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Results: Reader Challenge #4 – The Top 27 Coolest Science Fiction Threats

As discussed by you, the loyal SF Signal readers. Some liberties have been taken with the term ‘SF’ to allow horror and or fantasy threats.

I present the Top 27 Coolest SF Threats, in no particular order, although multiple nominations are listed first….

  • Everyone’s favorite Elder Being, Cthulhu.
  • The risen Dead from Peter F. Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn trilogy.
  • The Bersekers from Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker series of books. Similarly, the machine race from Gregory Benford’s Galactic Center novels.
  • The eponymous Aliens from the Aliens series of movies.
  • A rogue AI – Scott Westerfeld’s Risen Empire books, Colossus: The Forbin Project and from Karl Schroeder’s Ventus.
  • The planet Endurium in the classic PC game, Starflight.
  • The Inhibitors from Alastair Reynold’s Revelation Space books.
  • The planet eater from the Star Trek episode, The Doomsday Machine.
  • The wandering superstring from Stellvia Of The Universe.
  • The blast front from the exploding core of the galaxy from Larry Niven’s Known Space stories.
  • The grey goo from Greg Bear’s Blood Music.
  • The Yuzon Vong from the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
  • Galactus, from The Fantastic Four comics.
  • The Grendel from Legacy Of Heorot.
  • Larry Niven’s version of the Kzinti.
  • The Reavers from Firefly/Serenity.
  • A more personal threat here, the poison gel packs used to ‘motivate’ people in Gibson’s Neuromancer.
  • How can we forget God, in the movie Time Bandits?
  • The Jain from Neal Asher’s Polity Universe.
  • The Prime aliens in Peter F. Hamilton’s Commonwealth books (Pandora’s Star, Judas Unchained).
  • The Hypotheticals from Charles Wilson’s Hugo winning Spin.
  • The Omega Clouds from Jack McDevitt’s Engine Of God series.
  • The ‘Dust’ from Pullman’s His Dark Materials series.
  • The Shadows from Babylon 5.
  • The Triffids from The Day Of The Triffids.
  • The Death Star, from Star Wars.
  • The Blight from Vinge’s A Fire Upon The Deep.

So there you have it, some of the coolest threats faced by characters and/or societies in SF/Fantasy/Horror. It’s a nice list and I must say I have actually seen or read about all of these before, so nothing I hadn’t encountered before. I recommend reading/watching any of the above listed books/movies if you haven’t already!

About JP Frantz (2323 Articles)
Has nothing interesting to say so in the interest of time, will get on with not saying it.

8 Comments on Results: Reader Challenge #4 – The Top 27 Coolest Science Fiction Threats

  1. What no moties?

    I demand a recount.

  2. Doh! Moties weren’t listed in the original thread, therefore didn’t make the cut. But they should have. Any one with three arms is threat all by itself…

  3. What about the attacking alien Chtorr in A Matter for Men and sequels by Gerrold? They weren’t just fighting giant worms but an entire alien ecology.

  4. These are both good suggestions, too bad they weren’t in the comments for the original post! 😉

  5. Ah, my Jain technology is on a ‘cool list’. Good stuff.

  6. The Supreme Being from TIME BANDITS was not the threat in that movie. Evil was the threat. The Supreme Being was an absent-minded bureaucrat who allowed Evil to exist in his creation for reasons having to do with Free Will or something.

    Ditto for the Dust in GOLDEN COMPASS. The Dust was not a threat. The threat in that book was The Authority, a supernatural hierarchy run by a corrupt church in concert with a corrupt anteviluvian, Lamech (who, like Wormtongue, pretended to be passing along orders from a mumbling cripple). The Dust, as far as I could tell, was some sort of psychic by-product created by The Authority’s ill-intentioned meddling with nature, by creating an afterlife, and by forbidding extramarital sex between children or something; or maybe the Dust was the threat to life and sanity produced by C.S. Lewis, who seems to be something of a bugbear for Mr. Pullman.

    My favorite threats, even after all these years, are the van Vogt monsters: the Coeurl, the Ixtl, the Rull.

    I would also propose the intelligent starship / saber-toothed tiger starring in Keith Laumer’s THE LONG TWILIGHT. It computer mind is unable to account for periods during which it is turned off, and so it thinks a war conducted eons ago is still ongoing: and its last mission was to destroy the Earth by installing a navigational beacon, unaware, and unconcerned, that Earth had developed intelligent life.

    Did Jack Williamson’s THE HUMANOIDS make the list? These are robots built “to serve and protect” mankind, but built without an off switch, so that they conquer a planet by removing all risks and discomforts, trapping each man in what amounts to a padded cell with no sharp edges. Forever. When the robots develop psionic technology, they can then reach into a man’s brain and make him happy and compliant with this new state of affairs, unable to be unhappy.

  7. The humanoids were pretty chilling but I think the computer from I Have No Mouth But I Must Scream (another omission) is probably the scariest SF villain. Any menace that has you hoping for suicide.

  8. anteviluvian? Oops. I mean antediluvian: someone who lived before the flood.

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