17 April 2012

O is for Outsiders (A-Z Challenge)

O is for Outsiders

I’m defining outsiders as aliens.  Usually the realm of the sci-fi fan, there’s an unexplored part of the apocalyptic genre just screaming out for some little green men.  After all, aliens are an unknown – you can shape them any way you want – the stereotypical tall skinny dude with massive eyes, or something completely different, alien apocalypse is an open book.

Scenario:  Alien invasion with the intention of taking over the world, aliens infiltrating our ranks with either sinister or friendly plans, aliens just trying to blast us all of the face of the planet so they can eat at McDonalds without paying – there are endless possibilities due to the undefined intention and impact of aliens.

Characters:  Your aliens can be scary, friendly, likeable, murderous or you could even make a good aliens vs. bad aliens war, fought on human territory! (Can you tell I’m slightly excited by the variety here).  Your human characters can be scientists, average Joe’s, military, former abductees, believers, non-believers.  Get the kids involved!

Location:  You’ll want to stay on earth for the majority of the time, otherwise you’ll be moving from apocalyptic to sci-fi territory.  The invasion can be localized (good for more character-driven stories) or global (great for action sequences and fight-for-the-survival-of-humankind type stories).

Stand-alone or series:  Either is an option.  If your humans win and kill all the aliens off, it’s probably a stand-alone.  If you’re more into an ongoing war, a series can work perfectly well – just have a pretty solid ending to back you up.

Recommended by Me

War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

Published: 1898

Pages: 192 (paperback)

“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own.” Thus begins one of the most terrifying and morally prescient science fiction novels ever penned. Beginning with a series of strange flashes in the distant night sky, the Martian attack initially causes little concern on Earth. Then the destruction erupts—ten massive aliens roam England and destroy with heat rays everything in their path. Very soon humankind finds itself on the brink of extinction. H. G. Wells raises questions of mortality, man’s place in nature, and the evil lurking in the technological future—questions that remain urgently relevant in the twenty-first century.

On My Wishlist

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

Published: 1974

Pages: 265 (paperback)

The Earth's leaders have drawn a line in the interstellar sand--despite the fact that the fierce alien enemy they would oppose is inscrutable, unconquerable, and very far away. A reluctant conscript drafted into an elite Military unit, Private William Mandella has been propelled through space and time to fight in the distant thousand-year conflict; to perform his duties and do whatever it takes to survive the ordeal and return home. But "home" may be even more terrifying than battle, because, thanks to the time dilation caused by space travel, Mandella is aging months while the Earth he left behind is aging centuries...


  1. I like my aliens to be friendly. The absolute majority of alien-related films have been bad guys who die. How about one where we start off fighting them and then become friends and live in humorous harmony?

  2. Ford Prefect is the best "outsider" ever. Just saying. ;-)

    Your posts are great, by the way! I'm playing catch up and loving every bit of it.



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