This Week’s Book Review - Beyond the Ranges

Looking for a good read? Here is a recommendation. I have an unusual approach to reviewing books. I review books I feel merit a review. Each review is an opportunity to recommend a book. If I do not think a book is worth reading, I find another book to review. You do not have to agree with everything every author has written (I do not), but the fiction I review is entertaining (and often thought-provoking) and the non-fiction contain ideas worth reading.

Book Review

A Fresh Start on a New Planet

Reviewed by Mark Lardas
May 5, 2024

“Beyond the Ranges,” by John Ringo and James Aidee, Baen Books, May 2024,‎ 464 pages, $28.00 (Hardcover), $9.99 (E-book)

One minute Jason Graham is sitting in a Mobile, Alabama, restaurant chatting up a waitress. The next he wakes up on a massive space station above a terraformed planet orbiting a star in the Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way Galaxy.

“Beyond the Ranges,” by John Ringo and James Aidee, opens with the Earth having been destroyed in some unspecified disaster. Its population (and their personal possessions) was whisked away by benevolent aliens, divided in half-billion people blocks and resettled elsewhere in the galaxy.

The aliens really are benevolent. They provide the resettled Earthlings with a nearly Earth-normal planet to settle and everything they need to survive aboard the space station until they can get organized and to the new planet’s surface. Everyone over age 20 has been restored to that age. They also provide transportation to the planet so the humans can settle it.

The aliens also divided the human population by societal preference. Jason’s cohort contains those who favor free-markets, decentralized government, and high individual liberty. The biggest chunk is American, with contingents from Eastern Europe, Israel, Australia, and elsewhere. Authoritarian socialists and progressives are missing, sent to another planet with the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton fans.

They also thoughtfully provided a proposed constitution and a governmental framework. The constitution is based on the US Constitution, with a similar bicameral legislature and legislative, executive and judicial branches. The population of Pegasus (their new planet) must ratify it and elect representatives over the next 90 days. Until then, former Florida governor Ron Dewalt (a conservative) has been placed in charge.

The space station living quarters and food is free. The rooms are cramped and the food, while nutritious, tastes awful. Want better? Get it yourself. Each person owns a share of everything on the station and has a personal credit balance. You guys believe in free enterprise and individual initiative – go for it.

The book examines this new world through the eyes of Jason Graham and Cade Oldham. Jason is an adventurer who has done just about everything. Cade, a farmer, is obsessive about his farm and farming. Jason sees the potential for adventure and starts a commercial fishing enterprise. Cade wants his old farm back.

“Beyond the Ranges” delivers what readers expect from John Ringo, an action-packed, fun-filled story. There are no villains, except the megafauna on the planet. Relentlessly optimistic, it will pick up your spirits.

Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is