Why do the Martians glow above, don’t they know it’s the end of the world?

So, I have just finished watching Tribes of Europa. I went into this new Netflix science fiction TV series with low expectations for some reason. Maybe it was because it is made in Germany with mainly German language spoken? Or perhaps it was the trailer that made it seem like a knockoff of teen sci-fi fluff like The 100?

As it happens, I was pleasantly surprised. The plot is pretty good, the characterization excellent, and to my surprise, the German actors in it are not Hollywood hunks and babes, but resemble real people (which is one of my predispositions against The 100 – would nuclear apocalypse leave everyone alive supermodel good looking?). 

It’s Game of Thrones-violent and dirty, so probably not one for your 13-year-old kids.

Spoilers ahead if you are planning to watch this for yourself.

Why do the Martians glow above, don't they know it's the end of the world?
Why do the Martians glow above, don’t they know it’s the end of the world?

The six episodes-long first series is set in Europe after a collapse of technological society has led to most people dying, and the few survivors buddying up in tribes. 

So far, so Walking Dead. Most of our good guys and gals hail from a single family who have been hiding in the forest as technology shaming greens. Their nearest neighbours are a bunch of monks in a home-made fortress. 

But there also some real psychopaths out in the world, which include the Crimsons – so named after the red badge of the old nascent Euroforce EU army. The regiment spawned military warlords who treat the memory of the failed EU like the Federation from Star Trek.

The other big bad are the Crows, who are more or less every evil raider tribe from Mad Max, but with a semi-Nazi German Goth kink vibe going on. They also have a samurai warrior code of honour, to accompany the Nietzschean nihilism. Oh, and their leader is more or less the Kurgan from Highlander.

A mysterious crashed starship – my money is on human Martian settlers – also known by the locals as the tribe of the Atlanteans – plops an advanced nanotechnology cube into the family’s hands, and they have to go on a quest to reunite it with its owners, as well as escaping from slavery or death at the hands of the various nutters surviving across Europe.

Tribes of Europa features actual meaningful character development, occasional splashes of English – this still being used as the lingua franca between the various nationalities, and its subtitles/ European tongues just add to the feel of the mid-future strangeness.

There are also incoming Chinese refugees fleeing from the east in the face of some mysterious threat, which we presume is linked to the Atlanteans. Aliens? Maybe behind the odd loss of technology (blamed on a cyberwar, although that’s guesswork on the part of the survivors).

Do be warned, there is no news of a second season, and the finale is more or less the definition of cliffhangers all around. So I will be very annoyed if there is no closure with further episodes! And so will you, undoubtedly.


I am an author of various fantasy, science fiction, crime and other genre books from Gollancz, Hachette and HarperCollins. Some day I hope to grow up and be an astronaut. Exploring Mars would be nice.

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