View Full Version : Books with parasitic lifeforms taking over ships?

10-12-2004, 05:53 AM
Sorry, I couldn't think of a better title. Anyway, like the title says, are there any good books (although I'll accept movies too if it's good) out there that have these aliens that takeover spaceships and their inhabitants? One of my ideas for my book revolves around this idea, although they may not appear for a while (since there's another major plot occuring, and yes, they both relate to each other).

However, I would like to start doing some research into it. I guess I'm looking for something like the Borg from Star Trek, or the Beast from the PC game Homeworld: Cataclysm (it'd probably be closer to Homeworld though, since these forms are almost entirely organic in nature just like in that game), and to a lesser extent, the Aliens from the Alien movies (although the "life forms" I have in mind can infect other ships and has some intelligence).

If you don't know of anything like it, something similiar would be okay, since it's sort of a broad area anyway (and I don't want to just merely "rip-off" other sources, I want to see how they did it. Plus copying them is plagarism, and it's much more fun to come up with my own concepts than merely trying to repeat what others have done).

10-12-2004, 08:11 AM
Erm, I can't recall any episode titles offhand, but this is one concept that was done several times on Star Trek:TNG and Star Trek: Voyager. What size are these organisms? IF they are alien sized then they could infest the crew, if they are smaller you could go for a more nonobotish bent. Perhaps large ones could ingest a ship amoeba style and digesting some parts whilst putting others to more practical use. OR perhaps it is energy based entities that can directly seize control of the minds of the crew or the ships control systems, or perhaps both?

Just throwing some random ideas out at you, let me know if any of them helped.

10-12-2004, 08:38 AM
I know that Octavia Butler has done several books with infestation and/or possession as the main theme. They're not quite like the Borg or Alien. More like bacteria-sized aliens that infest a host and alter them (Clay's Ark), or alien life-forms that are energy-based and possess organic hosts (Wild Seed), that sort of thing. There's also one that has aliens that take control of the human race and use them in a breeding program to enhance their own DNA (Lilith's Brood).

Don't know if this is what you're looking for or not...

Flawed Creation
10-12-2004, 09:00 AM
Heart of the Comet, by Gregory Benford and David Brin.

it's about some people settling Halley's comet.

there are low-level alien lifeforms there.

a large amount of the book deals with the interactions between the foreign creatures and the people's bodies. some people are parasitzied, others evolve a symbiosis. some get sick, their immune systems fighting off the Halleyforms.
it's pretty good and resoanbly scientific.

10-12-2004, 10:30 AM
Some of these ideas do seem interesting, but I'm looking more for any that take place in outer space on space stations and/or space ships.

For example, in Homeworld: Cataclysm example I gave (great space real time strategy game btw), some explorers in space find an ancient derelict that turns out to be a million years old. It seems to be giving off a signal of some sort (ala the first Alien movie), and when your guys pick up the derelict (to prevent some bad guys from getting it first), they don't think anything is particularly wrong with it.

After a short while, it ends up taking over part of your ship, as well as any other ships in its path (it seems to consume the people on the ship, and then sort of grows onto the ship like how lichen grows on rocks). Any small ships that get within range of it is in danger of getting "infected" (and man, anytime you lose a ship this way, it sucks hearing those guys scream about the infection spreading on their ship before you lose them) and the good guys must figure out how to stop the "Beast" from spreading.

They do eventually stop the "Beast" and its original Mothership (and your guys, who were "low ranking" miners before among their people, rise in ranks for being able to defeat the "Beast").

I guess this is the inspiration I got for my "infestation" ideas. I find the concept from the game pretty interesting, and would like to see if it's an original idea, or if it's been done before (and how it was done). I'll check out your suggestions though, see what I can come up with. I should look up old Star Trek episodes though, since that's the most likely spot I'll find something remotely similiar to what I'm looking for. Keep those suggestions coming though.

11-04-2004, 07:33 AM
I think parasites are used so often because they are something that is socially acceptable to hate, i.e. can’t form political groups to ban their use as the "bad guys". Despite them mostly being in the legal system (*cough* lawyers *cough* jk). But you have to be careful not to make them the main villain unless their tool of a villain or intelligent themselves. Otherwise their kind of lame and you’re left with a “so they were evil?” feeling.

Star Trek and other sci-fi shows have been turning parasites into “misunderstood” life forms and that really pisses me of, I mean what ever happened to “That looks alien! Fire the photon torpedoes!”

Anyway, as long as you do them right they can be a handy part of a story, and its always good to have them tied into another plot.

11-04-2004, 08:18 AM
Thanks for the info Antaren. Yeah, I decided to more or less drop this idea for now. It was just a "tool" of the main bad guy (which will get revealed), I just wanted to see if it had been done before somewhat decently (and not like Star Trek only). But it doesn't seem to stick very well right now with what I have (but I could always use that idea elsewhere).

I think I'll stick to my original idea of having monsters take over the ships, and the good guys can either try to retake the ships by force, or simply blow it to smithereens (except certain ships that has important data on it that has to absolutely be recovered). And no, the monsters won't be so smart that they could intelligently fight off the good guys with their own guns in a naval battle, they'd more or less kill all the crewmembers (remember, most crewmen on any ship generally aren't battle-hardened infantry, so it's not likely that they can contain the monsters on their own without some marines. And yes the monsters can break down doors that attempt to seal them off, in case you're wondering about that).

Again, this is just a sub-plot to the main plot (which I discovered has heavy fantasy roots, although I will explain it all via the characters and their history). This should give the people in space something to worry about while the hero and his friends try to figure out other things on the planets.

11-05-2004, 03:28 AM
Just be careful not to fall into the trap of cliche. You know, like "Boy, I've seen that in all four Aliens movies..." Or something like that.

11-26-2004, 06:22 PM
I do believe there is an infestation of bug-like creatures that occur in the remake film, LOST IN SPACE. However, they did not originate on the Jupiter Two, they were found on another ship--akin to the first alien premise.

Sidi Ji
12-26-2004, 01:21 PM
Another suggestion -- "Revelation Space" by Alastair Reynolds has an alien investation taking over a ship.