In 1996, Earth was invaded by extraterrestrials whose chief weapons were the cliches and tried-and-true tropes of science fiction. Gigantic spaceships positioned themselves over Earth’s major cities (Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke’s seminal novel of 1953). The aliens were discovered by the detection of a seemingly interstellar broadcast (John Varley’s superior 1977 novel The Ophiuchi Hotline and Carl Sagan’s brilliant Contact). They were biomechanical in nature (Ridley Scott’s classic Alien). They had a gazillion fighters (every Star Wars movie) and impenetrable electromagnetic shields (Star Trek, but only here and there, really). They did not come in peace (every invasion movie in human history, except Steven Spielberg’s amazing Close Encounters of the Third Kind). They were defeated by a computer genius with a Macbook that greeted him with “Hello Dave” (Arthur C. Clarke again in Stanley Kubrick’s singular 2001: A Space Odyssey). In short, way back when Independence Day came out and I saw it for the first time, I left the theater feeling like I’d seen it before.