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Aliens Are Bastards

"Okay, that's it. It's official: All aliens are bastards!"

When man looks up at the stars, the sense of wonder, and emptiness, can be as overwhelming as the questions they inspire. Is there life out there? Is it intelligent? Are they friendly? In fiction, the short answers are: "Yes", "Yes" and "Hell no!" Why? Because Aliens Are Bastards.

In Speculative Fiction stories dealing with the extraterrestrial and otherworldly, the beings from beyond the veil are rarely friendly, and if they are it's usually a pretense so they can eat us or make us mommies less than consensually. The reason is that it makes good drama, it exploits humanity's latent fear of the unknown with implacable and indecipherable menaces. Traditionally this trope uses aliens not as characters but as forces of nature. They will be the Monster of the Week for the heroes to fight, a terrifying and nigh-unstoppable foe with little to no motivation other than violence for its own sake.

This type of alien bastard is usually very visually distinct from "good" aliens (who tend to be Green Skinned Space Babes). They will be ugly, obviously inhuman and rarely humanoid. Of course, they won't be friendly, do not understand love, want to steal our women, natural resources and possibly leave nothing behind of the planet itself. Despite having the technology needed for space travel, they will make no attempt to communicate or explain their actions and seem to have targeted us for no good or readily apparent reason.

This is aliens being Always Chaotic Evil. If they are Precursors, they were either neglectful or are downright abusive.

On a lesser scale, there are, of course, The Greys with the reputed stereotype of mutilating cattle and abducting humans for the sole sake of probing them in the name of Science for their own, vague, nefarious purposes.

When the aliens' motivations for bastardry are placed parallel to humanity's negative traits, revealing the two to be Not So Different, then Humans Are the Real Monsters. Humanity's negative traits may often be exaggerated to an absurd degree, Depending on the Writer and how anvilicous they want to be.

When the aliens are used as allegories for a certain ideal, organization or country that the writer doesn't like, then they're Scary Dogmatic Aliens. As with the above, the negative traits of the targeted group are almost always excessively exaggerated. Expect the aliens to display traits displayed by said group's Vocal Minority, with the implication being that the entire group is as crazy and violent as the aforementioned minority. The similarities with Jerkass Gods, especially when the aliens are godlike in power, may not be coincidental.

Something of a Discredited Trope, as the depiction of aliens as mindless beasts or imperialists bastards has generally fallen out of use in favor of more civilized beings who can discuss the finer points of philosophy and provide a convenient canvass for the writer to paint his or her message onto.

NOTE: This trope does not apply to animalistic aliens without intellect. Violent as they are, they aren't knowingly being bastards.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball has many races in its universe and only a small percentage are actually good. Most are assholes who either Heel-Face Turn or die a Karmic Death, Frieza is the most blatant of these characters.
  • Houshin Engi has Jyoka. She has been playing God with this little planet of ours for millions of years,modifying genomes of species,altering face of the world,causing rise and fall of major dynasties and in short controlling the history of the entire planet in order to evolve it into a perfect replica of her lost home planet. When something goes wrong in her plan,she life wipes the entire planet,destroying the planet's surface and starts afresh.She has repeated this rinse and repeat tactics quite a few times,by the time the story begins.Oh,and she does all this in spirit form,cut off from her physical body and much of her power!
  • In Haruhi Suzumiya, it is eventually revealed that both the Data Integration Thought Entity and the Sky Canopy Dominion, the two opposing races of Sufficiently Advanced Alien, are too concerned with fighting each other than caring about the effect their actions will have on humans, or even their own interfaces. Indeed, The DITE is willing to send Yuki as an ambassador to the Dominion, in order to break her, as punishment for going rogue due to an error which wasn't her fault in the first place. The only reason they can't enforce a more direct punishment is because Kyon is threatening them with a trump card that could potentially fuck over the universe. The Sky Canopy are the villains, so they're even worse than that. When Kyon tells another DITE Interface that "Earth is not a playground for aliens", the response is, roughly, "What an entertaining joke." So at this point, it seems that the only unambiguously good alien is Yuki.
  • The aliens in Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin.
  • UFO Robo Grendizer plays with this trope: At the start Kouji believes he can try to communicate with the Vegans -the alien invaders- and befriend them, but Daisuke tries to warn him they are NOT his friends and are NOT peaceful or reasonable. However, Daisuke himself was an alien and a decent person. And although the Big Bad, Great King Vega and several of his subordinates are definitely evil, throughout the series more aliens -including Vegans- are introduced are decent people or at the worst are Well-Intentioned Extremists who believe Utopia Justifies the Means.
  • One of the most twisted examples of this trope is the Anti-Spiral of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Ostensibly, he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist who's trying to prevent the death of the universe. That's a noble goal, right? WRONG! The way he goes about preserving the universe involves Mind Rape to send entire races past the Despair Event Horizon, attempted omnicide and torturing The Woobie. And he enjoys seeing other species cross the Despair Event Horizon. His Villainous Breakdown at the end reveals that a good chunk of this is simple envy of the other races who haven't sacrificed their Spiral power.

    Comics 
  • In the 2000 AD strip, Bec & Kawl, The Greys who abduct Pierre seem to view humans as play-things to be abused and toyed with for their amusement, at least when not partaking in the traditional Anal Probing and alien-human hybrid experiments. When The Greys decide to recruit Pierre (who is a pest control expert) for the job of "taking on the filthiest vermin of all" (a separate malevolent alien race hiding amongst us on Earth, waiting for the opportune moment to strike), it turns out to be a Batman Gambit for The Greys' own benefit of helping them conquer Earth themselves.
  • Pick an alien race from Marvel Comics. Any of them will do:
  • This is less true over at DC Comics, probably because so many DC alien races first appeared as members of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
    • Prior to the New 52 DC reboot, the most recent depiction of the Kryptonians cast them in an unflattering light. Lack of Empathy for anyone that isn't a Kryptonian is their Hat.
    • The Daxamites' Hat is vicious xenophobia. Ironically, the Daxamites are taught their entire lives that Aliens Are Bastards, which makes them bastards when they kill any alien they meet just for existing. Notably, Daxamites are the product of a genetically-diverged Kryptonian Lost Colony, so at least the genus is consistently xenophobic.
    • The people of Apokolips. All of them. Even the downtrodden Lowlies prove themselves to be total bastards if they are given power — Darkseid's Torture Technician Granny Goodness used to be one of the Lowlies. One of Darkseid's hobbies is to free some slaves and make them his new overseers just so he can watch them become as cruel as their former tormentors. Considering who's in charge of the place, being the biggest bastard you can be is actually a very sound survival strategy.
    • The Thanagarians from Hawkman, Tamaranians from Teen Titans, and the citizens of Rann from Adam Strange have all had turns being antagonists at some point but they tend to be more gray than many of the aliens here.
    • The DC crossover Invasion involved many races forming an alliance to invade Earth, this included the aforementioned Thanagarians and Chameleon Boy's race. A race called the Dominators were the main villains, however.
    • Coluan scientist and Superman villain Brainiac has personified this trope since 1958.
  • The Mars Attacks! series, based on the trading card series from The Sixties (see page image), featured Martians running amok on Earth. This race seemed to be Always Chaotic Evil in every version.
    • The trading card series did have a reason for the attack (Mars will soon blow up, so the Martians need a new home quickly), though jumping directly to a brutal, excessively cruel invasion was kinda bastardly.
  • The comic Brain Camp, whose alien birds were collaborating with the leaders of a kids' camp to use the kids as incubators for their young. True the race was dying on its own, but it's still squicky to see aliens bursting out of teenagers.
  • The Xorda in Sonic the Hedgehog is this. Granted, they're still sore over having their diplomat captured, killed and dissected by humans, but deciding that Mobians were just the same as the humans they all but wiped out was a little harsh. Most other worlds, such as the Bern, are much more friendlier, but they don't get involved with Mobius because they don't want the Xorda breathing down their necks. Doesn't stop the Black Arms from trying to claim Mobius as their own and getting stuck in a massive war.

     Fan Works 
  • In The Lion King Adventures, the Inque and the Vimelea are vicious alien parasites that take over minds and, in the case of the latter, entire souls. Naturally, they wish to enslave the earth.
  • The flipside to the original idea of The Conversion Bureau: several pro-human spin-offs characterize ponies as xenophobic Social Darwinists with Knight Templar tendencies. In-universe comparisons between Equestria and Nazi Germany are common.
  • In Worldwar War Of Equals alien aircraft pilots don't seem to care whether their targets are civilian or military and then there is the nuking of several highly populated Human cities, killing thousands.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Avatar by James Cameron inverts the trope to make humans the bastard aliens.
    • The averted part comes from the fact that the sentient race which is considered "alien" at first (the Na'Vi) are clearly a good-natured people who are willing to consider any life sacred, and they accepted the humans' presence until the Corrupt Corporate Executives decided to destroy their homeland and hire trigger-happy mercenaries to murder the natives for greedy purposes.
    • The part played straight comes from the fact that the humans (particularly the greedy corporation) are the ones invading a foreign planet, destroying the land, and murdering innocent natives, all for a mineral that's worth a lot of money. The protagonist even refers to the invaders as "aliens" by the end of the movie, making us realize that we didn't notice the humans' "alien-ness" all along. So the movie can be viewed as an Alien-Invasion film from the point of view of the aliens.
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) has aliens nearly wipe us out because we were potentially about to destroy the environment. In their defense, they were going to negotiate first, but then their envoy was shot and captured, and his request to speak to the UN was denied. None of this went far toward proving that humans were no longer careless, violent, or wasteful. In the original version the aliens only come to Earth after Earth developed nuclear ICBMs... they don't care at all what humans do on their own planet, but the instant they can launch weapons towards other planets they intervene.
  • Mars Attacks! parodies the whole thing with The Unintelligible belligerent Martians.
  • Independence Day. And how! They are a race of Planet Looters who take what they need and wipe out what's left of the planets they ravage.
  • The War of the Worlds has the Martians attack Earth. The remake shows them using people as compost; for Alien Kudzu, in fact.
  • Fresh addition: Skyline's aliens are complete assholes. Sure they invade the planet, hypnotize people with their blue lights and brutally steal the brains of anyone they capture to use as Wetware CPUs, but what do they do when they come across pregnant women? They try to suck the babies out of them, that's what.
  • The Predators, who use Earth as a game reserve for Hunting the Most Dangerous Game. The Expanded Universe of the Alien vs. Predator comics show they regularly seed other planets with aliens so they'll have a good hunting spot later on.
    • Note that this is a major case of Depending on the Writer; nobody seems to be able to agree on how good or evil the Predators are. Most try to portray them as extremely honor-bound and having a society built on "the strong led". There's one comic where a Predator comes to Earth not to hunt, but to apprehend a serial killer who has come to Earth for that purpose. There's been multiple times where Predators have acted very respectful of other races (particularly humans) and worked with them to deal with a problem (most commonly dealing with a xenomorph infestation).
  • In Battle: Los Angeles, within minutes of the first alien craft crashing down in the ocean, they're opening fire on civilians and shooting indiscriminately. Corpses of massacred human civilians and soldiers are visible nearly everywhere throughout the movie, and news reports state that the aliens are rounding up humans with death squads and executing them in the streets. One scientist suggests that the aliens are using textbook "colonization" tactics: invade, wipe out the indigenous population, and take their resources.
    • Possibly subverted, since there's an implication that extreme Values Dissonance is going on between the humans and aliens.
  • Cowboys and Aliens featured a race of alien miners who make it a point to capture and dissect humans out of curiosity.
  • In Prometheus, while an Engineer did seed life on Earth, at some point in history the other Engineers decided humanity needed to die. Extinction was averted when the Engineer ship sent to destroy humanity fell prey to the Engineers' own bioweapon. The lone surviving Engineer tries to complete the mission moments after being woken up by the Prometheus' crew. Word of God confirms that the Engineers by and large are monsters. The fact that they created a horrific mutagenic bioweapon — the Xenomorphs being a mere by-product of it — capable of wiping out all life on a planet also doesn't paint them in a good light.
  • In Pacific Rim, it's initially assumed that the Kaiju are just enormous animals who are attacking from predatory instinct. However, the scientist Newt accesses kaiju memories at one point and discovers they're bioweapons being created by aliens to wipe out humans, because they intend to colonize Earth to drain it of its resources like they've done to so many other worlds.
  • In Impostor, the Alpha Centauri aliens attacked humanity and try to destroy Earth civilization for no apparent reason, as their motives aren't revealed in the film.

    Literature 
  • The Martians from The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, although it's a somewhat complex example. The author notes that Mars is a dying world, and that the Martians are only carrying warfare sunward so that their species can survive (in the epilogue, it is implied that after the invasion failed they settled for colonizing Venus instead). He also compares them with Imperialists of the 19th century, making the Martians something of a This Loser Is You to his primarily British readers.
  • The Pierson's Puppeteers from Larry Niven's Known Space series are not just alien bastards, they are alien manipulative bastards. How so? They maneuvered all of humanity into the sights of the predatory, warlike, technologically superior Kzinti, just to give them some breathing room, then after the war was over used humans as if we were a race of Polish landmine detectors. Plus the thousands of humans they kidnapped and enslaved under the guise of "spacecraft failures".
    • On the side of helping us to screw over other races, the Puppeteers set up a starseed lure because they knew that (for their own impenetrable reasons) the Outsiders follow the starseeds. When the Outsiders encountered humanity, they sold us the hyperspace drive. Humans quickly become a much bigger problem for the Kzinti.
    • When a Puppeteer told a Human and a Kzinti the truth about their manipulation in Ringworld, both were furious. The human was furious that his race had been forced to fight, the Kzinti was furious that his race had been forced to lose.
  • As far back as the 1940s, C. S. Lewis noted the tendency in sci-fi literature for aliens more advanced than humans to be amoral and regard humanity as inferiors. The Space Trilogy was a deliberate reaction against this trend—his aliens are more moral than humanity.
  • Lisanne Norman's Sholan Alliance series gives us two examples out of numerous interstellar species who are willing to be nice.
    • The Chemerians are conniving, double dealing tree-climbing...
    • The Valtegans from planet M'Zull have already wiped ALL life off the face of two Sholan colony planets for no other reason than that of being Sholans. They then go off and do the same to another planet of Valtegans simply because they are rivals.
  • A rather nasty science fiction novel by Charles R Pellegrino, Flying to Valhalla is built around the theory that a species looks out for itself only, destroying all competitors. Also a sort-of-sequel, The Killing Star.
  • The Prador of the The Polity are a Giant Enemy Crab race whose culture revolves around a Social Darwinist "kill-or-be-killed" mindset. Members of the species are cruel to those weaker than themselves and maim or even eat their own children. They are just as sadistic when they go to war with humanity.
  • Subverted in Animorphs, which often explores the implications of any sentient species supposedly being Always Chaotic Evil. The main antagonists, the Yeerks, are trying to enslave humans as hosts, but only because their natural forms are weak, blind slugs desperate for the lives other races can enjoy. It's explored further with the Howlers, servants of the Sufficiently Advanced Eldritch Abomination Crayak; while dedicated to wiping out every other species in the universe, it's revealed that Crayak keeps them unaware that other species have any sort of sentience or sapience, allowing them to slaughter other races as easily as people playing a video game.
    • The Andalite case is far more interesting. In the beginning of the series, kids look up to their erstwhile saviors, the great and glorious Andalites, and are counting on them to swoop in and save the day. It becomes increasingly obvious, however, that Andalite military command couldn't care less about humans. In the end, their strategy for for winning the war was to bombard Earth from orbit to take out as many Yeerks as possible.
  • Discussed in passing in Blindsight: a mention is made of the benevolent aliens of Carl Sagan, then compared with the idea that someone who ventures into space must have strong instincts of conquest and expansion.
  • Zigzagged in Pamela Service's Under Alien Stars: Yes, Tsorians are brutal, paternalistic bastards. Humans don't have much of a moral high ground. And compared to the Hykzoi, both races look like saints.
  • The Toralii in Lacuna destroy three major cities on Earth just because humans were developing jump drive.
  • The Vogons of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are every Obstructive Bureaucrat stereotype turned Up to Eleven and armed with planet destroying weaponry (and horrible poetry). Even evolution considers them to be a mistake.
  • Enderís Game is a long deconstruction of this trope. The Formics, during the First and Second Invasions, would board captured ships and colonies and brutally murder the captives - while the recording equipment was still transmitting. Naturally, the humans have a deep hatred and fear of them because of this. It turns out the aliens did this because they operate as a Hive Mind. Killing all the individuals aboard a ship was simply their way of disabling the ship's communications equipment, and they never imagined until it was too late that each individual was an independent, thinking, feeling being. By the time the humans launch their counterattack, the Formics have figured this out and are deeply remorseful for their actions.
  • Robert Reed's short story, Five Thrillers has an unknown race of aliens shooting the sun with a relativistic ship, causing it to eject plasma straight at the Earth. Because they can.
  • The Masters in The Tripods, who enslaved humanity with mind control caps and then planned to annihilate life on Earth in the process of making the planet's atmosphere breathable for themselves.
  • The Lindauzi of The Wild Boy. They were just trying to avoid their race regressing to wild animals. But they still released a virus on Earth, then released a second wave, killing millions before it was over. And to further endear us, they came with a vaccine, appearing to be saviors. They killed off our pets, cats and dogs, then started breeding humans like dogs to re-engineer the bond they once shared with the Iani, the creatures who originally created them.
  • Most aliens in the Star Wars Expanded Universe are pretty variable. Planet of Hats is in effect and there are many nasty species, but search for long enough and there are always some who feel that My Species Doth Protest Too Much, and individuals can be anywhere from bastards to very much not. However, there are a handful of antagonistic species who are never shown to have any sympathetic representatives at all.
    • The Yevetha are pretty hideously genocidal towards... well, everything. They're also Manipulative Bastards, playing nice for a long time so that when they did start war, the New Republic was caught unawares.
    • The Enzeen in Galaxy of Fear: Eaten Alive similarly play nice, encourage tourism, and make visitors to their world feel welcome, when in fact the ground eats offworlders, and the Enzeen then feed from it.
    • Subverted nicely with the Yuuzhan Vong. Initially introduced as quite possibly the most implacably evil faction in the setting- the one guy (a pacifist) who tries to negotiate with them gets ritually murdered and has his gem-encrusted skeleton shipped back to his friends for his troubles- but about a third of the way through the series a more openly sympathetic light starts getting shone on certain members of the species, and once the Vong's backstory is revealed, it's stated outright that they're no better or worse than humans would have been under the same circumstances. Oh, and the guy who murdered the pacifist diplomat? He was a member of a group that were considered particularly extreme and depraved even by Vong standards.
  • Subverted in The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. The Others are at first depicted as coldly killing off humanity, but then the main love interest, Evan is discovered to be one, and he explains that some of The Others wanted to live side by side with the humans, but were outnumbered by those who wanted to Kill 'em All.

    Live Action TV 
  • Doctor Who has plenty of good aliens, most notably the Doctor himself. However, the Doctor fights all manner of sundry horrors bent on our demise every other episode.
    • Foremost on the list are the Daleks; super-intelligent, genetically engineered, Always Chaotic Evil space Nazis designed to feel no other emotion than hate (though they sometimes display fear and others). They are utterly fanatical about their own inherent superiority, to the point where civil wars have broken out amongst them if factions start displaying minor differences, and to where they have chosen death when "contaminated" by foreign DNA. Their goal is nothing less than to exterminate every living thing in the universe (and, once, the multiverse) other than themselves, and they often tend to find themselves dealing with Earth.
    • The Cybermen (at least the version of them appearing from 1966-1988 and from 2010 onwards) are, basically, alternate humans from Earth's twin planet Mondas who converted themselves into emotionless cyborgs obsessed with the survival of their race, and the best way to do that is to forcibly convert humanity into them. That they are a direct threat to mankind means that they have also sought to destroy them, or sizable chunks, in the distant future when we manage to successfully fight back.
    • The Time Lords themselves are a race of supposed non-interventionists, but they are really a controlling, elitist, and somewhat stagnant race of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who, as their name suggests, have mastered time travel, amongst other technologies. Generally they are not malevolent and have plenty of decent members — notably the Doctor himself note  — but they throw up plenty of maniacs like the Master and the Rani, not to mention their insane founders Rassilon and Omega, amongst other miscreants. As the Time War drew to a bloody close they became a race of Omnicidal Maniacs who were ready to put an end to time itself in an effort to avoid ultimate defeat, which means, in their only appearance in the revival as of 2013, they showed up as a villain race.
    • The Sontarans are an entire race of Blood Knights who are engaged in a 50,000-year war with another species, and to ensure a ready supply of troops turned to cloning, to the point where practically every living Sontaran is now a clone of someone else, resulting in a buttload of uniformity. They usually attack Earth as part of a strategy aimed at achieving victory in their war rather than any particular feelings about us, though they enjoy it when we fight back because to them because War Is Glorious, always.
  • Torchwood has a lot more bastard aliens than its parent show, Doctor Who, but Torchwood: Children of Earth goes much further: Aliens repeatedly subject humans to Sadistic Choices involving Human Sacrifice just so that they can get high ...off children.
  • The Stargate Verse is full of these:
    • Stargate SG-1 has the Goa'uld, the Ori and the Replicators.
    • Stargate Atlantis has the Wraith and the Asurans.
    • Stargate Universe deserves special mention because it seems like every alien race they encounter makes no attempt to communicate beyond "SURRENDER" and then tries to kill them. Lampshaded by Volker when Rush wants to investigate an energy signature that could be intelligent life; he reminds them that the last time they encountered aliens didn't work out so well. And the time before that. And the time before that... Maybe they should have listened to him.
    • Also, the franchise as a whole has the Ancients themselves, who are (bar a few notable exceptions) the poster boys for Neglectful Precursors (although from what we see of their present-day actions or lack thereof and how those threaten their own survival, it may be more of another trope than this one).
  • From V (both 2009 and predecessor): "We are of peace, always". More Blatant Lies were never spoken.
  • One of the main themes of Star Trek in all its incarnations is a deliberate aversion of this Trope. There is a huge variety of alien cultures out there, and only a handful are treated as objectively better or worse than humanity. And of those, fewer still are depicted as irredeemably evil, with some even becoming allies or members of the Federation eventually. Still, too many episodes to count revolve around the concepts of "Alien Race Does Something Morally Reprehensible That They Think Is Normal", or "Alien Race Acts With Subterfuge Against The Federation For Evil Reasons", or "Human Does Something Of Little Importance And Alien Race Responds With Reckless Force".
    • The Borg Collective is one of the few truly irredeemably evil races in all of Star Trek, being an insane Hive Mind of cyborgs with an insatiable appetite to assimilate anything that might benefit the Collective — which is everything. Drones that gain individuality are usually decent people, but since they aren't part of the Collective anymore they arguably aren't really Borg anymore either.
      • Even that depends on your definition of evil. If that happens to be manevolence, well the Borg do not hate any species and literally cannot wish harm against them. Their only desire is to advance the Collective, and they act exclusively on that desire. It seems the more powerful they are in an area the less dangerous they - as a single isolated Borg will assimilate just to gain numbers on it's side, but in the heart of Borg space they are happy to ignore individuals, ships or even the occasional (simplistic) species if they have nothing to specifically gain from assimilation. They are a major power in the Delta Quadrant, yet other species abound in space surrounding them. In the rare instances they respond to the idea others do not want to be assimilated they act confused, as if the assimilation is a kindness the rejection of which they cannot comprehend. And by all accounts, being part of the collective is quite the experience and apparently not an unhappy life - for a given definition of the word 'unhappy'.
    • The Pah-Wraiths of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. There's a reason the Bajorans consider them to be devils.
  • The Vardians of Tracker. Apparently they *could* cooperate with other races, they just hate doing it and prefer to be in control. They did create a Doomsday Device capable of destroying a planet. They're also notorious for betrayal, apparently. The fugitives were of all six of the series' races, but not all of the species were as evil as Vardians. Most of the others were just all the races' criminal element rather than the norm.
    Zin: Never trust a Vardian. Sorry.
  • The Skins in Roswell, plus Kivar. The Skins wore human skin to blend into Earth's environment. Kivar was the resident Big Bad who'd taken over Antar and who the Pod Squad were meant to defeat.
  • In The Outer Limits, episodes dealing with aliens sometimes take this approach. One episode featured aliens that wanted to steal the Earth's atmosphere and even looked like literal devils. But there were just as many episodes with nice aliens who wound up in conflict with humans due to misunderstandings or because Humans Are Bastards.
  • The Ultra Series practically have these kinds of alien races by the dozen. Then again, the title heroes are, themselves, members of an alien race.
  • The Overlords in Falling Skies. They not only invade and destroy a lot of Earth and humanity,they put children in harnesses that turn them into monsterous Skitters. And we aren't the first race they did it with. Subverted with the other alien races, who are pretty much in the same situation as humanity and later bring humans into their rebellion against the Overlords.
  • In Power Rangers Megaforce, the Armada often see humanity's traits as weaknesses and their desire to destroy or take over Earth is based primarily on Evil Cannot Comprehend Good and Humans Are Flawed. It's dialed up in Super Megaforce where Vekar's Monsters of the Week are decidedly less comical than Malkor's and they're shown to have enslaved the Silver Ranger's planet.
  • Subverted in The X-Files. The Greys are a bunch of bastards but it's not their fault. The Black Oil corrupted and twisted them into monsters just like it does to every other living being.

    Tabletop Games 

    Toys 
  • In (almost) every version of the Transformers, The Decepticons. Usually, they're on Earth for a reason, but even if they get what they want, they mostly still decide to stay and cause untold devastation anyway. They are a faction of merciless warriors, led by a fanatical tyrant (Megatron) who willingly destroyed most of their home planet, as well as a large percentage of their own species, so it probably shouldn't be surprising that they would show even more disdain to another species that are like insects by comparison.
    • Some versions of the franchise (*ahem*Animated*ahem*) have less than flattering portrayals of the Autobots as well.
    • Stories that feature races other than humans show that because of this warmongering, Cybertronians in general have a very bad reputation.

    Video Games 
  • The Grekim and Vecgir from Achron introduce themselves by wiping out three human colonies. They then engage and shatter the largest and most advanced fleet humanity has ever assembled... and then turn on each other.
  • The Furons from Destroy All Humans!, as the title suggests. Also mildly deconstructed. The reason the Furons are collecting DNA from humanity is because they've driven their race into sterility through constant conflict and war. In other words, by acting like stereotypical Always Chaotic Evil aliens, they're essentially driving their race into extinction.
  • Zemus from Final Fantasy IV, who is coincidentally the least human-looking of the moon dwellers. (He is blue-skinned, with a bald dome.) He was the only Lunarian who opposed peaceful coexistence with humans, and sought to take over their planet.
    • The Terrans from Final Fantasy IX were thinking along similar lines. After several failed attempts at keeping their dying planet alive, they went into stasis while their guardian, Garland, works to terraform Gaia and make their world live again.
    • Jenova from Final Fantasy VII is an odd mix of humanoid and gross, veiny alien. Folklore suggests that she is a shapeshifter who mimics the appearance and voice of humanoids; hence her being stuck in mid-transformation from long-haired beauty to a Lovecraftian mass of wriggling tendrils.
  • The Combine from Half-Life 2 had been draining the Earth of its resources for the past two decades, and letting roads and cities rot. The surviving humans are essentially imprisoned in the few cities not overrun by alien fauna and are ruled with an iron fist, chemicals in the water, and a dampening field that prevents natural reproduction.
    • And that's not the worst of it. The Combine is experimenting with humans in order to find the best method of converting them into a new Synth race like the Gunships. The Overwatch is the most successful; the Stalkers the least. By the time the Combine is done, humanity won't be human any longer.
  • This trope in video games dates back to Space Invaders.
  • The X-Com games use this in spades. Attempts to communicate with the aliens are made, but it's generally a bad idea.
    • In The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, the Outsiders (AKA Zudjari) are Planet Looters who have ruined their own planet and dozens of others and have to keep on conquering new worlds in order to maintain their unsustainable culture. In fact, they have managed to conquer and enslave the Sectoids and the Mutons. Earth is just their latest attempt, but it can also be their last.
    • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the Ethereals want humanity in order to create the perfect Super Soldiers, with all the others races being failures. Assuming you succeed in destroying The Mothership, their attempt has Gone Horribly Right. Interestingly, the Sectoids and the Mutons in this game look the same as in The Bureau. According to Firaxis, The Bureau can be treated as a sort-of prequel, meaning that, as soon as the Zudjari were defeated by the original XCOM, the two races were re-conquered by the Ethereals.
  • Portrayed to some extent in Stars! and other 4X space empire games. Each race is alien to each other, and the players generally think nothing of bombing/killing millions of colonists of the opposing players whose only crime, presumably, is not being the same race. No concept of assimilation (or at least subjugation, sparing lives) is typically offered.
    • Master of Orion is an exception, as a planet's civilian population can be either annihilated or assimilated after its military is dealt with. Certain government types get bonuses or penalties for how quickly assimilation happens (for example, Unification Governments assimilate new populations very slowly, while Feudal Governments will have their planets instantly assimilate as the local Baron kowtows to a new master), and the Democracy government doesn't even have the option to annihilate. The depth of bastardry depends entirely on the player's actions.
  • The Zerg from Starcraft are largely mindless, but are controlled by Cerebrates and the Overmind. Who are all pretty bastardly. As a Horde of Alien Locusts, they desire to assimilate the most favorable genetic traits from sentient species and essentially swallow them whole. They get a dose of Humans Are the Real Monsters mixed in when Sarah "Queen of Blades" Kerrigan takes over, even explicitly referring to herself as "Queen Bitch of the Universe.''
    • The Protoss and Terrans also have their moments, and if the sequel is anything to go by, the Xel'Naga aren't/weren't exactly saints either. The latter's true enemies are probably worse.
  • The Shroobs in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time play this as straight as possible, destroying entire towns for very little reason and using the life force of native species like Toads for UFO fuel. Not set on Earth, but the town being destroyed during Christmas is definitely the bastard part of this trope.
  • The Mass Effect series generally averts this, giving every species more or less the same saint-to-asshole ratio. The batarians are as close as it gets, and that's largely because any batarian outside their home space is, by definition, an outlaw.
    • The Reapers. Can't get much worse than Abusive Precursors who are also omnicidal and sufficiently advanced. Justified considering they're all basically insane AIs who are trying to function off of downright broken logic and programming that tells them that the solution to mass extinctions is to personally cause the mass extinctions themselves.
    • The Yahg can certainly count. Giant bipedal aliens who are the apex predators of their planet (Parnack). When they were discovered, the Council sent a delegation of ambassadors to meet them. They immediately slaughtered all of the ambassadors and the planet was immediately deemed off-limits to all races.
      • Even in their case, its not a clear cut thing. With the Yahg possessing ocular setups with more in common with Jumping Spiders than anything else, they are capable of easily picking up on the tiniest details. Like body-language - the sort that might indicate lying. What the diplomats actually told them is unknown, but its clear that little ability was not something they appreciated.
    • In the first contact war, the Turians were pretty bastardly too. Due to a cultural dissonance, they assumed that, like them, every human was military trained and simply in reserve, so they were left rather confused when humanity considered them horrible monsters for attacking civilian targets. Even after the council put a stop to the war, some Turians (such as the instructor at Kaiden's biotics academy) continued to be right assholes to humans, though thankfully most of them chilled out by the time the games start.
  • Duke Nukem 3D, coupled with Mars Needs Women. Those alien bastards are gonna pay for shooting up his ride.
    "Nobody steals our chicks...and lives!"
  • Sins of a Solar Empire has the Vasari who eventually get a racial bonus towards enslavement.
    • Subverted in Rebellion the Loyalist; Vasari stick to their plan on looting worlds and leaving, but the Rebel Vasari also want to do the same, but they are willing to bring the TEC, and Advent along with them.
  • Halo gives us the Covenant. Which is led by its 'Prophets'. These Prophets have declared that humans are sacrilege incarnate and must be cleansed from the galaxy. Bastards indeed. Even worse is the reveal that the Prophets realized that WE are their gods' real descendants and they passed their Mantle to us, so they resolve to kill us lest their thousand-year-old Covenant founded on convincing their people that THEY are destined for godhood goes down the drain.
    • Subverted with (most of) the other members of the Covenant. The Elites are the Proud Warrior Race Guy types who just follow orders, and actually respect the humans for their fighting spirit. When they found out the truth, they ally themselves with the humans and win the war for them. The Grunts are just an enslaved race who are forced to work as Cannon Fodder and don't have any real grudge against the humans. Same thing with the Hunters, who were forced by the Covenant to join them if they wanted their planet saved from been nuked, and the Engineers, who even tried to make peace from day one of the war. The major part of them would ally with the humans too during the Covenant Civil War. The Jackals are just Hired Guns who are Only in It for the Money, but they remained loyal to the Prophets during the civil war. Played straight with the Brutes, who are savages in the Covenant For the Evulz anyway, and the Drones, who are too hive minded to think independently, and played completely straight with the Flood.
    • The Forerunners were said to be a highly advanced, wise, and peaceful species. The first two parts were true. The latter? Instead they conquered humans and forcibly devolved their society down to the literal Stone Age. Ironically, they did this because humanity appeared to be destroying their colonies, but it turned out the humans were actually trying to contain the Flood, with Forerunners caught in the crossfire.
    • Their creators the Precursors were no better, as they would create new species but then exterminate them if they didn't like the result. The last time they tried it, the Forerunners rebelled and wiped out the Precursors themselves. But a few remained, plotting their revenge...
  • What do you get when you blend this trope with the Humans Are the Real Monsters trope? You get Alien vs. Predator. There is all-out war between everyone and everything and they all kill each other for petty reasons (Xenomorphs for fun, Yautja for some few more bits of pride and humans for resources they don't need, power or fun as well).
  • UFO After Blank starts off with aliens called Reticulans seeding Earth with a biological agent that eventually kills off most of the life on the planet. The agent was actually used to grow a huge web of alien biomass called Mycelium, which the Reticulans planned to incorporate into a planet-sized supercomputer with godlike psionic powers.
  • The Terrans in Freespace had once outright hated the Vasudans for this reason during the Great War. Naturally, the Vasudans had the same opinion about Terrans. Then came along the vastly more powerful Shivans...
  • Deconstructed in Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds. The Martians only invade Earth because their planet and their species is dying, all their efforts to maintain a habitable biosphere have failed, and the surviving population are so desperate that they have actually started lynching their leaders until they come up with a solution.
  • The Burning Legion of the Warcraft franchise. They all hail from other worlds — some from other dimensions — and thanks to fel corruption, are all bastards.
  • The Star Control series has several fairly nice (if quirky) alien races, but has its share of bastards as well. The most obvious are main antagonists the Ur-Quan, who depending on which faction you're dealing with either gives you a choice between becoming their slave-soldiers and being stuck forever on your home planet, or kill you dead, no choice given (although their Start of Darkness does give them an understandable motivation for their acts).
    • The Dnyarri are an evil race of powerful psychics who enslave other races because they are too lazy to do anything for themselves. When they enslaved the Ur-Quan in the distant past, their first orders were to have them attempt genocide on their former allies in the Sentient Millieu. The Chmmr outright call the Dnyarri the devil.
    • Similarly, the Ilwrath are a spider-like species that revels in death and pain. But, like the Dnyarri, they are not the main antagonists in the games.
  • The Vortex from Ecco the Dolphin , who use Earth as their all-you-can-eat buffet every 500 years until Ecco fights back.
    • The Foe in the reboot timeline seem to exist only to conquer various worlds.
  • In Star Trek Online, the Iconians play this straight unlike most alien races in Star Trek. They are responsible for all of the recent conflict in the galaxy and are bent on re-establishing their empire. The Iconians truly live up (down?) to the name the other races gave them: the Demons of Air and Darkness.
  • The Kreegans in the Might and Magic series. Given their appearance and behavior, it's not hard to see why people thought they were actual devils.

    Web Comics 
  • The Cyantian Chronicles gives us the Moulin Phedra, AKA the Squid. They wanted to have some new sport fighters for their fighting pits. Their creations drove them off.
    • More recently we have been introduced to the Rastin. One of them kidnapped one of the main characters. The Rastin ship's commander implied that some of his passengers/crew did this sort of thing all the time.
  • The trolls in Homestuck start out as literal Internet Trolls, and are revealed to be children of a race consisting of Scary Dogmatic Aliens who created our universe. However, in some ways subverted, in that some of the trolls (such as Feferi and Tavros) are actually fairly nice once we learn more about them, and some of the ones who are jerks get a fair amount of Character Development over the course of the story. It's implied that the trolls being forced to work together, along with their interactions with the human kids, is "humanizing" them to an extent.
    • It turns out the trolls were only Scary Dogmatic Aliens thanks to the influence of Lord English's agents — Doc Scratch, the Handmaiden, and the Condesce. In a session without this outside interference, the trolls were a peaceful race.
      • Though this in turn is subverted when we meet the members of the "peaceful" session, and they're a collection of the most banal stereotypes of shallow modern suburbia, combined with deconstructive parodies of how the fandom perceived the initial troll characters. In short, they're a nasty bunch of hypocritical backstabbing jerks themselves.
  • The Lydian Option involves a prison filled with aliens hostile to humanity. Outside the prison, aliens resent humanity for winning the Spiral War - inside, humans lack protection and must travel together as a group.
  • In Spacetrawler the G.O.B. will declare a species "non-sapient" for reasons up and including bad fashion sense and their technology is built by a race of highly intelligent but weak-willed (and therefore non-sapient) aliens known as "Eebs". And the Animal Wrongs Group devoted to Eeb rights shanghaied six humans from pre-contact Earth into helping them. And then it turns out that Eebs are only weak-willed because of brain clamps placed on them at birth, and they're naturally psychopaths.
  • In Terra the Azatoth have Blood Knight tendencies, practice slavery, and antagonist Azatoth, particularly the Shadow Cabal, have little respect for other races' concept of civilians. The UEC isn't really any better, however.
  • In Webcomic/Jack, the Arc Debs involve an alien race who plan on invading planets, and they have no known reason for doing this. They also ruthlessly kill the soldiers stationed there during the story. Probally one of the worse parts was when they gunned down an Injured Arthour Sullivan for en SECONDS straight. In other words, they're genocidal assholes.

    Web Original 
  • In Cradleland, the alien ba'thulaz had used humans as cattle and slaves, and still viewed them as such even a thousand years after they were overthrown in a slave uprising and forced to flee. Humans were not much better, as the slaves were purchased from human slave traders on Earth during the Middle Ages.
  • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, the Daribi invade the Earth three times because once, two hundred thousand years ago, they used the planet as a forward base and now want "their" planet back. They get beaten back worse after each invasion, killing nearly three million people and levelling three cities in the process.
    • Also the Xorn, a Proud Warrior Race who invaded Earth just because it was there to invade. They ended up killing nearly a billion people worldwide and came close to wrecking Earth's ecology by introducing alien life. And when they left, they stranded hundreds of thousands of imported alien slaves, who had to find new lives on a new planet, surrounded by humans who were hostile to most of them.
  • In Freeman's Mind, Gordon frustratedly provides this page's quote after getting ambushed and zapped by a Vortigaunt for the nth time.
    • Which is pretty ironic, since Vortigaunts are some of the only aliens that aren't bastards after they are freed.
  • In The Cinema Snob's "Catching Up" review of Dark Skies, he points out that the alien invaders pretty much come to Earth for the sole purpose of being dicks.

    Western Animation 
  • Marvin the Martian was an Affably Evil bastard in his shorts, being perfectly willing to murder billions of lives solely because Earth was blocking his view of Venus—though like most of Bugs Bunny's foils, he's not too bright.
  • In Invader Zim, the Irken Empire. Not only are they after total intergalactic domination, but, they destroy all the life on a planet, just to build a parking lot on it!
  • American Dad!: Roger, so very much. However, it is later revealed that this is justified, as his species needs to "let their bitchiness out", or else it will turn to bile and poison them to death.
    • One episode revealed that the reason Roger's species abandoned him on Earth was because he wasn't enough of a bastard, he was too nice by their standards, so they turned him into a crash test dummy for a spaceship and just left him there.
  • Averted and subverted in the Ben 10 series, where there are good aliens, evil aliens, and everything in between. With some minor exceptions (most notable being the Inkursians), it seems most aliens avert the Always Chaotic Evil status (Azmuth's assistant, Myaxx, is from the same species than Vilgax, yet is in no way as evil as he is, and most of their species aren't portrayed as evil either.).
  • Teen Titans did have some good aliens (one of the main heroes was one, after all), but normally an alien species would only show up if some of their members were going to be the episode's villains. Lampshaded with The Source, whose only reason for wanting to blow up the Earth is "It is our way."

    Real Life 
  • Stephen Hawking believes any aliens that would come to earth would be imperialists (in space).
  • Others have argued that any species behaving like the typical version of this trope would be unlikely to cooperate among themselves long enough to discover Casual Interstellar Travel in the first place.


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alternative title(s): Aliens Are The Real Monsters
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