What movie, TV show or whatever has the most realistic portrayal of what an alien invasion would be like?
The problem of course is that most movie alien invasions are plagued by several flaws:
-Aliens that are essentially naked, humanoid, inarticulate monsters (often looking like or in fact being H G Geiger creations) or some kind of “blob” monster
-Alien technology that has one fatal flaw allowing it to be taken out by F18s and shoulder launched rockets.
-Aliens that feel some odd need to try to integrate into out society because we’re so damn special.
In spite of it’s comedy factor, the Vogon invasion of Earth was the closest thing I would imagine an alien invasion being like. Basically one day aliens show up in ships so advanced that our weapons would be no more effective than an attack on the USS Iowa battleship by Polynesian dugout canoes and for reasons of their own, obliterate the planet.
But they had a perfectly good reason, and it wasn’t their decision. An interstellar bypass was being built. Earth was in the way and had to go. The Vogons were just doing their jobs. They may have been terrible poets, but you can’t really pin the decision to make earth go kablooie on their heads.
The movie may be hated, but I liked how Signs did it.
If you think your mind’s eye is better than anything yet put on the screen, then check out Larry Niven and David Pournelle’s “Footfall.” Elephant-like aliens land in Kansas using paragliders, take out tanks with crowbar-sized missles falling from space, etc.
A really good ride by the real pros. Worth rereading periodically, too.
For the record, I have no financial interest in their work. (Don’t I just wish!)
My only connection is having met Mr. Niven some years ago, briefly, at a Westercon held in Portland, OR and he was very kind.
The cool thing about Footfall is that the aliens aren’t all that more technologically advanced than us. I’d say they have about a 50-100 year lead, no more, and they have several evolutionary disadvantages compared to humanity. 90% of their success come from the fact that they’re in space, and we’re not.
I quite liked Harry Turtledove’s World War: Imvasion series, about a race of repitilian invaders that have a perhaps 100-200 year advance on Earth technology, and invade in 1942. It’s quite interesting and well-thought-out, although it drags a littleas it goes on. I particuarly like how there is no “easy” answer to the invasion; in the end,
The world ends up half-controlled by humans and lizards.
I’ve also always had a soft spot for War of the Worlds; the book, not the crappy film.
I really didn’t rate Footfall, and I was surprised, because I’m usually quite a Niven fan. The aliens, despite being twin-trunked elephants, were just too human in the way they thought and acted, their vices, failings and foibles. I know that Niven knows better than this, because he has written elsewhere “there are minds that think as well as you, but differently”. I won’t carp on about my other objections - I realise it was trying very hard to be a real-world scenario, with real-world physics etc, but I just thought it could have done much, much better.
I’m not sure what I think is the most realistic portrayal, but I think one of the worst was Signs - the aliens travel across interstellar space and are on the brink of overtaking humanity when… They are killed off by rain - yep, that’s right, they have the technology to cross the galaxy, but they failed to notice that our planet has a bit of water on it. Fucking stupid. I turned it off in disgust right then.
Yeah, I was amazed when someone cited Signs as an example of a well-executed invasion. Lesse:
-Aliens with the ability to cross interstellar distances attack naked, on foot and unarmed.
-Aliens allergic to water attack a planet where that is one of the chief chemicals in the atmosphere. Did I mention naked, on foot and unarmed?
-Didn’t they actually want to eat us? 'Cos when I go home at night, the first thing I want to tuck into is a hydrochloric acid-steak. After slaughtering the well-armed, intelligent cow by hand. While I’m naked, on foot and unarmed.
Yes, I get it, the aliens are a metaphor for Mel Gibson (sorry, Priesty McPastor) losing his faith. This does not make a crappy concept good.
It’s not an alien invasion story, but my favorite is Larry Niven’s “They’re assimilating our culture, that’s what they’re Doing!” (in, I think, Convergent Series, and other anthologies). The human-eating alien potential invaders don’t attack us because it’s too energy inefficient and literally time-consuming to cross space and use all that energy and reaction mass to get themselves to Earth, or to bring back humans to eat on their planet.
So they take samples of DNA and grow the portions of us they want to eat back home. They even pay royalties for the use of the DNA.
I liked “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” Alien with superior tech comes down and lays down the rules. The humans Just Don’t Get It, so he does a few simple things to convince everyone that he has powers that far exceed ours, and we agree to go by the rules seeing as how we have no choice. The end.
That is a great movie, particularly for it’s time, but:
They are going to nuke the earth if the Terrans venture into space without joining their “space government”. Why? If they are so bad assed, and such Nice Guys, if they can stop electrcial power all over the world save for hospitals and planes in flight, why bother to nuke the world? That seems a rather tacky thing to do to the inhabitants because of decisions their governments, or indeed only one government, made.
Station one of the Gort guys to shoot down and rockets that leave the atmosphere, or leave one of the devices running in high earth orbit.
Well, a real Alien Invasion would consist on one Space Tugboat, & one huge Colonizer Transport, with Alien Families armed with little more than hunting weapons.
The Space Tugboat re-directs asteroids at Earth until we are wiped out, or can offer no reasonable resistance.
The Colonizer enters orbit ( it is too big to land), & sets up colonies of Aliens all over the planet.
What few pitiful Human survivors that exist trade manual labor for access to medicine/alien technology, as we cannot produce medicine or technology for ourselves, due to total societal collapse. We become their janitors, their fast-food cooks, their nannys & their migrant farm workers. We scrub their toilets, as our Human Race’s sole purpose for existing, so to speak.
Eventually, we abandon our own culture, religion, technology, philosophies & worldviews entirely, becoming 10th-rate imitators of Earth’s new dominant species. Some will do this because they are sellouts; others will be young people who hold their elders’ views & values in contempt. Most are just practical.
We need not ever even know that it was an act of war–the asteroids do their damage years before the Colonists land, & they were never informed. We might very well believe the World was destroyed by accident. We would be grateful to the aliens, for relieving us of our misery. And, since 98% or so of all Humans throughout History have held what are basically menial jobs anyway, most people would be content, if not fulfilled. the odd Bill Gates/Patton/Lenin/Edison types would be troublemakers, & either shunned or culled. With Humans to do the nasty job, of course.
I think Species, for all its faults, is on the tip of a realistic invasion plan. It has the advantage of not requiring a suspension of disbelief w/r/t FTL flight. The one thing I’d do to make it an actual invasion is:
Make the DNA sequence very helpful, so helpful that all children are born with it will be nearly invulnerable to disease, live for an estimated 100’s of years, etc. But at age 10 or so, they turn into Attack Aliens from Hell, and by that time, there are too many of them around to eradicate…