This major science fiction epic by an award-winning author tells the story of a California family and their struggle against a chillingly powerful alien presence. Radio features.
The Aliens land "seven years from now", touching off massive
brush fires in the LA basin and, shortly thereafter, seismic changes
in humanity's place on our home planet. The alien Entities pay
little attention to humans, but any attack on them triggers
massive retaliation. Human institutions simply fall apart after the
Conquest. This is a long way from ID4 or the optimistic
Campbellian invasions of yore . Silverberg is working in terrain
similar to Wm. Barton's "When Heaven Fell", but with a more
elegaic tone, something like "Earth Abides" -- or "Nightwings".
"The Alien Years" is told thru the viewpoints of the Carmichaels,
an old California clan headed by a patriarchal Vietnam-era
Colonel. Thru 50 years of Entity rule, the Carmichaels never quite
give up hope or the memory of freedom. They are active in a
nominal Resistance, but real resistance is almost unthinkable - the
last, futile military attack on the Entities resulted in the death of
half of humanity.
Then there is the group of resisters. It's a small world after all with this motley crew of multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-racial, multi-aged fighters - our own little UN of Earth folk. And despite the obvious, uh, disparity in skill level, technology and oh, about a million years of civilization, our group ekes out a tie. The ending ranks among one of the worst in modern fiction. After this LONG, not so great buildup, the aliens suddenly decide one day to pack up and leave. Seems they are lonely for the home world and decide that - hey, we spent a few trillion getting here and setting up so why not leave it all without rhyme or reason? We are back where we started, wondering and wandering about our navels and the strange way the universe acts. But we're gonna build a better world, yes-sirree! Hold your hats, partner, let me get my saw!
I could understand that type of ending (Although many of the reviewers have revealed the ending I won't do that here) if
the whole novel hadn't spent most of the time implying that the humans were going to kick the alien's rear.
Waste of time.