My goal is to write a compelling alien invasion story with some semblance of realism, outside of taking a few liberties with physics courtesy of extraterrestrial technology. While it’s not intended to be overly “meta,” there are definitely some tropes I’m setting out to subvert. For example, most invasion stories end – or begin – with humanity uniting to defeat the threat. I feel that the sudden shift in global power would have less graceful, more unpredictable effects. Second, though all of my characters so far are from the United States, I want to portray something other than an “America saves the day” model, and present a more nuanced view of personal and national identity in the face of the ultimate Other. Finally, though virtually all alien invasion stories contain themes of colonialism, I’m really going all out with it.
The Coatracks look like the pieces of furniture for which they’re named, as designed by H.R. Giger. More horrible than their appearance is their technology, which allows them to turn humans against each other with savage violence. After unleashing this power on nearly half of the United States and Canada, they halted their conquest, and declared a former political talk show host the leader of humanity. While the pundit engages in power plays with beings far beyond his comprehension, the people in his capital city of Los Angeles suffer under an increasingly totalitarian government. In Vermont, a small group of unlikely survivors struggles to live in a world gone mad, under constant threat by both Coatracks and affected humans. And far away from everything, a young woman sets out across the stars on board a Coatrack ship, her only company an inquisitive alien scientist.