In this futuristic, psychological horror novel, aliens control and victimize members of the human race.
Aresty’s (Recovery, 2013) novel starts off with a bang: in 2120, Leonard Ackerman, a science officer in a world infiltrated by aliens, is running for his life. In this scene, the author writes with a delicious urgency, placing readers in the middle of the action as Ackerman is tracked by a violent human co-worker: “He had to get somewhere safe, and then he’d be able to breathe.” Ackerman’s escape attempt is short-lived, however, as he quickly becomes trapped in the titular communication room, a place in which he can call humans in the past and warn them before they encounter alien-controlled “conscripts” for the first time. The room is an attempt by Ackerman’s fellow science officers to help mankind fight against the initial waves of conscripts in the distant past, increasing humanity’s chances of later survival. Conscripts can appear to be anyone; they’re humans who came in contact with meteor shards, allowing the aliens to take over their bodies and make them kill others. Aresty allows readers to gradually learn the entire history of this extraterrestrial conflict as each communication unfolds: all of humanity’s greatest atrocities were due to the efforts of the conscripted, from the Civil War to World War II and beyond. The author places immense power in the hands of humans who are willing to reach out to one another, who cling to a small moment of hope and spread it to those around them. Overall, the book’s most terrifying details are its quietest: dull thuds of fists on doors, a corpse’s single open eye, the dead air of a call after a child is killed.
A sci-fi tale that will stay in readers’ minds as they ponder the value of human connection in times of crisis.