Books about invasions of Earth and planetary resistance
The War of the Worlds by H G Wells (1898)
Wells often referred to this original alien-invasion story as a 'scientific fantasy'. Martians invade and inflict mass destruction on humankind. All resistance fails and things look pretty grim, leaving the survival of humankind in some serious doubt. Darwinist book is in stark contrast to the socialism of The Time Machine. Recently remade as a feature film starring Tom Cruise.
The best of UK writer Wyndham's 'cosy catastrophe' books. Orbiting explosions blind almost everyone and then, to make matters worse, large mobile stinging plants start devouring the survivors. Resistance is haphazard, with some managing to conduct themselves in a civilised middle-class manner despite their dire circumstances. Highly recommended.
Childhood's End by Arthur C Clarke (1954)
Straightforward writing propels this intriguing tale about the evolution of humanity. Dreaded aliens invade and impose peace on the planet. They turn out to be reasonably benevolent as they go about unselfishly raising humanity to a new plane of spiritual evolution. A breath-taking climax tops things off, making this Clarke's best by far.
This Immortal by Roger Zelazny (1966)
Zelazny began his fascination with ancient religions and mythology in this expanded version of the novella '...And Call Me Conrad'. In a post-apocalyptic Earth abandoned by humanity, an "immortal" ex-resistance fighter apparently spurns his past to serve the aliens who have taken over the planet and turned it into a tourist resort. Good intro to early Zelazny.
The White Mountains [S1] by John Christopher (1967)
The marvellous Tripods series has been a classroom favourite in both Britain and Australia for years. When three-legged machines invade they go about capping people in order to gain their unquestioning obedience. Young Will Parker and his friends hope to escape being capped by fleeing to the White Mountains. Made into a television miniseries in the UK.
Battlefield Earth by L Ron Hubbard (1982)
Hugely popular novel with the uncanny ability to polarise opinion like none other. Hubbard is well known for his contributions to Scientology, although his philosophical leanings aren't too obtrusive here. After a millennium of domination by a sadistic alien race, a brave leader emerges and humanity fights back. No serious side effects proven.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)
The first book in Card's superb Ender sequence, although it easily holds its own as a stand-alone. Humanity is attacked by aliens and almost wiped out. Child genius Ender Wiggin is top of the heap in the government's military genius breeding program. A race against time springs some surprises for both Ender and the invading forces.
Steel Beach by John Varley (1992)
John Varley returned to the sci-fi scene with wit fully intact after almost ten years hiatus. Many of Earth's inhabitants end up on Luna thanks to an alien invasion. The Central Computer provides the ideal existence, except that depression and suicide are on the rise. A tabloid journalist has a sex change and tries to get to the bottom of things. A good place to start with Varley.