Tag Archives: alien invasion

Humans as the Latest Addition to a Multi-Species Universe: Defiance

To start my new series about humans as latest addition to a multi species setting, I will focus on the recent TV show Defiance.


While aliens invading Earth is a longtime Science Fiction trope, including on TV, with series such as V, Falling Skies or even The X-Files, Defiance brings an interesting flavor. Defiance is set far enough in time for the change of Earth to have happened, with both pre-existing species and some having emerged prior to the start of the story. Instead of going through a strong invasion setting, the story is more interested in the coexistence of all the species, whether with peaceful times or violently conflicts.

All species still have their biases and issues, regardless of how long they have existed. While the story takes place on Earth, it has been terra-formed so extensively that there isn’t that much left of previous Earth times and cultures, besides a very Western-like feel. Contrary to Firefly, this one has a lot more alien diversity, which is one of the strengths of the shows.

I liked how certain things remained undeniably linked to human history, such as brothels. The NeedWant’s owners were human (including one of my favorite characters in the show, Kenya Rosewater); and a significant part of the sex workers (Night Porters) were human as well, although patrons are from multiple species.

It was also plausible that the screenwriters kept humankind as one of the populations exhibiting racism, notably with some nasty reactions to Irisa, human Nolan’s adopted Irathient daughter.

Nolan and Irisa.

Nolan and Irisa.

I admit not having watched the third and final season so far, as I am horribly behind on TV catch-up! I have also been more curious about the eponymous MMORPG. I never played it but was surprised that it was still going on even after the end of the show. As I was preparing this blog post, I found out that earlier this year, the game released a significant update they promoted as a season four equivalent to the show.

I wonder how the ratio of humans and aliens is in the game when it comes to character creation, and whether the game will have a sustainable future?

If you watched Defiance, what did you think of humans’ interactions among themselves and with the other species? If you played the game, what was your experience like?

Armada by Ernest Cline – A Comparative Review

Yesterday I wrote a review of Armada by Ernest Cline, the hard to describe alien-invasion book set with a full pop-culture background of alien invasion. Because of all the pop culture references, it’s a difficult story to judge on its own merits. Even worse, as you can see from just about any version of its cover or all over its page on Amazon, this is the second book from the guy who brought us Ready Player One.

So the most obvious comparisons are between Armada and Ready Player One. They are both chock full of nostalgia and pop culture and use all of that to very specific, plot-relevant purpose. I know I at least was left asking which one of these two was better – more on that below!

However, even while I listened to the audio book of Armada, I was finishing up reading Childhood’s End by Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Though the book itself is not referenced in Armada, Clarke is and they are both absolutely alien invasion stories. So while there’s a lot of pop culture I could compare Armada to, I’m going to go with Childhood’s End because I was reading them at the same time.

And finally, how about a recent comparison? How about Mass Effect? I think there’s some parallels there, although the comparison is back story for Mass Effect, but the whole plot for Armada!

Hopefully between these three I can try to get at a better explanation of what and how Armada is what it is and does what it does. More spoilers than yesterday, so if you’re looking to go light on those, check out that review!

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Armada by Ernest Cline – A Review of the Book

I recently finished reading Armada by Ernest Cline. You’ve probably heard of Ernest Cline from his book Ready Player One, which is currently being produced with Steven Spielberg at the helm (which almost feels like something out of the book…). Ready Player One is set in a crummy mid-twenty-first century where life in the real world is pretty awful, but life in the virtual reality world is awesome – and that virtual world is full of pop culture references (especially from the 80’s). For more on Ready Player One as it relates to Armada, check back tomorrow for my review of Armada compared to other stories.

But first, I wanted to write this review, just about the book. Trying, really hard, to just talk about this book. Because just talking about this book is hard – like Cline’s first novel, this one is full of pop culture references and does not exist alone in the universe. It’s also hard in general to talk about this book without spoilers, something I would like to try to do in this review.

Meaning I had to take a step back. Look at the description of the book on Amazon. And think back to how quickly, in the opening pages, some of the initial questions you have about the book are answered. With all of that, I think it’s safe to say that this is  an alien invasion novel… about alien invasion stories. The book, and the main character, are very genre aware as far as that all goes – and, with video games and the idea of drone warfare, your average gamer could also be the next starfighter ace…

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