I’m looking for and old science fiction title, probably from the 1970s. A small group of humans who are the last survivors of the human race are working in space as mercenaries and fighting for Aliens. In the novel they discover an old powerful Derelict space ship and are able to make it work.

  • Welcome to Sci-Fi.se! :)
    – alexwlchan
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 16:16
  • I haven't found a case of "last survivors" in it, but you might want to look at the works listed at tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HumansAreWarriors and see if any of them match up.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 17:05
  • Do you have more details, I have memories of a couple book plots following this plot. Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 17:35
  • I remember a book I read sometime between the Kennedy assassination and the Moon landing with this basic plot. As I recall there was a company of soldiers who were off-world when Earth got destroyed. Of course, this being the 60s they are all male, so they decide to spend the rest of their lives drinking or something. Then some alien hires them as mercenaries by revealing that he knows of a ship full of earth women hidden someplace. At the end of the book, the spaceship turns out to be some sort of giant space ark. As soon as the humans get off the ship, the alien loads his entire race onto it
    – samwyse
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 4:35
  • @DVK I was thinking Titan AE
    – Marriott81
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 9:22

2 Answers 2


Not sure if they are old enough but the Janissaries series from Jerry Pournelle sounds similar. I don't think they were the "last survivors of humanity" but they were carefully selected as "soldiers who were almost certain to die if the aliens hadn't rescued them".


This sounds like it could be "Recall Not Earth" by C.C. MacApp (Dell, 1970). Back cover blurb:

All life on Earth had been destroyed in a quick and easy kill by the great and ruthless intergalactic Vulmot Empire. Only an elite group of spacemen survived the holocaust. The last earthlings, they were scattered wanderers through the galaxies, hiring out their fighting skills to whatever power needed them, yearly growing more bitter, dissolute, despairing. By now the pitiful remnants of the Space Corps lacked even the will to fight - until a tantalizing promise from an enslaved race made them assemble one last time, for a mission only men with nothing to lose would attempt, for a final battle only desperate courage could win...

The derelict spaceship - which was actually fully functional, and could even navigate in "null," a sort of hyperspace - had been built by an ancient race known as the Klee, whose existence was otherwise known only by small, random artifacts.

  • Very nice, this looks likely. (At least it's almost definitely the book samwyse was recalling.)
    – DavidW
    Commented Nov 12, 2023 at 2:23
  • 1
    Thank you for the reformatting as well as the upvote, DavidW!
    – André D.
    Commented Nov 12, 2023 at 15:20

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