DEATHDAY

William C. Dietz, Author . Ace $21.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-441-00857-5

Paranoids, take note. Bestselling military SF author Dietz (By Blood Alone; By Force of Arms; etc.) requires just the first six lines to destroy every major city on Earth in this overheated opener of a near-future alien-invasion epic, which reads much like an inferior clone of L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth. Several nations fire missiles at each other, not noticing colossal extraterrestrial spaceships hovering over the planet (neither does any astronomer). The huge, insect-like Saurons, nicknamed "chits" for their chitinous shells, kill billions. They enslave the survivors to construct "temples" that they claim will be a path to "a planet named Paradise" but are actually hatcheries where adult Saurons die giving birth. The invaders drop leaflets with instructions to bring them to "any Sauron-sponsored processing center and receive six cans of Spam," a courtesy possibly in response to human spacecraft offering galactic friendship. A plaque from Pioneer Ten, launched in 1972, served as "a space-going road map, pointing right at Earth." The aliens admit they surreptitiously "monitored thousands of audiovisual broadcasts," besides absorbing major languages and mapping technology. So those UFOs were real after all. The book abounds in racial hatreds at the same time that it high-mindedly condemns them. The action—constant, confusing, deadening and dull—abruptly halts, mid-slaughter, to announce, heroically, "the countdown continues" in a sequel slated for 2002. Be patient. (Sept. 4)

Reviewed on: 08/20/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 368 pages - 978-0-441-00981-7
Acrobat Ebook Reader - 368 pages - 978-0-7865-1652-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-1927-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-4927-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-4526-6927-4
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