Great guest blog below from Carl Alves, the author of Reconquest: Mother Earth, a great sci-fi novel I reviewed recently. Check it out, and then buy his book.
I like to describe my novel Reconquest: Mother Earth as a combination of the movies Independence Day, Red Dawn, and Gladiator. Admittedly, that’s a strange combination. In this post, I discuss how these three movies relate to my novel.
I remember when Independence Day came out, the trailers and promotion for the movie were tremendous. The buildup of the movie was so great that instead of releasing the movie on July 3, 1996, they released it a day earlier, which coincided with when the movie starts. The buzz was huge, and the movie became one of the all-time biggest blockbusters.
It’s not the deepest, most thoughtful movie ever made, and you had to suspend your disbelief in many places, but it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the portrayal of human spirit that the movie displayed, when against all odds, in an impossible situation, the humans used intelligence and ingenuity against a far more powerful enemy.
Those are elements that I adopt in my novel Reconquest: Mother Earth. In my novel, I incorporate a very different kind of large scale invasion that the movie uses, but that is a small part of the novel. The much larger part of the novel is the response by former Navy SEAL Mitch Grace, who wakes up from a coma five years after the initial invasion. He personifies that same never-say-die attitude that even though the humans are badly overmatched, they can still find a way to defeat the alien conquerors. Mitch must do so in a planet conquered by the aliens, where humans are used as slaves in mine, but much like in Independence Day, he will not stop fighting the aliens as long as he is still breathing.
I was in the fourth grade when Red Dawn came out in theaters. As a kid, this was an amazingly cool concept for a movie, and I was psyched to see it. I didn’t get to watch too many movies in the theater when I was a kid, so it was a few years later by the time I finally watched it. Despite some of the silliness in the movie, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Admittedly, the execution in this movie didn’t always work. There are many aspects of it that aren’t particularly believable, and there were many testosterone filled scenes in the movie, but as long as you don’t delve too deep, it’s a fun and enjoyable film. It fit the attitude of the time well, but it doesn’t particularly hold up many years later.
My novel, Reconquest: Mother Earth, shares some elements with Red Dawn. In my novel, aliens take the place of the Soviets, and they have now overrun the planet. Mitch Grace is devastated to find that most the world’s population has been decimated, and humans have been thrust into slavery in mines working for the aliens. He can’t accept this and gathers followers to start his own guerilla war against the aliens. They have vastly superior technology and weaponry and he must go into hiding, but much of that never say die feeling is captured in the novel.
Gladiator is simply put one of the best movies I have ever seen. It is epic in scope, the story of Roman general Maximus Meridius, played by Russell Crowe. Maximus is loyal to the emperor, but is thrust into slavery when Commodus, expertly played by Juaquin Pheonix in one of the greatest acting roles I have ever witnessed, kills his father and seizes the throne. Through his incomparable skills as a warrior, Maximus becomes a renowned gladiator with one thing on his mind – vengeance.
When I first came up with the concept of my novel Reconquest: Mother Earth, before I even started writing it, I had an image in my head of my main protagonist, former Navy SEAL Mitch Grace, in an arena battling it out with aliens. I didn’t know how I was going to incorporate this into my book, but one thing was certain, somehow, someway it was going to be part of it.
In my novel, Mitch Grace, during his guerilla campaign, is captured and enslaved much like Maximus. He becomes an intergalactic warrior, even taking the moniker of “The Gladiator”. He becomes an intergalactic sensation, a human that can kill aliens in single combat. Much like Maximus, he is single-minded in his focus, which is to reconquer the planet.