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Literature / We Knew They Were Coming

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A 5 book sci-fi alien invasion novel by Ira Tabankin.

January 2016, an accident in the coding of the Keplar telescope causes it to look in the wrong direction, towards 55 Cancri, and see a very bright, unnatural light. Further study reveals this to be an object decelerating from 0.7 c and estimated to intercept Earth near the end of May, 2020. Per previous codes of possible spacecraft, the object is dubbed "the unicorn."


Though initially skeptical, President Obama is soon convinced, classifies all data relating to the unicorn and forms a secret commission to prepare for the object's arrival. His successor, Donald Trump, informs six other nations of the unicorn. The unicorn commission recommends stockpiling as much food and ammunition as possible, and building or reactivating shelters against the possibility of orbital bombardment. To this effect, recalls are issued on all dry and canned goods. The commission also orders the creation of a hidden moonbase (hidden in both it is on the dark side and secret from the people of Earth, and that it is underground and concealed from ships).

These preparations cause some stir, and the Trump administration responds by employing doomsday preppers to spread the word that something big is happening and people had best prepare for anything.


In time, the decelerating unicorn became visible from Earth, a retired Japanese astronomy hobbyist was the first to notice, and the benign conspiracy selected him to inform the world, causing awe, wonder, a certain degree of panic, and numerous small brushwars as people turned on their enemies in the hopes they alone could represent humanity. The panic only grew worse when it developed that the unicorn was not one single object, but nine ships, each five miles long.

The unicorn ships skim the atmosphere of Jupiter, refueling. At the same time, they unleash a mysterious energy pulse which clears Earth orbit of all debris and artificial satellites, leaving only the International Space Station, the only inhabited one. When the ships arrive in Earth orbit, no communications are attempted. This, combined with their disruption of global communication, convinces the American and Russian Presidents the aliens are hostile, and they open fire with surface-to-orbit railgun batteries, destroying three of the nine ships.


The alien response is to shut down all electronics and electricity on Earth, even those shielded against EMP. At this point the story shifts from global events to cover a rugged survivalist, Troy, in an isolated community and his struggle for survival, as well as the President's journey (on foot) to his own safety bunker.

The aliens land and dictate terms, total surrender, decimation of the population, humanity to serve the glorious Xoran forever and ever, etc. Seems the Xoran (lizard-men) are an expansionist empire, with a brutal history of internecine warfare. Eventually, it was decided the only way to get all the clans to get along was to give each their own star system far far away from each other, and this clan has claimed Sol, and all it's resources and people.

Fortunately, a strike force from the hidden moonbase is able to use nukes to blow open a hole in, and board, one of the Xoran ships, recovering bodies for dissection and a Xoran AI which defects, eventually convincing two of it's brothers to do so, and the fleet largely destroys itself.

Almost fifty years later, a much larger Xoran fleet arrives, by now the turncoat AIs have presented themselves as the Judeo-Christian God to gain unquestioning obedience in their program to ensure humanity's survival. Again the invaders are defeated, but not before Earth is destroyed by a great many rocks dropped on it, leaving two billion survivors on Luna.

Than a third race, the Old Ones far more ancient and advanced than the Xorans, get it into their heads that humanity has been enslaved by AI (they're not entirely wrong) and they need to liberate us.

We Knew They Were Coming contains examples of:

  • Alien Invasion: Naturally.
  • Colony Drop: The second Xoran fleet pulls this off by bombarding Earth with large asteroids.
  • Crazy Survivalist: Troy and all his buddies who are, of course, proven right in the end.
  • Take That!: Obama is presented as consistently stupid, cowardly, and obsessed with his legacy. Still better than many Tabankin books in this regard, however.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: One of the first responses many people have to the existence of alien life is to exterminate their neighbors while there's still time.
  • We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: The Xoran really were hostile, as it turns out, but the decision made to shoot first was still rather questionable.

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