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Every once in a while I recall reading this series, which was mostly notable for the number of trope and genre mashups it crammed in, and for diverging into silly fantasy territory at the end. I cannot remember the name of the series, of any of the books, or of the author. I consumed a lot of junk sci fi in high school and undergrad, along with the good stuff, before life got busy and I became discerning :-)

Here's what I remember:

  1. The series opens with a POV of near-future humanity desperately defending itself from a very stereotypical ravenous biomechanical hive mind. The POV character is, I believe, a dropship pilot involved in a Normandy landing-esque effort to retake Mars. A man, obviously, with the stereotypical worldview and family troubles of schlocky military sci fi. We hear a lot about politicians who will doom humanity to further their own careers, etc.
  2. The hive is narrowly defeated, or humanity wins a reprieve. I recall that the main character is promoted, ends up leading some sort of extrasolar expedition, probably with an experimental warp drive, and contacts aliens. He returns with aliens to fend off the hive as it pushes past Earth's last defenses. To drive home that humanity is a small fish in a big pond, galactic civilizations consider the Zergish species to be on the level of feral hogs. The rescue fleet is more engaging in target practice than engaging in an actual fight. I may be messing up the sequence of events and details, here; this is so common in bad military sci fi that dozens of stories like this have blended together in my head.
  3. Here's where it gets a little interesting. The lead character heads off on galactic explorations, because of course he does, or maybe heads up Earth's newly created galactic navy, because of course he would. Humans turn out to be unusually good at creative thinking in warfare and technological advancement, because of course we are. Over the course of the series, it is revealed that the big bad event or entity is, relates to, or comes from the sum total of history and/or multiverse iterations kind of lurking out there in whatever medium supports hyperspace travel. This has either been building up over time, or everyone's method of FTL travel is making it worse, but it's about to spill over into the Real World and consume galactic civilization. I recall some passages where the hero ship is flying through subspace, or whatever they call it, and firing off Super Clever Human Weapons at baddy ships that are the intergalactic version of the Flying Dutchman.
  4. The hero from the first few books dies at the end and is either memorialized via a huge statue, or dies because he is turned into a statue via subspace (or whatever) shenanigans while striking a heroic pose (and not grimacing in pain or terror). Eye roll, snort.

I don't want to read it again and wouldn't recommend it, but this multi-year itch needs scratching. Hope me?

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  • Novels? Graphic art? Abstract poetry? – FuzzyBoots Oct 21 '20 at 18:49
  • Sounds a lot like Mass Effect, but with a few details changed – Daishozen Oct 21 '20 at 19:44
  • How long ago did you read this? 80's, 90's or 2000's? We don't know when you were in high school or an undergraduate.... – Alith Oct 21 '20 at 21:23
  • @FuzzyBoots novels that would have been published by about 2006 at the latest. I was in undergrad 2002-2007. – Dana Maher Oct 21 '20 at 21:43
  • @Alith yes, helpful context. I think this would have been published 2006 at the latest. I was in undergrad 2002-2007 and too busy my senior year to read junk novels. – Dana Maher Oct 21 '20 at 21:43
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This ones a loose fit for your question but I think it is close enough for consideration.
Have you considered "Into the Looking Glass" by John Ringo?

Gates are opened between Earth and other worlds, and aliens start swarming through several of them.

The first point falls through as it is very near future and the main character is a heroic physicist, but there is a lot of talk regarding politics and defence contracts.

The humans make friends with other races of aliens who end up helping them find a way to close the direct gates to the hostile alien worlds, I.e. "humanity wins a reprieve"

Book one wraps up with the aliens giving the hero a magic box which makes huge explosions and is also... the basis for an experimental warp drive.

Book two onwards involves humans making an experimental warp drive ship out of a submarine and going off to have adventures.

I don't recall anything like the heroic pose, but it has been a while so I can't rule it out.

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  • The Looking Glass series actually looks interesting, but is not the one I am trying to recall. The cold open to a dropship assault on Mars is definitely the first chapter of the first book. Other things don't match up, either; definitely no Earthside stargates in the series I am recalling. – Dana Maher Oct 22 '20 at 19:21
  • No worries, good luck on your search. And if you try them I hope you enjoy the looking glass stories. – ReiMasuro Oct 23 '20 at 8:59
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Could it be Greg Bear's War Dogs? I haven't read it, but it's a military sci-fi that starts out on Mars. From Wikipedia:

"Approximately 30 years before the beginning of the novel, a small group of alien refugees (later termed the "Gurus") landed on Earth and soon made themselves indispensable with their contributions to human technology and scientific understanding. In exchange, they "requested" Earth's help in repelling the hostile invaders (termed the "antagonists" or simply "Antags" or "Ants") who had chased the Gurus from their own star system, and were already establishing a beachhead on Mars. The narrator of the novel is Master Sergeant Michael Venn of the multi-national force of "Skyrines" (spaceborne Marines) sent to Mars."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Dogs_(novel)

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  • Unfortunately not; I would have read this in 2006 at the latest, and Greg Bear doesn't write schlock like the series I am thinking of. Looks interesting, though! – Dana Maher Nov 3 '20 at 0:06
  • @DanaMaher Phew! I like Greg Bear so yes, I'm also glad it wasn't him :) – hexamon Nov 3 '20 at 7:27

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