When pollsters asked if Obama or Romney is better suited to handle an alien invasion my answer was – none of the above! That’s when you should call in the pros!
The right question is: Which President of SFWA would you pick to handle an alien invasion?
Here are your candidates:
- Damon Knight (1965–1967)
- Robert Silverberg (1967–1968)
- Alan E. Nourse (1968–1969)
- Gordon R. Dickson (1969–1971)
- James E. Gunn (1971–1972)
- Poul Anderson (1972–1973)
- Jerry Pournelle (1973–1974)
- Frederik Pohl (1974–1976)
- Andrew J. Offutt (1976–1978)
- Jack Williamson (1978–1980)
- Norman Spinrad (1980–1982)
- Marta Randall (1982–1984)
- Charles Sheffield (1984–1986)
- Jane Yolen (1986–1988)
- Greg Bear (1988–1990)
- Ben Bova (1990–1992)
- Joe Haldeman (1992–1994)
- Barbara Hambly (1994–1996)
- Michael Capobianco (1996–1998)
- Robert J. Sawyer (1998)
- Paul Levinson (1998–2001)
- Norman Spinrad (2001–2002)
- Sharon Lee (2002–2003)
- Catherine Asaro (2003–2005)
- Robin Wayne Bailey (2005–2007)
- Michael Capobianco (2007–2008)
- Russell Davis (2008–2010)
- John Scalzi (2010-)
In order to defend the planet the president first must recognize an alien invasion is in progress. That’s pretty easy when they land on top of us – see War of the Worlds.
But if their arrival isn’t heralded by a barrage of “shock & awe” weapons? If they seem like friendly guys? SFWA founder Damon Knight warns against sneaky alien diplomacy in “To Serve Man.” An alien race comes to Earth and supplies humanity with cheap unlimited power plus lots of other goodies. It all seems good until someone discovers that the alien manual titled “To Serve Man” is a cookbook.
Even better is having advance warning that they’re coming, as in Robert Silverberg’s Nightwings, where the Watchers use their mental capabilities to scrutinize distant stars.
And if they dare show up, it’s best if we kick their butts, a specialty of Gordon R. Dickson’s Dorsai, whose advanced training and superior tactics can defeat larger forces and spare casulaties. Or if you think we should give them a sporting handicap, there’s Poul Anderson’s The High Crusade where humanity defeats an alien invasion with the same weapons available at Agincourt.
When aliens and humanity are more evenly matched, Jerry Pournelle, co-author (with Larry Niven) of Footfall, knows not to let aliens throw rocks at us.
Or (heaven forbid!) humanity gets its butt kicked, Alan E. Nourse’s theory in “The Link” was that the last couple will survive by singing music to their alien conquerors.
Jack Williamson, once the Dean of science fiction, wrote The Legion of Space. Serialized in 1934, it was very popular at the time and, if considered exclusively for its plot, makes Williamson a strong candidate. His Musketeers of the future, Jay Kalam, Hal Samdu, John Ulnar and Falstaffian Giles Habibula, defeat all comers tentacled and otherwise.
Greg Bear’s novels about “The Way” involve far more than a mere alien invasion, although there is a war fought using remote slaved munitions carrier vehicles.
Barbara Hambly, in her Star Trek novel Ishmael, enlists Spock and the characters from the cult favorite Here Come The Brides tv series to thwart an alien invasion. Now there’s innovative thinking.
You might say John Scalzi would be the best socially-networked freedom fighter since Buckaroo Banzai. And his Old Man’s War re-equips its human warriors with an array of biological and technical improvements.
That’s just a sampling of the qualifying works these SFWA presidents have on file.
Considering their stories, which one do you think should be in charge of our defenses when aliens attack?