I’ve just read Matthew Cheney’s YA story The Boyfriend from Another Planet, which is available over at his always interesting and thought-provoking blog The Mumpsimus. The story is great fun, and I’ll leave it up to you to decide if Lu is really an alien from the ten-thousand-lightyears-distant planet Lirg (note the anagram) or from one a bit closer to home.
The story reminded me of my own rather alienated adolescence, so far back in the murky past that the word ‘alienation’ had yet to become a byword for teendom. No, I didn’t believe I was an alien. I read science fiction voraciously, however, and spent one hot muzzy summer – I think it was my twelfth or thirteenth – wandering after dark in our overgrown garden, counting fireflies and watching the skies. You see, I was convinced – utterly convinced – that aliens were coming for me. Sometimes my daydreams played out in searing (if rather vague in the details) romance; sometimes I’d be saving the earth, the solar system, and the universe at large. Not very original yearnings, I fear, but how many of our secret desires really are?
I didn’t get to have that wonderful spacer boyfriend – I think my German husband is quite alien enough – and I certainly didn’t get to save the world. But I still have the crystal story cube those Lirgians gave me the midsummer night they landed. Where else do you think my fiction comes from?