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Author Topic: "Skyline""  (Read 11563 times)

Offline Abraham Gubler

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Re: "Skyline""
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2010, 03:11:05 pm »
Of course it's hard to say exactly how such a battle would go in real life. Maybe the aliens will have force fields like those in "Independence Day," and our weapons will be worthless. Or maybe they won't, and their vehicles will be made out of materials we can comprehend. In which case, a 30mm armor piercing round out of an A-10 will cut through it like a 30 caliber round out of a WWI-era biplane cutting through a 2010 Gulfstream.

All of these alien invasion stories are just copies of HG Wells’s original: aliens arrive from nowhere, attack everyone, take over and are brought down by some small, unexpected irritant. The only innovator was V that added the Nazi like takeover of society in place of general attack. Since these stories are being written without a concern for the suspension of disbelief of the small slice of the potential audience with a medium or high level of military and scientific knowledge they can be well within the many shades of bullshit and still a success.

From our own human history there aren’t really any examples of first contact being invasion. Animals will invade straight off but not humans. Usually we require some more benign contact before competition for resources leads to conflict. One would assume that any interstellar/interplanetary travel capable species would be just as curious as us so would want to communicate and share before economic pressures lead to armed conflict.

As to military disparity even space aliens need to follow the laws of physics. They may have far more capable weapon systems but release enough heat through chemical or atomic reaction and it will destroy what they have built. For space travel the important technological requirements are thrust and life support. They may not even need the later if they have evolved a hibernation capability. Neither of these requirements naturally suggest highly capable ISR, force protection and lethality.

They may even be inferior in military state of art. In one of his short stories Asimov drew the military comparison between waring Greek city states and the Persian Empire and disunited earthly nations and some space alien empire. A world crossing space alien empire may not be very belligerent because of political unity and a lack of immediate threats.

The most valuable things on earth are biological life and human society. For any invader these interrelated systems are far more important than inanimate natural resources which are freely available in large quantities in space. Human society produces enormous amounts of surplus chemicals, metals, proteins and technological items (etc). Any rational invasion would seek to capture life and society rather than simply eradicate it.

So any alien invader would face the same complexities the west has in trying to civilise Iraq/Afghanistan. There is no Conquistador ‘capture the god-king’ manoeuvre you can pull on earth as a whole. You would have to go street by street and island by island. Fighting humanity would not be a very pleasant experience because our military potential is so widely proliferated.
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline royabulgaf

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Re: "Skyline""
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2010, 04:11:13 pm »
There was a good novel out about 30 years ago, called Invader or Invasion.  It was about an alien invasion where the alien technology was not that much more advanced than ours.  IIRC, their planhet was dying, and they attempted migration in a last desparate throw of the dice.

Offline Orionblamblam

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Re: "Skyline""
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2010, 04:42:13 pm »
IMO, the three best alien invasion novels were Wells' "WotW," Niven/Pournelle's "Footfall" and Turtledove's "WorldWar" series. In "Footfall," for those of you who have led such dire, empty lives that you have not yet read this, Earth is set upon by aliens who are not really that much more advanced than us... having been kicked out of *their* solar system by having lost a civil war. The last fifty pages of that book are the most enthralling 50 pages in all of human literature.

"WorldWar" is a series of books set in an alternate history: it's 1942, humans are merrily blasting the crap out of each other, and the aliens show up spoiling for a fight.

In both "Footfall" and "WorldWar," the aliens use tech we can understand... not artificial gravity, no faster than light travel, none of that stuff. The "WorldWar" aliens turn out to have some cultural issues that make them almost wholly incapable of dealing with humanity.





« Last Edit: November 14, 2010, 05:03:48 pm by Orionblamblam »
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Offline flateric

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Re: "Skyline""
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2010, 04:50:22 pm »
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stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline Abraham Gubler

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Re: "Skyline""
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2010, 06:12:27 pm »
Turtledove's "WorldWar" series.

Can’t say I was a big fan of ‘WorldWar’ in the main because you’ve read one Turtledove novel you’ve read them all. At least unlike much of his alternate history books it wasn’t just a case of transferring historical events from the real world to an alternate world with the various nations and people involved changed in name only.

For alien contact I liked ‘Close Encounters of a Third Kind’, at least until ‘Overly French Guy’ pulled out his electric piano. I liked it because you didn’t know what was going on. Was this aliens, ghosts, government experimentation, descent into delusional hallucination? Space aliens are going to be pretty strange to us if we actually meet them. Not actually recognising them for space aliens is highly possible.
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline Orionblamblam

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Re: "Skyline""
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2010, 06:25:45 pm »
I liked it because you didn’t know what was going on. Was this aliens, ghosts, government experimentation, descent into delusional hallucination? Space aliens are going to be pretty strange to us if we actually meet them.

Somewhat like "Knowing," a movie that I liked a lot more than the critics told me I should've.
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And so the endless circle of life comes to an end, meaningless and grim. Why did they live, and why did they die? No reason. Two hundred million years of evolution snuffed out, for in the end Nature is horrific and teaches us nothing

Offline George Allegrezza

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Re: "Skyline""
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2010, 08:02:37 pm »
Overly French Guy == Truffaut?

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Re: "Skyline""
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2010, 11:48:58 pm »

All of these alien invasion stories are just copies of HG Wells’s original: aliens arrive from nowhere, attack everyone, take over and are brought down by some small, unexpected irritant.


If you want to get real technical, War of the Worlds was a derivative of the "invasion literature" genre that swept Europe from 1871's "Battle of Dorking" up until 1914, with the foreign invader replaced by an alien one. Not to say that it isn't a good book - it is.
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Offline Abraham Gubler

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Re: "Skyline""
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2010, 11:59:45 pm »
If you want to get real technical, War of the Worlds was a derivative of the "invasion literature" genre that swept Europe from 1871's "Battle of Dorking" up until 1914, with the foreign invader replaced by an alien one.

Interesting, because films like Skyline, ID4, etc are all part of the contemporary world ending, disaster genre (Armageddon, Day After Tomorrow, etc). I guess humans love imagining our collective destruction. Explains the Greens movement.

Not to say that it isn't a good book - it is.

And a much better rock opera!

"There lay Thunder Child..." *

* I was very upset that the recent remake with Tom Cruise did not feature a warship taking on the tripods as the ferries tried to cross the river.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2010, 02:37:24 am by Abraham Gubler »
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline saintkatanalegacy

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Re: "Skyline""
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2010, 05:20:26 am »
the only sci-fi movie for this year that satisfied me is inception
風 Swift as the wind
林 Quiet as the forest
火 Conquer like the fire
山 Steady as the mountain

Offline Orionblamblam

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Re: "Skyline""
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2010, 06:51:53 am »
* I was very upset that the recent remake with Tom Cruise did not feature a warship taking on the tripods as the ferries tried to cross the river.

Something that has happened in all the remakes of WotW since the actual novel is that the Martians have gotten relatively far more powerful. In the original, the Brits were able to take out I think three or four tripods... one lucky artillery shot, the Thunder Child nailed one with its cannons and plowed into another by ramming (IIRC). The only thing that made the tripods *almost* invulnerable was that they moved fast (making them difficult to hit with the cannon of the day) and they had some pretty good offensive weapons. But since the novel, the tripods have gained force fields and the ability to shrug off nukes. We've gone from being over-matched to being incapable of scratching them.

Of course, if the novel-era Martians were to land in Britain today, a couple squads of SAS would have the tripods taken down and the Martians locked up in zoos before they even got the sniffles.

And in "Night of the Cooters," some Texas townfolk take down a tripod with an over-powered Civil War era cannon, and blast the crap out of the rest with dynamite before they leave the cylinder. Of course, that's non-canon use of cannon.
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Offline RP1

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Re: "Skyline""
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2010, 07:53:29 am »
Quote
But since the novel, the tripods have gained force fields and the ability to shrug off nukes. We've gone from being over-matched to being incapable of scratching them.

I have always put this down to Wells having some understanding that war is not one sided, even when one side has a great technological advantage. He also shows the Martians changing their tactics (they take losses from land and naval artillery and mines, so begin preemptively destroying cover and deploying the Black Smoke). Hollywood screenwriters seem to miss these concepts.

That being said, an alien invasion needs to have some way of avoiding widespread use of nuclear weapons or the film rapidly becomes "The Day After" - rapid movement and a short timescale or alternatively keeping the action in cities to make using such weapons undesirable...

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Offline Orionblamblam

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Re: "Skyline""
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2010, 08:27:50 am »
That being said, an alien invasion needs to have some way of avoiding widespread use of nuclear weapons or the film rapidly becomes "The Day After" - rapid movement and a short timescale or alternatively keeping the action in cities to make using such weapons undesirable...

Oh, I dunno. In one recent movie (nameless so's to not be a spoiler), nukes bring down an alien mothership. Much celebrating... but then the mothership starts fixing itself, eventually getting back into the fight. Proper human strategy here would be to NUKE IT AGAIN. As with so many things in life, President Of Earth Richard M. Nixon has the right idea: "That's my style. I like to kick 'em when they're down."

People tend to over-estimate the unpleasantness of nuclear war while being exterminated by aliens. If the aliens are killing all humans in a city but leaving the infrastructure more or less intact... then to hell with the nice apartment buildings and bridges and roads. A city stripped of humans has no reason to stand any longer, so nuke the bejesus out of it if that'll kill the mothership and save *other* cities. Humans have popped off more than a thousand above-ground nukes without trashing the environment; doing so again to save the species from extermination would seem a pretty fair idea.
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Offline RP1

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Re: "Skyline""
« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2010, 08:41:47 am »
Quote
People tend to over-estimate the unpleasantness of nuclear war while being exterminated by aliens. If the aliens are killing all humans in a city but leaving the infrastructure more or less intact...

True, but I was thinking of a more restrained invasion - if it comes down to hoovering up humans with a giant Dyson then yes, it's going to be nukes-a-go-go.

Quote
Humans have popped off more than a thousand above-ground nukes without trashing the environment

I thought is was closer to 500 above ground? Still, it's more than a few, something most people don't realise.

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Online jstar

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Re: "Skyline""
« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2010, 09:15:48 am »
I must admit a certain fondness for John Ringo and the 'Legacy of the Alldenata' series, starting with "Gust Front". Much prefer him over Turtledove.

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