Brainstorming an Idea

26 Apr

So I’ve been tossing the following idea around, but I’m really unsure what to actually do with it.

Basically, Earth got into a war with a more powerful alien race and lost. Think France in 1940 – the main body of the fleet is destroyed or hopelessly out of place, the government is paralysed, panic is spreading … matters are largely hopeless, as there’s no hope of assistance from the other interstellar powers. So the government sues for peace and gets something along the same lines as Vichy; Earth isn’t permitted a large navy, parts of Earth’s economy are turned over to service the new masters, a number of humans are expected to serve in the alien forces and Earth’s outside policy will be dictated by the aliens.

The government isn’t happy about these terms, but it doesn’t see any option apart from accepting them. As martial law was declared when the war began, they can squash any opposition (riots or protests) or simply ignore it (outraged blog posts, letters to the editor, etc.) The government does its best to sell the peace terms to the public as a good thing; Earth will not only survive, but prospect in the new galactic order.

They’re not entirely wrong. The aliens aren’t interested in stopping human economic development, so human products are still sold on the galactic market. They’re also willing to help upgrade Earth’s technology to some extent, although they’re wary of giving the humans something that can be turned into a weapon. But they’re not willing to give humans significant independence. Basically, when they bother to intervene, what they say goes.

A number of human spacers didn’t agree with the decision to surrender and, in the confusion following the decisive battle, they took a task force or two of starships and basically vanished. They got some support from grey colonies, perhaps from a couple of interstellar powers that fear just what will happen if humanity’s new masters come for them next. But they don’t have the logistics chain to keep their ships running indefinitely, while they don’t have the firepower to pose a major threat to the aliens. And they are also hunted – if not very enthusiastically – by the post-war government.

I’m not actually sure where to go from here.

My original idea (the first time I wrote this idea up as a novel) was that humanity would receive a significant level of support from one of the other interstellar powers, perhaps one that wanted humanity’s masters to take a fall. This eventually got a little tangled, as humanity had very little free agency in that scenario. I eventually ended up with the new aliens being humans from the future, which was not a very good solution.

A revised idea might be the human resistance eventually taking control of a star system or two and daring the occupiers to oust them. Perhaps, if the collaborator government couldn’t handle it, they’d need help – and that help would lose, particularly if everything humanity made during the occupation was dual-use – i.e. could be used for both peaceful and military purposes. If the aliens figured that resuming the war would be far too costly – perhaps because they’re occupied with threats along the border too – they might decide to pull back and abandon the liberated star system. Problem is – I can’t think of any time in human history where that has actually happened, unless you count Afghanistan in the 1800s.

Maybe if the occupiers were traders, rather than warmongers. They launched the war to remove a potential threat, but they are concerned about the bottom line rather than ideology or pride they might decide to cut their losses and back off. Could be that they have a set of rules for dealing with other races and outright genocide isn’t allowed, or they fear the costs of starting a genocidal war.

Another possibility in this situation is a second alien race moving in to support the resistance – the US supporting Taiwan – but again, I don’t think that has actually happened in the middle of a war. Of course, the threat of outside intervention might be enough to convince the occupiers to back off – or decide they’d sooner have a buffer between themselves and another interstellar power.

A long-term solution – but perhaps not very dramatic – is a slow human takeover of the occupier empire. If human products are cheaper, if human innovation improves upon occupier technology, humanity might slowly start rising to a position of real power. Think Japan in the 1980s – all the fears that the Japanese were halfway to taking over the US because Japanese exports were dominating the market. All overblown, true, but might something happen if humans start pushing alien factories out of the market? But then, it would have to be a very foolish alien empire that would allow themselves to be subverted like that. There would be no hope of hiding what had actually happened.

(Alternatively, humans could fill the occupier military until they’re actually running the show, but again that would be a very long-term process.)

I may go for the middle option, myself. <grin>.



55 Responses to “Brainstorming an Idea”

  1. Frederick Riley April 26, 2016 at 9:59 pm #

    Maybe a bit of each of them? Have the escaped fleet colonize an unexplored area. Meet a new alien race. That race helps them with tech. And the colony heads back to earth to help them overthrow by giving them secret tech and cheaper means of production. I would like to see Trade used as a strategy.

    • chrishanger May 2, 2016 at 6:50 pm #

      Just a general response first – I’m sorry i haven’t been able to reply before now, let alone start jotting down ideas. Life, as you may have noticed from my post, has been getting ahead of me.


    • Richard McDuff May 5, 2016 at 10:21 pm #

      So, this would be like the Cold War? The aliens on earth are there to prevent another empire from incorporating human space? Two empires fighting proxy wars at the fringes of their own space. It might be fun to turn it around where empire1 like the Soviets takes over Human Space(ala Vietnam) and empire2 is working with (the escaped group as you described) to just keep empire1 bogged down in a jungle-like war. Of course you could then see a motive for helping the escaped human fleets (ala Viet Cong.) Of course Alien motives from either empire are not in humanity’s best interests. Then you could have humans playing both sides and managing to cause many problems within both empires home areas always pointing to the other guy. Aliens would be confused by the apparently schizo humans and eventually empire1 would have to pull out of the quagmire and, in an unforeseen move, the humans have managed to steal the technology from both sides and can hold their own ground which leads to . . .

  2. Tarjei T. Jensen April 26, 2016 at 10:12 pm #

    Maintaining a warship will require a significant industrial base. Not only for the starship, but also the maintenance yard, shuttles to a nearby planet, mining operations in the asteroid belt or similar if it exists and a space based industrial complex (which would most likely be more than one). And you need people, lots of people. Millions if not billions.

    You need a way to generate money in order to finance the operation. Without money you loose important resource management functions. And there is stuff you are not likely to be able to build; you need to buy it. e.g. advanced computer systems.

    You can forget about nano robots, because they can’t do the job. You can’t have nano-robots where each require the processing power of a large datacenter.

    You can have a roboticised mining and industrial operations.

    You can use the German military rise after WW1 as a model They basically out-thought everybody else (with the possible exceptions of the Soviets).

    The Earth government would hunt for wildlings, but only to keep their own rearmament projects from being discovered. Hunting them publically might make it look like we are desperately trying to comply with peace terms. Earth is the only place you will have enough people to hide and fuel a rearmament project.

    Building the stuff can take place elsewhere, but the thinking needs a lot of people. Perhaps even a special breeding program to provide the right kind of intelligence in the scientists.

    There would be a massive intelligence and espionage organisations focused on stealing or even discover new technologies.

    They would hire out mercenaries to other governments in order to get experience and technology. Or collect knowledge in general by sending some of the smarties to alien universities. If Earthlings were good mercenaries, the aliens might be eager to hire for technology or strategically important goods.

    • chrishanger May 2, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

      True. What about hiring out human mercs to bring in revenue?


  3. shrekgrinch April 26, 2016 at 10:18 pm #

    “Another possibility in this situation is a second alien race moving in to support the resistance – the US supporting Taiwan – but again, I don’t think that has actually happened in the middle of a war”


    The Allies supported the resistance movements of Occupied Europe in WWII. The Afghans vs the Soviets in the 1980s (how Bin Laden cut his teeth, I think). India provides unofficial support to Tibetan resistance groups today, etc., etc. Lots of examples.

    “But they don’t have the logistics chain to keep their ships running indefinitely”

    That trope in SciFi has been way over abused, in my opinion. In the real world, we already are experiencing ‘distributed democratization’ of manufacturing capability and that will only increase/get better. This is why the proverbial ‘locked fabbers’ trope is then rolled out (especially by John Ringo), to keep artificial economic scarcities today’s audiences (and authors) are familiar with in vogue when writing. In other words: I wish you’d find a way to avoid all of that and come up with something more original. 🙂

    The most interesting shows/books I’ve read about ‘complicated’ alien occupations of this nature are where the aliens have some sort of vested — but very secret — interest in humanity or some particular aspect of humanity. And that, in turn, dictates their occupation motives and policies. Like the Taelons in Earth: The Final Conflict. Or the Minbari ‘surrendering’ at the Battle of the Line in the Babylon 5 universe. It doesn’t have to be an outright occupation or rather, the occupation can only be a ‘corrective measure’ to keep humanity on the path determined long ago. (Stephen Rennenberg’s Mapped Space books)

    Then you can write a novel or even a series of them where that secret is somehow discovered (all at once or in little dribbles) and humanity (your protagonists in the novel) react in kind. You can throw in a lot of xenoarchaeology in there too. Charles Gannon is doing a bang up job with just this type of story line (or so I think) in his Tales of the Terran Republic novels.

    You can also just do a book or a few on the conflicts generated when an alien occupation occurs by a reluctant winner in an Earth-Alien War who simply decide to change us socio-economically via their own ‘Marshall Plan’. Say, transition humanity to a post-scarcity anarcho-communist polity? Such a society wouldn’t be very warlike in nature and couldn’t be politically as it would be fragmented like the German Confederation of the Rhine that was set up by Napolean for that very geopolitical purpose. Earth’s corporate and governmental interests resist. It’s possible you can write it where the reader really never decides who is in the right and who is in the wrong, if you wanted to.

    Anyway, just my two cents.

    • chrishanger May 2, 2016 at 6:53 pm #

      I was thinking an uprising in the middle of a war – basically, a resistance movement takes territory and an outside power moves to assist before it gets crushed. I don’t think that’s actually happened in the midst of a major war.


  4. Bob Stewart April 26, 2016 at 10:27 pm #

    In the Persian war, Athens fell to the Persians a year after the Persian fleet had been defeated at Salamis. The Athenians abandoned their city but their fleet was intact. The Persian Army was stranded, albeit in possession of a city they had sacked and burned, plus a group of Medized Greek cities. Eventually the Spartans fielded a combined Greek army and defeated the stranded Persians with horrendous casualties to the Persians. Very few Persians survived their retreat thru Thrace. Once back in Athens, the Athenian fleet organized an Empire in the Aegean as it wiped out the remnants of the Persian fleet.

    The French were a bizarre lot in WWII. They withdrew all of their modern aircraft in early June and flew them to North Africa, leaving their ground forces to shed lives on a scale with WWI. They tried to get England to commit her reserve squadrons to replace the now absent French formations. Fortunately England kept the Spitfires at home and the Battle of Britain worked out ok.

    So how about combining a treacherous retreat of the defending first line fleet, leaving the second raters to face the aliens. Let this group of heroes manage a few small victories and an improbable escape as their supplies run out. France falls. The aliens make a deal with “France”, and France is allowed to keep its armaments including the fled formations in the colonies (not necessarily hidden.) The equipment and supplies in the colonies provide the second raters with a strategic target … their old buddies in the first rate equipment. But the second raters aren’t second rate any more because they’ve learned how to fight the aliens, and with good equipment and a few alien technologies they uncovered in their first encounter … carnage ensues. Conquering the colonies and building a base of operations with adequate logistics, the second raters proceed to ravage the alien’s commerce. This leads the aliens abandon the Vichy to their fate while making a deal with the second raters. An Empire is borne, and old scores are settled with the Vichy.

  5. Mike Hall April 26, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

    “Another possibility in this situation is a second alien race moving in to support the resistance – the US supporting Taiwan – but again, I don’t think that has actually happened in the middle of a war.”

    To add to shrekgrinch’s comment I nominate the American War of Independence. The existance of an active resistance motivates other powers’ intervention as they try to take advantage of the situation. (The French desire for revenge was an additional motivation of course.)

  6. Simon April 26, 2016 at 10:36 pm #


    Firstly thank you for the enjoyable works to date, I have listened to all the Ark Royal saga a can hardly wait for the 7th instalment and the 3rd angel in the whirlwind book. I like the idea of the human race slowly co-opting the conquers from the inside but as you say this maybe too longer a journey for just one book. Perhaps you could combine 2 of the ideas and have the humans who left with a task force or two stubble across other subjugated races and building a sort of rebel alliance? Or perhaps the earth happens across some vital bit of information or relic that the could use to force better terms/ victory?

  7. Al April 26, 2016 at 10:38 pm #

    The earth governments or the grey colonies could send out teams with “letters of marque” to obtain new tech. Then they could also disrupt supply lines and such until the tech is engineered or a treaty with different aliens can be reached.

  8. gregory April 26, 2016 at 10:45 pm #

    This reminds me of an alternative universe I proposed for Subjection by Fel.

    For your proposal:
    Humans conquered by aliens.
    Human neutrals join aliens i.e training to be doctors and medical staff. They do not fight against humans but also aid the aliens. A tricky tightrope.

    Humans learn some tech and because they come at it from an independent point of view are able to improve some. This helps generate some alien currency

    Humans develop basic jump gate tech that enables them to terraform a moon around a white dwarf. The humans can do this secretly once allowed to by means of smuggling limited supplies to it via ship. The Gate accelerates the timeline.
    Humans remove military veterans to become soldiers while peacniks continue peacefully developing the planet and acting to aid the aliens. They also seek to become interstellar tourists or missionaries.
    Peaceniks become civil service because they won’t attack the alien overlords and can be trusted.
    Humans are able to use jump tech to assemble a rough transporter which is used to enable distribution of computer virus.
    The alien overlords can be in an internal fight (i.e political) for primacy while in cold wars with neighbours. Humans surrendering and joining as opposed to being defeated gains them some rights that the peaceniks learn to use.
    Humans may decide to actually join alien alliance once they gain respect or could act to trade while under the protection of another power. The jump gate tech serves as an edge allowing this.

    Have a court room thriller combined with a rearmament campaign. The humans don’t actually violate any rules but do seek damage.

    If you want any more ideas let me know.

    Casus Beli

  9. kominek April 26, 2016 at 10:50 pm #

    Reminds me a bit of “Course of Empire”,

  10. Ken April 26, 2016 at 10:51 pm #

    ok so i was thinking you could go with an Alien Coalition run by Multi plant companies that come together to form alliances to control Banking and business across a lose affiliated remnants of a former Interstellar Empire that had crumbled and these companies filled the power vacuum and seeing that our arm of the Milky way was virgin territory just starting out into the larger galaxy came in to control the market been a new race with products and ideas and manpower suddenly the galactic market is flooded with Human products and forgers. The Aliens can do like you outlined the whole Vichy type deal, limit on the Earth Military powers just home defense and local system, Military have to serve a minimum term in approved Alien militaries (so they can be monitored and make sure they do not get experience or training or knowledge of system that are not permitted in Earth Military). The Alien Companies or which ever one wins or buys the rights to “Chaperon” into the wider Galactic politics. You Could bring in the whole 1980’s Japan Idea here about Earth Labour and the fact we need investment and are willing to go out and learn and work for the experience decimating local labour and the Companies using this to make a killing and Earth using this to expand their influence and knowledge base gaining allies. The Fleets and ships that Fled and were sent out with all the latest human tech and all the Special ops and scientist they could hold joining together and becoming mercenary force, using this to gain experience in space warfare and tech, maybe hiring themselves out to the different Companies and governments for black ops work as part of a long term plan to eventually make it back to Earth to break away and form their own Empire/Federation of colonies or other multi planet organisation.

    sorry if its a bit rambly or stream of consciousness.

  11. Jack Boone April 26, 2016 at 10:51 pm #

    How about a 2nd alien empire supporting humans clandestinely, if they didn’t want to go “whole hog”?

    Sent from my iPhone


  12. Don Yu April 26, 2016 at 11:20 pm #

    My two cents is for some supremely capable leader of minor power as like Alexander or Genghis Khan go on a large scale conquest that took Earth by their “scouting formation”. When that leader dies the empire fragment into mini-empire that through the generations the humans become major influence then take over the mini-empire that leads to become super-power of the galaxy.

    It does not have a major campaign to gain freedom but slow take-over through efforts of very talented people in all expect of the society or the alien society is all about talent is supreme not caring about where that person comes from. Can follow the person’s rise through the ranks then take-over the empire. Can make it a group effort from gene-engineering of that person and support group, early training to final effort to gain power.

    Hope this is interesting.

    • chrishanger May 2, 2016 at 6:55 pm #

      That would be a cool idea. I’ll have to give it some thought.


  13. Katharina I. April 26, 2016 at 11:57 pm #

    Perhaps humanity could abandon Earth, with as many people as possible leaving and then setting up somewhere completely different in the universe, only returning years, decades, or even centuries later (after working hard to catch up (technologically?) with the alien species) to reclaim humanity’s original home world. This option might be required to be written in a way where you cover a much longer time period then most books but might proove interesting.

    • chrishanger May 2, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

      True. I’m not sure how i could do that with drama – I’ll give it some thought.


  14. Veraenderer April 27, 2016 at 12:51 am #

    What would be if not 1 or 2 starships flee but a evacuation of Earth and some Colonies is made (because the enemy is vastly superior and they do actualy fear that the aliens will just kill humanity).

    Now we have 2 branches the evacuation fleet which tries to find a new home far away from the threat and the remaining population.

    The evacuation Fleet could establish a new human empire (or federation or what ever) and strike back in a 100 years or could become the strongest opponent of the empire (The evacuation Fleet would somewhat united in the goal to become strong enough to take back earth/become strong) or they could meet another alien race which need for example alien ground troops, since the race is too slow/weak/bad eyesight etc., and the fleet starts working for them as mercenaries. This proves so effective that the aliens decide to wage a war to get the human worlds under their control, to be able to recruit more human troops.

    To the remaining population:
    I think the only reasons to let humans life (for an technological advanced alien species) is either to use humans as troops, to integrate them in their empire (because it isn’t popular to wipe species out and resettle their planets) or use them as slaves. If you simply want to use the industry of earth all you have to do is to trade, there would be no reason to occupy earth.

  15. manxspaceprize April 27, 2016 at 2:07 am #

    “HOSTILE TAKEOVER” – it’s just a business deal. It’s nothing personal. There is no politics beyond the deal. The Aliens see a market opportunity and move – that’s their culture. They care for profits, not freedom. The way to bring them to the negotiating table or even to make them leave is to hurt their bottom line…?

  16. Dustin April 27, 2016 at 2:49 am #

    Along the lines of the aliens not exactly being a warmongering race you could do a sort of Vietnam thing. The aliens wouldn’t exactly be losing the fight against the rebels/humanity, but public support for it could drop so much that it just wouldn’t be worth it for them to continue with an occupation.

  17. PhilippeO April 27, 2016 at 4:07 am #

    Rather than various option, why not it happen simultaneously 😀

    subset of human fleet flee to second alien empire, who happen in need of fleet and crew, and become second Alien varangian/mamelukes.

    another subset of human fleet find several unoccupied systems that have valuable resources, they make deal with third alien empires as tributary, with new systems as new base of human race.

    another subset of human fleet become free trader / pirates raiding various alien empire, in the hope of human liberation

    the occupying alien empire itself, because of internal politics and external pressure, make accommodation that acceptable to most people on earth, with humans join the alien empire as soldiers, merchants, and for several lucky ones, new nobles.

    There would generate various human character, with widely different motivations and fighting each others. The Freedom Fighter Pirates who act like criminals but believe they are the only ones who keep fighting, The Varangians Saxons who pining to someday return and liberate earth, but embrace his new home culture. The new Earthers who believe they are the ones who managed preserve pre-conquest “true” human culture. The collaborationist who unexpectedly successful in conqueror bureaucracy and politics. The resisters in rural area, who think all space-born human tainted by alien cultures.

    some good book of alien occupation

    Course of Empire, link in kominek above

  18. Steven April 27, 2016 at 7:26 am #

    Vichy: as mentioned elsewhere the French should not have lost as they did, but their leadership was paralised and in such fear that the peace was seen as a God-send.

    After an initial “shock and awe” of them announcing their presence (and avoid the trope of us getting years warning to prepare) throwing rocks from orbit we hide our best weapons such as high altitude fighters capable of launching weapons into space and refuse to allow nukes to be used. A few more disasters by unsupported forces with unclear or confusing orders leads to defeat.

    A few years later some disgruntled generals who are now retired point out that the aliens were a lot weaker than we originally thought and only won by occupying the high orbitals at a particular time when we could barely get a Space X rocket launched within a month.

    As far as the aliens motivation and political structure, I found a good book I read a some years ago with the unimaginative title of “Invasion” where it was more of a feudal/corporate raid staffed by individual aliens hoping for profit share.

    As far as how the resistance is financed? Same thing rebel groups do on earth, cross border crime involving drugs, stolen technology, minerals (maybe plutonium and a few other non naturally occurring elements are banned on other planets?), mercenaries, sex slaves. Anything unsavoury enough for there to be restrictions while having a market willing to pay.

    • chrishanger May 2, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

      Find an alien drug? (Ginger? ). Might be doable.


      • Steven May 3, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

        why just one drug? all you need to create a black market is a government ban. Perhaps for religious or moral reasons they ban concentration boosters, stimulants that can help you work a double mining shift, contraceptives, fertility drugs, libido enhancers, abortifacients… anything we notice missing we can have our pharma labs tweak for xenobiology and we have a market. We need the money and our morals are on hold.

  19. Jack Hudler April 27, 2016 at 7:51 am #

    1940’s France… yuck was the first word in my brain, they were world class stupid. However considering the the old fools running the place… but enough of that.

    When you said fleet, I’m assuming Earth has fusion energy (or its equivalent) and FTL tech.
    This would place the time period somewhere >200 years in the future.
    Would be nice if we’ve had a first contact scenario with another race other than the antagonist. Perhaps an exchange of some tech. Or not… if not, what was the emphasis for building a fleet?

    Given this amount of time, it’s no stretch of the imagination that our present day 3D printers will turned into full blown replicators capable of creating practically anything we need. In fact, just the other day I was reading that scientist at Rice University have not only created stable carbyne molecules but are able to mass produce them. This carbon allotrope is 40x stronger than diamond and, 2x stronger than graphene. If this truly pans out, then it’s quite possible we could have space elevator in the next 50 years. Personally I can’t wait for the first carbyne edged weapons; I’ve just got to own a mono-molecular Katana :).
    Imagine a 3D printer spitting out any part you need made from this carbon allotrope and other molecules.
    While something like nanites is wonderful to dream about; I personally don’t think this is possible, unless we’ve mastered quantum entanglement.

    For any civilisation to successfully explore space, this type of material science will be an absolute necessity. Why? You need to be repair any part on your ship without the need to return home. You’ll also need methods to extract raw materials from asteroids.
    Ship building doesn’t really require an orbiting or stationary dock in space; I’ve never understood why most writers hold on to this idea. A space dock is nothing more than scaffolding that would assist in maneuvering large pieces into place. But we’ve all seen spaceships and a station that uses a multi axis arm to do this.

    Don’t see food as a problem either, just replicate a hamburger, or haggis; though a wee dram… I can’t countenance replicating a 40 year old Lagavulin :).

    Where does this lead?
    If Earth is attacked as you proposed, then a fleet or remnants with this tech, could escape and have a real chance of rebuilding.
    I like the idea of a hidden colony or fleet, that clandestinely works with Earth. They wouldn’t really need anything from Earth to survive.

    If you can print anything then I can’t see a lot of trading go on. Perhaps there’s some exotic food stuff that only grows on Earth… like Vegemite.
    So, if there’s a trading fleet, then there’s bound to be a missing ship, or a dropped cargo container happens from time to time.

    From what you wrote, I think this part that interests me the most, is how they achieve this technically and politically.
    Also the idea of victory and what that entails; is there really a victory, stalemate, mutual respect, or ???

    If you could give us a bit more about how you see the universe, it might help us.

  20. Bjørn Hyldkrog April 27, 2016 at 7:54 am #

    Or scratch all of the above, drop the escaping space ships and go UNDERGROUND. The ‘Vichy’ world government’s biggest problem will be internal – terrorists and rebels wanting to strike at the alien occupiers and mainly only harming Earth and other humans. So the underground becomes the government’s biggest secret and is set up underground – under the Alps and Pyrenees in Europe, under the Rockies etc. Malcontents are ‘disappeared’ – the worst extremeists summarily executed, and the reasonable resistance fighters put to work under military-tech leadership and charged with ‘developing the means’… If they succeed, great, if not the most active malcontents will do no harm. Not being able to test weapons of mass destruction and flight, development delves in, utilizing the earths mantle and core and developing the tech to explore it,
    Cut to 100 years later – the underground society is close to success but has also evolved, But the aboveground plan worked too, and aboveground society has acclimatised and is being integrated into ‘the empire’

  21. John April 27, 2016 at 11:22 am #

    This feels like three or four stories to me? It might be an opportunity to write in that way from multiple dimensions possibly across multiple timelines or perspectives…. could be complicated though..

    The first is a bit of a well trodden path given the megalith of Battlestar Galactica… In terms of a Long Haul 100 year story as suggested by one person above I’ve seen it done a few times especially 50’s and 60’s classic stuff like Tom Godwin ‘Space Prison’

    The resistance story has also some pedigree although Im guessing you’re not looking to create a different version of Battlefield Earth (although perhaps you coul start a new religion off the back of it 😉 ).

    The Economics story is interesting but really difficult to make compelling… I like the idea that perhaps Earth has been swatted to open a market C19th a latterday Gun Boat diplomacy as used in China and Japan. Does this make the story then about repression and or resistance a well trodden left of centre political message. (Also you’ve touched on those themes in Warspite) or do you make it more about a Vietnam / American Revolution type tale, in which case you do indeed need a competitor power to prop up the resistors.

    How about twisting the plot slightly….. defeat is a good thing for humanity… reconstruction efforts turns Humanity from galactic social lepers into positive peaceful force… economic and social successes, but constitutionally wedded to peaceful objectives small internal defensive navy….. Post WWII Germany / Japan. You then either add internal resistance to this and make it a story of individualism orrrr add a new external threat to this new order which requires the monster from the past an agressive military……. just a thought

  22. gallandro83 April 27, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    I am actually thinking that the remaining humans of Earth eventually become something like competent and profitable but not particularly valued retainers that get traded between empires of the various interstellar powers. Essentially Earth becomes a kind of 1800’s company town where the owners are aliens imposing their will to the imposed government overseer’s.

    The displaced humans eventually can set up their own society and live in an area that allows them to eventually prosper into an accepted interstellar power.

    I imagine that the bulk of the book could instead come from the various interstellar powers and showcase how they deal with these nascent human powers s they take different paths through the cosmos.

  23. Kurto April 27, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

    What if the humans of earth assimilate the alien culture, like in any invasion wave. They go so native into the alien society that they start to occupy a niche market and make it to the society elite/nobility. The human still have traits such as helping others, wants of freedom and so on.
    What if it’s a story about mankind surviving but assimilating and controlling?

  24. CB April 27, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

    The escaped humans use subterfuge and convince the aliens that they are being attacked by other aliens who have therefore been passive. After the aliens start warring on each other Humans can propose alliance with the “innocent” aliens. Use humanities greatest strengths, betrayal, deviousness and ruthlessness. It will end when humanity blackmails the leader of the innocent alien who in the end realizes they had been set up.

  25. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard April 27, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

    Hope this isn’t too big. 😉

    I’m concerned about why the Alien Empire conquered Earth, and I assume Earth’s daughter worlds.

    Like others, I’m not sure why a “Traders Empire” would conquer Earth. I could see it fighting a war to reduce some threat we are to them, but conquest seems harder for me to accept.

    With the somewhat light controls over Earth & its territory, I can’t see the Imps (for the Alien Empire) being stereotypical War-Mongers.

    I’m thinking that the Imps have cultural imperatives for Expansion, Control and Unity.

    The Imps believe that they must continue to expand by settling new worlds and star systems. It’s possible that they had a period of stagnation in their history that caused them to be vulnerable to an outside threat.

    The cultural imperative for Control could relate to this earlier threat but their desire for Control is tempered with some degree of wisdom so that if a light hand will work, they’ll use the light hand to control. Of course, they are still willing to use the heavy hand if necessary.

    As for Unity, the Imp species has had a unified culture for several centuries and part of the culture is the idea of the “Spirit Of The People”. The Imps believe that the Spirit of the People always sought for the Imp species to be one People/Political Union/Culture. In addition, wars between separate groups of the People caused harm/insanity to the Spirit but when the groups were fighting to “unite” the groups the harm was less than when a group fought against uniting with the rest of the People. There was a Legendary Period on their Homeworld called “The Insane Years” when various major groups fought because they didn’t want to “unite” but feared the other groups wanted to conquer them. The current Imp culture was formed by the surviving groups of that period and inherited an almost wrecked world. From that time, the Imps believe in “never again” to being a disunited people and somehow the survivors managed to peacefully unite all the remaining cultures of their homeworld into one culture.

    So the Imps are an expansionist culture who want to control (peacefully if possible) all other species that border their Empire. Fortunately, the concept of “Spirit Of The People” includes other species as “People” so while the highest posts in the Imperial Government (a Council not an Emperor) are held by members of the Imp species, individuals of other species can gain high positions in the Empire even positions where Imps report to non-Imps.
    Their standard “conquest” method is both economic and cultural out-reach. They send “Missionaries” (mostly of the Mediator class) to spread their cultural view as well as working to help other species resolve their internal cultural clashes. In time, most other species have willingly joined the Empire and often many of their cultural views have been accepted by the overall Imp cultural views. It should be noted that the Imps have little problems with contacting species who are pre-space flight and/or pre-science. In such contacts, the Imps take the long view in bringing such species into their Empire. It should be noted that the Imps dislike “pretending to be gods” although their Missionaries aren’t above “creating good fortune” for groups that have been welcoming Imp cultural ideas.

    So why did the Imps conquer the “Earth Federation” (Chris, I’m going to call Earth and her daughter worlds this in the following. You don’t have to use this name.)

    The Imps had been expanding for centuries but have come up against powerful alien civilizations who, so far, aren’t vulnerable to the Imps usual methods and are too powerful for easy military conquest. While there have been border clashes, both the Imps and their neighbors have managed to prevent major war. To the Imps, war is the last resort because of the harm to the Spirit Of The People.

    So while the Imps want/need to continue to expand, the only practical direction is toward the Earth Federation. It is possible for the Imp expansion to “go around” the Federation, but the Imps (perhaps rightly) believe that such bypassing would be seen by the Federation as an attempt to surround the Federation in order to conquer the Federation.

    Now there are mixed feelings among the Imps toward humans and the Federation. They admire the fact that humans avoided the Insane Years and have reached the stars somewhat united. They admire human Cultural Strength believing that our Cultural Strength equals their own. While Imp technology is still superior, they admire what we have done and apparently will continue to do.

    However, the Imps see the Federation as still locked into a clash of human cultures. While the Federation has internal peace, there are elements that they see (and some humans see) that could lead to internal war. Of course, the Imps know from history (theirs, ours & other species) that an external enemy can be used to avoid internal conflict.

    So rightly or wrongly, the Imps believe that either the Federation will collapse into the Insane Years or that the Federation will attempt to prevent the Insane Years by a war with the Imps. Interestingly, the Imps see the Federation collapsing into the Insane Years as worse than a Federation-Imp war.

    While the Imps aren’t demons, they are also not angels so there is plenty of hot debate among them as to what course of action to take. There’s little question in their minds that the Federation has an unsolvable problem although there is doubt that the Federation would attempt to start a Federation-Imp war. Even the Mediator class is highly divided on the proper course of action. Some want to continue their efforts within the Federation and others believe that their efforts would be simpler if the Federation had been conquered.

    Chris, it’s up to you about how the war starts. Accident, Federation starts it, Imps starts it, etc.

    Of course, in this situation the Resistance has plenty of unclaimed territory to use to create a mini-Federation. [Smile]

  26. Dave April 27, 2016 at 6:11 pm #

    How about an alien empire arrives and conquers humanity quickly and easily through vastly superior tech and resources. Humanity surrenders but sends out an evacuation fleet to flee in case the worst should happen.

    The evacuation fleet goes far far away and sets up a colony on the idea that they will hide and grow in strength until one day they are powerful enough to return home to free the earth from the evil empire and take revenge on the aliens.

    A none specific amount of time later the evacuees turned colonist return to earth with a mighty fleet ready to do battle and find that the humanity is perfectly happy with its current status. It has been fully assimilated into the empire. Humanity found great opportunities as part of the empire and over time have integrated with it absorbing its culture and sharing their own. Its people have all the rights and privileges they had before the conquest, along with much more advanced technology, a stronger economy and a significant place in the wider galaxy.

    The returning war fleet is left at a loss for what to do. Their entire culture has been centred around destroying the empire but now that means fighting the humans they had come to save. So do they abandon their beliefs and ideals or do they conquer the earth just as the empire did when they first arrived?

  27. Gary F. York April 27, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

    I’d love to see a book (or more) incorporating ideas from shrekgrinch, Manxspaceprize, Steven, and John.

    I’ve read a great deal of science fiction; but rarely have I seen a book that doesn’t assume that Earth (and humans, of course) deserve to prevail. Personally, given my libertarian views, I would hope we would manage to discard some of our more insane ideas before we encounter the GWW (Galaxy Wide Web).

    So. It occurs to me that:

    1. It’s very likely that an alien society advanced enough to encounter us has – at least – a ‘post scarcity’ economy. When we, as humans, reach that state (which is bogus, really, as there will likely always be some level of scarcity – if only regarding spaces/places to hangout & store ‘stuff”, brain power, and the regard of one’s fellows.)

    2. If we are encountered in the near future, aliens would not believe any society so horribly insane as ours could long exist! I mean, get real! Even in our Western societies, we put into positions of power, those who are (silly or insane) enough to seek power over others.

    Therefore, I expect that any alien civilization that encountered us would either

    1. isolate us. (This trope has been done well before), or
    2. fix us. For our own good – before we destroy ourselves and, along with us, the neighborhood.

    For as long as I can foresee, any society will need to provide some means of restraining those individuals who have not managed to adequately restrain themselves. How exactly that is accomplished and what degree of ‘self-restraint’ is expected will vary.

    In our human society, we are currently, bit by bit, eliminating scarcity from our lives. Currently, when ‘stuff’ is scarce and the ‘stuff’ needed to continue living (food, shelter, companions) is even more precious, every ‘able-bodied’ human being is expected to be productive. That is, to at least manage to provide for themselves and family and, better yet, provide a bit more that will serve to enrich society as a whole. “Capitalism” is all about rewarding individual behavior that does that best: property rights, mostly. That and reasonably civil behavior.

    We have long rewarded, at least to some degree, those who provide nothing but a few minutes or hours of amusement or entertainment. Sometimes, writers of — frivolous — books or even makers of exceptionally silly songs manage to make a really decent living! Increasingly, as the necessities of life become less scarce, the things that add value to our lives — luxuries, really — become more desired.

    I would FULLY expect any, ‘post scarcity’ society, even an alien society, to be very largely libertarian. After all, how is one to keep another under one’s power when everyone, literally _everyone_ has the ‘power’ to – depart? If not ‘exactly’ libertarian, any such society would only be comprised by somewhat ‘like-minded’ individuals. The others would – depart – to find cooler people to hang with. “Freedom” is a — luxury — that, while still uncommon, will become more desired.


    1. Who would ‘discover’ us?
    A. An individual?
    B. Some group enterprise? (Economic motives are surely out. Scientific or more casual curiosity? An ‘explorer’s club?’)
    C. A group of weirdos?

    2. What would ‘they’ do?
    A. Isolate us
    B. Fix us.

    3. How would they go about it?


  28. Leonard April 27, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

    What about the escaping fleet instead becoming a free trade fleet and slowly dominating the market and defeating the alien race through commerce?

    • Steven April 28, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

      Cant wait to pay for that exciting story

  29. David Graf April 28, 2016 at 2:14 am #

    What about taking a contrary position? The aliens effectively end strife both on earth and between earth and other interstellar powers. Their infusion of tech creates a prosperity boom on earth not seen previously in our history and effectively raises our standard of living to the point that even a rich person (i.e., Trump) of today would envy their poor. As time goes on, the humans become more trusted and rise into positions of power and prominence in the new order. Eventually, contact is made with the “unreconstructed” humans who fled and a war is waged to the death with humanity divided between those who want freedom at any price and those who think things are better under the aliens.

  30. Tom April 28, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

    How about this alien race is a vast interstellar empire consisting of many other races who are all enslaved and subjugated (think The Dominion from Star Trek DS9). The surviving human fleets could gain tech and support from others who are fleeing the empires aggression, they could begin to incite revolt and take control of or destroy key systems.

  31. johntae71 April 28, 2016 at 7:35 pm #

    You can turn it into a hard scifi book on economic dominance over time. Use the Chinese model.

    If you’re an expanding empire you ultimately need two types of fleets. A battle fleet for expanding the empire and securing the borders and a patrol fleet to police the Empire itself.

    Who do you assign to the patrol fleets when everyone who’s Anyone wants battle fleet assignments? You use your Sepoy’s of course. In this scenario, Humans.

    Over time you could create a “phantom” menace of out of control piracy and local rebellions.

    Lord, pirates have gotten a hold of battle cruisers through our enemies, patrol fleet needs to up arm our fleet or our internal economy will crash.

    You get the picture.

  32. Matthew W Quinn April 29, 2016 at 3:23 am #

    I like Bob Stewart’s “Vichy Earth” idea, with Ken’s bit about how the Vichy government doesn’t like being under the thumb of aliens and is actually putting captured rebels to work making weapons to someday use against the aliens.

    I’d definitely like to check this out if you go with it.

  33. Shoeless April 29, 2016 at 6:45 am #

    Just a question, but why does the overall political situation have to change? To many books lately seem to be about changing, or saving the world. Go the other route. Here is the world, it kind of sucks, but that’s life. Go for an independent free traders group of former military occasionally chased by alien overlords. But the aliens don’t really care about them. They are not a threat, just homeless humans running about the galaxy. At first searching for a new home to be free, but over time realizing that “have ship, will travel” is really the true freedom. (they can’t take the sky from me….) Tell me stories of alien worlds and weird species where knowing when to cut and run is a true super power.

  34. Andrew April 29, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

    So aliens (lets call them slugs) just discovered Solar system and they don’t like competitions (What! You want to mine in yours own Asteroid Belt! Impossible!). But they don’t have use for Earth. Too cold, too hot or maybe this awful thing called oxygen? Nevermind, they just don’t need competition in space, or maybe had/are having bad experience with neighbours on the other border.
    So, they won war and make us forget about space. After 1st or 27th breaking treaty by humans, aliens install collaborators in power and start using us to work/fight/… . And actually humans are more adaptable, skilled and inventive, then slugs. And there are more planets suitable for Human then for Slugs. In few generations most of systems controlled by Glorious Slugish Empire is populated by Humans (and maybe other races conquered by mostly human Slugish Armed Forces – imagine… or remember British Indian Army). And now there is so many possibilities.
    1) Humans take power by force. Slugish resistance (or human Slugish Right Movement?)
    2) GSE is quasi-democratic and human/sług ratio is 3/1 so …
    3) Slugs are afraid of humans rising to power and start exterminations. Of course – most army is human, so its not so easy…
    1b/2b/3b) Empire is divided and cold/not so cold war lasts. And neighbours are watching…
    4) Many variations of above + neighbouring aliens.

    Other idea – After conquest by aliens, group of human spacers escape to place outside enemies border. And meet refugees from 20 other races escaping from 6 different empires… Spies, pirates, politics and …
    Greetings !

  35. George Leon April 30, 2016 at 12:20 am #

    I can think of 3 possibilities:

    The First one is continue following the WWII path took in regards to France. With the human renegades joining the master’s enemies and becoming something like the WWII Free French Forces.

    The Second is tacking a proxy war scenario similar to the ones seen during the Cold War.

    An expanding militaristic race is bound to have enemies or rivals at the very least.
    These races are neither interested in engaging the masters in a full scale galactic war nor are they particularly concern with the fate of mankind, but they are happy to disrupt the masters plans and hurt their interests at every turn. As such they are willing to provide the renegades with sanctuary, supplies, weapons and logistical support so they can continue to strike at the masters. But they do so in a way that allows them to retain deniability in the event the renegades are ever defeated or captured. As such the conflict becomes a Proxy-War where mankind’s “allies” use the human renegades to attack the masters on their behalf but without them getting directly involved in the fighting.

    The third one is something is something I saw in Star Wars Legacy.
    In legacy the Galactic Alliance is defeated by the Empire at the battle of Caamas. A general surrender order is issue to the Alliance Forces, but in an act of defiance Alliance Admiral Gar Stazi refuses to surrender and leads the Alliance Core Fleet and several other task forces into exile. For the next years Stazi’s Fleet wages out a guerrilla war against the now sith controlled empire that eventually culminates with the theft of an advanced Star Destroyer prototype that becomes Stazi’s new flagship. In all this time Stazi’s Fleet remain operational thanks to the discreet backing of worlds sympathetic to the Alliance cause and to supplies stolen from the imperial military.
    As time passes the Alliance fleet grows with captured imperial ships and volunteers from local planetary defense forces that silently defect (with the blessings of their respective governments) to join Stazi’s Fleet.
    Eventually Stazi enters into an alliance with Roan Fel’s Empire in exile and together are finally able to defeat the Empire.
    This scenario takes a critical element from the previous 2 scenarios, in that it assumes that an expanding militaristic power is bound to have enemies and rivals. It’s not entirely impossible that at the same time humanity is being conquered other races are also being conquered or are under attack. Here is were the proverbial saying “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” comes into play. In legacy Stazi and Roan Fel enter into an alliance of convenience, they don’t really trust each other and there are a lot of grudges between the alliance and the empire in exile. But they are still willing to put their differences aside until the sith empire is defeated. A similar approach could be taken here with the human renegades joining forces with rebels or alien powers that had been conquered or are under attack by the masters. The existence of a common threat should be enough to create an alliance of convenience between the renegades and the aliens.

  36. G Powell April 30, 2016 at 6:22 pm #

    What if the aliens (more than one alien race, aka the EU) were prohibited by their law from invading in the accepted military sense? Our impoverishment as the alien aid organisations see it. Ready to fix us by flooding our markets and crashing our industries, making things worse and increasing our dependency on them. Covert political machinations by alien governments and subversive political movements (Alien Ernie Guevara anyone?) Earth as a supply of cheap on and offshore labour, temporary worker visas…

    You could mix up 20th century Africa, the H1B kerfuffle, US southern border problems (we are the illegal aliens!), exporting of production capacity to, e.g. China (that would eventually hand Earth advanced alien tech on a platter.) Alien peaceniks who are “all mouth and no trousers” hilariously misunderstanding, mischaracterising and generally getting in the way.

    Comprehending from both viewpoints the seemingly intractable problems in a messy universe. A shock incident when we finally look at ourselves and realise that we need to be free, but based on principals, rather than any fixed ideology that tries to define but ends up restricting to a subset of what and who we are: Something the Aliens have forgotten, suppressed or codified into oblivion in their moribund political systems.

    Then of course the consequences of our not accepting a lowly place go-gooders can pity: Alien blue hats in peacekeeping “police action” operations escalating into an unacknowledged war. Alien peace protesters wavering between denouncing us and supporting us. Other alien governments taking advantage of the situation. An alien superpower turns their fearsome weapons against us but things go all F35 on them; the lessons of simplicity, robustness and cost of mass production having gone out the window. Alien governments seeking opportunity in the political chaos or trying to dictate policy to others. Its a playground of backstabbing you could have fun with.

    I guess it would end with a situation something like… Independence for us, but an uneasy peace. Guarded borders (AKA Israel), with the aliens still trying to pull economic and political strings and us having to be eternally vigilant. Alien subversives still trying to tip the applecart (and getting nowhere as we’ve had the full on aversion therapy.) Alien businesses (with full support of their governments in full crony style) continuing to hunt for new worlds like ours to pull in cheap labor and screw over their own citizens – But our intelligence agencies are in the know (we still export products and labor to them) and attempt to get there first to inoculate the new worlds against the old. Soon a collection of unaligned worlds start to coalesce into something more: Setting the stage, in time, for another vastly more violent conflict as the old alien governments, with jealousy and fear of losing influence (their own agitated populations seeing how we do stuff and treat people, asking awkward questions of their rulers and political systems) look on the freedom of the new…

    Err.. I think I just went off the 100% MilSF rails a bit, but hope I’ve given some food for thought.


    • kynes April 30, 2016 at 11:07 pm #

      I would read this

    • chrishanger May 2, 2016 at 7:04 pm #

      Might be fun to do .


  37. PuffyWuff May 1, 2016 at 1:17 am #

    Okay here’s my stab at a story outline. Firstly it seems that the powerful conquering alien race (hereafter “Type 1 Aliens”) wants us around to do something important, maybe help fight an even worse enemy (hereafter “Type 2 Aliens”)? I don’t know exactly what us bunch of monkeys could do for the Type 1 Aliens, but possibly it might be we are more warlike or creative or something of that ilk; perhaps we might be better at developing unusual/unexpected tactics in war – perhaps they are too logical to think of things we might do. Which combined with better tech would help vs the Type 2 Aliens mentioned above.

    And the escaping fleet? It swanned around for a while, eventually bumped into the Type 2 Aliens and found that they seem quite jolly, friendly types… but that was only a facade to con the escapees into helping them vs the Type 1 Aliens.

    Meanwhile back on planet Earth the human authorities treat the masses pretty much as they do now. Thus rebel groups form and all sorts of fun begins.

    Or else it’s something to do with a parallel universe? (Ha ha, only kidding about that)

  38. Anarchymedes May 2, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

    Question 1: why do the aliens fight? More specifically, what do they want from humans? Resources? Slaves (free workforce/gun fodder?) Territory? It’s been mentioned that the human technology is not as advanced as theirs, so it’s definitely not the brains.

    Question 2: aren’t the humanity making a huge mistake by assuming their new enemy thinks the way human politicians from the 20th century did? That assumption may have led to the humanity’s defeat in the first place: projecting their own history on a species with different physiology, psychology, culture, and history (see Edem, by Stanislav Lem, the author of Solaris).

    Question 3: now that the aliens are there, what does the humanity want for themselves? What would be the victory, from the human viewpoint? Peace on equal terms? Enslaving/controlling the bastards? Exterminating them once and forever? Parting ways and never meeting again?

    I think that asking, and answering these questions would open up a lot of possibilities of creating a story that would differ favourably from the standard ‘geopolitical’ military science fiction: something unique.

    • Steven May 3, 2016 at 1:00 pm #


      • Anarchymedes May 6, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

        If the aliens’ religion makes them fight, then it would be fun for a maverick faction of humans to bring about a schism in the alien religion. For example, by winning a few battles through sheer irrationality/creativity/inspiration, or introducing the concept of freedom as an absolute value, or love as something the reptilian/amphibian/cybernetic aliens just don’t get… Well, anyway, that’s what I’d try.

  39. Ryan Downie May 2, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

    I have thought a little bit about the dilemma. I believe that you should have the expatriate taskforce earn their living by doing the “dirty jobs” ex. becoming like the unmentionables caste in India. Treated like crap, less than standard pay, and ignored at every opportunity. They would be the trash haulers of the system they worked in, but their trash could be our treasure. Maybe the taskforce could end up having to live in an asteroid system with a dead star. Having an entire new generation longing the see the “good, pure” light of Sol. They would devolp some new weapon technologies to overthrow the aliens government. Meanwhile on Earth the current administration would be angry for the “saviors” for destroying their chance to succeed. Just a thought. Good luck.

  40. Richard McDuff May 5, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

    So, this would be like the Cold War? The aliens on earth are there to prevent another empire from incorporating human space? Two empires fighting proxy wars at the fringes of their own space. It might be fun to turn it around where empire1 like the Soviets takes over Human Space(ala Vietnam) and empire2 is working with (the escaped group as you described) to just keep empire1 bogged down in a jungle-like war. Of course you could then see a motive for helping the escaped human fleets (ala Viet Cong.) Of course Alien motives from either empire are not in humanity’s best interests. Then you could have humans playing both sides and managing to cause many problems within both empires home areas always pointing to the other guy. Aliens would be confused by the apparently schizo humans and eventually empire1 would have to pull out of the quagmire and, in an unforeseen move, the humans have managed to steal the technology from both sides and can hold their own ground which leads to . . .

  41. Björn Marl May 22, 2016 at 9:49 am #

    How about the invading aliens are being forced to do this? Not by another master species or such, but by a biological imperative. Lets say their procreation is at danger if they don’t subdue earth.
    It takes the free humans a while to discover this while trying to stay alive and find allies.
    There could be several stages to this
    Invasion of earth and flight of the few
    Survival in alien space – Finding allies, hideouts etc.
    Infiltration of alien home space – First objective might be intelligence and or asymetric warfare
    Discovery of real cause – Maybe even unknown/not conciously known to the invading species
    Hunt for solution of alien problem – Scientific, technical, political, social or any mixture
    Struggle to implement solution
    Some side idea might be that the simple presence of humans in alien space increase their problem.

    • John May 23, 2016 at 10:58 am #

      Its about time somebody did do a biological imperative …. Niven and Pournelle’s mote in Gods eye books leave a very long shadow and maybe thats put writers off?

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