No one ever said that conquering or destroying another planet was easy, but it seems it's much harder than I thought. Before any aliens jump into trying to take over the Earth, they would be wise to pick up a copy of David McIntee and Miguel Coimbra's handy book, We Will Destroy Your Planet: An Alien's Guide to Conquering the Earth. I admit, I haven't given a lot of thought to what it would take to conquer Earth, but these guys bring up a ton of useful tips that I would never have considered.
Covering such topics as the initial invasion, combat on the planet itself, and controlling the population of humans (that is, if you choose not to annihilate them right away), the authors bring up helpful information for alien invaders to think about. For instance, and you might have thought of this yourself, "the concealed position and potential availability of water on the far side of the Moon make it a sensible choice for a staging area or observation base, which can remain hidden from the Earth." From that place of hiding you can plan your spaceborne assault, against which the Earth has no defense, lucky for you. "The planet has no energy shielding, no starships, no minefield, and no detection or early warning grid for vessels entering the system," not to mention defense against "incursion from other spatial locations, alternative dimensions, or different eras."
But the initial invasion is only the beginning. Humans are "aggressive and stubborn," and many will not tolerate the aliens. They will attempt to "capture and reverse engineer your vehicles," which cannot be permitted. On the other hand, aliens will need to adapt human vehicles for their own use, as alien vehicles will not naturally be ideal for Earth's varied terrain and atmosphere. The aliens must consider fuel and materials needed, using what is available on Earth rather than bear the expense of transporting it across space.
McIntee and Coimbra have clearly read and watched a wide range of science fiction, some of which is explicitly referred to in the text. Others are cleverly alluded to, allusions of which I am sure I missed many. While I don't realistically see this guide falling into alien hands, as useful as it would be to them, I think it would be even more useful to writers of sci-fi. They cover so many scenarios, in a matter-of-fact, factually based way, that a sci-fi writer would be well-advised to think through the scenarios and case studies laid out here.
There was a sense in which We Will Destroy Your Planet became too much of a good thing, a drawn out joke that took a terrifically clever idea and tried to keep it going for too long. But more than that, I have a lot of respect for the depth to which these guys took the book. It seriously can be a reference book for writers and fans of sci-fi, forcing us to think a little bit more deeply about what we read and see on the screen. Of course, when we start telling our wives and girlfriends, "Now, see, that's not how it would really happen. Didn't they think about this . . . .," they will look at us and say, "It's sci-fi, stupid. This isn't real." And we will nod, confident in the knowledge we have filed away.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!