History Main / OutOfTheDark

4th Mar '13 1:49:50 PM Xtifr
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Expanded from a short story of DavidWeber that first appeared in GeorgeRRMartin and Gardner Dozois's anthology Warriors (2010), this trilogy kickoff blends elements of military science fiction and [[spoiler:dark fantasy]]. In the very near future, Earth has been targeted for colonization by a galactic empire known as the Hegemony. Deemed "lunatic local sentients" by a survey team that witnessed [[TheHouseOfPlantagenet King Henry V]] and his troops [[HundredYearsWar slaughtering the French at Agincourt]], humankind has essentially been written off as [[BarbarianTribe bloodthirsty, backwater barbarians]] that no one will particularly miss. It's TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. Technologically superior, carnivorous, [[IntelligentGerbil canine-analog aliens]] have [[AlienInvasion invaded Earth]] with the intention of killing most of us and enslaving the rest. [[LetsGetDangerous Things don't go according to plan]]. Fans of the ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' and ''{{Safehold}}'' series can expect to enjoy the book...riiiiight up until the TwistEnding. Speaking of which, if you don't want to spoil the infamous twist, '''do not''' scroll down to the Index list at the bottom of this page, or even glance at the review page. ---- !!Tropes in this work: * AbnormalAmmo: Shongairi mortars use a wide range of ammunition types, including some kind of chemical warhead that releases a fast-acting neurotoxin. * AlasPoorVillain: Ground Base Commander Shairez. She may be responsible for kidnapping humans to develop a plague to wipe us all out, but through most of the book she's shown as an intelligent, curious, hard working, and capable aide who is one of the more likable enemies and often serves to draw out the Admiral's softer side. [[spoiler:In the end, she's tortured for info for several hours by Vlad the f'ing Impaler.]] * AlienInvasion * AlternativeNumberSystem: The Shongairi count in base-twelve. Possibly. * ArmorIsUseless: Shongairi troop and vehicle armor is great against primitives with sticks and crossbows. Not so much against combat rifles, tanks, and rocket launchers. * AsskickingEqualsAuthority: It's a bone-deep part of Shongairi psychology, and (at first) they view humanity's "never say die" mentality as consciously dishonorable; when they realize it's innate to our species, they decide we're clinically insane. * BigBlackout: Averted -- for a while. Despite the elimination of major cities, power and internet stay up for a good while before the Shongairi specifically take them out. * {{BFG}}: Sweet, sweet Barrett .50 cal. * BlueAndOrangeMorality: For the Shongairi, refusing to submit to an obvious superior, especially after that superior has demonstrated unquestioned strength, is horrific. They also don't see why humans get pissed when Shongairi eat the corpses of those they killed, including children; to the Shongairi, eating the corpses is the only way to honor them and not let the soul go to waste. Humanity's refusal to back down and fight viciously out of a need to protect their families or to seek vengeance for the deaths of loved ones is utterly alien to the Shongairi. * BoomHeadshot: Lots. And other forms of LudicrousGibs too. * CrazyPrepared: Of course, if there hadn't actually been an AlienInvasion, it just would have been...crazy. * CrazySurvivalist: It's all justified (AlienInvasion, remember), but the menfolk of the mountain cabin have clear plans to put lots of [[{{BFG}} half-inch holes]] in anyone who might threaten their little commune. * CombatPragmatist: Surprisingly, the Shongairi are even more pragmatic than the human guerrilla fighters. (See HumansAreMorons below.) Of course the end result is that humans just get more insanely pissed off. * CoolVersusAwesome: At the end, the book is essentially about WolfMan aliens with orbital bombardments vs. various modern armies and [[spoiler: ''fucking Dracula!'']] * ConspiracyTheories: Unsurprisingly happens in the first few days of the attack. Later it the aliens begin to fall victim to them when bad things start happening to their bases. * CouldHaveAvoidedThisPlot: The humans point out that the entire war could have been avoided if the Shongairi hadn't announced their presence with orbital bombardment and instead simply showed up to offer humans "carrots" i.e. gifts of advanced technology. The Shongairi eventually realize it too, but far too late. * CripplingOverspecialization: The Shongairi are prepared for two kinds of combat -- kicking the crap out of primitives & space warfare. They are shocked to realize that humanity is far, far more advanced at warfare inside a gravity well; their tech could have done everything we did better, but they just never needed to. * {{Determinator}}: Mankind as a whole to the Shongairi; it turns out that while humans ''do'' possess a submission mechanism, it is subordinated to our instinct to [[PapaWolf protect]] [[MamaBear family]]. * DepopulationBomb: The Shongairi open up with a bombardment that kills about half of the world's population, and note that starvation and disease will kill many of the survivors. When resistance continues that severely threatens their ability to maintain control, they plan to instead just wash the whole thing by releasing a bioweapon and wiping out all the survivors. * DieHardOnAnX: Up until the {{TwistEnding}}, it's basically ''{{Worldwar}}'' in the twenty-first century, with the political and technological issues adjusted accordingly. * DisasterScavengers[=/=]DyingLikeAnimals: Alluded to and prepared against, but not actually seen. Humanity holds together pretty well rather than turning on each other for the most part. There are some mentions made of characters being attacked by other, desperate scavengers, and a couple of groups of National Guardsmen attempt to become local warlords and meet suitably bad ends. [[spoiler:Then again, the plot doesn't last until winter, when people will get desperate.]] * [[spoiler:{{Dracula}}:]] It's foreshadowed a bit, but it's called a TwistEnding for a reason. ** HeWhoFightsMonsters: Part of his history and why he avoids crossing the line. ** ThenLetMeBeEvil: What happens when he's finally pushed too far. * {{Eagleland}}: Type 1. America is awesome, and the aliens recognize the US as one of their biggest threats. * EarthShatteringKaboom: Thikair eventually just decides to [[spoiler: blast Earth to asteroids.]] Later, [[spoiler: Vlad threatens to do this to the Shongairi worlds in turn using dreadnought weapons.]] * TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: Humanity is so screwed. [[spoiler:Until it's the Shongairi's turn.]] * EnemyMine: American soldiers and Muslim extremists working hand in hand, with little rancor. * EverythingIsOnline: We youtubed shooting down alien dropships! ** Also one of the primary advantages of humanity, allowing us to coordinate strikes and keep up morale. * FalseFlagOperation: The aliens use Iran as a cover when hacking world military installations right before the invasion. * FantasticRacism: Within the Hegemony, between carnivores and herbivores/omnivores. The Shongairi have nothing but contempt for humanity as well, at least at first. [[spoiler: The revelation of the vampires makes a lot of mankind...''uncomfortable''.]] ** FantasticSlurs: The Shongairi use "weed-eater" as an epithet. Humanity calls them "puppies." * [[spoiler: FriendlyNeighborhoodVampire]]: [[spoiler: Vlad is ''trying'' to be one of these, but the Shongairi are ''pushing'' him. He deliberately makes Stephen a vampire in order to be one of these and his MoralityPet.]] * GenocideBackfire: The Shongairi invaded Earth, wiped out half the population, and eventually tried to kill the rest. Then we [[spoiler: jacked their neural educators and industrial ships]], and noted that [[spoiler: their extremely slow FTL means mankind has centuries before anyone even realizes they haven't reported in.]] The novel ends with [[spoiler: mankind prepping to turn the warships and weaponry back toward the Hegemony that condemned them in the first place.]] * GlassCannon: Shongairi ground vehicles are very well armed, with lasers that punch through modern tank armor like paper and advanced and powerful mortars. However, their ''armor'' is only rated to fight crossbows and catapults, so human anti-armor weapons go through theirs like paper too. * GunsAkimbo: Seemingly averted, then played straight. * GunPorn: '''Oh, yes...''' The other thing the book is criticized for after the TwistEnding. ** GoodGunsBadGuns: Averted. Russian hardware is lovingly appreciated. * HiddenAgendaVillain * HoistByTheirOwnPetard: [[spoiler:Neural education gives humanity what it needs to commandeer Shongairi capitol and construction ships and begin the GenocideBackfire.]] ** The puppies fail to realize that wiping out all of Earth's capitols leaves no one to tell their military and civilians to stand down, not understanding that we wouldn't find it self-evident. The Shongairi also failed to realize that revealing their presence by bombing the hell out of mankind and demanding surrender without offering any sort of incentive to surrender (beyond "we'll bomb you more") was likely to result in a lot of mankind just getting pissed. ** Leaving the internet in place to demand surrender lets humanity use it to rally and boost their morale. ** Eventually starts happening to humans. The Shongairi, paying attention to human tactics, start to wise up and allow regimental commanders more flexibility in calling in air and orbital support. Eventually they start using human grenade and rocket launchers to supplement their infantry weapons. * HopelessWar: [[IWillFightSomeMoreForever We don't care, though]]. * HumanityOnTrial: Offstage, but it does happen, and we're given the death penalty. * HumanityIsInsane: The puppies' horrified conclusion. ** HumansAreTheRealMonsters: Humanity is the only race that doesn't have the instinct to surrender permanently when beaten by a superior force, since we're far more individual and family oriented than the pack and herd oriented aliens. Guerrilla warfare, passive resistance, and sabotage are utterly foreign to our would-be conquerors because a Shongairi confronted with an obvious superior will automatically submit; the notion of resisting against the "pack leader" in anything other than an obvious show of force intended to seize control of the pack is considered vile and dishonorable. * HumansAdvanceSwiftly: We've advanced three times faster than the fastest known race (which advanced twice as fast as the next best), and no one can figure out why such a warlike species hasn't blown itself up yet. The Shongairi actually intended to take advantage of this, putting humans to work in their R&D labs as well as using them as shock troops. [[spoiler: Then we jack the Shongairi's neural educators, and the end of the novel implies we're getting prepped to eventually return the favor.]] * HumansAreMorons: The Shongairi are initially convinced of this, based on "idiotic tactics" from Agincourt, and a further convinced of it once they understand the current situation. For example, they believe that the refusal of First World powers to use nuclear or biological weapons against their enemies in the Middle East is idiotic (specifically citing the US' tolerance of Iran's actions) and the presence of a public information network like the Internet, allowing free, ready access to vast stores of information, is considered completely insane. * HumansAreSurvivors * HumansAreWarriors: This novel has strong, pervasive themes of "HUMANITY, FUCK YEAH!" * HumansThroughAlienEyes: Generally, the alien perception of humanity is that we're [[HumanityIsInsane insane]] or [[HumansAreMorons idiots.]] * {{Hypocrite}}s: The Hegemony, who consider themselves peaceful and enlightened folk and who regret allowing the aggressive Shongairi into the fold as required by their laws decide to sweep humanity under the rug rather than let us one day join. The Shongairi repeatedly {{lampshade}} this in contempt. * InsufficientlyAdvancedAlien: Orbital bombardment is just about the only thing the Shongairi have going for them (though to be fair, RocksFallEveryoneDies ''is'' [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer pretty effective]]). Their ground forces don't have any experience going up against anything more advanced than crossbows, and it really shows in their tactics and equipment. They do eventually start uparmoring their equipment and adjusting their tactics, and their actual heavy and support weapons are quite effective; the humans note that the puppies' mortars in particular are very deadly and have a wide variety of ammunition types. ** NeverBringAKnifeToAGunFight * {{Infodump}}: Several chapters are devoted solely to outline politics on Earth or within the Hegemony that led to the current situation. One chapter is mostly devoted to excessively detailing survivalist preparations, and there are some entirely irrelevant infodumps (i.e. the one regarding Iranian politics or several pages devoted to an F-22 pilot bashing the F-35 while in the middle of attacking alien troopships). * IntelligentGerbil: The two alien species described in the novel resemble dogs and cattle. * JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: Happens off camera to some captured Shongairi. * KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter: Dropping a MeteorOfDoom is a cheap way to soften up a future colony. ** The Shongairi have effective energy weapons on their heavy assault vehicles but mostly rely on mediocre conventional firearms. Human firearms and artillery become the stuff of nightmares for them. * LeaveNoSurvivors: Shongairi soldiers attempt to surrender, but when Stephen Buchevsky again sees the children they have killed, he is reminded of his own killed daughters and has them all killed. * LetsGetDangerous: The poor Shongairi did ''not'' expect backwater omnivores to pack armor-piercing, antipersonnel ammo, IED expertise, or the F-22 & M1 Abrams. * MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: One of the Hegemony's more pragmatic, founding races basically tells the Shongairi that they'll look the other way if humanity doesn't happen to make it through this. ** Later, when the Shongairi decide we're too dangerous to use as slaves, they plan to make the release of their bioweapon look like an accident to deflect political fallback. * MeaningfulName: Mircea Basarab. See GeniusBonus on the YMMV page. * MoralityPet: Stephen [[spoiler:becomes this for Mircea]]. * MotherRussiaMakesYouStrong: Also Mother Afghanistan, Mother Ukraine, Mother Romania, and even Mother North Carolina...Weber really makes an effort to show that he views Earth as a WorldOfBadass. * NothingIsScarier: The Shongairi, [[spoiler: when the vampires attack]], find the silence more disturbing than facing the destruction humans can cause in direct combat. * ObstructiveBureaucracy: The Hegemony. It takes them ''600 years'' to go from deciding humanity is a threat to finally sending the Shongairi after us. The Shongairi are aware they can probably get away with subjugating or wiping out a Class Two civilization because it'll take at least a couple of centuries for the Hegemony to check up on them; more if they stall for time. ** Justified because Hegemony FTL isn't that much faster than light. ** Their first contact teams are most made up of a race specifically known for adherence to procedure. * OneWorldOrder: The Shongairi are confused that humanity managed to get to our current level of advancement without becoming this. * [[spoiler:OurVampiresAreDifferent: Instant intangibility/gaseous form, invulnerability to conventional weapons, undetectable to thermal or night vision, no need to breathe, and no vulnerability to holy items.]] * OutsideContextVillain: The aliens are this to humanity. [[spoiler: The vampires]] throw this trope back in their face. * PapaWolf[=/=]MamaBear: Humanity's [[PlanetOfHats hat]]. The Shongairi's psychology is built around a pack structure, and thus they automatically submit to superior members of the pack. Most herbivore species' psychology is herd-oriented, causing them to submit out of automatic fear-response and a desire to deflect threats away from the herd as a whole. Humans, however, are ''family-oriented'' - and they respond to threats against members of their families with swift and seemingly-irrational violence. ** CrusadingWidower: Most of the main male characters lose their entire family in the invasion. * PlanetOfHats: Earth is a planet of {{Determinator}}s who happen to be {{Mama Bear}}s and [[PapaWolf Papa Wolves]]. Notably, this is the conclusion reached by Base Commander Shairez because there is ''no'' other truly common thread she can discern, due to the violent diversity of human culture. * TheQuisling: Governor Howell of North Carolina. [[spoiler:Who is actually a ReverseMole -- something the Shongairi can't really conceive of until late in the book.]] ** Largely averted as a whole by humanity thanks to our collective outrage and the Shongairi's failure to understand human psychology and their "no carrot, all stick" approach. * RageQuit: This is, basically, how the Shongairi decide to end the war. They haven't been able to occupy the world, they can't complete their bioweapon, and now all their bases are getting assaulted by something they can't stop on the ground. Thikair withdraws his entire devastated army from the surface and then prepares to [[EarthShatteringKaboom destroy the entire planet]], mostly out of spite. * TheRightOfASuperiorSpecies: The aliens usually do this successfully but get way more than they bargained for with humanity. * SchizoTech: How Earth is viewed. Not only is it weird for us to still be using fossil fuel power and yet to be avoiding chemical & biological weapons, but we've done things with military technology no other race ever would have because they would've been unified by that point. * SelfInsertFic: So what, the main character is named David; it's a common name. And his wife's name is Sharon...and they live in South Carolina...and their dogs are named [[{{Safehold}} Nimue and Merlin]]? [[{{Egregious}} Oh, come on, Weber]]! * SuperweaponSurprise: Humanity has barely left their gravity well, and are facing a species that has FTL capability. Humanity has superior ground weaponry, but there's no way mankind can win, and both sides know it. But ''no one'' expected [[spoiler: Dracula!]] * SurvivalistStash: See CrazyPrepared and CrazySurvivalist. * TestedOnHumans: The Shongairi attempt to capture humans several times to prepare [[ThePlague a bioweapon]]. * TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: [[spoiler: Dracula]] delivers one of these to Thikair at the end, noting that, among other things, the Shongairi were going to sentence humanity to extinction for ''daring'' to defend themselves and fight back against an invader. * ToServeMan: Played with. The Shongairi are carnivores and consider ''not'' eating their fallen foes as almost disrespectful to them. This does not endear them to humanity or to any other race, for that matter. * TrailersAlwaysSpoil: The Publishers Weekly summary leaves no doubt as to the nature of the twist at the end of the novel. * TwistEnding: AND HOW. The last few pages shove what appears to be a SciFi novel into an entirely different genre, one that Weber fans will ''never'' see coming. YMMV, but few reviewers seem to appreciate it. ** [[spoiler: You want to know the twist ending? Do you? Okay, look down at the bottom of the page, at the indexes. Now, in a Hard Sci-Fi setting, which of these indexes seem out of place?]] * UpgradeArtifact: The Shongairi test direct "neural education" on humanity and finds us surprisingly better at receiving it than most of the Hegemony's species. [[BlatantLies This is no way]] [[HoistByTheirOwnPetard comes back to haunt them]] [[ForegoneConclusion in the end]]. * TheUnmasquedWorld: Once [[spoiler: the vampires appear.]] * VillainousBreakdown: Thikair as the novel progresses, especially when [[spoiler: humans begin destroying his ground bases.]] He eventually just decides to RageQuit regarding the entire invasion and blow up Earth from orbit. [[spoiler: Vlad disagrees, and the subsequent scene on the bridge of the alien dreadnought ends with Thikair breaking down into a sobbing wreck.]] * WarIsHell: Something the Shongairi finally learn after treating it like a safari for so long. * WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer: The Shongairi's trump card is their orbital firepower, which they use in lieu of effective ground forces. Whenever someone resists on the ground, the Shongairi orbital forces bomb them, or the nearest town within three or four miles. They don't seem to get that this is just making things worse. This is reinforced by Shongairi pack-based psychology, which tells them that the best way to force compliance is by bombing targets to demonstrate superiority, but [[HumanityIsInsane those insane humans]] just keep on fighting. ----
to:
Expanded from a short story of DavidWeber that first appeared in GeorgeRRMartin and Gardner Dozois's anthology Warriors (2010), this trilogy kickoff blends elements of military science fiction and [[spoiler:dark fantasy]]. In the very near future, Earth has been targeted for colonization by a galactic empire known as the Hegemony. Deemed "lunatic local sentients" by a survey team that witnessed [[TheHouseOfPlantagenet King Henry V]] and his troops [[HundredYearsWar slaughtering the French at Agincourt]], humankind has essentially been written off as [[BarbarianTribe bloodthirsty, backwater barbarians]] that no one will particularly miss. It's TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. Technologically superior, carnivorous, [[IntelligentGerbil canine-analog aliens]] have [[AlienInvasion invaded Earth]] with the intention of killing most of us and enslaving the rest. [[LetsGetDangerous Things don't go according to plan]]. Fans of the ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' and ''{{Safehold}}'' series can expect to enjoy the book...riiiiight up until the TwistEnding. Speaking of which, if you don't want to spoil the infamous twist, '''do not''' scroll down to the Index list at the bottom of this page, or even glance at the review page. ---- !!Tropes in this work: * AbnormalAmmo: Shongairi mortars use a wide range of ammunition types, including some kind of chemical warhead that releases a fast-acting neurotoxin. * AlasPoorVillain: Ground Base Commander Shairez. She may be responsible for kidnapping humans to develop a plague to wipe us all out, but through most of the book she's shown as an intelligent, curious, hard working, and capable aide who is one of the more likable enemies and often serves to draw out the Admiral's softer side. [[spoiler:In the end, she's tortured for info for several hours by Vlad the f'ing Impaler.]] * AlienInvasion * AlternativeNumberSystem: The Shongairi count in base-twelve. Possibly. * ArmorIsUseless: Shongairi troop and vehicle armor is great against primitives with sticks and crossbows. Not so much against combat rifles, tanks, and rocket launchers. * AsskickingEqualsAuthority: It's a bone-deep part of Shongairi psychology, and (at first) they view humanity's "never say die" mentality as consciously dishonorable; when they realize it's innate to our species, they decide we're clinically insane. * BigBlackout: Averted -- for a while. Despite the elimination of major cities, power and internet stay up for a good while before the Shongairi specifically take them out. * {{BFG}}: Sweet, sweet Barrett .50 cal. * BlueAndOrangeMorality: For the Shongairi, refusing to submit to an obvious superior, especially after that superior has demonstrated unquestioned strength, is horrific. They also don't see why humans get pissed when Shongairi eat the corpses of those they killed, including children; to the Shongairi, eating the corpses is the only way to honor them and not let the soul go to waste. Humanity's refusal to back down and fight viciously out of a need to protect their families or to seek vengeance for the deaths of loved ones is utterly alien to the Shongairi. * BoomHeadshot: Lots. And other forms of LudicrousGibs too. * CrazyPrepared: Of course, if there hadn't actually been an AlienInvasion, it just would have been...crazy. * CrazySurvivalist: It's all justified (AlienInvasion, remember), but the menfolk of the mountain cabin have clear plans to put lots of [[{{BFG}} half-inch holes]] in anyone who might threaten their little commune. * CombatPragmatist: Surprisingly, the Shongairi are even more pragmatic than the human guerrilla fighters. (See HumansAreMorons below.) Of course the end result is that humans just get more insanely pissed off. * CoolVersusAwesome: At the end, the book is essentially about WolfMan aliens with orbital bombardments vs. various modern armies and [[spoiler: ''fucking Dracula!'']] * ConspiracyTheories: Unsurprisingly happens in the first few days of the attack. Later it the aliens begin to fall victim to them when bad things start happening to their bases. * CouldHaveAvoidedThisPlot: The humans point out that the entire war could have been avoided if the Shongairi hadn't announced their presence with orbital bombardment and instead simply showed up to offer humans "carrots" i.e. gifts of advanced technology. The Shongairi eventually realize it too, but far too late. * CripplingOverspecialization: The Shongairi are prepared for two kinds of combat -- kicking the crap out of primitives & space warfare. They are shocked to realize that humanity is far, far more advanced at warfare inside a gravity well; their tech could have done everything we did better, but they just never needed to. * {{Determinator}}: Mankind as a whole to the Shongairi; it turns out that while humans ''do'' possess a submission mechanism, it is subordinated to our instinct to [[PapaWolf protect]] [[MamaBear family]]. * DepopulationBomb: The Shongairi open up with a bombardment that kills about half of the world's population, and note that starvation and disease will kill many of the survivors. When resistance continues that severely threatens their ability to maintain control, they plan to instead just wash the whole thing by releasing a bioweapon and wiping out all the survivors. * DieHardOnAnX: Up until the {{TwistEnding}}, it's basically ''{{Worldwar}}'' in the twenty-first century, with the political and technological issues adjusted accordingly. * DisasterScavengers[=/=]DyingLikeAnimals: Alluded to and prepared against, but not actually seen. Humanity holds together pretty well rather than turning on each other for the most part. There are some mentions made of characters being attacked by other, desperate scavengers, and a couple of groups of National Guardsmen attempt to become local warlords and meet suitably bad ends. [[spoiler:Then again, the plot doesn't last until winter, when people will get desperate.]] * [[spoiler:{{Dracula}}:]] It's foreshadowed a bit, but it's called a TwistEnding for a reason. ** HeWhoFightsMonsters: Part of his history and why he avoids crossing the line. ** ThenLetMeBeEvil: What happens when he's finally pushed too far. * {{Eagleland}}: Type 1. America is awesome, and the aliens recognize the US as one of their biggest threats. * EarthShatteringKaboom: Thikair eventually just decides to [[spoiler: blast Earth to asteroids.]] Later, [[spoiler: Vlad threatens to do this to the Shongairi worlds in turn using dreadnought weapons.]] * TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: Humanity is so screwed. [[spoiler:Until it's the Shongairi's turn.]] * EnemyMine: American soldiers and Muslim extremists working hand in hand, with little rancor. * EverythingIsOnline: We youtubed shooting down alien dropships! ** Also one of the primary advantages of humanity, allowing us to coordinate strikes and keep up morale. * FalseFlagOperation: The aliens use Iran as a cover when hacking world military installations right before the invasion. * FantasticRacism: Within the Hegemony, between carnivores and herbivores/omnivores. The Shongairi have nothing but contempt for humanity as well, at least at first. [[spoiler: The revelation of the vampires makes a lot of mankind...''uncomfortable''.]] ** FantasticSlurs: The Shongairi use "weed-eater" as an epithet. Humanity calls them "puppies." * [[spoiler: FriendlyNeighborhoodVampire]]: [[spoiler: Vlad is ''trying'' to be one of these, but the Shongairi are ''pushing'' him. He deliberately makes Stephen a vampire in order to be one of these and his MoralityPet.]] * GenocideBackfire: The Shongairi invaded Earth, wiped out half the population, and eventually tried to kill the rest. Then we [[spoiler: jacked their neural educators and industrial ships]], and noted that [[spoiler: their extremely slow FTL means mankind has centuries before anyone even realizes they haven't reported in.]] The novel ends with [[spoiler: mankind prepping to turn the warships and weaponry back toward the Hegemony that condemned them in the first place.]] * GlassCannon: Shongairi ground vehicles are very well armed, with lasers that punch through modern tank armor like paper and advanced and powerful mortars. However, their ''armor'' is only rated to fight crossbows and catapults, so human anti-armor weapons go through theirs like paper too. * GunsAkimbo: Seemingly averted, then played straight. * GunPorn: '''Oh, yes...''' The other thing the book is criticized for after the TwistEnding. ** GoodGunsBadGuns: Averted. Russian hardware is lovingly appreciated. * HiddenAgendaVillain * HoistByTheirOwnPetard: [[spoiler:Neural education gives humanity what it needs to commandeer Shongairi capitol and construction ships and begin the GenocideBackfire.]] ** The puppies fail to realize that wiping out all of Earth's capitols leaves no one to tell their military and civilians to stand down, not understanding that we wouldn't find it self-evident. The Shongairi also failed to realize that revealing their presence by bombing the hell out of mankind and demanding surrender without offering any sort of incentive to surrender (beyond "we'll bomb you more") was likely to result in a lot of mankind just getting pissed. ** Leaving the internet in place to demand surrender lets humanity use it to rally and boost their morale. ** Eventually starts happening to humans. The Shongairi, paying attention to human tactics, start to wise up and allow regimental commanders more flexibility in calling in air and orbital support. Eventually they start using human grenade and rocket launchers to supplement their infantry weapons. * HopelessWar: [[IWillFightSomeMoreForever We don't care, though]]. * HumanityOnTrial: Offstage, but it does happen, and we're given the death penalty. * HumanityIsInsane: The puppies' horrified conclusion. ** HumansAreTheRealMonsters: Humanity is the only race that doesn't have the instinct to surrender permanently when beaten by a superior force, since we're far more individual and family oriented than the pack and herd oriented aliens. Guerrilla warfare, passive resistance, and sabotage are utterly foreign to our would-be conquerors because a Shongairi confronted with an obvious superior will automatically submit; the notion of resisting against the "pack leader" in anything other than an obvious show of force intended to seize control of the pack is considered vile and dishonorable. * HumansAdvanceSwiftly: We've advanced three times faster than the fastest known race (which advanced twice as fast as the next best), and no one can figure out why such a warlike species hasn't blown itself up yet. The Shongairi actually intended to take advantage of this, putting humans to work in their R&D labs as well as using them as shock troops. [[spoiler: Then we jack the Shongairi's neural educators, and the end of the novel implies we're getting prepped to eventually return the favor.]] * HumansAreMorons: The Shongairi are initially convinced of this, based on "idiotic tactics" from Agincourt, and a further convinced of it once they understand the current situation. For example, they believe that the refusal of First World powers to use nuclear or biological weapons against their enemies in the Middle East is idiotic (specifically citing the US' tolerance of Iran's actions) and the presence of a public information network like the Internet, allowing free, ready access to vast stores of information, is considered completely insane. * HumansAreSurvivors * HumansAreWarriors: This novel has strong, pervasive themes of "HUMANITY, FUCK YEAH!" * HumansThroughAlienEyes: Generally, the alien perception of humanity is that we're [[HumanityIsInsane insane]] or [[HumansAreMorons idiots.]] * {{Hypocrite}}s: The Hegemony, who consider themselves peaceful and enlightened folk and who regret allowing the aggressive Shongairi into the fold as required by their laws decide to sweep humanity under the rug rather than let us one day join. The Shongairi repeatedly {{lampshade}} this in contempt. * InsufficientlyAdvancedAlien: Orbital bombardment is just about the only thing the Shongairi have going for them (though to be fair, RocksFallEveryoneDies ''is'' [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer pretty effective]]). Their ground forces don't have any experience going up against anything more advanced than crossbows, and it really shows in their tactics and equipment. They do eventually start uparmoring their equipment and adjusting their tactics, and their actual heavy and support weapons are quite effective; the humans note that the puppies' mortars in particular are very deadly and have a wide variety of ammunition types. ** NeverBringAKnifeToAGunFight * {{Infodump}}: Several chapters are devoted solely to outline politics on Earth or within the Hegemony that led to the current situation. One chapter is mostly devoted to excessively detailing survivalist preparations, and there are some entirely irrelevant infodumps (i.e. the one regarding Iranian politics or several pages devoted to an F-22 pilot bashing the F-35 while in the middle of attacking alien troopships). * IntelligentGerbil: The two alien species described in the novel resemble dogs and cattle. * JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: Happens off camera to some captured Shongairi. * KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter: Dropping a MeteorOfDoom is a cheap way to soften up a future colony. ** The Shongairi have effective energy weapons on their heavy assault vehicles but mostly rely on mediocre conventional firearms. Human firearms and artillery become the stuff of nightmares for them. * LeaveNoSurvivors: Shongairi soldiers attempt to surrender, but when Stephen Buchevsky again sees the children they have killed, he is reminded of his own killed daughters and has them all killed. * LetsGetDangerous: The poor Shongairi did ''not'' expect backwater omnivores to pack armor-piercing, antipersonnel ammo, IED expertise, or the F-22 & M1 Abrams. * MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: One of the Hegemony's more pragmatic, founding races basically tells the Shongairi that they'll look the other way if humanity doesn't happen to make it through this. ** Later, when the Shongairi decide we're too dangerous to use as slaves, they plan to make the release of their bioweapon look like an accident to deflect political fallback. * MeaningfulName: Mircea Basarab. See GeniusBonus on the YMMV page. * MoralityPet: Stephen [[spoiler:becomes this for Mircea]]. * MotherRussiaMakesYouStrong: Also Mother Afghanistan, Mother Ukraine, Mother Romania, and even Mother North Carolina...Weber really makes an effort to show that he views Earth as a WorldOfBadass. * NothingIsScarier: The Shongairi, [[spoiler: when the vampires attack]], find the silence more disturbing than facing the destruction humans can cause in direct combat. * ObstructiveBureaucracy: The Hegemony. It takes them ''600 years'' to go from deciding humanity is a threat to finally sending the Shongairi after us. The Shongairi are aware they can probably get away with subjugating or wiping out a Class Two civilization because it'll take at least a couple of centuries for the Hegemony to check up on them; more if they stall for time. ** Justified because Hegemony FTL isn't that much faster than light. ** Their first contact teams are most made up of a race specifically known for adherence to procedure. * OneWorldOrder: The Shongairi are confused that humanity managed to get to our current level of advancement without becoming this. * [[spoiler:OurVampiresAreDifferent: Instant intangibility/gaseous form, invulnerability to conventional weapons, undetectable to thermal or night vision, no need to breathe, and no vulnerability to holy items.]] * OutsideContextVillain: The aliens are this to humanity. [[spoiler: The vampires]] throw this trope back in their face. * PapaWolf[=/=]MamaBear: Humanity's [[PlanetOfHats hat]]. The Shongairi's psychology is built around a pack structure, and thus they automatically submit to superior members of the pack. Most herbivore species' psychology is herd-oriented, causing them to submit out of automatic fear-response and a desire to deflect threats away from the herd as a whole. Humans, however, are ''family-oriented'' - and they respond to threats against members of their families with swift and seemingly-irrational violence. ** CrusadingWidower: Most of the main male characters lose their entire family in the invasion. * PlanetOfHats: Earth is a planet of {{Determinator}}s who happen to be {{Mama Bear}}s and [[PapaWolf Papa Wolves]]. Notably, this is the conclusion reached by Base Commander Shairez because there is ''no'' other truly common thread she can discern, due to the violent diversity of human culture. * TheQuisling: Governor Howell of North Carolina. [[spoiler:Who is actually a ReverseMole -- something the Shongairi can't really conceive of until late in the book.]] ** Largely averted as a whole by humanity thanks to our collective outrage and the Shongairi's failure to understand human psychology and their "no carrot, all stick" approach. * RageQuit: This is, basically, how the Shongairi decide to end the war. They haven't been able to occupy the world, they can't complete their bioweapon, and now all their bases are getting assaulted by something they can't stop on the ground. Thikair withdraws his entire devastated army from the surface and then prepares to [[EarthShatteringKaboom destroy the entire planet]], mostly out of spite. * TheRightOfASuperiorSpecies: The aliens usually do this successfully but get way more than they bargained for with humanity. * SchizoTech: How Earth is viewed. Not only is it weird for us to still be using fossil fuel power and yet to be avoiding chemical & biological weapons, but we've done things with military technology no other race ever would have because they would've been unified by that point. * SelfInsertFic: So what, the main character is named David; it's a common name. And his wife's name is Sharon...and they live in South Carolina...and their dogs are named [[{{Safehold}} Nimue and Merlin]]? [[{{Egregious}} Oh, come on, Weber]]! * SuperweaponSurprise: Humanity has barely left their gravity well, and are facing a species that has FTL capability. Humanity has superior ground weaponry, but there's no way mankind can win, and both sides know it. But ''no one'' expected [[spoiler: Dracula!]] * SurvivalistStash: See CrazyPrepared and CrazySurvivalist. * TestedOnHumans: The Shongairi attempt to capture humans several times to prepare [[ThePlague a bioweapon]]. * TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: [[spoiler: Dracula]] delivers one of these to Thikair at the end, noting that, among other things, the Shongairi were going to sentence humanity to extinction for ''daring'' to defend themselves and fight back against an invader. * ToServeMan: Played with. The Shongairi are carnivores and consider ''not'' eating their fallen foes as almost disrespectful to them. This does not endear them to humanity or to any other race, for that matter. * TrailersAlwaysSpoil: The Publishers Weekly summary leaves no doubt as to the nature of the twist at the end of the novel. * TwistEnding: AND HOW. The last few pages shove what appears to be a SciFi novel into an entirely different genre, one that Weber fans will ''never'' see coming. YMMV, but few reviewers seem to appreciate it. ** [[spoiler: You want to know the twist ending? Do you? Okay, look down at the bottom of the page, at the indexes. Now, in a Hard Sci-Fi setting, which of these indexes seem out of place?]] * UpgradeArtifact: The Shongairi test direct "neural education" on humanity and finds us surprisingly better at receiving it than most of the Hegemony's species. [[BlatantLies This is no way]] [[HoistByTheirOwnPetard comes back to haunt them]] [[ForegoneConclusion in the end]]. * TheUnmasquedWorld: Once [[spoiler: the vampires appear.]] * VillainousBreakdown: Thikair as the novel progresses, especially when [[spoiler: humans begin destroying his ground bases.]] He eventually just decides to RageQuit regarding the entire invasion and blow up Earth from orbit. [[spoiler: Vlad disagrees, and the subsequent scene on the bridge of the alien dreadnought ends with Thikair breaking down into a sobbing wreck.]] * WarIsHell: Something the Shongairi finally learn after treating it like a safari for so long. * WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer: The Shongairi's trump card is their orbital firepower, which they use in lieu of effective ground forces. Whenever someone resists on the ground, the Shongairi orbital forces bomb them, or the nearest town within three or four miles. They don't seem to get that this is just making things worse. This is reinforced by Shongairi pack-based psychology, which tells them that the best way to force compliance is by bombing targets to demonstrate superiority, but [[HumanityIsInsane those insane humans]] just keep on fighting. ----[[redirect:Literature/OutOfTheDark]]
16th Jan '13 12:08:15 PM SeptimusHeap
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Alas Poor Villain is being moved back to Main. Examples that don't describe the moment or are purely editor opinion are being deleted.
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* AlasPoorVillain: Ground Base Commander Shairez. She may be responsible for kidnapping humans to develop a plague to wipe us all out, but through most of the book she's shown as an intelligent, curious, hard working, and capable aide who is one of the more likable enemies and often serves to draw out the Admiral's softer side. [[spoiler:In the end, she's tortured for info for several hours by Vlad the f'ing Impaler.]]
5th Jan '13 8:29:03 AM GeorgeTSLC
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Typo?
* VillainousBreakdown: Thikair as the novel progresses, especially when [[spoiler: humans begin destroying his ground bases.]] He eventually just decides to RageQuit regarding the entire invasion and blow up Earth from orbit. [[spoiler: Vlad disagrees, and the subsequent scene of the bridge of the alien dreadnought ends with Thikair breaking down into a sobbing wreck.]]
to:
* VillainousBreakdown: Thikair as the novel progresses, especially when [[spoiler: humans begin destroying his ground bases.]] He eventually just decides to RageQuit regarding the entire invasion and blow up Earth from orbit. [[spoiler: Vlad disagrees, and the subsequent scene of on the bridge of the alien dreadnought ends with Thikair breaking down into a sobbing wreck.]]
11th Dec '12 6:01:36 PM Yuihime
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Added DiffLines:
* OutsideContextVillain: The aliens are this to humanity. [[spoiler: The vampires]] throw this trope back in their face.
5th Nov '12 12:26:30 PM Nohbody
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* CouldHaveAvoidedThisPlot: The humans point out that the entire war could have been avoided if the Shongairi hadn't announced their presence with orbital bombardment and instead simply showed up to offer humans "carrots" i.e. gifts of advanced technology. The Shongairi eventually realize it too, but far too late.

* WeCouldHaveAvoidedAllThis: The humans point out that the entire war could have been avoided if the Shongairi hadn't announced their presence with orbital bombardment and instead simply showed up to offer humans "carrots" i.e. gifts of advanced technology. The Shongairi eventually realize it too, but far too late.
24th Jul '12 6:26:24 AM GentlemensDame883
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Added DiffLines:
* NothingIsScarier: The Shongairi, [[spoiler: when the vampires attack]], find the silence more disturbing than facing the destruction humans can cause in direct combat.
24th Jul '12 2:37:23 AM GentlemensDame883
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Whoops, dupe
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Mircea discusses this and expresses gratitude that he avoided it.
24th Jul '12 12:59:22 AM GentlemensDame883
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* OneWorldOrder: The Shongairi are confused that humanity managed to get to our current level of advancement without becoming this.
24th Jul '12 12:44:11 AM GentlemensDame883
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* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Mircea discusses this and expresses gratitude that he avoided it.

** HumansAreBastards: Humanity is the only race that doesn't have the instinct to surrender permanently when beaten by a superior force, since we're far more individual and family oriented than the pack and herd oriented aliens. Guerrilla warfare, passive resistance, and sabotage are utterly foreign to our would-be conquerors because a Shongairi confronted with an obvious superior will automatically submit; the notion of resisting against the "pack leader" in anything other than an obvious show of force intended to seize control of the pack is considered vile and dishonorable.
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** HumansAreBastards: HumansAreTheRealMonsters: Humanity is the only race that doesn't have the instinct to surrender permanently when beaten by a superior force, since we're far more individual and family oriented than the pack and herd oriented aliens. Guerrilla warfare, passive resistance, and sabotage are utterly foreign to our would-be conquerors because a Shongairi confronted with an obvious superior will automatically submit; the notion of resisting against the "pack leader" in anything other than an obvious show of force intended to seize control of the pack is considered vile and dishonorable.

* LeaveNoSurvivors: Shongairi soldiers attempt to surrender, but when Buchevsky again sees the children they have killed, he is reminded of his own killed daughters and has them all killed.
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* LeaveNoSurvivors: Shongairi soldiers attempt to surrender, but when Stephen Buchevsky again sees the children they have killed, he is reminded of his own killed daughters and has them all killed.
23rd Jul '12 9:13:39 PM GentlemensDame883
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Added DiffLines:
* LeaveNoSurvivors: Shongairi soldiers attempt to surrender, but when Buchevsky again sees the children they have killed, he is reminded of his own killed daughters and has them all killed.
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