Herein without great fanfare are the Rm Harrington top six reads in the Alien Invasion genre. Some are old. A few are new. But there is something about each one that tickles my love for science fiction stories that involve alien intrusion in the world of human life.
These tales often involve situations that imply a bleak future for mankind. Alien intrusion is a common theme in science fiction stories and films. Not all intrusions involve alien invasion, but most always end up a bit disturbing in nature. Those tales listed below are about invasion, for the good or for the better. Think of it: When a technically and logically superior, extraterrestrial society invades earth with the intent to replace human life, to enslave it under a colonial system or in some instances to satisfy their food supply challenges, how do or should we respond.
Alien Invasions #1, Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
I was but twelve when I read my first tale by Arthur C. Clarke. It was a collection of short science fiction stories. And it was a hooking point. Herein is one of the best novels I have ever read.
When a story follows the paradox of calling a takeover by mysterious overlords a peaceful alien invasion, you know that utopia is not all that it claims to be. As is to be expected, some folks, even many folks, question the origin and the purposes of the beneficial aliens. But no answers come. Rather the overlords choose to govern through indirect rule while remaining within the secrecy of their spaceships. Decades accumulate and then one day the aliens reveal themselves. But it is not the horror readers expect. In fact, the alien invasion actually results in a golden age for humanity. Yet even from the gold there often comes more unexpected. Think in terms of psychic abilities, evolution and a transcendent form of life.
Childhood’s End is feasibly the finest, most enjoyable science fiction book ever written. Anyways, purchase the book – it’s a great read, and you won’t regret it. Get if free on Kindle unlimited. Or go with the audio book version. If you want a personal copy of Arthur C. Clarke‘s Childhood’s end, pick up the Library Binding of just select the less expensive mass market paperback.
Check out the Amazon options for Childhood’s End here.
Alien Invasions #2, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Excellent vision of futuristic dangers to humankind. As survivors of two previous conflicts related to alien intrusion involving the formics, an insectoid alien species, mankind makes ready for an In preparation for an expected third intrusion. Typically called buggers by the average human, the formics operate in a group pattern of attack and defensive. Protection of their leader appears to be core to their very existence.
The read rotates around an academy designed to help agents find and train commanders for the international war fleet. Ender Wiggin, the primary character within this awesome tale, becomes one of many select children taken in for the training. Tactical war games are the primary training tools, including one that is established in a zero gravity environment.
Ender’s Game is quick paced, highly readable, and in some ways extremely controversial. Due to some of the shortcomings within the motion picture, I recommend that you read the book prior to the viewing the screen showing. Pick it up in Kindle, Audiobook, Hardcover, Paperpack or Mass Market Paperback.
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Alien Invasions # 3, The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
Consider life in the later years of the 19th century. Gone now, but what it the “what if” of The War of the Worlds is merely a bit slow in the coming? Perhaps at this very moment, our world is under close observation by an intelligence that greatly exceeds our own limited realm of knowledge and wisdom. And what if that super intelligence remains hindered by the same morals that most often guide mankind?
In The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells begins the tale with a series of unusual flashes in the distant night sky. Though initially causing minimal concern to citizens of Earth, those very flashes mark the beginning of a martian invasion. Then begins the destruction. Now fewer than ten massive aliens vessels roam the Earth, destroying everything in their path with heat rays. In no short order, the alien invasion leaves mankind on the edge of extinction. Thus arises the great questions:
• What is the mortality man’s place in nature
• What evil hides within the technological future?
As a major takeaway from The War of the Worlds, I learn the value of community. Throughout the course of the alien intrusion, most people behave as individuals with focus only on the importance of taking care of self and family. It seems that in the struggle to survive, there is a great lack of coordinated efforts. In this reflection of daily behavior, perhaps some few readers may recognize themselves, maybe even to the point of change.
I highly recommend The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. You have seen the movies and the remake movies. But if you have never read the book, you may be missing the most critical points.
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Alien Invasions #4, The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham.
What happens when a wounded man with bandaged eyes misses opportunity to witness the most prominent meteorite shower to ever part the skies of England? Perhaps when the morning comes and he has removed his bandages, he finds the city inhabited by sightless people and a host of seven feet tall murderous walking plants.
John Wyndham’s acclaimed 1951 release of The Day of the Triffids, takes on the consequences when meteorite fallout that leaves all who observed the event blind in a post-apocalyptic environment. The story kicks off with Bill Masen who soon encounters one woman, Josella, who has also experienced the same stroke of good luck; in the land of the blind, she too has sight. Civilization is crumbling. Plants engineered as a solution to hunger are now out of the labs and growing like wildfire, only they are not behaving in a very foodly manner.
Read The Day of the Triffids. You will not be disappointed. Order The Day of the Triffids here.
Alien Invasions #5, Protector by Larry Niven
The story first focuses on alien intrusion by a humanoid alien of the Pak, a race that lives near the center of the Milky Way galaxy. His name is Psspthok. He comes from a race that has lost the will to live. They no longer feed. The threat of death by starvation lingers near.
Psspthok resolves to save his people. During his search for answers, he learns of an expedition by his people, to the outer arms of the galaxy. However, the expedition ends in catastrophe with the expedition team in need of rescue. Psspthok takes on the task.
Yes, the mission began over three million years in the past, but Pak are tough. Psspthok determines the descendants of the team worthy of saving. Thus he arrives with a desire to save us. You read that right; we, the human race, are the descendants of that early Pak expedition. But are we going to be saved, the way he intends?
Protector is Larry Niven at his best. If you have ever taken on the Ringworld series, you know what to expect. If you are new to Niven you will soon want to take on the Ringworld series. The alien intrusion tale of the Pak kicks over the wheel of of Larry Niven storytelling at its finest. Do not be slow.
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Alien Invasions #6, Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein
I find it impossible to imagine life without ever having had the pleasure of reading science fiction works by Robert A. Heinlein. From short stories to novels, and all that is in between, reading this author fires joy deep into my heart.
In Puppet Masters, there are three Secret agents: Sam, Mary, and The Old Man. Their task: Investigate a UFO. All goes well, but then on their way back, they meet a strange man with a lump on his back. It is not a friendly meeting. The agents soon discover that the stranger has a parasite on his back, an alien intruder, one of many alien parasites with a take over of earth primary on their agenda. Human survival depends on finding a weapon that can help us overwhelm the invaders.
I know. Times have changed. Some may think this book too old, perhaps even outdated in story and plot. Not so. Puppet Masters withstands the passage of time. I give it my highest recommendation.
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