Thursday, 27 November 2014

My Top Ten List of Alien Invasion Books - guest post by @SusanCArscott #YA #scifi

Before I share my top ten list with you, I need to explain that I write and love YA (young adult) and MG (middle grade) fiction. Now you may be wondering why I’m taking up your precious time with this slightly odd non sequitur when all you’re interested in is checking out my list of the best alien invasion books ever in the history of alien invasion books. I hear you, still you need to understand that my list is skewed a little in the direction of MG and YA, meaning some of my choices are different from the standard fare, so be warned. And don’t worry, for all you purists, the classics are here too. Here goes in no particular order.
Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (1986) Not my favorite alien invasion, but who can resist aliens that look like baby elephants. Not me. This book is really out there, with a lot of crazy strange ideas; the cover alone is bizarre to the max. Yes, you got it right at first glance, it is a baby elephant holding a gun. This book is on my list because it’s just plain weird and the writing is fine.

War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (1898) The cool thing about this book is that unlike any of other alien invasion books—before airplanes, Sputnik, the moon landing, satellites, and all the rest—Wells imagined this crazy story. His writing is lovely and the story is incredibly inventive.

The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham (1973)
You know the bizarre commercial for Kraken Rum that shows black tentacles gripping the bottle. Well, if you read this book, you’ll understand, not about rum, but about the Kraken, a slim sea creature reminiscent of a giant octopus. I like this book for a couple of reasons, including his effective use of first person, something I use and like.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (2013) This started out great, the problem is that Yancey, although a gifted writer, doesn’t seem to want the story to, so he goes on and on and on and on. It is YA and one of the few books I actually took the time to review on Goodreads and because I am shamelessly lazy, you can go to it and check it out. A sequel is due out soon.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (2010) Also YA, this is An-Alien-Among-Us genre, which is always cool, and is a fun read. Fast and exciting, the action pulls you in and keeps up a fast pace.

The True Meaning of  Smekday by Adam Rex (2007) This is a wonderful middle grade alien invasion of the humorous kind as only MG writers can come up with. My Teacher is An Alien by Bruce Coville is another great example. Adam Rex is a master and this book is fun, fun, fun. It’s geared for 8-12 years old, but older readers, including ancient ones such as I, can enjoy Rex’s version of aliens.
Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences by Brian Yansky (2010) On the surface, this YA invasion novel appears to be a fun romp among the invaders and those taken, but it’s really much more thought provoking. Yansky handles serious topics including slavery, religion, and ecology deftly. No preaching here, just a good read.
Adaptation by Malindo Lo (2012) Actually, now as I think about this YA book, I realize I don’t like it all that much. It’s too filled with endless and annoying teenage angst, something I don’t think you’d spend much time on in an alien invasion. There is also a token lesbian romance that isn’t all that romantic. So, consider Adaptation as one to read only if you like the idea of a clich├ęd and predictable plot. Why did I originally add it to this list? Oh yeah, there’s a conspiracy and I’m a sucker for conspiracies.

First Day on Earth by Cecil Castellucci (2010) Now this is a YA book I think you’ll love. It’s told in first person and not from the viewpoint of the best looking, most incredible student as most Sci-Fi protagonists. Instead, it’s the story of Mal, a misfit who had me at You think you know what I am, the kid slumped in his chair in the back row, with greasy hair, wearing all black. You’re kind of scared of me. At last, a Sci-Fi book not about a near perfect teen. It’s for readers 12 and up. My only complaint is that it’s not long enough. Good things may come in small packages, but this one’s too good to be so small.
Enders Game by Orson Scott Card (2010) An MG to YA book about a boy genius. Yes I realize I just whined about how weary I am of them, but that’s kind of the point of Enders. Government agencies breed genius’ to fight against aliens. It’s a good book, lots of interesting plot twists and the characters, despite their brilliance, are nicely human and far from perfect.

Okay, so there you have it, nine alien invasion books that I hope you read and one that’s listed because, well, I’m not sure why, oh yeah it has a conspiracy. I also want to mention that my own YA invasion book, End of Normal, is being released today. Check it out on Amazon at
And for all you happy Sci-Fi readers out there, visit me at my website,
And drop me a line about your favorite aliens. Happy Reading!

I worked as a high school teacher until I thought my head would explode from all the ideas and questions my students asked. Thinking it would be easier, I foolishly switched from teaching to the ridiculous job of professional fundraiser. After spending more years than I want to admit begging strangers for money, I gathered what pride I had left and enrolled in Spalding University’s MFA program where I became blissfully happy working with other writers and improving my writing. I currently live and write in Seabrook, Texas with my husband Mike, our two children, Vlad the cat, and Bob the stray.

My first YA novel, End of Normal, published by Burst Publishing, can be purchased through any online bookstore of through a link on my website:

1 comment:

I always love to hear your thoughts.