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This is not based on the Alien film series but predates it. I read a novel in the 80's and it has stayed with me. The aliens take over humans by inserting a pod into them and converting them. Humans are also eaten.

The ending may involve fleeing a plant and another alien race wiping them out.

Apologies for the vague query but I would like to read it again.

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The sounds like The Vang - The Military Form (Book 2 from The Vang Trilogy) by Christopher Rowley. The three books are not connected except by The Vang (an advanced parasitic lifeform).

How this matches:

  • Written in the 1980s - Check. Trilogy written between 1986 and 1990.
  • Aliens take over humans by inserting a pod into them - Check. The Hostmaster is created in this manner.
  • Humans are eaten - Check. Humans are consumed by The Vang to create new forms.
  • Found in Space - Check. An Asteroid miner prospecting for radioactives in the Forbidden Areas of the Saskatch system finds a Vang seed pod (Spoiler - this turns out badly for them).

Spoiler Match 1:

* Extermination of the alien menace - Check. In Book 2 Nuclear weapons are used to exterminate The Vang but by other humans not aliens. There are aliens in this universe but the Laowan mostly appear in Book 1. The Laowan have also burned entire planets to kill The Vang. I can't say more without basically giving away the whole plot of Book 1.

Spoiler Match 2:

* Fleeing the planet at the end of the book - Check. There are only a few survivors from the entire planetary population of Saskatch.

All three books are excellent:

  • Book 1: Starhammer
  • Book 2: The Vang - The Military Form
  • Book 3: The Vang - The Battlemaster

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