Book - Invasion

Invasion by Luke Rhinehart

Steve Taylor-Bryant takes on some satirical comedy in book form thanks to Invasion by Luke Rhinehart from our friends at Titan Books...

Satirical storytelling is difficult. It's even harder when we appear to live in a world that is hellbent on satirising itself anyway so Luke Rhinehart's Invasion was always going to be a tough to get right. Right he got it though, so very right.

Super-intelligent furry aliens suddenly appear from another universe. And they've come to earth to have fun. "Louie" follows fisherman Billy Morton home one day and he and his family come quickly to love the playful alien. But when Louie starts using their computer to hack into government and corporate networks, and steal millions from banks to give to others, they realize that Louie and his friends mean trouble. Billy, his wife and two sons begin a roller-coaster ride of fame, fortune, jail, death, resurrection, and a distinguished ranking high on the FBI's "Most Wanted" List.

The Government soon decides that all these aliens are terrorists. They must be eliminated. The aliens are playing games they hope will help humans to see the insanity of the American political, economic and military systems. But the Powers that Be don't play games: they make war.

I have never read Dice Man so wasn't as aware of Rhinehart as an should be so I didn't know of his extraordinary back catalogue. This I think helped me as when speaking about Rhinehart's past titles with a friend it seems Invasion is completely different to what has come before. I say this as if you are familiar with his work the differences might not hold up for you but as someone coming in fresh I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Making the alien invaders cute little balls of fluff instead of something menacing, or green, or slimy was a simple but effective way of standing out from the crowd and from the snippets in the novel that are taken from the character, Billy Morton's, own book honestly made me want to have one of my own. The first alien hops aboard his fishing vessel and he nicknames it Louie, it's Gizmo from Gremlins all over again as I read on. With the sections taken from Morton's novel complemented by news reports and files from the FBI you get an immersive almost real life feel to the adventure that sees Louie go from watching TV, to playing video games, to discovering the internet and then hacking government sites. You eventually come to a wonderful twist in the tale... Louie and his alien friends aren't here to dominate us! They want to make the planet a better place, they want us to have a fairer life and start to redistribute the wealth. This is a step too far for the powerful and the establishment and they set about trying to end it.

Invasion is refreshingly original, and takes on the governments and bankers of this world in a way that we the people could only dream about. If you like satire you'll love Invasion, if you don't (and why?) then you'll still see a very funny piece of sci-fi unravel. One of the funniest books I've read in years.

Image/synopsis - Titan Books.