyptic thriller will surely do the trick!
Von Neumann's War -- a blend of cutting-edge hard science fiction and military sci-fi -- pits the inhabitants of Earth against a massive swarm of self-replicating alien robotic invaders. When scientists discover that Mars is being hyper-industrialized by a terrifyingly advanced alien presence (called Von Neumann probes after the Hungarian mathematician who theorized that the best approach to interstellar travel would be to first send self-replicating machines to construct a suitable civilization infrastructure), the "eggheads" race to come up with something that will fend off the aliens. But it's all in vain: The probes descend upon the planet and begin harvesting metal en masse -- and anyone unlucky enough to get in their way dies…
The mix of Taylor's groundbreaking scientific concepts (gecko tech, coyote glue, etc.) and Ringo's masterful use of military tactics and strategy makes this collaboration noteworthy; but what separates it from other end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it thrillers is the authors' witty and irreverent sense of humor. The Hooters in Huntsville, Alabama, for example, is designated as a "secure facility" once the alien invasion hits Earth and becomes a sort of impromptu (chicken wing- and beer-serving) command center as Armageddon approaches. Ringo and Taylor don't take themselves too seriously, and that's precisely what makes Von Neumann's War so utterly satisfying. Readers will have as much fun reading this novel as the authors did writing it. Paul Goat Allen