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So what do you call it when aliens are trying to change Earth to be more hospitable to them? Certainly not terraforming.

Today’s offering from the table of contents of the No Shit, There I Was anthology is If You’re Hearing This, I’m Already Dead by Sunil Patel. This story stands out for a lot of reasons; first off, it’s a first person, stream of consciousness monolog, a step apart from even the couple of more traditional No Shit stories that made it into the anthology.

I love what Sunil did with this story, because it’s got many trappings that could be read as outwardly silly–the invading aliens are named Graxians, you can kill them with peppermint oil–and leaves no question how deadly serious the stakes and circumstances are for the story’s hero. There’s a driving sense of urgency through this story that never lessens. You’re on the edge of your seat the whole time, listening to Tamika trying to figure out what’s happening, what she’s going to do, what she even can do about the desperate situation on Earth. It’s not an easy thing, to maintain this level of tension in a story like this, when you’re basically having a character sit in one place and unfold the past for the reader, but Sunil does it perfectly. You never know what Tamika’s going to say next.

And Tamika herself is a wonderful character–a black girl who has brilliant wit, wisdom, and a razor-sharp mind on her side, but she’s also just one girl against an alien invasion. And her determination will leave you wanting to cheer and break your heart at the same time.

Shut up, I’m not tearing up, you’re tearing up.

If you support No Shit, There I Was on Kickstarter, you’ll get to meet Tamika, the bravest girl on Earth. She’s well worth knowing.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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