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On Black Friday, the aliens attacked. The human race was enslaved. But soon, everything will change.

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On Black Friday, the aliens attacked. The human race was enslaved. But soon, everything will change.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
On February 28, 2020, also known as Black Friday, the Zin invade Earth destroying everything in their path. Air Force One is obliterated. The governmental infrastructure is destroyed. Buildings collapse and fires spread. Humans caught on highways are either decimated or enslaved. Some lucky humans are able to escape into hiding. Others are forced into labor camps to prepare temples for the Zin or are shipped off into space for mining work and/or other labor. The Zin are dark-colored and for that reason favor those humans with dark skin, therefore, causing rifts among the enslaved. They choose an African American politician to be the human president believing that he will preside over the temple construction and will encourage the humans to do the Zin's bidding. The new president agrees to be the Zin's pawn in the hopes that he, his wife, and his security officers will be able to start an underground resistance movement with the knowledge that he gains. Also vying for power is a white supremacist group that causes much unneeded conflict for the human resistance movement. Within the aliens' civilization, there are also alien groups that are subjugated by the Zin. These aliens find out that the so-called Zin temples are actually fortresses where the Zin plan to hide while in a vulnerable phase. In the fortresses, new Zin will be born in order to continue the domination over their servile aliens and the humans. As a result, the lower caste aliens start a resistance plan of their own. When the humans discover the truth about the temples, they may be able to win back their freedom as well. This fast-paced read is reminiscent of such titles as H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds and RobertSilverberg's Alien Years. The strength of the novel lies in its swift action and its technical details and is recommended for readers of military SF as well as fans of alien invasion tales. The narrative moves quickly from one geographical location to another offering the reader the movements and viewpoints of humans and aliens across the nation and in space during this upheaval. The issues of prejudice found even among aliens make for good talking points for discussion. The novel ends abruptly with the death of a major character and with all intentions of continuation in the next installment, EarthRise. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, Berkley, Ace, 355p.,
— Ginger Armstrong
Library Journal
A surprise invasion by the alien Saurons devastates Earth and reduces humans to slaves forced to labor in the construction of mysterious temples for their masters. When former government bodyguard Jack Manning finds himself chosen by the aliens to guard their puppet president, he realizes that he stands poised to strike a blow for freedom, if he dares. The author of Legion of the Damned begins a new series that delivers a fast-paced tale of survival and resistance that should appeal to fans of sf action adventure. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Routine alien invasion story of blithely nasty outerspace insects and a bickering bunch of humans who, in this first in a series, decide to fight back. The carnivorous insectoid Saurons are actually three races in one: the autocratic, ruling class called the Zin, the engineering and professional class called the Kan, and the lowly Fon who do everything else. They've come to earth to enslave what few humans are left and have them build what the Saurons call a temple. They appoint Washington State Governor Alexander Franklin as the new President, who, in his desire to preserve as many lives as possible, appears to be more a collaborator than a leader to his wife, Jina, and a group of white supremacists, one of whom, Marta, is the crazed sister of security specialist Jack Manning, our hero. Cast among the slaves on the temple project, Manning finds his path crossing that of Jina Franklin, who also thinks her husband is afraid to resist. They discover that temple will be used for a lethal "rebirthing" ritual so disgusting that they keep it secret. As an act of subversion, the humans teach the Fon how to read and write and thus disseminate information about the rebirthing, causing some of the Fon to consider rebelling. Meanwhile, President Franklin, who really isn't the Quisling the Saurons portray him to be, is marked for death by the rebel white supremacists. Can Jack Manning, who would rather have Franklin die so he can take Franklin's place with Jina, save the day? Against Dietz's plucky, paper-thin human characters, his flimsy aliens, based on Imperial Chinese and European colonial stereotypes, do not stand a chance.
From the Publisher
"[B]reakneck pacing, good action scenes, and unexpectedly strong characterization, alien-invasion buffs should enjoy." —-Booklist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780441009817
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 641,531
  • Product dimensions: 6.84 (w) x 4.30 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

William C. Dietz grew up in the Seattle area, spent time with the Navy and Marine Corps as a medic, graduated from the University of Washington, lived in Africa for a year, and has traveled to six continents. Dietz has been variously employed as a surgical technician, college instructor, news writer and television producer, and currently serves as Director of Public Relations and Marketing for an international telephone company.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 19, 2015

    Long and Tedious. Makes you wish the aliens would finish off the

    Long and Tedious. Makes you wish the aliens would finish off the humans quicker.

    I am a science fiction fanatic and have read hundreds of scifi books, from Jules Verne to the present. I wanted DeathDay to be good. I listened carefully to all 16 hours hoping for something worthwhile to happen. I paid close attention to the mostly plot driven story, but finally reached the end more than a little disappointed.

    The overarching plot is pretty simple and way over used: Aliens attack the earth because they need a new home. They kill billions of humans and enslave the rest (Battlefield Earth). The aliens have a hierarchy where the darker the skin, the higher their status. They force this upon the surviving human slaves too. That is an interesting premise, but quickly devolves into idiot skin heads killing black and brown people with abandon. Really? After half the human race is exterminated, that’s how humans would react. It just didn’t sound realistic.

    The aliens are insect-like creatures that are hard to kill and can jump really high (Starship Troopers, Ender’s Game); except not on their own ships, because those are built by a super smart race of alien slaves who somehow forget to conquer their inferior masters. The aliens immediately learn English, can track every human, and continually squabble. They have very human-like emotions and are often more human than the humans. Sometimes, I found myself rooting for the aliens more than humans, though most of the time I just wanted everyone to die quickly.

    This rambling story is narrated by Luke Daniels who has a smooth deep voice. His character voices for the aliens and human females were quite good. Unfortunately, all of the male humans sounded the same, like East-Texas ranchers. This distracted me from the story. Why did the black governor of Washington state sound like Hoss Cartwright on Bonanza? But otherwise, Daniels did a good job.

    This is book one in a series of unknown length. The story didn’t end or even wrap up a little, it just seemed to stop at the end of the last chapter. There is no way I would sit through another 16 hours to find out what happens to all these two dimensional characters.

    Audiobook provided for review by the publisher.

    Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

    [If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2005

    Good Alien Invasion reading

    I see a lot of people really didn't like for this book and I don't understand why. It is a little slow in parts but interesting nonetheless. I thought that the aliens were intriguing and the characters are very developed. The story moves at a decent pace for the most part. One only real problem I have with this book is that it doesn't really describe the aliens technology a whole lot. Maybe it is in the sequel. I recommend this book. I think it is a pretty good Alien Invasion story and I look forward to reading Earthrise.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2003

    Never Goes Anywhere

    The copy of the book Deathday that I bought had a quote on the front, 'Great reading for anyone who loved Independence Day or the War of the Worlds'. That line was utter garbage, both Independence Day and War of the Worlds had endings, this book didn't. I kept waiting for the book to develop some kind of action plan for the characters, but there was very little. This book actually doesn't go anywhere and it takes its sweet time to do so. It is literally half of a lousy story, stretched to fit into a novel. At the end of the book it actually advertises for the sequel, which should have been included in this book to be considered being called a story. It's like the author just tells you about a few things that happen that aren't really connected and then the books over, never really touching on the issues brought up in the first few chapters. I usually never write reviews on anything, but I felt this book was such a waste to even donate to the library. I recommend never reading this, your life will probably be better if you didn't.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2003


    This book had many parts when you just felt dissapointed with the human race. A good book to read, many interesting, not to mention cruel, aliens.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2002

    Fab book!

    I loved this book! The people are real and the issues are not just for sci-fi, it is what we deal with daily. It was nice to see black characters as more than the football coach or the side kick that dies first. I can't wait for EARTHRISE.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    exciting non-stop alien invasion tale

    In 2020 in what seemed like a blink of an eye, New York City, Moscow, and Beijing were easily destroyed. Not much more than a weekend past and the invaders conquered the earth. More than three billion humans died starting on what became known as Black Friday as the alien Sauron race, using superior weaponry, easily win the war. Any human who survived the weekend of terror has a struggle ahead as slaves of the mighty Sauren race. <P> UN Security Officer Jack Manning ends his vacation once he learns that the nations of the world lost to the brutally efficient Saurons. The leadership Zin faction of the conquerors have no mercy immediately directing their Kon soldiers to kill any opposition no matter how slight. In that environment, a captured Jack labors in the mines of his enemy before being reassigned to a massive temple building construction project. He patiently waits to escape, but the opportunity never seems to surface. <P> DEATHDAY, the first tale of William Deitz¿s alien invasion series, is an exciting non-stop action thriller though most of the book occurs after the Saurons win. The fast-paced story line is exciting and the insight into the Sauron caste system is cleverly intermingled into the plot so readers begin to understand the conquerors. This is what makes this a must read for sub-genre fans. William C Dietz provides more than just an opening gamut of a military science fiction thriller along the lines of V. He provides a deep social and psychological study of humanity and the Saurons that make the invasion seem devastatingly real and leave breathless readers waiting for EARTHRISE. <P>Harriet Klausner

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