Out of the Dark
Out of the Dark is a novel that is far too straightforward to be entirely successful. For those that don’t know Out of the Dark is an intelligently written alien invasion penned by military-sf master David Weber. The Hegemony, a council of alien races capable of interstellar travel, are horrified by the brutality and violence of the recently discovered human race have. In response they have allowed the Shongari, one of the most war-like and less-respected members of the Hegemony, to send a fleet to Earth for “colonization.” What ensues is a very straightforward invasion story that touches upon the classic themes that subgenre has come to be known for: underground resistances, underestimation of human capabilities by a more “advanced” species, and the unification of different people and groups in light of a common threat are just some of the familiar elements Weber employs in the majority of Out of the Dark.
Where Out of the Dark stands, particularly in its advertising, is the inclusion of vampires. Yes, you read that right. When humanity’s back is to the wall it is the vampires that rise up to aid in humanity’s defense. Which is, to put it mildly, ridiculous. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I’m totally willing to embrace the ridiculous in the name of awesome. The problem seems to be that I’m not sure Weber is similarly willing. While Out of the Dark is certainly a competent alien invasion/resistance novel for the first three-quarters of the text; it takes a sharp turn towards B-movie-ville in the final quarter. Now, that b-movie vibe is pretty fantastic but considerably less so given the dire tone and straight-faced storytelling of the majority of the novel.
I’m heading into spoiler territory, it’s hard to discuss the vampire-laden section of the novel without it, so bear with me here. Those I haven’t scared away from the novel by the above comments would still due well to check it out for themselves. This is still a classic Weber sci-fi novel to start and if the addition of craziness to that model tickles your fancy I think you’ll have a good time with Out of the Dark. Now, for everyone else, hit the jump for some more spoiler laden discussion.