Protectorate - Mick Farren The reason I like this book is the very reason my friend loathes it so: What could Earth do if an alien species really came and conquered it? The answer: Absolutely nothing.

Any species capable of crossing interstellar distances in anything like a reasonable amount of time would be thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of years beyond us. Consider what little consideration we give to the primates, and they're our closest relatives! How much more consideration would a species a million years older pay to us? (And it wouldn't be because they're callous or "evil." Like ants, we simply wouldn't register on their "radars" unless we happened to inadvertently cross their paths.)

At some point, the species known as the Wasps conquered Earth, destroying cities, slaughtering billions, and there was nothing humanity could do about it. Now, humans survive in scattered enclaves ruled by a caste of human administrators (the Protectorate of the title) who answer to the Wasps. The Wasps couldn't care less about humans, however. There're here as part of a war against another stellar empire, whose nature is a mystery to the humans. Humanity is tolerated but if their existence interfered with the Wasps' war effort, there's no doubt they would be eliminated.

Into this situation comes a human demagogue, a leader of a new religion, who (as it turns out) was abducted and modified by the Wasps' enemies and then sent back to force a confrontation between the Wasps and the humans. Meanwhile, these aliens are attacking the Wasps and driving them from the solar system.

In the end, these new aliens defeat the Wasps and descend to Earth where they install their own "protectorate." No less a cage than the Wasps' but gilded this time.