Adventures in the Speculative

–Contributed by Leana Choate

I like off-kilter fiction. I wrote a short story about an alien named Gene Simmons. Someone read it, and told me to check out a book that reminded them of it. So I did. The book was The True Meaning of Smekday (2007), a sci-fi children’s book by Adam Rex.

In Smekday, an alien race (called Boov) invade Earth (which they then rename Smekland) on Christmas (which they then renamed Smekday). Upon landing in the US, they relocate humans to Florida to live on reservations. But then the Boov discover that they LOVE oranges, so they relocate everyone out to Arizona to live on reservations (it’s all a pretty big allegory for European colonization of the Americas). The main character Tip, an eleven year old girl, befriends a Boov named JLO. Tip and JLO, along with Tip’s cat Pig, travel to Arizona in a car (that JLO rigged to fly), and JLO accidentally sends out a signal into space, giving their location away to the Gorg—the Boov’s enemies—who then arrive on Earth, starting a war with the Boov and the human species.

The True Meaning of Smekday is filled with interesting characters. My favorite is an old Native American named Chief Shouting Bear whom everyone assumes is crazy because he’s constantly shouting at people, but who is actually very smart. The end of the book is interesting, almost purr-fect (you won’t get that lame joke unless you read the book). Included in the book are fun little comics that go along with the story. Here’s one, explaining the coming of Boov evolution:

I’ve enjoyed reading for Tributaries because the staff seems to be just as attracted to strange stories. While there are no Boovs or Gorgs in Tributaries 2017, readers should look forward to encountering an unreliable narrator who believes he can slip between different dimensions, a mother who wakes up one day and decides to burn down her kitchen, and a prostitute obsessed with a fast-food joint called Chickentown—Oh, and Henry Miller to boot.

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