Alien invasion yarn from the veteran author of Sorcerers of Majipoor (1997), etc. Seven years from now, huge alien spaceships appear all over the Earth; in California, a ship's exhaust carelessly causes vast brushfires that pilot Mike Carmichael dies trying to extinguish. Mike's weird New Age wife, Cindy, goes aboard the alien vessel, relays a message of peace and friendship, and refuses to leave. All other attempts to communicate with the aliens fail. Meanwhile, Mike's brother, retired Colonel Anson Carmichael III, is summoned to the Pentagon to discuss the situation. The aliens come in three varieties: the dominant squid-like Entities; the balloon-like Spooks; and the huge blue Behemoths. Clearly, the aliens are highly advanced and can—t be defeated, but what do they want? The Colonel returns to his California ranch none the wiser, but soon the aliens switch off the world's electricity, and governments, economies, and social orders collapse overnight. The Colonel gathers the Carmichael clan at his ranch and founds a center of resistance to the aliens, who can control anyone by means of the Touch (a telepathic inquisition) and the Push (an irresistible compulsion). Attempts to damage the aliens or their installations are met with devastating plagues and other brutal reprisals. The years pass. Some humans, like computer whiz Karl-Heinrich Borgmann, collaborate with the aliens. The Carmichaels continue to scheme and plot—ineffectually, but they never give up through more than half a century of aloof occupation. Realistic, often intriguing, but too episodic to be fully involving. Read full book review >
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