In response to “Canada Prepares for Zombie Apocalypse”, I thought I ought to share my family’s recent holiday video with you. British Columbia is a lovely place, but we’re accustomed to living under the constant shadow of disaster, and taught from an early age to prepare for earthquakes, tsunamis, bear attacks, avalanches, and generally a million ways that Mother Nature might open her maw and eat us. Of course, with such constant vigilance, there comes the danger of growing complacent… (Save the world? Not today — I’m on vacation in Tofino!)
The GGSApocalypse Girls are happy to award the Jonesy Merit Badge to Anne Billson for various contributions to cat-kind, not least of which her blog celebrating moggies in movies, “Cats on Film”, but in particular for her retelling of Alien from the point of view of the most important personage on board the Nostromo.
Jones the Cat, of course!
Get Anne’s “My Day by Jones: The Cat’s Eye View of Alien” for 99¢ over at Smashwords or Amazon. Here’s the blurb: Remember Jones, the ginger cat from the 1979 movie Alien? Of course you do. If you ever wondered what the events of the film looked like from his angle, here – at last – is a short story that gives you the cat’s-eye view. And if you never gave it any thought… well, maybe it’s time you did. Because you know what cats are like.
It’s hilarious to read Jones’ description of life with the “can-openers” and the sudden arrival of a new creature on the ship expressed in decidedly feline terms. The ebook also contains a teaser chapter of Suckers, Billson’s satirical vampire novel. Also be sure to check out the various collections of Billson’s writing on film including reviews and her column from the Guardian. See her blog for details.
Congratulations on your Jonesy, because we know you’d always go back for the cat!
Don’t forget to add your suggestions for those worthy of winning GGSA merit badges and get your sashes at the ready!
UPDATE: Jonesy now featured at Bleeding Cool! Well done, Billson.
- by Apocalypse Womble
If you’re looking for guides in the apocalypse landscape, you probably can’t do much better than the Captain, from Romantically Apocalyptic.
Although, on the other hand, possibly not…
SNIPPY: Captain you do realise that this train isn’t going anywhere… ever?
CAPTAIN: NONSENSE! I’VE RIGGED A JET ENGINE TO THE ROOF! PUBLIC TRANSPORT WILL ALWAYS BE ON TIME NOW!
SNIPPY: Dear God, we’re actually moving
CAPTAIN: YES! OFF TO THE EXCITING LAND OF NEW ADVENTURES!
What’s clear is that life with the Captain and his two gas-masked companions, Pilot and Snippy, will never be less than entertaining. Despite living in a blasted landscape as one of possibly just four human beings left alive, the Captain maintains an attitude of optimism, never seeming to accept (or possibly realise) the pointlessness of his or her existence. Long-suffering Snippy is a voice of reason, sometimes forgotten, but never left entirely behind, whilst the joyously demented Pilot accepts the Captains orders without hesitation – be it to create a working flying machine, or save Snippy from an alien monstrosity sent as judgement upon the Captain (who believes it to be Cancer, summoned by a bag he found that apparently contains cancer causing chemicals). Or possibly it is all just Snippy’s benighted dreams, caused by a super-computer that allows almost all humans to connect mind to mind, except for 1% of people who, like Snippy, can only endure maddening headaches and poor sleep, caused by the omnipresent transmitters.
Possibly, but probably not.
One thing I know for sure is that the artwork is stunning – painstakingly crafted from photographs of real settings with live actors and combined with digital art to create the most awesome of apocalyptic visions. If you’re not already following this comic to brighten whatever living Hell you are currently enduring, you should be.
Romantically Apocalyptic, make it a part of your life.
- Apocalypse Womble out.
In part 1 we looked at the things you need to think about before invading Earth.
In this second part we will look at ways of dealing with Earth once you’ve arrived.
Destruction at a Distance
In some cases it can be easier not to land on the surface. The humans have strewn a lot of junk around their planet and it could easily ruin your paintwork.
Staying in orbit can save you a lot of trouble (see Can anything kill or maim you?) and you may be able to accomplish what you need to do from your ship.
If your plans mostly involve destruction then staying in orbit is probably safer, plus you get an excellent view of the explosion, and that’s the best part.
Of course, if you are going down the planetary destruction route make sure you have the correct equipment on board.
There’s nothing more embarrassing pressing the Big Red Button only to find that you didn’t actually pack your Doomsday Device, or that you barely have enough firepower to destroy Tokyo.
If you want to intimidate the earthlings this too can also be accomplished from space. Humans are very gullible and tend believe whatever they see on screens, so even if your ship is a bit shoddy, your weapons keep failing and your species are the size of earth children, it’s not difficult to scare the humans.
|For all they know she could be 6 inches high.|
Up Close and Personal
Depending on your plans it is possible that you don’t have to wreak destruction on a global scale. After all intergalactic credits don’t grow on bio-luminescent rods, so you might as well make savings where possible. The fewer humans you have deal with the simpler your mission is likely to be, so while it’s easy to think global, try acting local.
You’ll find that humans usually work better with members their own species – well, apart from all those times when they don’t.
If it is easier not to make your presence known at all try masquerading as one of them. This can be vital for collecting research or avoiding detection. Make sure you have a cunning human disguise in order to blend in.
|I broke my nose.|
First Contact is a tricky undertaking and it’s easy for there to be misunderstandings on both sides. Think carefully about the kind of impression you want to make and tailor your behaviour accordingly. Remember to take the ignorance of humanity into account (see Do your research).
There’s no way to be sure how humanity will respond to you, so make sure you are equipped for a range of scenarios. You will have to be ready to improvise.
Hope for the best…
|Thanks for the worship but Aten says no.|
In conclusion it is important to remember that every invasion is different. There is no ‘perfect’ way of accomplishing one. The success of yours will depend largely on your tech level, your species’ characteristics, and most importantly what works for you. Though it’s tempting to imitate someone more successful it is rare that this works out. Find what you love about invading and make sure that is your focus.
To maximise your chances of success just remember these two basic rules:
1) Prepare thoroughly.
2) Be ready to improvise.
Best of luck.
So you’ve heard about a dense, blue-green planet in the Milky Way, inhabited by a diverse range of carbon-based lifeforms. It sounds like easy pickings and you never know there might be something useful there. You think you’ll zoom on over and indulge in a spot of conquest and destruction. The planet is called Earth (by some of its ape-descended inhabitants anyway), and crushing it may not be as simple as it sounds.
Worry not, help is at hand/tentacle/appendage.
This guide will take you through the stages necessary when launching an attack on Earth. Hopefully it will help you avoid the pitfalls that could see you and your conquest forces defeated, destroyed or humiliated.
This first installment poses the questions you will need to ask before touching down on Earth.
What do you want from Earth?
Before you gather your forces and board your ship you need to consider what you actually want from Earth. If you are looking for slave labour there’s no point using an attack that kills all the humans. Alternatively if you want to harvest natural resources from the planet, then killing the inhabitants will be a good first step.
Here are a few reasons for conquering a planet, each will affect your approach to invasion.
Do your research
Now that you know what you want there is still some planning and research to be done. I know this is not as fun as swooping in, laser cannons blazing, but if you are going to successfully attack Earth and not be killed in the process it is important.
First of all it is important to check if the planet is even remotely habitable. This is what robotic probes and expendable minions are for. There’s no point arriving on Earth only to find that the substance that covers 71% of it’s surface kills you.
Make sure the lifeforms on the planet cannot easily disable you. I know it’s tempting to only monitor the biggest, smartest, and most familiar-looking lifeforms, but remember that on an alien world almost anything might kill you. Any aversion to carbon-based lifeforms will be a major disadvantage. Plus Earth is teeming with micro-organisms that can cause issues unless you properly disinfect your tripedal weapons of conquest. If the native lifeforms are going to cause you a problem consider what hardware you’ll need to wipe them out. If the entire planet is anathema to you, you may have to work at a distance.
Does the planet/continent/country/city/dwelling you are invading have a powerful ruler or protector who could cause you problems?
If the answer is yes, you may want to choose a different planet/continent/country/city/dwelling.
Consider what your goals are and what you have learned from your preliminary research to decide whether it is necessary to actually destroy or conquer the planet. The humans can be troublesome, but they are also malleable. You may find that it’s easier to get what you want through subtle manipulation, brainwashing or outright trickery.
If you really need (or want) to attack make sure you have a good look at Earth’s weapons capabilities. I know at first glance they don’t look very impressive, and it does seem remarkably short-sighted for a species to create so many weapons that harm only themselves. However humankind got where they are by adapting. Just because their tools are crude doesn’t mean they won’t quickly work out ways to use them against you. Before you set out make sure your arsenal is equipped for any situation, and that your own defences are strong enough to withstand a major assault by Earth forces.
Stay tuned for advice on what to do when you have arrived on Earth.
As an alien in human form Sally is as likely to cause an apocalypse as she is to have to survive one. If Dick hadn’t insisted on packing his exercise bike she might have used a giant robot in order to teach the Earth a lesson. That said Sally -the only member of her exploration team who took female form- has saved Earth a few times. Most notably she defeated the machinations of the Venusian super models who enthralled the rest of her crew.
What’s her deal:
She’s the security officer and second-in-command of an intergalactic exploration team. She holds the rank of lieutenant, is a decorated veteran, a weapons expert and a lethal killing machine. She was assigned the female gender somewhat unwillingly at first, but after various false starts and a steep learning curve, she soon finds she wouldn’t swap. Sally’s mission is to masquerade as a normal female, American human and it’s one of the toughest challenges she’s ever faced.
Life at the Solomon household is insane as Sally lives with her 3 crewmates, who masquerade as her brothers and nephew in a strange approximation of family life. All 4 learn about human life, but Sally must experience the female condition by herself. She finds love (albeit slowly) with her cop boyfriend, Officer Don Orville. Sally’s sense of self rarely wavers, even if these weird human emotions do.
Research: Third Rock from the Sun, series 1 – 6.
Sally: I injected him with a sedative. I’ve got at least two more hours.
Patty: Oh, we’re like Thelma and Louise, except we just came to the supermarket, and we haven’t killed anyone.
Sally: It’s early yet.
Sally is a seasoned warrior, an intergalactic explorer and a very dangerous woman. She’s perfectly happy with resorting to violence and isn’t afraid of using her womanly wiles (once she’s figured out roughly how they work) to protect the security of the mission.
Also she once beat up Mark Hamill in a restaurant.
Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds deserves it’s own post, of course, and doubtless we’ll get to it in time, but this song is just stunning, and undoubtedly right at the top of all Music of the Apocalypse. Unlucky thirteen seems appropriate for the apocalypse.
Journalist: Never before in the history of the world had such a mass of human beings moved and suffered together. This was no disciplined march – it was a stampede – without order and without a goal, six million people unarmed and unprovisioned, driving headlong. It was the beginning of the rout of civilisation, of the massacre of mankind.
I defy anyone to find a more stirring description of human behaviour in the apocalypse. Perfect in meter and grandeur of vocabulary – its awe not overwhelmed by a sense of melodrama because it is so paired down, so precise, so terrifying and exhilarating. A perfect evocation. O’course, much is owed to the source material, but Jeff Wayne’s score and Richard Burton’s narration sweep it up into a height of drama that captures the heart-in-your throat primal fear of The War of the Worlds, and this part in particular, as the people of London become a mindless, heaving mob, driven by instinct for survival, even as the Journalist himself is caught in his own small, human drama – being separated from his loved ones, possibly forever.