July 8, 2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the famous Roswell Incident, in which the U.S. Air Force was reported to have recovered a U.F.O. near Roswell, New Mexico. Because it's clearly only a matter of time before they come back, I've got 10 books about aliens that will seriously have you questioning everything.
Whether or not you believe the truth is out there, you have to admit that living through an alien invasion would be something to write home about — if there was a home left, and, y'know, the U.S. Postal Service. Because no one really wants to face off against radioactive brain-suckers and the like, we can live vicariously through the oodles of alien fiction that has been written over the last several centuries.*
I've included 10 books on this list, but they're only the beginning. By my count, eight of the books below are part of wider series, which means there are approximately 53 other titles you can read once you're finished with these! That's a lot of reading material, my friend.
* Yep, several centuries. The oldest alien story is The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, also known as The Tale of Princess Kaguya, and it dates back to the 10th century.
'Dawn' by Octavia E. Butler
Two-and-a-half centuries after alien visitors rescue some surviving humans in the wake of nuclear fallout, one woman awakens from artificial slumber to discover that the extraterrestrial Oankali want to create alien-human hybrids with her DNA.
'Ender's Game' by Orson Scott Card
Locked in a decades-long battle against an alien race known as the Buggers, the united governments of Earth begin a selective breeding program to look for their savior: the child who will destroy the Buggers once and for all.
'Binti' by Nnedi Okorafor
The title character of this short novel is a Himba teen who becomes the first of her people to attend the prestigious interstellar college known as Oomza University. But when vengeful aliens attack her transport ship and leave only Binti alive, she must find a way to save herself and her fellow students.
'The Day of the Triffids' by John Wyndham
This classic sci-fi novel takes place in the near future, after a seemingly celestial event has blinded much of the world. With humanity weakened, a sentient, locomotive plant species known as the triffids begins to assume dominion over the Earth.
'Foreigner' by C.J. Cherryh
When a space-faring vessel is lost after leaving Earth, its crew build their space station in the orbit of a planet occupied by the atevi: an ultra-loyal, math-minded species. Following a war between the two peoples, a single human interpreter is allowed to live among the atevi, and becomes the sole bridge between the species.
'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams
On an otherwise normal morning, an Englishman is informed by his friend — newly revealed to be an alien — that the Earth will soon be destroyed to build an intergalactic superhighway. Together, the two men set off on a whirlwind adventure around the universe, leaving the Earth far behind.
'The Left Hand of Darkness' by Ursula K. Le Guin
When an interplanetary alliance fails to convince Gethen to join their ranks, they send a human emissary, Genly Ai, to convince the Gethenians. But Genly's lack of understanding regarding the Gethenians' "ambisexuality" undermines his mission.
'Old Man's War' by John Scalzi
After his wife dies, 75-year-old John Perry leaves Earth to join the Colonial Defense Forces, where he is outfitted with a younger, technologically enhanced body to better protect human colonists on other planets.
'The Sparrow' by Mary Doria Russell
Set in the wake of Earth's first contact with extraterrestrial life, The Sparrow follows a Jesuit expedition to the planet Rakhat, where the Earthlings attempt to help the locals, only to have everything go horribly awry.
'Childhood's End' by Arthur C. Clarke
At the height of the Space Race, a cluster of alien ships surrounds the Earth. Supervising planetside events, the Overlords usher in a new era of peace and prosperity. But when a new generation of children begin to exhibit behaviors that are decidedly inhuman, the people of Earth must question whether the Overlords are acting in their best interest.