Daniel Turner’s Friendly Invasion (2014) is worth Quaker attention and government leader reflection.
This novel is a connected sequel in time to the previous novel, Twillinger’s Voyage (2000), about commercial inter-planetary water mining and delivery to the Earth’s moon. However, this novel under review stands as a separate and thoughtful story, which focuses on the mutual experience of aliens and humans in detecting and exploring their relationships. The author approaches the story substantially from the alien viewpoint, as aliens observe the reactions of human individuals and institutions. The author observes the human reactions to the contact and the relationship challenge, notably whether to use violence to remove the aliens from an asteroid-based alien civilization.
This novel is notable in grounding the story in current science, while adding the informed speculation at the edges of current science, and the fantasy science that makes enduring science fiction possible. The issues of distorting time, interactive data management, interstellar communication and travel are plausible and creatively addressed. The “dream capsule” content of words takes some time to appreciate.
In this novel, humans and animals accomplish communication on both the substance and nuances of their relationships. The book implies a fuller understanding of the mutuality and inclusion of other earth species, but humans lack the ability to confidently apply that full thinking about species outside the Earth frame.
The book lacks a table of contents and an index, which would be helpful to the reader. Particularly, it would be helpful to have an appended descriptive reference list of named characters.
The hand-drawn illustrations are more safe than helpful to the reader in imagining the asteroid civilizations. There are no maps to remind the reader of the scope of geography covered in this mind-expanding story. The map/diagrams in Twillinger’s Voyage were useful there and could be useful here.
This novel would make a significant film, like 2001: A Space Odyssey or The Day the Earth Stood Still. As a basis for a film, it is notable that this novel is written from the alien viewpoint in the efforts to understand human actions and motivations from an outside perspective. A creative movie mogul could make a legacy from this film. It would be a further test of Quaker views, and general human views, of an evolving peace testimony. So many science fiction movies have aliens who are seeking to dominate and control humans with violence for some combination of amusement, cannibalism, or slavery. The sweeter child-friendly alien films neutralize conflict to avoid confronting serious issues. The book presents a wide variety of incidents for human character development and dramatic action events. The singular key is the framing of the film from the alien perspective.
The story reflects the human problem of a lack of experience with an international set of shared values and infrastructure for a unified response to the alien contact. The aliens seek to deal with a single Earth entity. The selfishness of distorted national sovereignties disables the human reactions and communications.
This book is engaging and challenging. It includes affections and humor, as well as science and communications by good characters. This is a good book for thoughtful young people.
Quakers: There is no specific reference to Quakers in this book. It addresses the larger human condition. However, the parallelism in the titles of Friendly Invasion with The Friendly Persuasion and the parallel themes of the conditions in which violence is permitted to address threats are very close.
This is a fine book and readily useful for adolescent First Day School. How to listen, communicate, understand nuances of cultural differences, and fear management will prompt good discussions. The challenges to the peace testimony for Quakers as citizens of hobbling democracies and the existential personal decisions about personal use of violence in relationship with aliens are not easy for either human youth or adults.
- What earth infrastructure and cultural practices are needed for management of unfamiliar relationships?
- How do humans develop the shared values to support united understanding and initiatives?
- Friendly Invasion, Daniel Turner (Booklocker, 2014)
- Twillinger’s Voyage, Daniel Turner (Ebor Books, 2000)
Note: This book, originally published by British Quaker publisher Ebor Books, is currently out of print.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey, produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clark (Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, 1969)
- The Day the Earth Stood Still, produced by Julian Blaustein and directed by Robert Wise (Distributed by 20th Century Fox, 1951)
- The Friendly Persuasion, Jessamyn West (Harvest Books, 2003)