In the book alien drone like ships come to Earth and invade Earth for its metal.

The ships use some tractor beam magnet type to gather the metals. They also remove metal from people, like braces, hip replacements and metal plates in a person's skull.

They are able to capture one of the drones and "hack" into and and gain control. They somehow gain a small fleet of alien ships and paint it like the American flag.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Where and when did you read this? Do you recall the cover art? The names of any places or characters featured in the book?
    – DavidW
    Commented May 2 at 21:52
  • 1
    It does sound like Von Neumann's War. The book specifically mentions dental braces being pulled out of children, though it does not mention hip replacements or skull plates. Could you have misremembered the bit about the flag? Commented May 3 at 7:38
  • 1
    Wait! Yes, in the epilogue they use two of the captured alien probes as pall bearers in a funeral and the books says they are painted red, white and blue, which I guess does mean the American flag. @Paulie_D are you going to post that as an answer since it has to be Von Neumann's War? Commented May 3 at 7:44
  • @JohnRennie Thanks for the reminder, answer posted
    – Paulie_D
    Commented May 3 at 10:43

1 Answer 1


This is Von Neumann's War by John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor which features small alien probes/devices reaching Earth via Mars and devouring metal to create more of themselves.

The strip all metal in their path, including metal fillings etc. There is a scene where the government realise that danger and send advisories about dental work.

Cady realized her concern. Some of the horrible images from his and the major’s trip to Paris of soldiers being decapitated flashed in his mind. What if a bot got close enough to pull the metal out of this poor kid’s mouth? If the damn thing pulled the metal straight out of her mouth she would likely lose some teeth and have her lips, and tongue ripped to shreds.

As for the American flag...

Two probes, their surface now shifted from glittering steel to bands of red, white and blue, held the coffin a meter off the ground as honorary pallbearers walked on either side.

enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.