“The Next Invasion” is a 2010 science fiction short story by Robert Reed. It is about a movie director who picks up an extraordinary, and little bit scary, hitchhiking teenage girl.
Do you ever pick up hitchhikers? I rarely do, and only then when it looks like they are in need of help. Part of the reason I don’t pick them up is because when I was young my mother used to warn me about what a crazy hitchhiker might do if given the chance. Well, now that I’ve read this story maybe I’ll give it to my mother because it confirms all her worst fears! Mwa-ha-ha-ha!
Non-spoiler Summary in a Nutshell
Pernell is one of those rich-guy-turned-film-maker people, and after a day’s work shooting a re-make of a famous SF movie he and his body guards pick up teen-aged girl in the middle of nowhere. Expecting to have a little bit of fun with her they are instead surprised when she reveals a deep, although strange, understanding of how life might evolve not only on Earth but in the entire galaxy. Well, that freaks them out a bit, but she eventually ends up giving them something they would never suspect.
My Two Cents…
- I loved how Robert Reed turned the tables in this story – instead of three scary adults badgering a teenage girl it is her who scares them! Fun stuff.
- When you really think about it, the girl’s explanation of how aliens might realistically invade Earth makes a lot of sense. A whole lot more sense than most science fiction movies I’ve seen or books I’ve read!
- While Robert Reed’s style in this story may not be to everyone’s liking, I really enjoyed how he didn’t give us all the details, but rather let us figure out some things on our own.
Interesting Tidbits About This Story:
- Page Count: 13
- Word Count: 6,252
- Did you know that Robert Reed won the first annual L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest in 1986? Yeah, he has done some other cool things too.
Where You Can Find The Next Invasion:
- This story was originally published in March 2010 on the Tor.com web site, where you can still read it for free.
Craving More Science Fiction Short Stories?
If you liked “The Next Invasion” then you may also enjoy The Film-makers of Mars, about a film journalist who views an amazingly realistic 1911 science fiction movie, by Geoff Ryman.