In similar fashion to the way that Pixels opened in the past, the novel does the same, only beginning further back, in June of 1974, 8 years prior to the events of the film's prologue. At the NASA Johnston Space Center in Houston, a mysterious signal is received by the individuals working in mission control. The signal came in an unknown, non-human language. Those at NASA come to the conclusion of it being an alien message. The book then cuts to the White House, where the Deputy Administrator of NASA, George M. Low, reports to President Richard Nixon about the alien signal. Nixon, who is in the midst of the Watergate scandal at this time, orders Low to launch a capsule into space that contains human culture, music, and such other things. This is the prelude to the time capsule that is launched into space in the Pixels film.
The book then jumps 4 decades into the future, during the late summer of 2014, 6 months after the events of the film. Adam Sandler is now happily living with Lieutenant Colonel Violet van Patten. The two have moved in together into a decent-sized home in Washington, DC. It's revealed that Violet's son from the film, Matty Patten, was killed in a car accident that Violet and Adam survived. The accident happened about 2 months after the events of the film. Early in this scene, Adam proposes to Violet, and the two get engaged, reminding Adam about the time he was "married to some frumpy blonde." which is an off-handed reference to him getting married (and later divorced) to Julia Sullivan in past films. Everything seems near-perfect for the two.
Meanwhile, on the Nimitz-class USS James Porter, in the southern Atlantic Ocean, U.S. Navy Admiral Dan Simmons is informed by one of the officers on the ships that they've received a threatening message. Admiral Simmons asks if it's from "Russia, North Korea? What are we talkin' about here?" The officer informs him that it's not of this world, and it's in the same style as the alien messages from about 6 months back.