Alien Day. The date was Friday, the third of August. For some people the day was just beginning, for others it was the ending in a perfectly normal way. Then right across the world every ground and airborne radar screen went haywire.... This time it had really happened. An alien spacecraft was in orbit around planet Earth. Nine weeks later, civilisation is on the edge of a breakdown more devastating than any nuclear war....
Trained as a graphic designer and having written several film scripts, Patrick Tilley became a full-time writer. He lives with his wife in Gwynedd Wales.
©2013 Patrick Tilley (P)2013 Audible Ltd
Well before its time, a Sci-fi novel that is thoughtful, brave enough to be real, with political and scientific characters in the lead yet no 'hero' in the modern sense. There are elements of Independence Day, Star Trek the movie, Starman, Forge of God, Close Encounters, yet this predates them all.
The novel asks questions and doesn't treat the reader like a child who needs everything tied upneatly at the end, indeed it asks you to extend and project the story on your own to imagine your own conclusions to elements of the plot which are left open to you. Where most modern novels would be looking for a trilogy to maximise the revenue this novel launches itself, in the final scenes, into a fascinating 'what if' scenario and then trusts the readers own imagination to carry on the story. A alien craft is detected approaching earth which creates such interference that scans reveal nothing and tracking becomes impossible. The interference grows to effect communications and power networks and the governments of the earth question is this an unintentional byproduct of the crafts presence or an act of aggression. The questions are played out in eeal time with sufficient political and scientific realism to engage without confusing. Throughout you genuinely don't know what might happen as the story refuses to follow predictable paths, always surprising you.
The narration is good in that it doesn't get in the way of 'telling'.
Those who miss those seventies dystopian Sci-fi films and novels where there really might not be a happy ending, where questions where open and answers something you could speculate about for months afterwards, should enjoy this novel. Those who need dramatic three act story arcs where the hero gets the girl and saves the day (and the dog never dies) should get this novel to experience what has been lost in the modern Sci-fi novel. They justdo n't write them like this anymore.
I first read this book back when it was published in 1975. As a teenager, I remember the story as one of those that pried my imagination open a little further. After finishing it, of course, I read everything else that Patrick Tilley wrote. What makes this a book that can be revisited and enjoyed even now, 40-years later, is the excellent study that the author provides of the reactions of society (or its leaders, anyhow) to the arrival of an alien craft and the world-spanning problems that unfold. He provides detailed, rational analysis of various opposing viewpoints: military, political and scientific, leaving the reader to decide which aspects might be correct or valid.
Of course, there is a storyline running here as well with characters that you can identify with. The pace is fast, although set over a fairly short period of time. I enjoyed the book as much now as I did all those years ago and recommend it to anyone who may want to be prodded into thinking about what might just happen and what our political leaders might do in such circumstances.
"Interesting and Realistic"
Reviewers who call this book boring fail to see the point or enjoy the fact that this book is about the human response to an alien invasion, not the aliens. It is not an action thriller. It is a discussion of what would go on in human minds and bureaucracies. I found it very interesting.
However, I am the sort of person who does not need fast action or plot driven stories. The deliberations of the American government and of the scientific researchers as they tried to understand this thing and the consequences were fascinating. I marveled through the whole book how the author could discipline himself to take a low-key, non-sensational approach to such a momentous topic. It's really the only first encounter book I've ever read that I didn't think was stupid. That's right, First One. And I read a lot.
I also note that Evan Greenberg's reading was also fabulous. He captured the deadpan caution of the bureaucrats perfectly and did not fall into the annoying habit of some readers of trying to 'act'. I read books so that my interpretation can take precedence. He did me the kindness of leaving himself out of it.
"The original and best"
Yes and I have done. This book set the genre.
Any book where aliens try to set the world back a few technological steps, fade out did it first.
A nice slow steady buildup in tension
I first read this years ago and loved it. A re-reading 20 years later didn't change it. Still loved it.
"Life is too long for books this boring"
The story is highly dated and many of the political rants theories the author expresses have been proven false. Perhaps if there was less ranting and more plot/story/character development...
Some scifi ages badly. Most political thrillers age badly. This is a bad combination of both
"worst science fiction book EVER"
What is a journalist or 20th century historian trying to pull with this so called Science Fiction story. Dont be fooled by the advertising an resume as i was, it is not a good novel, bad, bad so bad and booooring
Wow, read the reveiws before purchasing this, and I am disappointed. Its VERY slow...Some what interesting premise, but for a snail.
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