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Item - You Are an Alien

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Series: Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998) — no. 156
Author: Packard, Edward
Illustrators: Huerta, Catherine (cover)
Richardson, Roy (interior)
Date: 1995
drereichdude's Thoughts:

Now, this one is interesting, if I may say so. This book, one of the many in the CYOA series under the "You Are A/An" title is a good sci-fi adventure, and I enjoyed it a great deal.

The story begins with you biking up to the Falls with your dog, and he chases a rabbit. Then he's in danger, as he is about to fall over the cliff, but for some reason you have the ability to stop time so that you can rescue him!

If you choose to keep this new power of yours a secret, you receive a message in your head one night. A voice informs you that you are actually an alien that was sent to Earth to take human form, but that you are really a "superior being" from the planet Taiga. Taigans communicate by "beaming their thought waves" back and forth to each other. The voice then tells you that your mission was to assume human form in order to learn about Earth. It says that you are to take a year to study Earth and its people. As for your family, remember, the Taigans has the ability to stop time on either a small or large scale, so to your family, it'll be like you never left!

After your mission, along a certain path, the voice calls you again and asks if you wish to remain an Earthling, or if you would like to travel to Taiga and assume the form of a Taigan. Here, I chose to go to the alien planet, others may not. And if you do, guess what Taigans look like? Oh well, I might as well tell you, I'm not spoiling anything. They perfectly resemble giant crabs! That's right, the dominant form of life on Taiga are crab-beings that can communicate telepathically and stop time, like you did earlier. And now that you have gone back to your roots, as it were, you can now do many great things as an alien, like continue to study Earth, or even go on a mission to a mythical planet that is said to bestow immortality to its inhabitants. Pretty cool stuff!

Now I know that there have already been stories in science fiction where the protagonist is abducted by aliens and brought to their world, but this is the only one I know of where you, the reader, are actually an alien to begin with, and it's simply a matter of accepting or rejecting this fact.

This is another one of Edward Packard's excellent works. I recommend it!

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Jordashebasics's Thoughts:

Unfortunately, the image used on the cover doesn’t happen in the book.

The book is good. Much better than some of Packard's stuff. There is a delicate balance being walked here. The story is ridiculous, but has just enough gravity woven in to make the choices feel like they matter.

There’s also some well-managed cultural characterization. You and the others of your species grew up under different conditions, and the annoyance they feel with you is palpable.

There is an amusing page where Packard acknowledges that a plot point doesn’t make sense. Recognizing it makes it okay to wave the problem away.

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