Beings from Alpha Centauri have made contact with Earth. Also Derek keeps getting to touch Jennifer Novak’s boobs.
Ever since the Centaurians from Pud 5 sent their message to Earth, narrator Derek’s classmates in Maumee, Ohio, have been focused on nihilistic partying. (It’s not clear if Derek’s high school years have ever been much more than nihilistic partying or, at least, more than playing “Mario Kart” while getting wasted on weed, beer, and occasional shrooms or acid). Derek (white by default) is not sure why Jenny, a stunning white redhead, wants his inexperienced ass, but she apparently does; she crushes him in beer pong, takes him home from a party, and relieves him of his virginity. Instantly infatuated, Derek decides she’s his girlfriend and thinks of her as if she’s a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Though he’s angry when his friends slut-shame Jenny, once Derek realizes he’s not her only sexual partner, he’s alternatingly needy and cruel. Meanwhile, he’s befriended a little gray alien from Pud 5. While the United States ramps up for war with a fictional Middle Eastern country, Derek begs his alien friend to create world peace so Jenny won’t leave him. The alien plot’s original and witty, but this feels primarily like a vehicle for faux-philosophizing in which Derek never, even post-epiphany, sees girls as actual people.
Alternately entertaining and repellent. (Science fiction. 15-18)