First of all, THANK YOU to all the folks that participated in our little contest here. Whether for the eagerness to acquire a copy of A Sword Into Darkness, or the joy of entering a contest, or an actual need to show any potential invaders just how nutty and tenacious a bunch of murderers these largely hairless primates can be, I got dozens of entries, which — on a personal level — is very very satisfying (especially as launch day approaches).
Secondly . . . WOW, you guys are some DEVIOUS BASTARDS. If I were an invading race, I’d be quakin’ in my space boots right about now. Out of these dozens of answers for how YOU would stop an alien invasion, not a single one was exactly the same. That’s some ingenuity right there. They can, however, be grouped together in a few broad categories.
Category A: Hard(ish) Military Science — a few, but fewer than I originally imagined, went the realistic route. Rather than delve into silliness, these armchair Ulysses Grants / bathtub Alfred Thayer Mahans took it as a serious challenge. From using infiltration and subterfuge to lull the enemy in close before decisively striking, to making use of scouting raids and offensive probes, you all were methodical and calculating. Shall we seed the high orbits with so much fast-moving debris (a la the film Gravity) or tungsten penetrators so it becomes suicide to approach? Or should we stick to nukes and biological warfare and play the attrition game (playing NASTY, y’all)?
Category B: Socio-Political Barbs — what’s the best way to answer a zinger? Why, with a zinger of one’s own! While these methods might not stop a fo-realsy alien invasion, they surely do put a hurtin’ on those humans that array themselves on the opposite side of a cultural divide. Climate change? Check! High taxation? Check! Reality TV and the Internet as the cultural nadir of mankind? Double Check!
Category C: Artistic Callbacks — let’s play “Spot the Reference!” These folks firmly believe in not re-inventing the wheel. Our greatest SF writers and directors have already produced soooo much material, destroying alien invasions in every way imaginable, WHY NOT utilize that resource? These homages were both filmic and literary (plus radio show if you’re including original Hitchhiker’s Guide), and they indeed put a smile on my face. H. G. Wells, Douglas Adams, H. P. Lovecraft, James Cameron, Russell T. Davies (Doctor Who and Torchwood), Galaxy Quest, Independence Day, and others all get referenced, and they all get a salute from me.
Category D: Sheer Insanity — uuuuuummmmmm, right. These were the most inventive . . . sometimes the most outright fun . . . but you might wanna make sure the NSA doesn’t know where you live. 🙂 We got your zombie clones of Dennis Rodman, interplanetary “Burning Man” festivals, Aerosmith attacks, sharknado-style laser rodeos, etc. Magnificently warped, and I mean that in the best way possible!
Sub-Category F-U-Tom: Some folks just don’t like a little shameless self-promotion. I get it, I’m new to the Twitter-sphere and the art of selling yourself on Facebook. Did I overstep by directly tweeting writers and self-identified sci-fi fans? Perhaps. Did I inadvertantly turn myself into a spam-bot? Eh, I don’t think so, but then again, I don’t get all the unsolicited crap that many of my more experienced betters receive. I was just trying to innocently get the word out and have a little fun with folks. So, yes, I got called a spammer. I got un-followed and blocked by some. I was even accused of being an account hijacker and an untrustworthy person. Ouch. So, if my contest and the way I promoted it upset you, I apologize. My only defense is being naive and inexperienced. My only saving grace is that for every person I lost, I gained 4-5 more. I can take that math.
Brass tacks time: WHO WON?!?!? Well, there were many worthy entries, so don’t take it badly if you didn’t get picked, but I only have so many copies of ASID to go around. Therefore, in my expert-and-only-somewhat-random opinion, the Grand Prize winner of one proof copy is: Michael Nicholas! Michael was a bit of a triple-whammy in that he gave a great Dr. Evil-esque / SyFy Channel answer with his astronauts on flying sharks with frickin’ laser beams on their heads, covering categories C and D, then gave a completely separate answer about “scorched orbit” policies in Category A, seeding clouds of tungsten ball bearings through the approaches to Earth. Michael, congrats!
But wait, there’s more! Runner-up with the most tantalizingly nostalgic literary reference was T. Gene Davis, who made me go back and re-read my half-forgotten copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (series) in order to get the reference about the alien fleet being swallowed by a small, yawning dog. You get my other available proof copy!
Advanced Reader Copies (which are 98.7% identical to the final publication/proof version) also go to Cara Brookins for Most Re-Tweeted Answer, Adam Vickery for Most Bi-Polar Answer, and Donna Kallas for the Sheer Volume/No Hard Feelings slot.
I hope you all enjoy the books and I encourage your honest (and hopefully favorable) review on Amazon and/or the book vendor of your choice when you get done. As for the rest of you lot, I hope you are intrigued enough to go pick up your own copies on Friday! And, if you’d like to read all the best entries, you may find them compiled HERE: Zinger Contest Entries