The Race are a proud species of reptilian aliens with tens of thousands of years of culture, bringing an invasion fleet to the primitive world of Tosev 3 (locally called Earth) to bring it into the Empire and the light of civilization. They expect a fairly easy conquest given the locals' lack of sophistication. Their probe mission, just eight hundred local years ago—certainly nowhere near enough time to advance technologically at all—found sword-swinging savages riding on animals. Then, to their discomfort, they discover that the planet is emitting radio transmissions. Arriving late in the local year 1941, they find the primitive industrial civilization of the Tosevites confusing, implausible, and an affront to the Race's rigid doctrines. Worse, if the Tosevites have advanced that much, it throws the certainty of the conquest in doubt. However, Fleetlord Atvar decides he could go down in history as one of three leaders to conquer an alien world, or the first to turn tail and flee without even having tasted combat. They go ahead with the conquest exactly as planned.
This is a mistake.
They land squarely in the middle of World War II, to the absolute confusion of everyone involved. Through the eyes of many characters, of all nationalities, human and alien, we read about the humans desperately trying to survive, and the aliens desperately trying to win. The Race is forced to become more like humans, making hasty decisions and breaking protocol. It also turns out that ginger (the spice) is a powerful and highly addictive narcotic for the Race, which further strains their normal way of life. This takes up the four books of the Balance series (the original Worldwar series) and ends with a stalemate and truce between the Race and the human governments that managed to resist their invasion (the USA, the Greater German Reich, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and Imperial Japan.)
Next comes Colonization, a trilogy that picks up twenty years after the end of Worldwar. The Race's colonization fleet arrives on Earth expecting a subdued planet, only to find that barely half the planet's surface is under the (often contested) rule of the Race. This creates intense friction between the troops of the invasion fleet, who have been significantly changed by their interaction with humans, and the much more conservative and strait-laced colonists. Even more tension comes from the just-short-of-shots-fired relationships between the surviving human powers: They are united in opposition towards the Race, threatening nuclear war in defense of an almost-enemy if the Race makes any aggressive moves, but all of the major human states are hostile towards each other as well, and aren't averse to sabotage and false flag actions aimed at rival humans. Making matters worse for the Race, it is discovered that on top of its narcotic effects to the Race, ginger causes females to go into estrus out of season, something undiscovered by the all-male conquest fleet. This has devastating effects on the Race's mating cycles, and introduces them to some totally alien concepts like sex for pleasure, prostitution, and monogamy.
Finally, a standalone book, Homeward Bound, was added to the series. A whole bunch of humans get on a human-made starship and head towards the Race's homeworld, in an effort to negotiate a lasting peace between humans and the Race. The Race, for its part, is still contemplating the possibility of utterly destroying Earth to end the threat to the Empire, even though it would mean killing hundreds of millions of their own colonists. But in the end, they discover that it's already far too late to contain the humans, and they need to begin adapting to compete.
- The original Worldwar series:
- In the Balance
- Tilting the Balance
- Upsetting the Balance
- Striking the Balance
- The follow-up Colonization series:
- Second Contact
- Down to the Earth
- Homeward Bound serves as the Grand Finale of the entire series.
These books provides examples of:
- Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Jens Larssen and Barbara Larssen are separated when Jens goes on an important mission to contact the US military, and both begin to feel physical attraction to others during the separation. Barbara ultimately believes that Jens has died on his mission and begins a relationship with Sam Yeager, while Jens believes that Barbara is still waiting for him and so avoids having an affair.
- Affably Evil: Otto Skorzeny spends so much time being incredibly charismatic and fun to be around that most characters forget he's a member of the SS and a virulent Nazi. After he has gotten Heinrich Jäger imprisoned by the SS, many other officers—unaware that he was behind the arrest—actually use the hypothetical example of what Skorzeny would do as motivation to break their superior out of custody.
- The Alliance: The Axis and Allied alliances put aside their differences in order to focus on their common enemy. However, characters from all sides repeatedly note that they wish they had not been interrupted, and hope to resume their own conflicts once the present situation is resolved. Many don't wait that long, and engage in minor skirmishes or acts of sabotage against each other.
- Alien Arts Are Appreciated:
- Some members of the Race have taken to baseball, and it is noted that the Race like Leni Riefenstahl's film-making techniques.
- After his defection, Straha (who has been considered by other members of the Race to be more like Humans than one of the Race) notes that he doesn't care for a lot of human art and music. He is somewhat fond of Bach, however.
- By the time of Colonization, what would have been the Baby Boomer generation (including Sam Yeager's teenage son) have grown up with the presence of the Race and are fairly enamored with their culture, including shaved heads, bodypaint, wearing little (or no) clothing in public, and terminology such as "I greet you" and using "hot" as a synonym for "good" (much like how "cool" is used in our world).
- Homeward Bound reveals some of the Race on Home have taken to wearing clothes and wigs, in imitation of Humans. They are considered freaks by the rest of The Race.
- Alien Catnip: Ginger has a powerful and addictive narcotic effect on the Race, and once the colony ships arrive it even turns out to send their females into heat. This has profound effects on their culture, as generally they don't mate out of season.
- Alien Invasion: The central plot point of the series.
- Alien Space Bats: In this case, the POD literally involves aliens visiting Earth during World War II.
- All Men Are Perverts:
- The Race is absolutely disgusted by the way human men are able to become sexually aroused at any time. They refuse to accept it as truth when it is first described to them, and run numerous experiments to see if it really is possible for a man to have sex at any time. They think that this constant state of horniness is one of the explanations for humanity's rapid technological progress.
- Several of the female human characters have endured such casual, omnipresent sexual harassment throughout their lives that they regard it as a normal experience. Whenever a man doesn't try to force themselves on them, they wonder if there's something wrong with him.
- All Women Are Lustful: The Race is absolutely disgusted by the way human women can be sexually "receptive" at any time. They refuse to accept it as truth when it is first described to them, and run numerous experiments to see if it really is possible for a woman to have sex and become pregnant at any time. They think that this constant state of horniness is one of the explanations for humanity's rapid technological progress
- All Psychology Is Freudian: The series is set at a time when Freud's theories are respected and accepted, and because of its focus on sex human psychologists are stumped when trying to analyse the Race. They have no sexual thoughts outside of the mating season, so Freud doesn't apply. On the Race's side, their psychologists find it equally difficult to comprehend humans, as they don't have sex for pleasure, pair bonding, or even families in their culture.
- Allohistorical Allusion:
- As the result of being hit by the Dora cannon, a Race starship explodes. By chance, this ship holds the majority of the fleet's nuclear ordnance. The bombs do not go off, but they do spread radioactive contamination across a wide area in the Ukraine. When a joint Soviet-German mission captures some of the uranium, two of them are running close to an abandoned village. The German officer asks what the village is called; the Soviet partisan replies it is Chernobyl.
- After being able to destroy several Race landcruisers (albeit with heavy losses) with the help of the newly developed Tiger tanks, one of Jager's men wonders if the next type of tank they'll develop will be a Tiger mounting a long-barreled gun AND sloped armor. That was precisely what the tank that succeeded the Tiger had.
- Being interrogated by the Japanese about how to build nuclear weapons, Race pilot Teerts wishes that a nuclear bomb would fall upon the city. The city is Nagasaki, the second city destroyed by an atomic bomb in real-life.
- General Patton criticizes the Race for getting bogged down in street fighting at Chicago, saying that unlike the Germans the Race are slow to learn from their mistakes and the Germans would not have tried to take Stalingrad house by house if they had reached it. In reality, they did, and it was a complete disaster. Patton uses the same tactics that the USSR used to destroy the German Sixth Army, and the main difference is that the Race actually fought smarter: they had the sense to immediately stage a breakout from Chicago and managed to save a large part of their force, while Hitler refused to allow a retreat resulting in the complete loss of the Sixth Armynote .
- In Second Contact one member of The Race says to another, after dealing with Nazi ambassadors, that duty in the city of Nuremberg is a trial. The Nuremberg Trials were ones in which the real Nazis were tried after WWII was over.
- The Empire of Japan detonates their first home-built atomic bomb on Bikini Atoll, which was the site of numerous atomic bomb test detonations by the United States.
- In Down to Earth the Race and Nazi Germany fight a brief but devastating war over Race-occupied Poland, ending with the Nazis defeated and Germany's major cities nuked. Flensburg, on the Danish border, ends up as the capital. It was also the capital of Germany from 1 May to 23 May 1945 in our own timeline - Karl Donitz led the German government from there after Hitler's suicide.
- When Johannes Drucker comments on the suicide of the president of the United States, he thinks such a thing would never occur in the German Reich, and Hitler would sooner have taken up a rifle himself and fought until death. In real life, Hitler committed suicide when the Soviets overran Berlin.
- After President Earl Warren's suicide, several of the Race's experts on humans gather to discuss the reasons behind this act. They unofficially call this gathering the "Warren Commission". In Real Life, the Warren Commission was the unofficial name for the committee that investigated John F. Kennedy's assassination, named so after the presiding Chief Justice Earl Warren.
- Alternate History: Aliens invade during World War II.
- Alternate-History Nazi Victory: A more limited version. Nazi Germany successfully defends itself and becomes one of the three human nuclear powers, and retains all of its pre-1942 conquests except the western USSR (which is returned) and Poland (which is surrendered to the aliens). In 1965 the Greater German Reich fights and loses a short nuclear war against the aliens but, while forced to give up France and its nuclear and spacefaring technology, manages to retain the rest of its empire. By 2031, the Reich has recovered and is once again considered a world power.
- Anyone Can Die: Viewpoint characters die throughout the series. Characters that had an ongoing presence generally transfer their perspective to a new character that had been associated with them before their death.
- Ask a Stupid Question...: After an assassination attempt on Mordechai Anielewicz, a neighbor asks why anybody would want to shoot him. Mordechai can only laugh and point out that he's a prominent Jew, which means that the Poles, Lizards, Nazis, and Russians all don't like him, and probably more people as well if the neighbor wants him to keep going.
- Asteroid Miners: The Lewis and Clark establishes a permanent presence in the asteroid belt, scanning asteroids and preparing for future mining and construction projects. The Columbus arrives to join her some time later. Unlike the Lewis and Clark, which is built like a space station, the Columbus is purpose-built like an interplanetary craft and looks it.
- Badass Bookworm:
- Jens Larssen manages to travel his way across war-torn America on a bicycle, fights as a competent infantryman in Patton's army and repeatedly shows himself to be tough, resourceful and determined despite the fact he is simply a nuclear physicist with no combat training. Rare case of a badass also being a Butt-Monkey.
- Heinrich Jager: Skorzeny enlisted him for the raid in Split as much for his training in Archeology (The Race were based in Diocletian's Palace, and Jager finds the underground passage in) as for his military experience.
- The Beard: A few dates into their 'relationship', Monique Dutourd wonders if Dieter Kuhn is just going out with her "to give the appearance of normality" since he had not tried to force himself on her yet. She eventually learns that he does in fact desire her, and desperately wishes that she had been right the first time.
- Beardless Protection Program: Moishe's escape from the ghetto.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Straha spends much of the Colonization series wishing that there was some way he could earn his way back into the good graces of the Race. When Sam Yeager gives Straha an envelope to hold in case he dies or disappears he wonders if this may be his key back. He also wants to know the secret to satisfy his own curiosity. When Sam does disappear, Straha finds that the concern over his friend overpowers his desire to know the secret, and after opening the envelope he is not sure what to do with the secret information at all.
- Believing Their Own Lies:
- Glen Johnson repeats the story of how he boarded the American space station — that his engine suffered a failure at an inopportune moment and he had to board for repairs — so often that he almost forgets that he rigged the engine to fail deliberately.
- After the war between the Reich and the Race, Atvar thinks that this is part of what lead to the war in the first place. The Reich had spent so much time bellowing about what it deserved, and bragging about its might and skills, that they eventually believed all of their own claims and thought they could win the war.
- Beneath Notice: The Colonization series reveals that in addition to the great powers who were able to keep their independence by force of arms, Ireland, New Zealand, the Caribbean island nations and the Free French territories in the Pacific have also remained independent because the Race didn't consider such small landmasses to be important.
- BFG: The biggest gun ever built in Real Life, a German 80 cm K (E) railway siege gun, makes an appearance. The Germans use it to blast a couple of Race spaceships. It is named Dora.
- Bilingual Dialogue:
- The viewpoint characters in eastern Europe speak a variety of languages, primarily Yiddish, German, Polish, Ukrainian, and Russian. When they need to speak between the groups they get by as best they can with the languages that are mutually intelligible and occasional chains of translators.
- Straha has learned reasonably good English during his time in the USA, but he prefers to speak the language of the Race. When talking to his driver or Sam Yeager, their conversations will often be conducted in both languages.
- Jerusalem is a nexus of languages, with Yiddish, Hebrew, Arabic, English, and the language of the Race spoken by different inhabitants. Most residents are reasonably fluent in at least two of the languages. Students at the Moishe Russie Medical School takes lessons in the language of the Race, but converse amongst themselves in all of their own languages.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: The Race mates in seasons, gets stoned off of ginger and uses far less water than humanity (with resulting "toiletry differences" - see Nobody Poops). They also have a cloaca used for waste removal and reproduction. Averted with food: other than liking things saltier and needing less water, the Race can eat human foods and vice versa. Inverted from the Race's perspective: the biology of the "Big Uglies" is weird to them; that they (we) can mate all year round, are always influenced by this, and the crucial role this plays in shaping human society is deeply bizarre and pretty disgusting to them.
- Bizarre Alien Senses: The Lizards can see a few colors in the infrared spectrum.
- Blood Knight: Skorzeny does not appear to care who he fights, or for what reason, just as long as he gets to fight. The child-like enthusiasm he displays, including when he is using weapons of mass destruction, before, during and after said fights is both disturbing and more than a little funny.
- Blunt "Yes": When Ttomalss is debriefing Straha after his re-defection to the Race, Straha asks if he enjoys being able to be rude to somebody whose rank is so far above his own. Ttomalss has to consider for a moment, but then he answers that yes, he does. This wins him some respect from Straha.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Otto Skorzeny of course, it is one of his chief characteristics that he enthusiastically enjoys everything he does.
- Break the Haughty: Flight Leader Teerts gets put through the wringer as a prisoner of the Japanese. Also, the entire series could count as one Break the Haughty moment for the Race.
- But Liquor Is Quicker: Males of the Race who have been aroused but cannot find any females in heat start spiking drinks with ginger and giving them to females to spur them into heat.
- Jens Larssen. The guy loses his job and marriage, gets stuck behind enemy lines, gets press-ganged into fighting on the front lines on more than one occasion despite being a mere scientist, gets sent on a Snipe Hunt, gets the clap, etc... Really, his only purpose in the story seems to be to have one humiliation after another piled onto him.
- Ussmak appears to be the Race's equivalent of a Butt-Monkey. Butt Beffel, perhaps? He is a tank (or "landcruiser") driver whose first commanding officer gets killed in his very first engagement by sniper fire; his replacement commander is a Grade A Idiot; his best friend, the tank gunner, gets killed shortly later; his tank gets blown up when Skorzeny, of all people, rams a satchel charge between the turret and the chassis; when Ussmak bails out he lands in a particularly radioactive patch of mud which gets him a lovely stay in a hospital ship and to add insult to injury one of the orderlies there gets him addicted to ginger. Then he gets assigned to a new crew and gets to play cat and mouse with Wehrmacht/Waffen-SS troops and armor in France; then he takes part in the invasion of Britain where he gets introduced to a new type of warfare, Chemical Warfare; then he gets sent to Siberia, when the Race can not stand even mildly cold weather, where his second crew gets killed. Afterward, Ussmak finally snaps and leads a mutiny at his base and then defects to the Big Uglies. Unfortunately, the humans he defects to are Stalin's USSR complete with Beria's NKVD, so you can guess that doesn't exactly end well for poor Ussmak.
- But We Used a Condom!: Generally averted, as women only seem to get pregnant when condoms are not used, and even a few times when condoms weren't used nobody got pregnant. Completely played straight with Kassquit in Homeward Bound who uses condoms during her sexual relationship with Major Coffey. The latter asks how to say "broken rubber" in the language of the Race. Kassquit is initially upset to have her opinion on substandard human quality control confirmed but decides to keep the baby.
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp":
- Humans tend to use the Race's names (or translations thereof) for inventions they arrived at first. Nuclear weapons are "explosive-metal bombs"; the LASER is "skelkwank", and so CDs and DVDs are called "skelkwank discs". The Race call their tanks "landcruisers" and their fighter planes "killercraft".
- A variation with animals from Home brought by the Colonization Fleet. For some, humans try to find analogues among human animals. For example, the Race's equivalent of cows look very much like dinosaurs with turreted eyes, except it's pointed out that they don't graze like cows, instead eating every blade of grass in the vicinity (making the area barren). The lizards also have two kinds of pets (also lizard-like). The befflem (plural of "beffel"), for example are friendly like dogs but are independent like cats. On the other hand, tsiongyu (plural of "tsiongi") are larger than befflem and must be kept on a leash (like dogs) but are not as playful as dogs and are a little reminiscent of cats in their interactions with their owners.
- Canada Does Not Exist: Played with In-Universe. As part of the peace settlement with Earth's major power countries, Atvar agrees to withdraw Race forces from "the northern territory that seems to be not quite part of the U.S.A. or Britain." Both US Secretary of State George Marshall and British Foreign Minister simultaneously respond: "Canada." Atvar notes to himself that Marshall acted as though it was part of the U.S.A. anyway.
- Canada, Eh?: When the post-war United Kingdom falls more and more under the sway of the Greater German Reich, David Goldfarb and his family emigrate to Canada. While technically still a British Dominion, Canada is effectively an independent ally of the USA and thus immune to Germany's anti-Semetic influence.
- Circling Vultures: When Rance Auerbach and Penny Summers are walking to the American lines after leaving the POW/refugee camp, Rance observes that a lot of the people making the same trek are going to die on the way. Instead of answering, Peggy points to the buzzards already circling above their heads.
- Colony Drop:
- After the Columbus arrives to join the Lewis and Clark in the Asteroid Belt, one of the tasks the astronauts perform is to strap rockets to asteroids in order to, potentially, use them to bombard territories belonging to the Race on Earth. They successfully test one of these by slamming it into Mars. Atvar is not pleased.
- After the Commodore Perry arrives to Home, and the Race is confronted by Gunboat Diplomacy, they warn humans that, while the Race lacks FTL drives, their ships are able to go to a fairly high (50%) percentage of the speed of light. Should Home be threatened, the Race may send ships to slam into Earth at half the speed of light (or even more, given that they wouldn't be worrying about decelerating in time and can use all fuel for acceleration), likely starting a new Ice Age. Even with FTL, it would be impossible to intercept all of them.
- Colonel Badass: Heinrich Jager. Skorzeny's SS rank was Obersturmbannfuhrer, which is the equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel.
- Completely Different Title: The books were renamed for the Russian translation.
- In the Balance became Invasion Fleet (Флот вторжения).
- Tilting the Balance became Retaliation (Ответный удар).
- Upsetting the Balance became Eye for an Eye (Око за око).
- Striking the Balance became The Great Turning Point (Великий перелом).
- Ditto for the Italian version:
- In the Balance - Invasion Year Zero (Invasione anno zero)
- Tilting the Balance - Invasion Act Two (Invasione atto secondo)
- Upsetting the Balance - Invasion Act Three (Invasione atto terzo)
- Striking the Balance - Invasion Final Act (Invasione atto finale)
- The Colonization series and Homeward Bound are all named Colonization Phase <number> (Colonizzazione fase <numero>).
- Conflict Ball: Not once do Major Samuel Yeager or Lieutenant Colonel Glen Johnson receive official cease-and-desist orders through the proper chain of command. Instead high-ranking officers go straight to intimidation, blustering, and (with Yeager) attempted murder, which only prompts Yeager and Johnson to dig deeper. The characters themselves state that a simple explanation of "Sorry, that's classified" from their immediate superiors would have ended their nosing around with them none the wiser.
- Conflict Killer: The arrival of the Race places an almost immediate halt on the intra-human World War II already in progress. Notably, rather than truly uniting humanity, many of the characters don't like that they were interrupted and explicitly state that they wish they had a chance to finish their own struggles.
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Major Samuel Yeager and Lieutenant Colonel Glen Johnson both note that they would have stopped digging into The Conspiracy if they had ever received any official orders to do so. Instead they received threats and bluster which only made them dig harder.
- Could Say It, But...:
- When Gorppet has been offered a transfer to the Race's intelligence services, he hesitate to accept for fear that his ginger habit will get him in trouble. The male he is speaking to says — purely hypothetically, and specifically not asking Gorppet any questions — that if he was a ginger user it wouldn't be a problem, provided he is not the sort of male who gives ginger to females without their knowledge.
- When General Healey offers Glen Johnson the choice of entering cold sleep to wait for a human starship, Johnson views it as a threat that something will happen to him if he doesn't accept the offer. Healey immediately and vehemently denies saying that, and says that he would never say that, but since Johnson said it he sure better think about it.
- The Coup: In Second Contact, Beria attempts to overthrow Molotov and take control of the Soviet Union. He manages to abduct Molotov without any difficulty and is in the process of having the NKVD beat him until he signs the papers that he voluntarily abdicated, when the Red Army suddenly bursts into the prison. It seems that Marshal Zhukov's bodyguards were better prepared, and the Red Army swiftly puts down the NKVD with little difficulty.
- Crazy Cultural Comparison: Occurs frequently between humans and the Race, in matters both big and small:
- On the macro level, the fact that the reptilian Race have a mating season makes them see the "perpetually aroused" humans as bizarre. They also conclude that this causes competition that may be the driving force behind humanity's warlike nature and related rapid progress.
- On the micro level, there's an amusing illustration when British engineers first try to understand captured Race technology. The Race uses screws, just like we do. It's a very efficient fastener technology, so this case of parallel development isn't terribly surprising. But an arbitrary difference in standards does cause the boffins immense frustration until someone figures out the cause: Race screws are the opposite of ours (i.e. they go in by turning them counterclockwise).
- Crazy-Prepared: The Race expected humanity would be nothing but sword-wielding primitives. They still arm their Conquest Fleet with tanks, attack helicopters, fighter aircraft, and nuclear weapons. Lots and lots of all of them. When Shiplord Straha is asked why they bothered bringing so much hardware (including air-to-air ordnance that should have been superfluous and useless against medieval armies) to fight a bunch of primitives, Straha looks at the person asking like he's "egg-addled" (i.e. crazy) and explains that when you go to war you must prepare for war. Simple as that.
- Cryo Sickness: Downplayed. When Sam and the rest of the Admiral Peary passengers come out of cold sleep, they're given a small amount of liquid food to regain their strength, and have to undo their own gurney straps to help regain their motor functions.
- Curbstomp Battle: Partially averted. The Race is expecting their invasion of Tosev 3 to last days at most - which, of course, doesn't pan out. However, even with the massive technological leap that Humanity has taken since the arrival of the Race's probe, the Race does still succeed in conquering about two-thirds of the planet within three months, and all meaningful resistance after that is largely confined to Europe, North America and eastern Asia. Certainly at the beginning of the series, this trope is played straight with most individual skirmishes between Humanity and the Race. Case in point being Race killercraft scything through the RAF's 'Thousand Bomber Raid' over Cologne on the night they first land. Absolutely no doubt is left in anybody's mind - be they Lizard, Human or reader - that the Race has vastly superior weaponry.
- The Race-German War of 1965 ends up being this for the Reich. The Germans' conventional equipment is now on par or close enough to the Race and they manage to nuke some Race-controlled cities and colonies. The aliens still manage to stalemate their invasion of Poland and practically bathe Germany itself in nuclear fire. By the time it's over the Reich's territories are not far from being Mad Max in Europe.
- Dead Guy Junior:
- There are two children named Heinrich in the Colonization series, both carrying on the legacy of Heinrich Jager and the example he set. That these two children are the sons of both a Wehrmacht officer and Jewish militia leader Mordechai Anielewicz speaks to the quality of the man himself.
- Adolf, the little brother of the German Heinrich. Although apparently he doesn't like the Nazi government because they would have killed his mother for having a Jewish great-grandparent.
- Deadly Euphemism:
- Among the highest levels of the Soviet hierarchy, the "maximum punishment" is the term for the execution of their own personnel for failure.
- In the Soviet gulag system, "denied the right of correspondence" is the term the prisoners use for killing one of their own. If you're dead, you can't correspond.
- To 'give someone a noodle' is SS slang for a bullet to the back of the head. It has begun to leach out to the rest of the Wehrmacht as well.
- Deadly Gas:
- When the Race invades the British Isles, mustard gas is used against the invaders. We even get a description of its effects (they are not very nice.)
- From time to time, the Nazis use nerve gas, the description of which is horrifying in an entirely different manner.
- Dead Man's Switch: Sam Yeager gives Straha an envelope, with a promise that he not open it unless Sam dies or disappears. It contains the proof that the USA was behind the attack on the Colonization Fleet, and Straha delivers it to Atvar after government operatives kidnap Sam.
- Declaration of Protection: Surprisingly, Rance Auerbach declares David Goldfarb under his protection. It's partially motivated by his own pride and spite over the way Basil Roundbush dismissed his objections to Roundbush's vendetta, but he means it when he tells him to back off.
- Deconstruction: Of the entire alien invasion genre.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Taking place during the middle of the twentieth century, the social aspects of the time are present throughout the books. Racism, sexism and nationalism are much more prevalent than modern times even in the "good" nations.
- Demoted to Extra: Happens to a couple of point-of-view characters from Worldwar in the sequel series.
- Ludmila Gorbunova gets only two appearances in the first book of the Colonization series, neither of which last more than two pages and both through the eyes of Mordechai. Still, she gets off better than Heinrich (see "Dropped a Bridge on Him" below).
- George Bagnall actually does do something in Colonization, but only for one single scene when he helps David Goldfarb emigrate to Canada.
- Desecrating the Dead: While preparing for the Lizard invasion of Warsaw, Moishe Russie happens to catch sight of German troops manning an anti-aircraft gun set up in a cemetery. One of the soldiers takes a brief break to go to the bathroom, and Moishe decides that seeing a German soldier pissing on Jewish graves and laughing about it is the sign he needs to assist the Lizards.
- Didn't See That Coming: Even if the Lizards know in advance Tosev 3 is a water-rich world, especially next to theirs, it's mentioned the Race is caught by surprise by attacks from warships - both aircraft carriers and big-gunned vessels - though these are easily found by Lizard aircraft. Later on in Colonization nuclear submarines cause far more headaches for them as they can be submerged almost indefinitely and are very hard to detect.
- Dirty Communists: Part of The Alliance, along with Nazi Germany, and therefore the "good guys".
- Distracted from Death: A seemingly recurring theme with Mutt Daniels. Twice he doesn't notice that somebody was killed by an artillery barrage they were ducking from until he tries to talk afterwards and gets no response. Sergeant Schneider, his original superior and "finest soldier", and Miss Lucille, the medic he was trying to romance.
- Ditto Aliens: Over the course of the series, which takes place over nearly a century, neither humans or the alien Lizards ever quite get the hang of even telling each other's genders apart.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The first book was written in 1994 and the Race's war technology seems to be based on that used by the US military and its Coalition partners in the Gulf War.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Mutt is just a sweet old man whose fervent pursuit eventually makes Miss Lucille warm up to him. Even though she's a lesbian who's never had a man. But if she had one, it would be Mutt.
- Double-Blind What-If:
- Human characters continually wonder what would have happened in World War II if the Race hadn't interrupted it. The characters from each nation all think that their own side would have persevered, and that they would have dominated human culture afterwards.
- From the Colonization series onward, the Race gives a lot of thought to what would have happened on Earth if they had not attempted to invade. Most of them think that humanity would have destroyed itself through nuclear war.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: With a couple of point-of-view characters from Worldwar.
- Heinrich Jager died a few years after the first series, supposedly from complications due to the nerve-gas he breathes during his final confrontation with Skorzeny, and this is mentioned as an aside when Mordechai is talking to Ludmila about their own lingering pains.
- Mutt Daniels gets an even larger bridge with no details, when Sam Yeager comes across his obituary in a baseball magazine. Given that Yeager doesn't react with any shock and that Mutt made it to nearly eighty, it was likely just old age.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Atvar doesn't even have a concept of impericide when Molotov tells him that the Russians killed their emperor, yet a later book has Atvar thinking that this has happened in the distant past of the Race and the perpetrator's name was expunged from history.
- Earth Is a Battlefield: The invasion is world-wide. The only landmasses that are not physically landed upon by the Race are assorted islands deemed too small to merit occupation, and even these are attacked from the air.
- Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: Subverted. On the one hand, the Race expected to confront spearmen and armored knights on horseback only to end up confronting World War II-era Earth. On the the other hand, despite the reduced technological gap it still remains a hard struggle.
- The Empire: The Race's version of government. Before they encountered humans they thought it was the only version of government. The best word they can come up with to describe any system of government that is not a hereditary autocracy is "not-empire". The Race describe the not-empires thusly: "The not-empires fall into three categories. Those which have one man with the power of an emperor, but who is not one (Germany, Soviet Union), those which have emperors, but whose emperors have no real power (Britain, Japan) and those who engage in 'snout-counting' (USA, Canada)." They're actually so firmly entrenched in this idea that when Molotov brags to Atvar that in the Bolshevik Revolution the Emperor of Russia was murdered, Atvar shudders inwardly and marvels at the barbarism of the act, something which the Race didn't even have a concept for prior to that.
- Enemy Mine: The Allies and the Axis ally together against the Race, although distance or pre-invasion enmity still hamper their efforts. Even the Jewish Resistance fighters, or at least some of them, sometimes assist the German military because, while they want the Race to keep the Nazis out of Poland, they don't want them to conquer all of humanity either.
- Euphemism Buster:
- When Johannes Drucker is being interrogated by the Gestapo over the rumors that his wife's grandmother was Jewish, the interrogator tries to console Drucker that their children will not be seriously discomfited if she is found guilty. Drucker angrily thinks that all that that means is that they won't be executed out of hand, since the Reich draws the line at being one-quarter Jewish instead of one-eighth.
- When Roland Freisler tells Felless that anybody caught smuggling drugs into the Reich will face the "maximum punishment allowed by law", Felless instantly responds that he means they will be killed.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Jager and the Race are both shocked and horrified at the measures taken in the name of German national security, particularly the industrialized murder of the concentration camps and Babi Yar. For the Race, the idea of killing a whole demographic is something they've never imagined.
- Rance Auerbach is trying to set himself up as a ginger dealer and hopes that Basil Roundbush can be an important connection, but when he discovers that Basil is planning to have David Goldfarb killed because of what he knows, he says that Goldfarb is now under his protection. Even if it makes Roundbush his own enemy.
- Evil Lawyer Joke: It turns out that humans and the Race have a very similar view on lawyers, and both make the same style of jokes. Jonathan Yeager spends one morning passing jokes back and forth with a male of the Race that he bumped into in a park. The male of the Race says that a lawyer will enter a revolving door behind you but come out in front of you, while Jonathan says that sharks avoid eating lawyers due to professional courtesy.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Shiplord, Fleetlord, etc. all the way down to "Small Group Leader". Few of the Race's titles and ranks leave anything to the imagination.
- Exposed Extraterrestrials: The Race never wears clothes, except for (sometimes) anti-ballistic vests or radiation suits. Their idea of proper attire is to cover themselves with body paint. They are utterly unprepared for Earth's far chillier climate, and suffer greatly in their campaigns in the USSR and America during the winter months, being forced to scavenge clothing to keep from freezing.
- Face–Heel Turn: Jens Larssen starts as one of the viewpoint characters who volunteers for dangerous missions for the good of America, but slowly loses his sanity and turns against humanity after becoming the Butt-Monkey.
- Fantastic Racism: The Race view themselves as the apex of sapient life, exemplified by their name: They are simply the Race, anybody else is beneath them and thus deserves to be conquered and enslaved. The humans have less condescension—since they are beneath the Race technologically—but a good deal more hate.
- Fantastic Slurs: "Lizards" for the Race (or "Little Scaly Devils" in China), "Big Uglies" for the humans.
- Faux Furby: In Colonization, one unforeseen side effect of reptilian aliens invading during WWII is the invention of Furby-like animatronic toys (referred to as "Furries") during the 1960s. Some characters working for intelligence agencies suggest concealing recorders in them, in reference to the urban legend about Furbies.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: The nature of slower-than-light interstellar travel means that people miss years or decades traveling between stars, and when they return home things have inevitably changed. Even members of the Race, whose society changes much more slowly than humanity, notice this. For humans it is much more drastic. When Sam Yeager comes back to Earth in 2031 he is shocked at how much society has changed since he went into cold sleep in 1977. Since he was already old even then, the change from when he was born is nearly unfathomable.
- Flat "What": Atvar has a mental one of these while talking with the Soviet diplomat while asking him to surrender. Upon asking him how the USSR coped without an emperor, Molotov promptly replies that they murdered him, upsetting both Atvar and his interpreter. He has another when Molotov demands that the Race withdraws from Soviet territory, while Soviet forces are being hammered by the Race.
- The Fog of Ages: The Race has had a continuous recorded history for 50,000 years, but before the unification of Home things get a bit more muddied. Their earliest recorded history — referred to as ancientest history — is deliberately suppressed in order to not upset their populace. Only specialized scholars and the highest members of government have access to these records, with the general public completely ignorant of what happened so long ago.
- Freudian Trio: the three most senior members of the alien Race's conquest fleet exemplify the parts of the human psyche, in the context of a generally very conservative and cautious species-society:
- Id: Straha, third in the hierarchy, is so aggressive, radical, adaptable and short-term oriented his superior compares him to humans (not a compliment). After the conquest suffers setbacks, he tries to overthrow his commander and take over the fleet. When that fails, he takes refuge with humanity, only to later regret his choice.
- Ego: Atvar, the fleetlord, tries to balance tradition and change, caution and initiative, and play off the other two against each other.
- Superego: Kirel, the second-in-command, is focused on not making any mistakes, and never deviating from the path laid down, almost regardless of price or consequence. His attitude is very common among the junior members of the fleet, but he represents it at the very top.
- FTL Travel Sickness: In the spinoff Homeward Bound, it's noted that when a ship makes a jump to FTL, it can cause a feeling of extreme nausea for some people when they're awake. The feeling passes in a second or two, but for those who are experiencing this sickness, those seconds seem to last much longer.
- Functional Addict: Ginger is addictive to any member of the Race who tries it, so almost every viewpoint character from the Race is struggling with its usage. Many of them make a conscious effort to not taste while in the middle of their work, because they recognize that it impairs their judgement and will negatively affect their performance. This gets tacit approval from their superiors, who know when to look the other way until it begins to show up during their duties.
- Future Slang: Well, Alternate 60s Slang. By Colonization, human teenagers who grew up with the Race being a fact of life, learn stock phrases in their language such as "I greet you" and "It shall be done" and treat them as slang. Additionally, American teens adopt the word "hot" to have the same connotation as modern-day "cool". Note that their "hot" is different from modern-day "hot" (which means "sexy").
- Game Show: In Homeward Bound, the human ambassadors learn that Donald, a Lizard raised from hatchlinghood by the Yeagers, is the host of a game show called You'd Better Believe It. The show is somewhat similar to Fox's The Chamber, where contestants answer questions while strapped into a human gyroscope and harassed with airjets, water sprays and mild electric shocks. It also has a beautiful assistant named Rita who goes topless, which is a common (Race-influenced) style for women of the time.
- Gay Bravado: Skorzeny flirts with Jager quite a bit; given the Third Reich's attitude towards homosexuality, it's clear he's just goofing around and Jager will play along with the joke.
- The Generation Gap:
- The younger human generation that grew up after the arrival of the Lizards has created a subculture based around imitating them in appearance, which has lead to drastically reduced nudity taboos as men and even women begin casually going around topless while wearing body paint. Eventually their children begin covering up again, and view going around shirtless as something that old people do.
- The Race generally does not experience any cultural disconnects between their generations, as they explicitly note that changes to their society come so slowly as to not be noticeable within a single lifetime. When Ttomalss begins having difficulty in raising Kassquit he wonders if such friction is normal among Tosevites, but then concludes that parents and children probably get along much more smoothly.
- Genre Savvy: Sam Yeager, an avid reader of Astounding Science-Fiction, becomes one of humanity's greatest experts on the Race (as well as being held in high regard by the Race itself) because he is able to think beyond the normal human perspective. This is what gets him off the front lines and assigned to working with Lizard prisoners in the first place.
- Gilded Cage:
- Straha's life after his defection is as pleasant as the Americans can make it. He has his own house, is supplied with all the food — and ginger — that he wants, and he has a personal chauffeur to to see to his every need. Nonetheless he can never escape the isolation he feels from being separated from the Race, nor can he ignore that the Americans hold him in their power no matter how polite they are about it.
- Monique and Pierre Dutourd discuss the merits of such a cage after Monique joins him in hiding. Pierre prefers "living as a hunted animal than as one in a cage, where the keeper could reach in and pet me — or do anything else he wanted — whenever he chose". Monique agrees, but points out that for her she hasn't escaped the cage, she has only exchanged the cage of the SS for Pierre's.
- Give Me a Sign: Moishe Russie twice asks god for some sort of sign:
- Before the Lizards come, he asks for a sign that god has not forgotten His people trapped in the Warsaw ghetto. Immediately afterwards, the Lizards detonate a high-altitude nuclear warhead. The fact that god apparently answered him so directly gains Russie a lot of respect amongst the other Jews of the ghetto, who start to regard him as a holy man.
- When the Lizard invasion of Warsaw was imminent, he asked for a sign as to whether he should sit back and let the Nazis and Lizards fight it out, or actively assist the revolt other Jews are planning. He happens to catch sight of German troops manning an anti-aircraft gun set up in a cemetery, and one of the soldiers takes a brief break to go to the bathroom. Moishe decides that seeing a German soldier pissing on Jewish graves and laughing about it is the sign he needs to assist the Lizards.
- Going Native:
- A few males who were captured during the initial fighting chose to remain in the United States after the ceasefire. These have assimilated into American society, and Sam Yeager even remarks that a few of them have become 'committed democrats' and rejected the hierarchical society of the Race.
- The males who remained part of the Conquest Fleet never completely go over to the Big Ugly way of thinking, but they have all been so changed by life on Earth that they are unable to integrate into the cities established by the newcomers from the Colonization Fleet.
- Straha is in the uniquest contradiction: He is frequently described as being almost a Big Ugly in his personality and impulsiveness, and he defected deliberately to the United States instead of being captured and held during combat. However, despite these factors, he steadfastly refuses to adapt an American lifestyle. He even looks down on those who do, and continues to conduct himself as he would if he were still among other members of the Race.
- Go Through Me: In Homeward Bound, when the new ship Commodore Perry arrives at Home, they are given explicit instructions not to allow Sam Yeager to come back to Earth. The people who came with him sign a petition saying "If he stays, so do we," which results in the Perry's crew (very) grudgingly allowing Yeager to return with them.
- Grammar Nazi: Barbara Yeager becomes this by the Colonization trilogy, forcing her husband and son to use proper English in her presence since she has a background in English Literature. Naturally, neither Sam nor Jonathan bother doing this when she's not around. Sam, who was born and raised on a farm, sometimes laxes into poor grammar deliberately as a form of rebellion.
- Gunboat Diplomacy: Homeward Bound features two human starships. The first is the Admiral Peary and comes on equal footing as two star-faring races seeking a lasting peace; the second is Commodore Perry and comes with a Faster Than Light Drive, and the willingness to (bleep) things up if the Race doesn't play nice with the humans.
- Gunship Rescue: The Race love their helicopters, but as time goes on they become more and more vulnerable to partisan rocket fire.
- Heel Realization: This happens to Panzer Commander of the Wehrmacht Heinrich Jäger when an old Jewish man shows him the bullet hole in his neck, and tells him the story of how he got it. Heinrich had heard the rumors before then, but he hadn't believed in them. The third book sums it up nicely:What Skorzeny didn't get and wouldn't get if he lived to be a hundred - not likely, considering how the SS man lived - was that what we were supposed to do and what our superiors ordered us to do weren't necessarily the same thing.
Soldiers didn't commonly have to make that distinction. Jäger hadn't worried about it, not until he had found out how the Germans dealt with Jews in the east. Since then, he hadn't been able to look away. He knew what sort of disaster awaited the world if the Lizards won the war. Like Skorzeny, he was willing to do just about anything to keep that from happening. Unlike the SS man, he wasn't willing to believe that everything he did was fine and virtuous.
That made for another subtle distinction, but he clung to it.
- He Knows Too Much:
- Glen Johnson is hijacked onto the crew of the Lewis & Clark after he bluffs his way aboard the space station, prevented from ever returning to Earth or communicating with anybody on the planet. The only thing that prevents them from throwing him out of the airlock immediately is that he manages to sell his lie that it was a mechanical failure that got him aboard.
- Sam Yeager endures several attempts on his life after he discovers that it was the USA that attacked the Colonization Fleet. This culminates in a successful kidnapping, and the only thing that keeps them from making hm disappear completely is that he managed to pass along the info to be disseminated in the event of his death.
- Basil Roundbush tells Rance Auerbach that the reason his organization is coming after David Goldfarb is because he knows too much. Rance doesn't find this particularly compelling.
- Hide Your Lesbians: Miss Lucille, despite Mutt's obvious crush, rebuffs all his advances and explains that she is not interested in any man, not just him. When Mutt asks if she is one of those "lizzies", she merely asks what his reaction would be if she was. It is never expounded upon, and she soon begins to return Mutt's attraction.
- Higher-Tech Species: The Race have a higher technological base than any of the other three intelligent species known to exist, with an older culture and government as well. However, they are not so far ahead as they like to think when others begin to catch up.
- Humans Advance Swiftly: Having sent probes and observed knights on horseback, the conquest fleet arrived 800 years later expecting basically more of the same and completely unprepared for the industrial civilization that humanity had built. The Race initially speculated that this was due to Earth having lots of oceans to mess with the pace of progress, while the Race had to plod along on land. Later on, human mating patterns are also blamed; humans are in constant competition, whereas the race mates only once a year (six months to us), thus leading to greater competition and faster advancement.
- Humans Are Divided: It's WWII, so naturally.
- Humans Are Special: Kind of. The other two races the Race has conquered were reptilian and similar in nature to themselves, while humans are mammalian. Logically, the Race deduced that all intelligent life is like them. There are several different theories proposed by the Race as to why we seem to be an aberration.
- Humans by Any Other Name: The Lizards refer to humans as "Tosevites" — derived from Tosev, their name for Sol. When speaking formally, anyway. In casual speech, they're just as likely to refer to humans as "Big Uglies".
- Hypocrite: The Race dismisses all human religions as silly superstitions based entirely on blind faith, and yet they believe in a form of heaven where the dead are united with the spirits of Emperors past. Whenever a human points this out to a member of the Race, their response is almost universally "Yes, except you're wrong and we're right."
- In fact, a lot of the Race's interactions with humanity boil down to "You can't do that, only we can do that!" To name one example, they deliberately import flora and fauna from Home to Earth, causing massive ecological damage and alterations to the environment of certain regions of the planet, and causing famine in India (with the Race's reaction amounting to "unfortunate, but can't be helped"). Then in Homeward Bound, a single pair of mice gets released on Home, completely by accidentnote and the Lizards hit the roof. Sam Yeager even points this out to Atvar the next time they meet, and the former admiral can't really defend himself.
- Idiot Ball: Johannes Drucker allows himself to be blackmailed by Gorppett into helping the Race when the latter threatens to reveal to Drucker's superiors that Drucker knew, and was friends with, notorious Jewish leader Mordechai Anielwicz. This would otherwise be very useful leverage in the Reich - but Fuhrer Dornberger not only already had this information but had actually met Anielwicz via teleconference when he and Drucker were talking.
- If It's You, It's Okay: Miss Lucille makes it quite clear that she is not interested in Mutt (Or anybody else) and half admits that she is a "lizzie." However, after Mutt keeps his dogged persistence Lucille admits that, with him, she is closer to giving it a try with a man than she ever has been before. Then she gets killed by Lizard artillery.
- I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: Many officers in the Conquest Fleet learn to look the other way when their subordinates start tasting ginger, provided they don't use it during combat or when they are on duty. Since many of them use ginger the same way, it keeps the conquest moving.
- Informed Ability: Sam Yeager is constantly mentioned to be the only human capable of thinking as the Race do, but few actual examples are provided of him doing it. Most of his "insights" are common sense and real-world techniques of communicating between people who don't speak the same language (generally pantomime, slow repetition and emotive expressions/sounds). It may simply be that Sam is actually willing to try communicating with the Race, whereas just about everybody else (especially in the military) would just as soon kill them and call it a day.
- Informed Attribute: The Race keep saying that their language is very logical compared to human ones, but from the few words we see they seem to have a similar number of irregular plural forms to your average human language. The Race themselves are often described as being obedient and subservient by nature, but once the Colonization Fleet arrives it turns out they casually break laws just as often as humans, including several characters who begin tasting ginger despite the already-present (and extremely harsh) regulations against it.
- Insane Troll Logic:
- Molotov, when he meets with Hitler, is repeatedly astounded by how much of the man's thinking revolves around the "fact" that the Jews are trying to cause trouble for humanity. Particularly when his different statements and beliefs contradict one another in the same conversation.
- In the Colonization series, a member of The Race thinks this of a Nazi official she talks to about their status as the "Master Race".
- Insufficiently Advanced Alien: The technology of the Race is more advanced than that of humanity, but is not so far advanced as it should have been given how long they have been developing it. One human explicitly points out that if humanity had had nuclear technology for thousands of years, they would have done more with it than the Race did.
- Intelligent Gerbil: The Race are described in the books as 'looking like chameleons with delusions of grandeur.'
- Interrupted Cooldown Hug: After a heated argument, Groves gives Jens the rest of the day off to go home and calm down. On the way home, he is approached by the base commander, who, informed of his leave, calls him a liar and a malingerer and tries to escort him back to Groves to clear things up. This is the last straw for Jens, who kills the colonel and his guard and tries to defect to the Lizards.
- Interspecies Friendship: For the Race, "friendship" is a much stronger word than it is for most of humanity, coming close to what humans mean by "family" and "love". Many members of the Race never thought they would ever become friends with a Big Ugly, and are surprised when it happens.
- Sam Yeager and Straha become friends after Straha's defection to the USA. Straha appreciates that Sam can think like a member of the Race more than any other Big Ugly he knows, and he cherishes that kind of connection when he is so isolated from his own kind.
- Mordechai Anielewicz and Nesseref become friends in Lodz after she is assigned to construct a shuttlecraft landing pad in the area. He is the first Big Ugly she met who could speak the language of the Race well enough for a meaningful conversation, and he was neither obstructive or hostile like other Big Uglies nor condescending like the males of the Race who were established in the area.
- Rance Auerbach and Gorpett bonded over their shared combat history when they met in South Africa, with Gorpett pointing out that the frontline soldiers for humanity and the Race had more in common with each other than they did with their superiors.
- Introduced Species Calamity: Once the humans and the Race find a form of peace, the Race starts importing large amounts of flora and fauna from their homeworld, causing serious ecological damage in the areas of Earth they occupy. As they're adapted to their homeworld's arid environment they devastate Earth flora and outcompete local animals in the regions controlled by the Empire and all the remaining human not-empires can do is shoot any that cross the borders. In Homeward Bound, this happens to the Race when some mice the humans had brought to Home as food-testers are (accidentally) released (by a member of The Race, no less) and promptly multiply and go invasive. The Race promptly throws a fit.
- Ironic Echo: The first book opens with Atvar and the flagship's shiplord, Kirel, looking at an image of the enemy they expect to face, a knight on horseback from the Middle Ages and laughing at the prospect of an easy conquest. The last book in the Balance series, the first of the Colonisation series and Homeward Bound opens with them doing this again, somewhat more ruefully. Albeit also as exposition for those who started reading the later books.
- It's Quiet… Too Quiet: Fotsev notices something is amiss in Basra when everything is so much quieter than normal. Fewer pedestrians on the street, fewer merchants set up in the market, and even fewer beggar children. "Much too quiet". It is quiet in prelude to an uprising, and he is killed in an ambush shortly afterwards.
- Just Here for Godzilla (In-Universe): In Homeward Bound, the returned Americans find that Donald (a Lizard whom Sam and Barbara Yeager raised) hosts a game show with a Lovely Assistant who goes topless. At the end of the episode, Donald remarks "I know why you folks tune in" and shoots a knowing glance at his co-host's "assets".
- La Résistance: Portions of the first six books are dedicated to groups working in Race-occupied territory, such as the Jews in Poland or the Chinese.
- Leave Behind a Pistol: When Colonel Jäger thinks that Skorzeny has been sent to kill him, he asks if Skorzeny is carrying a pistol with a single bullet for him. In one of the only times in the series when he seems honestly surprised, Skorzeny swears that he isn't here for Jäger.
- Lizard Folk: The alien variant that the Race are. The Rabotevs and the Halessi, the two races previously conquered and assimilated by the Race, are also this, although they are different variants on the same. For example, the Rabotevs are slightly taller and less scaly than members of the Race, featuring two thumbs on each hand and eye-stalks instead of eye-turrets. The Halessi are small and are initially mistaken for Little Green Men, as they are more humanoid than members of the Race (i.e. more erect and with smaller snouts).
- Love Cannot Overcome: Reuven Russie dates Jane Archibald while they attend medical school in Jerusalem together, but Jane has made it clear that she is not willing to permanently settle in territory ruled by the Race. After graduation she emigrates to Canada, and Reuven cannot bring himself to leave either his family or his place in the Jewish community to go with her.
- Mama Bear: Liu Han would like you to know that you are so not going to get away with keeping her baby away from her.
- Mathematician's Answer: When Kassquit asks Sam Yeager if the human propensity for speculation is good or bad, he simply responds "Yes."
- Mating Season Mayhem: The Race have a specific mating season, and once females arrive on Earth, they cause mass chaos by Making Love in All the Wrong Places. Once it's discovered that ginger makes females go into heat at any time, this lessens and some even use it to try out the utterly alien concept of monogamy.
- Meaningful Name:
- America's spacecraft tend to be named for explorers; the first ship to reach the Asteroid Belt is the Lewis and Clark, and the first ship to reach Home is named Admiral Peary. The first FTL-capable ship is named Commodore Perry, after the man who forcibly ended Japan's isolationism. The Race eventually learns the meaning behind these names and is none too pleased.
- The Race's spaceship built to defend Home against the Admiral Peary is not named for an Emperor, like all the others. Instead, it is called the Horned Akiss after a dragon-like beast from the Race's mythology.
- Military Coup: After Beria's attempted coup against Molotov tried to seize control of the Soviet Union, Marshal Zhukov suppresses the NKVD and rescues Molotov. Afterwards, Molotov sees Zhukov contemplating simply killing him and seizing control himself, especially since he could easily blame Molotov's death on Beria and emerge with his hands completely clean in the public's eye. Zhukov instead welcomes Molotov back and leaves him in power.
- Molotov Cocktail: Molotov is one of the main characters, but he never actually touches one. Sam Yeager and Liu Han have them in their sections, though.
- Moral Myopia:
- David Goldfarb thinks about the way the morality of Basil Roundbush's actions will depend on the perspective of the person considering them. To David, Basil's actions are monstrous as he extorts under-the-table favors from David by threatening his family. To the higher ups in the RAF and the UK government, Basil might be perceived as doing necessary Dirty Business in the war against the Lizards. To the public at large, he may even be perceived as a hero.
- The Reich allows, and even encourages, the sale of ginger to the Race because ginger is not illegal within the Reich. When the Race threatens to legalize human drugs in their territory and encourage their sale in the Reich, the Reich declares that this could be seen as an act of war. They are not quite able to articulate why it is an act of war when the Race does it, but not when the Reich does it.
- Jonathan Yeager was very excited when he began helping to raise two Lizards in an experiment to see how they would acclimate to US society. When he learned that the Race had already done the same with Kassquit, he was enraged and suggested that the US government should try to "free" her. It took his father pointing out the hypocrisy for him to even realize it was there.
- Jane Archibald is furious with the Race over the way they have so thoroughly occupied Australia and are driving out the human occupants, since the humans were there first. Reuven Russie thinks that the Australian Aborigines probably feel the same way over the way they were colonized and driven from their homes by Jane's ancestors.
- Motive Decay: David Nussboym was originally a Lizard collaborator because he felt they were the best hope for Jewish survival in Poland, and because he hated the Nazis enough to override his concern that the entire would would become an outpost of the Race. Mordechai himself admits that David is an honorable and brave man, and that just because they have opposing viewpoints does not make him a greedy and self-serving fool. However, once David is sent to a Soviet gulag he becomes a collaborator solely to support himself, and betrays friends and enemies alike to the head of the camp in order to advance his own agenda. His own thoughts and memories now reflect on how he did the same things back in Poland and throughout his life, and his very nature is self-serving.
- Moving the Goalposts: Averted by Mordechai Anielewicz. When his son Heinrich asks for a beffel (a reptilian dog-like pet), Mordechai's wife Bertha does what a typical parent would do and set a difficult condition for the kid. Of course, Heinrich manages to fulfill the condition and catches a beffel. Just as Bertha is about to invoke the trope (like any parent), Mordechai countermands her and and lets Heinrich keep him, earning Bertha's ire. A few days later, the beffel saves their lives by waking up Heinrich during a fire. After that, no one thinks that the little creature should go.
- Murder Is the Best Solution:
- Molotov discusses the benefits and drawbacks of quickly resorting to murder to solve a problem when considering how to handle the Communist rebels in China. He seems to regard assassination as a valuable tool of politics, but not always the best tool.
- When Monique Dutourd resolves to finally get Dieter Kuhn out of her life for good, she tries to get her brother to have him killed. Since Kuhn is also a bother for his ginger business, her brother does not take much persuading to go along with it.
- The conspiracy tries multiple times to have Sam Yeager assassinated as soon as he starts poking around secure areas of the computer network, before he has even realized that there is a conspiracy.
- Mutually Assured Destruction: After the first wave of invasion, this is the status quo between the human powers and the Race. Working together, the humans could eradicate the lands controlled by the Race, but only at the cost of getting obliterated themselves, and none of the major human powers like each other very much. Later, in "Homeward Bound," the Race turns this around on humans: yes, the humans could use their FTL warships to obliterate the Empire before any given world knew they were under attack. But the Race's slower-than-light ships are capable of being used as relativistic kill vehicles against Earth. The mass of a Race starship impacting the planet at 50% of the speed of light would not just obliterate human civilization, it would probably wipe out virtually all life and begin a new ice age.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: How some German and Russian characters, like Ludmila Gorbunova and Heinrich Jager, feel. For a while, anyway.
- Nature Versus Nurture: The series features aliens raising humans, and humans raising aliens, in order to see how close they can make each species to their own. Needless to say, the three 'test subjects' seen in the series suffer from identity-related problems in adulthood.
- Needle in a Stack of Needles: When Mordechai Anielewicz needs to move the atomic bomb he has hidden in Glowno, he arranges for the Jewish fighting groups in Poland to have a conference in the town. They all send participants, so the area is absolutely filled with armed Jewish soldiers having meetings, training exercises, shooting competitions, etc. With so many armed Jews milling about, the ones moving the bomb aren't even noticed.
- Nicknaming the Enemy: Humans are called Big Uglies; the Race are called Lizards.
- No Biochemical Barriers: The Race's biology and biochemistry are similar enough that they can live on Earth and eat Earth biomatter with pretty much no problems. However, what would be slightly chilly to humans is beastly cold to them, as their home world is so hot that snow is only occasionally found at the extreme poles of the planet.
- Nobody Ever Complained Before: Members of the Race cannot understand why humans insist on fighting back so strenuously instead of just placidly accepting their rule. Their previous two conquest experiences had nothing like the long, drawn-out resistance that humanity offers even in supposedly-placid territories.
- Nobody Poops: Averted; differences in waste volume are a source of difficulty in the Race space plumbing when humans are aboard. Also, the Race are somewhat shocked that human plumbing is so good, and love hot showers. It is also revealed that the Race have probes that can detect uric acid — a component of urine — in the air, which they use to keep track of enemy populations and movements. The humans, however, discover this technology and deliberately pee on it, leading one technician to scream that four billion humans were approaching.
- No Full Name Given: Straha's driver plays a key role in several plotlines as a bodyguard, spy, and even an antagonist, but is only ever identified as "Gordon".
- No Name Given: "The Doctor" is never provided with any other name.
- No Periods, Period: Due to being raised in orbit over the Eaarth, Kassquit has never been ill. The closest she has come to suffering from a disease is "the cyclic nature of Tosevite female physiology".
- No-Sell: The weapons of the Race are almost uniformly effective against any target on Earth they are aimed at. The exception is when their anti-missile missiles are launched against the big dumb seven-ton Dora rounds, as the cannon warhead doesn't even change its trajectory after being hit.
- Nothing Personal: Spoken by Basil Roundbush in Colonization when David Goldfarb calls him out on using the fact that Goldfarb is a Jew and Britain's growing anti-Semitism in order to get Goldfarb to do his bidding. Roundbush keeps insisting that he personally doesn't care that Goldfarb is Jewish but finds it useful to lean on him.
- "Not So Different" Remark:
- During the initial war, many human foot soldiers and infantrymales of the Race observe that they have more in common with each other than either has with the high officers on their own side.
- When the colonists from the Colonization Fleet begin landing in large numbers, many males from the Conquest Fleet who have had to learn to adapt and change on Earth hold them in such contempt that they say they would rather choose to act like a Big Ugly than these members of the Race.
- Nuke 'em:
- The Race came equipped with nuclear weapons, but intends not to use them in order to preserve as much usable land as possible. They destroy Berlin and Washington, D.C. in the hopes of intimidating the resisting powers into surrender, but initially do not deploy them in active combat scenarios. Once humans develop nuclear weapons of their own they employ them throughout frontline combat, and the lizards enact a policy of retaliation to destroy one human city for every human nuclear bomb. The lizards eventually realize that humans would rather waste the whole planet rather than submit to the Race, and they sue for peace so that something of the planet is left when the Colonization Fleet arrives.
- Once the war between the Reich and the Race restarts in Colonization, both sides use nukes heavily. The Nazis nuke most major Polish cities and other Race-held urban areas across Earth, and their spaceships (all armed with nukes) attempt to destroy Race ships. When Romania attempts to avoid the war, the Reich punishes them by nuking Bucharest. By the time the Reich sues for peace, though, most of it is a radioactive wasteland. Despite this, a generation or two later, Germany is back to being a spacefaring power.
- Numbered Homeworld: The Race refer to Earth as Tosev 3 and the other worlds in their empire as Rabotev 2 and Halless 1; each planet is named after the star of its stellar system and the position of the planet. However, their homeworld is called simply Home.
- Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Shpaaka, who teaches at the Moishe Russie Medical College, furiously complains to Ttomalss about the idea of charging humans to allow them to practice their own religions, unaware that it was Ttomalss that came up with the idea in the first place.
- Odd Friendship: Ludmila Gorbunova (Communist Russian Pilot) and Heinrich Jager (Nazi Tank Commander).
- Oh, Crap!: During the Race's first (and only) encounter with the German Dora cannon, which fires 80-cm shells, they mistakenly assume by its speed and size on the radar that it's a missile and attempt to shoot it down with their own. However, the round's tough outer shell shrugs off the missiles, allowing the cannon to take out two ships before the cannon is found and destroyed.
- The stunned, silent reaction of Atvar's assembled ship captains when they realize that humans already have a pretty good understanding of radiation and atomic physics (i.e. they use X-rays on a regular basis to deal with broken bones)...meaning that it is a question of when, not if, the human nations can develop their own nuclear weapons.
- One World Order: Averted. While humanity at large works together to fight the Race, it quickly becomes clear that the notion gets cast aside, since no one is all that eager to let any particular nation, group or ideology take charge over all mankind. It's telling that even after several decades, the human-controlled portions of Earth are still divided between nation-states, albeit most of that territory is part of one of four major powers (USA, USSR, German Reich and the Japanese Empire).
- Outside-Context Problem: None of the human participants conceived at all of an alien invasion disrupting their own conflicts.
- Pass Fail: When Mordechai Anieliwicz is traveling in the countryside, he encounters a farmhouse and attempts to pass as a Catholic Polish partisan. He manages to eat the ham they're serving without hesitation, but unwittingly exposes himself when he crosses himself wrong and does not think to put butter on his potatoes. Fortunately for him, the farmer is a well-meaning man who quietly sets him straight afterward so he won't repeat the same mistakes.
- Patriot in Exile: Straha is an alien version of this; the second most senior commander in an alien invasion fleet, he disagrees with the senior commander Atvar's approach to handling the invasion and makes an attempt to become the new commander. He fails to do so and flees to the United States in an effort to avoid Atvar's wrath; after the war ends, he's one of the ex-alien prisoners who remain in the United States, but unlike the other aliens he considers himself still loyal to the Empire and doesn't "Americanize" himself the way the other aliens do.
- Peace Conference: Atvar holds one with the foreign ministers from Germany, the Soviet Union, and the United States, with non-nuclear wielding Great Britain and Japan as observers. It results in the Race agreeing to let all these countries (plus Canada) remain independent but the Race ruling the rest of the world. The biggest point of contention is over Poland. Since the Nazis and Soviets still dispute control over Poland, the Race decides they will maintain control of it. The Soviets accept this, but not the Nazis – until the Nazis’ plan to detonate a nuclear bomb in Poland fails. The Nazis then accept this settlement for twenty years until restarting their war with the Race, resulting in Germany’s devastation.
- Posthumous Character: The Doctor was intended to be the USA ambassador to the Race on Home, but never awoke from the cold sleep process. Afterwards, characters frequently discuss how he would have handled the different situations that arise, and debate whether it would have been better or worse.
- Pretext for War: In the Colonization series, the Greater German Reich reaffirms its territorials claims to Poland and makes a lot of public noise about its rights and security concerns. All of the other human powers note many similarities to what happened in 1939, and recognize that it means the Germans want war and cannot be talked out of it by logic or persuasion.
- Puppet State:
- In the time between the Worldwar and Colonization series, the United Kingdom has slowly slid towards puppet status as it needs to rely more and more on the Greater German Reich for supplies and protection after the Race occupied the entirety of its overseas empire. They're not quite there yet, but many see it only as a matter of time.
- When the Race requires that France be made an independent nation as a condition for accepting the surrender of the Reich, everybody recognizes that it will only ever be a puppet for the Race.
- The Purge: After Beria's failed coup in Second Contact, the NKVD is purged and its power greatly diminished in the Soviet Union. Despite their attempt to remove him from power, Molotov somewhat regrets the necessity of purging them since they can no longer serve as a balance against the Red Army, and it greatly diminishes the Soviet Union's espionage capabilities.
- Pyrrhic Victory: Atvar describes the Race's victory over the Reich as such, even quoting King Pyrrhus of Epirus when talking about how hard-won the right was.
- Raised by Orcs:
- Liu Han's daughter Liu Mei was Ttomalss's first attempt at this. Then Liu Han joined Mao's Communists and forced the Race to return her daughter. However, even twenty years later, Liu Mei is unable to form facial expressions, as lizards' faces don't move, and the lack of feedback to her smiles as a child meant this response is atrophied. Additionally, Liu Mei's first word was a lizard emphatic cough.
- A human baby is abducted by the Race, named Kassquit and raised by the scientist Ttomalss as one of them to see if the Tosevites can integrate into the Empire. He does not know what to do when she hits puberty, and the increasing problems of reconciling her human nature with her identity as a member of the Race causes her a lot of anguish.
- In an inverted example, two Race hatchlings are raised as humans by Sam Yeager, who names them Mickey and Donald. Though they hide it somewhat better than Kassquit, they also experience significant emotional distress at living in the wrong society.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Emperor Risson, whom we finally meet in Homeward Bound, is very level-headed and sensible in his dealings with the humans and with Atvar. This actually stands in stark contrast to many Race authority figures, who tend to start out Lawful Stupid before a long and painful education (admittedly, Risson has almost certainly had years of long-distance reports from Earth, allowing him time to better prepare himself for what dealing with humans is like).
- Refuge in Audacity: When Skorzeny is ordered to acquire an infrared range finder from a Race tank, he actually strolls into a Lizard base with a bunch of ginger and uses it to buy an entire tank! He then proceeds to drive it off the base in broad daylight and past Lizard patrols back to his own lines.
- Revealing Cover-Up: It is precisely the extreme over-the-top security surrounding the American space station that attracts the attention of Glen Johnson and Sam Yeager.
- The Right of a Superior Species: The Race considers themselves eminently justified in conquering Earth and making humanity a subject race because of what they view as their incomparably superior culture and technology, even though said technology turns out to be not quite that advanced over humankind's.
- Ridiculous Exchange Rates:
- "Rumkies" were the currency of the Lodz ghetto during the Nazi administration, and they continued to be exchanged after the Race conquered the area and continued to prop up the existing ghetto administration. Since the Jewish fighters set up their own administration, the value of the Rumkies plummeted in comparison to the Polish zloty and the German deutschmark. Moishe Russie wound up paying hundreds of Rumkies just for a small portion of a day's grocery shopping.
- After the Reich-Race war, the deutschmark plummeted in value. When spending zlotys at a German tavern, Mordechai Anielewicz was able to buy a full dinner, including leftovers and a pot to carry them, for the equivalent cost of a few pieces of fruit in Poland. Johannes Drucker recalled that Germany went through similar inflation after WWI, and hated having to go through it again.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The sounds that beffels make are high-pitched and cute, likened to the noises made by squeeze toys. Johannes Drucker ever says they are "preposterously friendly".
- Rock Beats Laser: Part of the underlying theme. The Race starts out by detonating nukes in the upper atmosphere to cause electromagnetic pulses to wipe out electronics... only to find that human technology still runs on valves (a.k.a. vacuum tubes) rather than transistors, which are not affected by EMP. Later, they find out that counter-missiles are ineffective against German supergun shells, and that radar is pretty useless when it come to detecting a low-flying plane made of wood and fabric. And so on. However, it's also averted in that any time a human machine goes up against its Race equivalent (tank vs landcruiser, plane vs killercraft), humans lose badly. The war basically comes down to "Laser beats rock, but lots of rocks will beat laser . . . and we have a lot more rocks than you will ever have lasers".
- Sanity Slippage: Jens Larssen gets pushed around one too many times, shoots a couple of soldiers and then heads out to tell the Race where the American bomb project is located. He is killed when he finally goes off the deep end when he is hunted down by the cavalry, shoots a woman, hears her shriek, and leaps up, thinking it's his wife.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: David Goldfarb refuses any payment from Basil Roundbush after he's been forced into assisting ginger smuggling. He can't get out of it altogether because of the danger to his family, but he won't profit off it.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!:
- Johannes Drucker manages to protect his wife from the SS, and keep himself on active duty in the Wehrmacht, because General Walter Dornberger recognizes that Drucker is a competent officer and he carries enough weight to protect him.
- Pierre Dutourd has extensive connections in the Lizard hierarchy from his ginger dealings, and uses them to protect him from Reich officials when they want to co-opt his business. In the war between the Reich and the Race, he even believes he can use his connections to prevent the Race from bombing Marseilles. In both instances he is incorrect, as eventually the Race becomes so angry over the ginger trade that they no longer protect him, and the Race decides to bomb Marseilles anyway.
- Moishe Russie has some influence with Atvar since he often serves as an advisor, but not nearly so much as other people seem to think. He is able to use his connections to get David Goldfarb out custody in the Reich, and passes along some information, but that is the extent of what he is able to accomplish. Atvar doesn't place enough importance on keeping Russie happy to exert maximum pressure on his behalf.
- Sdrawkcab Alias: Sam Yeager joins the Race's computer network using the alias 'Regeya'. When he is discovered and has his access terminated, he returns using the alias 'Maargyees'.
- Seduction-Proof Marriage: In Aftershocks Johannes Drucker has been in space by himself for over a month, and is then caught by aliens. He is presented with a female human who has been raised by them (these are aliens who don't wear clothes), and when she asks if he would mate with her if given the chance, one of the reasons he gives for not wanting to is that he is married. Since the aliens also don't practice marriage, this doesn't really explain much to her.
- Self-Deprecation: In Aftershocks, Monique Dutourd is thinking about a Byzantine historian at the University of Tours, and text goes "which struck even Monique as uselessly arcane". Author Harry Turtledove has a Ph.D. in Byzantine History.
- Separated by a Common Language:
- Yiddish and German are close enough to be mutually intelligible, but each carry large cultural baggage. Jews and Germans can therefore understand one another, but are continuously reminded of who they're speaking to. When members of the Race speak German, their terminology by necessity borrows much of the Nazi talking points about their own superiority, which is grating for every Jew they speak with.
- When David Goldfarb emigrates to Canada, he speaks with a sailor on their ship about the way they each use the English language. David says the sailor sounds like an American, but the sailor points out the ways that Canadian English has similarities to both American English and British English. David continues to mentally note the differences between his way of speaking and native Canadians for the rest of his story.
- Multiple members of the Race note that even the most fluent of humans do not speak the language of the Race the same way as the Race does. Sam Yeager, who is described as thinking the most like a member of the Race as a human possibly could, nonetheless still uses directly translated English idioms, and the legacy of his American way of thinking makes him come across as a lot more sarcastic and sly than he does while speaking English.
- Serious Business: Most of the stuff the Race does. They do not even allow actors playing the Emperor to put on the appropriate bodypaint because it would be seen as blasphemy.
- Sex Is Evil: Well, not exactly evil. While the Race does find the reproductive process pleasant when they're in heat, they find the idea of always being horny abhorrent and terrifying. They do have a cultural reason for this abhorrence, since during mating season they become so addled by horniness that the resulting orgy pretty much grinds their civilization to a halt for its duration. Worse for them, since the females being in heat means that not only are the females out of commission, but thanks to the pheromones they secrete, so is every male in the vicinity.
- Shame If Something Happened:
- When Basil Roundbush first tries to recruit David Goldfarb into his ginger smuggling schemes, David turns him down flat. Roundbush tells him to reconsider, since whatever David thinks might happen to him for joining up is better than what will happen to him if he refuses. And what will happen to his family as well.
- Dieter Kuhn's flirtations with Monique Dutourd walk the finest of fine lines - he knows the reputation of the SS and he assures her that he would not use his authority to punish her if she turned him down when he asks her out on a date. She believes him for the most part, which is part of why she accepts, but the rest of the reason that she accepts is that she doesn't believe him completely and fears what will happen if she does reject him.
- Both Sam Yeager and Glen Johnson are encouraged to enter cold sleep so that they will still be alive when the first human starship is built and sent to Home. Both of them also believe that if they don't accept the "offer" to board the ship, something permanent — and fatal — may befall them.
- The initial Race invasion is compared to The War of the Worlds by Sam Yeager when he and Mutt Daniels are shot out of their train in the beginning of the Worldwar series.
- A "grey-haired colored fellow" brings some US troops fried chicken in the first book, and Mutt Daniels offends him with some *ahem* Southern terms for blacks, while another kid calls him "Colonel." The black man corrects him by saying his name is Charlie Sanders.
- In the Colonization series, members of the Race refer to "The Red-Headed League" from Sherlock Holmes.
- Major Samuel Yeager thinks of Thoats, Green Martians and Barsoom and his son speaks of Tarzan, all references to the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
- The captain of the Commodore Perry is an African-American woman named Nichole Nichols, after actress Nichelle Nichols (Uhura from Star Trek: The Original Series).
- Homeward Bound contains a reference to a movie called Rescuing Private Renfall set during the invasion with James Dean playing the lead.
- The Colonization series features the debut of a band from England whose heads are shaved (teenagers are shaving their heads to imitate the Lizards). They call themselves 'The Beetles' partly because of their shaved heads.
- In Homeward Bound, a minor character is an Inspector Second Grade named Garanpo, who is investigating ginger smuggling. He looks and acts exactly like a Lizard version of Columbo.
- It turns out that in a cosmic coincidence, the name of one of the most famous works of Race literature is Gone with the Wind (in direct translation). The plot is nothing like the human book about the U.S. Civil War, but about two best friends who are separated during the course of their lives and the loss they feel.
- Moishe Russie knew and worked with Eric Blair when he was broadcasting at the BBC during the initial invasion. In the Colonization series, when he thinks back to how Blair described Nazi Germany and the USSR he uses a quote from Blair's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
- Atvar and Pshing discuss the works of Niccolò Machiavelli, particularly The Prince, after the war between the Race and the Reich. Atvar tries to use his teachings to properly administer their new territory.
- Ttomalss reflects on the works of William Shakespeare, quoting Hamlet, when he ponders the fate of the Race in Homeward Bound.To exist, or not to exist. That is the question.
- Sigil Spam: Rance Auerbach notes that the French tricolor flies everywhere in Free France, comparing it to the way American flags are ubiquitous on the Fourth of July. He thinks that it is their way of trying prove that they're a real country instead of being spurred by legitimate patriotism or national pride.
- Sleeper Starship: Both the Race and in the final novel humanity use these for interstellar travel. Then humanity invents FTL and makes them obsolete.
- Sliding Scale of Alternate History Plausibility: Type X due to the presence of alien invaders, but after that initial setup, turns into a hard 1 or 2. Softens somewhat, becoming III or IV by the end.
- Slipping a Mickey: Males of the Race who have been aroused but cannot find any females in heat start spiking drinks with ginger and giving them to females to spur them into heat.
- Smart Ball: Once David Goldfarb decides to no longer be Roundbush's pawn in the ginger business and emigrates to Canada, he takes every possible proactive step to protect himself and his family. This includes informing the police of all threats and suspicious activity, using the research and development company he works for to develop technology to let him identify his tormentors over the phone, and making specific and detailed reports after each subsequent attempt on his life. This results in the arrest of four armed and dangerous individuals before they manage to make good on their threats, earns him and his company a large revenue stream and gratitude from the local police force, and the incarceration of the one person to actually get close enough to follow through on his threats.
- Space Age Stasis: The Race has been technologically stagnant for 50,000 years or so. Since they believed that every species advances at their rate, they were expecting us to still be in the Dark Ages after just a millennium of preparing for an invasion.
- One of the viewpoint characters from the Colonization series is Reuven Russie, the son of Moishe Russie. Reuven was a supporting character in Moishe's story in Worldwar, and Moishe continues to appear in Reuven's story.
- Sam Yeager continues to be a viewpoint character in Colonization, but his son Jonathan Yeager receives his own perspective and plotline as well.
- The Starscream: Straha, who is constantly maneuvering to place himself in the Fleetlord's position.
- Still Wearing the Old Colors: Straha continues to wear his Shiplord bodypaint even after his defection to the USA. It is part of his efforts to remain connected to the Race in spirit, even if he no longer lives among them.
- Stop Being Stereotypical:
- David Goldfarb makes a deliberate effort to always be generous when it comes to buying drinks and food for his friends, because if he doesn't then he could be perceived as a Greedy Jew. For the same reason, he doesn't act overly excited when he gets a bonus at work so that his boss and coworkers don't think he's obsessed with the money.
- When a starving German woman offers to sleep with Mordechai Anielewicz if he gives her his leftover food, he gives her the food for free. When she remarks how surprising it is to find such a kind Jew he almost snatches the food back, but doesn't want to confirm her prejudices.
- Stranger in a Familiar Land:
- The males of the Conquest Fleet are unable to integrate with the civilians of the Colonization Fleet after they begin establishing cities. They view the newcomers as so naive and restrained as to be stupid, and the newcomers call them no better than the Big Uglies.
- The closing chapters of Homeward Bound have Sam returning to Earth in the 2030s after being put into cold sleep in the mid/late 20th century. One thing that surprises him is the relaxed attitude towards sexuality: his family goes to the theater to see a monster movie, and they're all quite surprised when it features an explicit sex scene between the monster and the female lead. Johnathan gets another shock when he realizes that the movie's aged professor character is played by Matt Damon, who had just entered the public eye as a young man when Johnathan went on ice in the late 90s.
- Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: Basil Roundbush in the Worldwar series is charming, friendly, a good sport when it comes to women and, most tellingly, an officer willing to stick up for David Goldfarb and get him an officer's commission despite Britain's emerging anti-semitism. In his very first scene in the Colonization series he blackmails Goldfarb into working for him by threatening to kill his family. Britain in general has become more and more reliant on the Greater German Reich after it lost its empire, and the nation that once fought Hitler tooth-and-nail is now entertaining formally adopting the Fascist anti-semitic policies.
- Superweapon Surprise: When the Race get ready to invade Britain, Churchill promises to unleash a new weapon the likes of which the Race have not seen before. They think he is bluffing until mustard gas shells start landing on their invasion force. Turns out the Race never developed poison gas; they have no chemical weapons, chemical warfare doctrine or protective gear, and rapidly adapting to new situations and inventing things on the fly are definitely not two of the Race's strong points.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: When a patrol from the Race is searching Basra for Ruhollah Khomeini, a local who speaks the language of the Race steps out of his home to tell them that Khomeini is not there and they should go away. They figure that anything a Big Ugly says is a lie by default, so make a deliberate effort to search his home. Khomeini really is not hiding there, and the local aggravatedly points out that that is what he was saying all along.
- Switching P.O.V.: Multiple characters rotate through the chapters, usually at least one from each of the major human countries and the race itself.
- Taking You with Me: When the Jews of Lodz get control of an atomic bomb, they have no way of transporting it easily or of detonating it remotely. This means that if they ever do decide to use it, it will destroy themselves along with whatever enemies are nearby. The analogy they use most often for the situation is 'Samson in the temple'.
- Tank Goodness: From the in-book descriptions, the Race's main battle tank, the Landcruiser, seems to resemble an M1 Abrams (which, by the time of writing, was the most advanced tank in the 90s). The only difference, other than that it has an autoloader (rather than the Abrams loading it's shells manually by a loader) is that the compartments are designed for Race bodies and that the Race version is powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The human forces need to use Zerg Rush tactics (6-10 Panthers/Tigers per race tank, and the Americans count 10:1 as good odds) in order to triumph over the Race's more advanced weaponry. However, to paraphrase the Germans, "They (The Race) are like the Russians: their tanks are good, but their tank skills are scheiße."
- Tastes Like Chicken:
- According to South African cab driver Joseph Moroka, zisuili taste like chicken.
- Jonathan Yeager is aware that most people describe every unfamiliar meat as tasting like chicken, but he thinks that azwaca cutlets really do.
- Technology Porn: The descriptions of the Dora supercannon, in the first novel, are a fine example of this.
- There Should Be a Law: When a female of the Race is given ginger without her knowledge so that she will go into her mating season, both she and the males who discover her afterwards feel that a crime has been committed, but quickly realize that there is no actual law among the Race that covers this situation.
- They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: In South Africa, Rance Auerbach calls their black cab driver Joseph Moroka "Joe" and is quickly corrected to "Mr. Moroka". He points out that before the Race came white people often never even bothered learning the names of black people, now "they have to learn, and learn right".
- Thicker Than Water: Averted with The Race, as they cannot understand why humans put so much emphasis on familial relations. Understandable, since the Race are raised in a communal fashion, with no known mothers or fathers, and are more generally 'domesticated' rather than 'raised' as we would think of it. Thus, Race children form no real bonds with any one particular 'parent' individual as they grow up. Friendship, however, is a powerful bond in the world of the Race, since they feel that the people you choose to be close to are much more important than the circumstances of who birthed you.
- This Is My Boomstick: Deconstructed. The Race had assumed that advanced technology like nuclear weapons would seem like magic to Earth's primitive inhabitants. They're shocked when it turns out that humans have a pretty decent theoretical knowledge of the underlying scientific principles, they just don't know how to manufacture their own yet. Thus the nuclear destruction of Berlin and Washington, D.C. do not shock the human nations into submission as intended - instead it just makes them scramble to complete their own nuclear development programs.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Forced by circumstance to be "the good guys" of the story. Or, at least, allies of the good guys.
- Thrown Out the Airlock: Glen Johnson is threatened with being thrown out an airlock after tricking his way aboard the American space station. He believes that they mean it literally, too. The only thing that saves him is that they can't prove he came aboard under false pretenses. The threat lingers for the entire duration of his stay aboard the Lewis and Clark.
- Time Skip: The series jumps forward twenty years between the end of the Worldwar series and the beginning of the Colonization series. Many characters have died in the interim and new people are introduced to flesh out the roster. Those characters which are returning have changed, turning from low-ranking young soldiers to experienced officers, and some are no longer as pleasant as they were in their youth. Homeward Bound features half a dozen timeskips, starting in 1972 and eventually ending up in 2031, telling the story of how the characters who were on the Admiral Peary got there.
- Tribal Face Paint: The Race don't wear clothes due to the hot climate on their home planet. Instead they have an elaborate system of body paint denoting caste and rank. By the Colonization sequel trilogy, 20 years after the Race comes to Earth, some young humans, especially in warmer areas of the United States, have begun wearing body paint modeled after the Race's due to cultural diffusion.
- Unexpected Successor:
- Secretary of State Cordell Hull assumes the Presidency after Franklin Delano Roosevelt's death, since Vice President Henry Wallace was killed in the atomic bombing of Seattle.
- Wehrmacht General Walter Dornberger ultimately becomes Führer of the Greater German Reich after the war with the Race leaves Germany devastated and most of the government dead.
- Unusual User Interface: While it's only unusual from a human point of view, the Race's controls are geared towards finger-claws rather than fingers. As such, humans need artificial finger-claws in order to operate the Race's machinery. Also, the Race's voice-activated appliances only respond to commands in their own language and have trouble with human accents (the Race have no different accents as everybody tries to speak the same way).
- Vichy Earth: The Race attempt to achieve this, but only partly succeed.
- Villain Ball: The United States. In "Second Contact" they launch nuclear missiles at half a dozen of the Race's newly arrived colonization ships, but beyond "killing a bunch of Lizards" there's really no rhyme or reason to it. They know it's only a few ships out of a massive fleet, meaning the damage inflicted will be statistically minor, and they have to realize that it will enrage the Race and lead to a retributive strike, but they make absolutely no attempt to frame any other country either to cover their own hides or to try and give one of their enemies a black eye. In the end it just comes off as petty and arbitrary.
- We Are as Mayflies: Members of the Race live longer than humanity, which is believed to be one reason for why they are more methodical and unchanging. An exact figure for their lifespan is never given, but it seems to be approximately 200 years.
- We ARE Struggling Together:
- Despite the fact that they are united against a common enemy, the Axis and the Allies do not exactly like each other, and still engage in diplomatic and sometimes literal skullduggery.
- While negotiating with a band of Japanese soldiers, Nieh Ho-Ting laments that the situation in China is even more complicated than just being a four-sided conflict (Communists vs. Kuomintang vs. Japan vs. the Race). Any two of the four might cooperate against a third at any time, only for those two to then decide to ally with another faction against each other.
- When he becomes leader of the Soviet Union, Molotov needs to the keep the Army and the NKVD from becoming too closely aligned so they never think of turning against him. He keeps pitting Zhukov and Beria against each other to keep both factions hamstrung.
- We Have Reserves: The humans' way of fighting the Race (Well, that and guerilla warfare tactics.) Patton even says he is prepared to lose ten of his tanks to every Lizard tank he kills because that is still a favorable loss-ratio for the Human Alliance. This works in large part because the Race only has what they brought with them, at least until they start capturing human factories and adapting them to their own technology. The Race acknowledges this, particularly in a conversation where Atvar's adjutant says that he had a mental picture of them expending their last missile to take out the last human tank, only for another one to roll over the horizon. For that matter, they also acknowledge that some of their best technology is simply too advanced for repurposed human factories to build: they can make new bullets fitting for their own guns easily enough, but they can't make more guided smart missiles (Mutt is almost killed by a USAAF 500lb bomb modified with a Race guidance system, which doesn't explode due to likely sabotage). At least, not until the Colonization fleet arrives in the 1960s.
- Well-Trained, but Inexperienced: One of the Race's main problems in the war. Their army is meticulously trained and extremely well-equipped, but they haven't actually had to fight in a war for countless generations. The humans, on the other hand, were in the middle of a world-spanning conflict when the invasion happened and have oodles of battle-hardened veterans to send into the fight.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: A lot of characters, even major ones, disappear during each break in the series—understandable considering that the action spans roughly 90 years. Some are mentioned as having died off-screen, others are left with their stories relatively tied up or having token references, but a few characters simply disappear with no real resolution to their situations. We never learn the fate of Liu Han and Liu Mei, or Rance Auerbach and Penny Summers.
- What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: The Race does not have familial bonds because they view mating as a purely practical matter; the Emperor is the only individual who even keeps track of his kids. Thus they find the notion of romantic love to be confusing and disgusting. The introduction of ginger changes all that for the Race, as members of the Race who were formerly just friends can now have sex upon desire, causing more orthodox Lizards to shun them and treat them as perverts, especially when they express a desire to get married.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Both the Race and humanity have a lack of empathy for the other, and both sides commit atrocities with the explanation that the other side is only human/Lizards. The few characters who oppose such thinking, like Sam Yeager, are condemned by their compatriots.
- What Would X Do?: Unaware that Skorzeny was the one behind the SS arresting Heinrich Jäger, the tank crew under Jäger's command motivate themselves to break him out of custody by imagining that Skorzeny would do it himself if he were there.
- When She Smiles: Mordechai Anielewicz finds Bertha Fleishman more attractive when she smiles, usually considering her plain.
- Wild Child: The Race is precocial, able to walk and even hunt almost as soon as they hatch from their eggs, but they only develop language and complex reasoning skills after several years. They describe their childrearing habits as more like domestication than what humans do, since they spend most of that time keeping the hatchlings from injuring each other or escaping into the wild until they are old enough to be educated. Though rare, there are documented occurrences of hatchlings being discovered in the wild years after hatching, where they have grown into functional wild animals.
- Zero-G Spot: Happens in the Colonization books. This is justified, since the Lewis and Clark is on a lifelong mission in the Asteroid Belt, and her crew is never coming home. Condoms are a must, though, since no one wants to experiment with trying to bear a child in zero-g. It helps that their jumpsuits are designed to "zip together". Even then, there is plenty of cleanup afterwards. When the guy is incredulous at the latter fact, the girl points out that there's always cleanup after sex even in gravity, it's just that guys normally don't bother.