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This website is dedicated to the memory of Jessica Lincoln Smith, a John Marsden fan.
Lost tragically at 26, but never to be forgotten.

The Enemy

I must admit that I eventually found the "Enemy" in the Tomorrow series a bit of a disappointment. Ellie and her friends started of the series worrying about the morality of resistance and of killing in defence of their homeland. By the end of "The Dead of the Night" those concerns have disappeared. Why ? Because the enemy who have invaded are foul.

The invaders happily commit atrocities. They take hostages (often children) and murder them when their wishes are not obeyed. They have less concern for a kid they have shot (Corrie) than for one of their own's twisted ankle. They use the population as slaves. They have no redeeming features. Even enemy prison guards and nurses that show Ellie small kindnesses have to be careful not to be found out. Sort of disappointing. It could have added another aspect to the novels to have the moral dilemmas continue or get worse. Now I know I am being greedy here as I have had more fun with these novels than I had any right to expect, yet these concerns are relevant to this section as they make it a bit hard for me to be too enthusiastic about playing the game everyone has a go at: "Pin The Tail on the Enemy". I don't believe that any government in this region would behave in this way, with the possible exceptions of the Junta that run the country which used to be called "Burma" and "Dear Leader Kim" up above the DMZ (i.e. North Korea).

Anyway, it is easier to identify who they are not. They are not:

  • New Zealand (as they fight on our side)
  • Papua New Guinea (as the fight on our side)
  • The United States of America (as they supply us with equipment)
  • Japan (as they supply us with equipment)
  • India (as they try and broker a peace deal)

So who are they ? What are their characteristics ?

  • They speak a guttural language, with a sort of wailing music to it (The Dead of the Night, p44)
  • Their language is nothing that Fi recognises (and she knows about 6), Lee doesn't recognise it and he knows Thai and Vietnamese, Homer does not recognise it and he knows Greek nor does Ellie (with her poor French).
  • They are ruled by a general - likely a military dictatorship (Tomorrow, When the War Began, p168)
  • They have a large population, several times ours (otherwise they wouldn't have a hope of pulling of an occupation)
  • They use a different alphabet to us (The Night is for Hunting, p128 - a soap packet wrapper)
  • They were either colonised by a European power with a royal family or have one of their own (The Other Side of Dawn, p192 - Colonel Long's rank insignia is three crowns) but not by the British as the invader's insignia for a Colonel is a crown and two stars.
  • They have at least one aircraft carrier (The Third Day, The Frost, p82)
  • They have a base nearby to Victoria (that's where they invade, and for a successful invasion you need a nearby base, see Invading Australia)

So who are they ?

Well, there is not a single country in the world that meets the criteria above. Somehow I get a feeling this is deliberate on the part of John Marsden.

Most reasonable is Dr David Reeve's comment that "It may be that the 'Asians' of this novel are as unreal as the extra-terrestrials in the film Independence Day, a device to create the situations by which the heroes are tested".

He is bang on. So pick who ever you want.

I will go for the French. They have a base near by (New Caledonia), must be getting a bit concerned as the quality of our wine and cheese keep improving, are no less reasonable as attackers than anyone else and what could the New Zealanders love more than bombing the French on Australian soil ? They really owe the French for what they did to New Zealand after the New Zealanders imprisoned the French secret service agents responsible for the terrorist attack on the "Rainbow Warrior" in Auckland harbour back in 1985; so a spot of revenge would be sweet. There you have it. I will have the French, you can have who ever you want. Just please keep in mind what is discussed in Invading Australia. There is not a country in the world that could invade Australia in the way depicted in these novels, even with the advantage of surprise. I would also be fairly surprised right now if there were any whose government wanted to.


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