Out of the Dark (2010 novel)

Out of the Dark  
Cover of first edition hardcover.
Author(s) David Weber
Cover artist Stephan Martinière
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Alien invasion
Publisher Tor Books
Publication date 28 September 2010
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 381
ISBN ISBN 978-0-7653-2412-2 (hardcover)
OCLC Number 567188387

Out of the Dark is an alien invasion science fiction novel by David Weber released by Tor Books on September 28, 2010.[1] This novel is an extended version of the short story of the same name in the 2010 anthology Warriors.


The Galactic Hegemony, a system alliance of assorted alien races, sent a research and survey group to Earth (designated as "KU-197-20") for assessment. The ship arrived in Earth's orbit in the 15th-century during the Hundred Years' War. The survey group observed the Battle of Agincourt between the English and French, and are horrified of humanity's feriocity and cruelty - being that war and violence rarely happened among the Hegemony - before leaving Earth's orbit, in which most of the members of the Hegemony is disgusted with these "humans".

By the 2010s, the Hegemony reviewed the survey on Earth and were again instantly repulsed. Seeing as humans being similar to a recent species reluctantly admitted to their alliance, the carnivorous and wolf-like Shongairi, the pacifist Hegemony decided to send the Shongairi to see humanity's extinction before humanity will reached the same level as the Shongairi, seeing that as the "lesser of two evils", rather than a second Shongair Empire. However, the Shongairi saw value in the human race as slave soldiers and decided to conquer Earth and make human beings their client race, or subjects. Upon the Shongairi expedition fleet arriving Earth orbit, they are surprised of humanity's advancement in the last 600 years, in which they have advanced at six times the galactic norm. Fleet Commander Thikair order his fleet to continue the conquest by hacking into the humans' computer military systems and laying a series of Kinetic strikes on nearly every military installations, naval fleet, and major city on the planet with KEWs, or Kinetic Energy Weapons, wiping out one-half of the human population. Expecting that this attack had crippled the humans, the Shongairi landed their forces centering around Europe and North America and expected for the humans to surrender immediately (the Shongairi and the other alien races believed that a "submission mechanism" exists within every species). However, they are severely underestimated as the surviving remnants of humanity began a massive guerrilla war against the invaders in which it is exacerbated as the Shongairi had never before fought an advance race in their military history. In every human successful attack on the Shongairi, the Shongairi retaliated with an orbital strike on the attackers or any nearby standing towns or structure in order to inflict submission.

The conflict lasted over two months which saw nearly half of the expedition's landing forces killed, in which leading Shongairi xenoanthropology expert Shairez revealed to Thikair of her grasping research on human culture through Earth's Internet and their reasons for not submitting to the Shongairi as they lacked a "submission mechanism", and that their mindset (such as morality and altruism) evolved much differently and drastically from any other known Hegemony species. It is then concluded that attempting to subjugate the humans would be the height of folly, as humanity - completely unable to forgive the Shongairi for what they had done to Earth - would undoubtedly feign surrender and subsequently betray them. As a result, Thikair carry out the Hegemony's order to exterminate the humans by implementing the Shongairi's backup strategy and develop a targeted bioweapon specifically design in wiping out the humans based on their DNA. As developing the bioweapon and making it "accidentally" release to the humans would sway any demeaning accusations and political fallback against the Shongairi from the Hegemony. Efforts to creating the bioweapon involved capturing humans and transporting to "Ground Base Seven", locating west of the Black Sea, and "Ground Base Two" located in North Carolina where the weapon is being planned to be released. But in the following weeks several bases in Europe and North America would be attacked by attackers who leave no sign except for their handiwork.

Eventually, nearly every Shongairi bases on Earth are likely to be destroyed, which forced Thikair to evacuate his remaining forces off the planet and proceeding to their option of outright destroying Earth from their dreadnoughts. However, their dreadnoughts were immediately hijacked following shortly following the evacuation and arming their weapons to destroying the rest of the Shongairi fleet. Thikair is confronted by the hijackers to be the same enemy that attacked the bases: vampires. The Shongairi commander is brought himself in front of their leader Mircea Basarab, actually an immortal Vlad the Impaler who had faked his death. He and his kind had been hibernating and kept hidden from humanity before the Shongairi's arrival forced him and his people to "protect" the people of Earth by turning more vampires to build his army to eliminate the Shongairi. With Shongairi's ships in the possession of both humans and vampires, in a way the Shongairi's arrival had allowed humanity and their new allies becoming what the Hegemony had greatly feared than they had imagined. The hijacked dreadnoughts are then sent to each of the Shongair worlds, to destroy the Shongair Empire. Thikair is then vengefully killed by one of the vampires, whose human family was killed during the initial orbital bombardments.

Following the end of the Shongairi invasion, humanity possesses Shongairi and Hegemony technology from the Shongairi industrial ships, and is fully united under the established Terran Empire, becoming a reckoning foe alongside with the vampires to the Hegemony.

Literary significance and reception

Publishers Weekly gives a somewhat positive review and stating, "Weber pulls off this conceit in audacious style with a focus on military-powered action that will thrill fans of his Honor Harrington series, and he keeps the pedal to the metal right up to the almost unbelievable conclusion."[2] However, Booklist unfavorably criticized the action scenes as "redundant and overburdened with long lists of munitions model numbers", difficult to distinguish between most characters, and the introduction of vampires late into the story.[3]


(Begin listening at approximately 1:06, esp. at 1:46+, end at 1:56.)

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