It’s been over a hundred years since H.G. Wells first wrote The War of the Worlds and yet, for some reason, writers are still employing the device of using a virus to defeat alien overlords. It crops in novels, movies and should the series survive to finish it’s story I wouldn’t be shocked to see it used as the conclusion of V.
For some reason, we just can’t come up with a new or different want to fend off an alien invasion.
David Weber’s latest novel Out of the Dark is just another example of it. It’s been a few days since I finished the book and I still can’t help thinking about it. In most cases, this would be a good thing. But in the case of this book, it’s not so much. I’m not quite as irritated as I was upon reaching the later sections of Weber’s latest novel. Instead, I’m more disappointed in Weber for the ending of the book and myself for actually hoping he might come up with something interesting, new or even different to end the story.
Out of the Dark starts off well. While observing the Battle of Agincourt, a group of aliens who are vegetarians are disturbed and horrified by the brutality of human beings. They decide that they’ll leave the colonization of Earth to a group of fellow carnivores from their galactic alliance. Fast forward a couple of hundred years and the alien fleet is on its way. Only problem is humanity has grown up a bit technologically and socially. We’re no longer quite the group we were when England was battling France. Not that this bothers said alien fleet since we’re advancing more rapidly than expected or any other alien world has, so we must be put down.
And so the invasion begins with the aliens invading our computer systems via a virus and hurtling large asteroids at the planet. Instead of cowering in fear, humanity fights back.
With a large cast of characters, Out of the Dark works fairly well for the first half of the book. Weber does err a bit on the side of going into Tom Clancy like detail about the weaponry being used to battle said aliens, but this can easily be forgiven.
What can’t be is the ending of the novel.
I’ll give Weber some credit–at least he introduced the plot thread that will lead to the overthrow of our alien overlords early in the book. It doesn’t come entirely out of left field, but to quote characters from Star Wars the minute I saw it, I said,” I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
Turns out that Vlad Drakula is still around and vampires are real. And they’re what help us defeat our alien overlords.
No, I’m not making that up. I wish I was.
It all comes down a virus defeating the aliens. In this case, it’s the source of vampire lifeforms taking out the aliens and leaving their ships behind for humanity to maybe journey out to the stars and begin our own empire. Basically the aliens’ fears from early in the book become a reality, which I assume will continue in future installments.
Not that I’m eager to see more of this, mind you. I’ve been so burned by this one that I have little desire to see how things come out in future installments. Weber could pull the greatest turnaround of a series in history, but based on the opening installment, I don’t think I’m going to be putting it on the reserve list any time soon.