War of the Worlds by Henrique Alvim Correa

Worldbuilding: Alien Invasion

Today we examine the world building of when worlds collide! Alien Invasion’s are a solid staple of the science fiction genre that keep returning into our cultural zeitgeist in one form or another. They’re H.G Well’s classic, War Of The Worlds, Firaxis Games hugely successful reboot, X-COM, and many of the movies from the Marvel Universe.

All these stories deal with the same issue; an alien race – far technologically superior to ourselves – has come to Earth and they don’t want to swap Pokémon cards.

Worst case scenario, of course.


Let’s dive into how these intergalactic tales, and others, deal with the world building of invading alien armies. Enjoy!


Back in 1938, the legendary filmmaker Orson Welles aired a live reading of War of the Worlds over the Columbia Broadcasting System. Most listeners missed the beginning of the broadcast and didn’t seem to realize that the story Mr Welles was telling them was entirely fictional (nor did they realize it took place in England, apparently). Being unaware of the drama of the narrative, many of those rural American folks grabbed their rifles and shotguns.

They prepared for the invasion of extra territorials that the radio had promised, only to find themselves feeling rather silly when the truth emerged. 

I don’t mention this to make fun of those rural Americans (although it is quite funny) but more so to demonstrate would the average person – or at least the average American – would do in the face of an actual alien invasion. Grab the gun, barricade themselves into the house and wait with an itchy trigger finger for the hostile takeover attempt. That’s how we are, folks. 



This is a game series that I absolutely adore. The world has been invaded by a hostile alien race and you play as the ‘Commander’ who commands the military units to fight back and win the planets freedom! 

​In this game, the aliens are hostile, intelligent, diligent and conniving. They know their enemy and will stop at nothing to destroy them (us).

These are really great games!

Unlike with War of the Worlds though, humanity cannot rely on anti-bodies to do the leg work for us – we’ve gotta do it with guns and bombs and learning about their technology to use against them. 

I recommend this game series to any aspiring alien invasion author who wishes to explore more about the ins and outs of humanities struggle against and alien threat. How that would be handled and how our military would deal with such a threat. I won’t go into the details because I’d rather you discovered them yourself. The games are amazing. Enjoy them. 



So, we’ve talked about what humanity would do in the face of invasion, but why are your aliens attack our meek little ball of green and blue in the first place? Are they like the aliens in Independence Day, who simply want to consume our resources and then move on? Or more like the Predators who just want to hunt us because…why not? But what if…the aliens came here to help us?

The Pope is so happy...

Benevolent aliens are a passage of literature that has not been well explored. Their motives don’t always have to be, ‘I came, I saw, I conquered.’ I mention this, only if you’re looking for an original take on the alien invasion angle. There are so many stories where a vastly advanced, vastly evil face of super aliens what’s to turn Earth into their ant farm/ slaughterhouse/ leper colony that it would be refreshing to see some nice aliens for a change. Just something to think about.



The diversity of life on this planet is staggering. From algae to seahorses to grizzly bears to us. Millions of species of drastically different examples of evolution all inhabiting the same cosmic space. Yet, when we humans image alien life – what do we image? Well, us. With slightly larger foreheads or slightly longer arms. But basically, you and me. Oh, and their languages are easy to learn too (even though most of us fail at Rosetta Stone Spanish).

He's hardly an alien...

My final thought is this: Don’t make your aliens look just like humans! Do you know how absurdly unlikely that would be!? It’s difficult to imagine intelligent life on another world because we have only known of intelligent life on this world but try to stretch your imagination to the limit. We (and all life on Earth) are carbon-based life, but what if you’re aliens, we silicon-based life? You see where I’m going with this…the possibilities are endless.

Back to blog