To some degree, and in some instances, it's clear that sci-fi reverse colonialism is anti-colonial. Again, Wells uses the Mars invasion to directly criticize European colonial practices. Similarly, Gwyneth Jones in her 1994 book North Wind imagines an alien race, the Aleutians, who are almost-but-not-quite exactly like humans. When they take over the earth, they nonchalantly decide to sheer off the top of the Himalayas to improve the planet's climate. Despite worldwide protests (which confuse the Aleutians; why would anyone object to sheering off the mountains, they wonder?) the Aleutians go ahead with their plan, and accidentally destroy most of earth's farmland (as we see in the follow up novel, Phoenix Café.) The depiction of bland imperial arrogance directed, specifically, at the subcontinent, is an obvious satire of Britain's own history of empire—and of the intertwined violence of Western expansion and environmental devastation more generally. In a similar vein, Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis Trilogy, told from the perspective of a family of black humans who survive and thrive after an alien invasion, cannily inverts and crosses identities of colonized and colonizers, self and other.
Reverse colonial sci-fi don't always have to be anti-imperialist, though. Ender's Game, both film and book, use the invasion of the superior aliens not as a critique of Western expansion and genocide, but as an excuse for those things. The bugs invade human worlds, and the consequence is that the humans must utterly annihilate the alien enemy, even if Ender feels kind of bad about it. Olympus Has Fallen runs on the same script, as a North Korea with impossibly advanced weapons technology lays sci-fi siege to the White House, giving our hero the go-ahead for torture, murder, and generalized carnage. In Terminator, as well, the fact that the robots are treating us as inhumanly as we treated them doesn't exactly create any sympathy. Instead, the paranoid fear of servants overthrowing masters just becomes a spur to uberviolence (as shown in Linda Hamilton's transformation from naïve good girl to paramilitary extremist). The one heroic reprogrammed Terminator, who must do everything John Connor tells him even unto hopping on one leg, doesn't inspire a broader sympathy for SkyNet. Instead, Schwarzenegger is good because he identifies with the humans totally, sacrificing himself to destroy his own people. Terminator II is, in a lot of ways, a retelling of Gunga Din.
On the one hand, then, the reverse colonial stories in sci-fi can be used as a way to sympathize with those who suffer under colonialism. It puts the imperialists in the place of the Tasmanians and says, this could be you, how do you justify your violence now? On the other hand, reverse colonial stories can erase those who are at the business end of imperial terror, positing white European colonizers as the threatened victims in a genocidal race war , thereby justifying any excess of violence. Often, though, sci-fi does both at once—as, Rieder argues, Wells does in The War of the Worlds, which both sympathizes with the oppressed and suggests that survival-of-the-fittest colonial exploitation is natural, inevitable, and unstoppable (there is, after all, no talking to the Martians—or, therefore, to the Tasmanians?).
The fact that colonialism is so central to science-fiction, and that science-fiction is so central to our own pop culture, suggests that the colonial experience remains more tightly bound up with our political life and public culture than we sometimes like to think. Sci-fi, then, doesn’t just demonstrate future possibilities, but future limits—the extent to which dreams of what we'll do remain captive to the things we've already done.