I read short stories when I’m in the mood for something thought-provoking. These three that stuck with me are very different shorts, but are united by their unforgettable protagonists.
“In the Greenwood,” written by Mari Ness, is a chilling retelling of Robin Hood about what it means to live in a house divided.
Alma Alexander’s “To Remember Riobarre” is about the bonds of family and what it means to see the truth when you must live in a lie.
“First Flight,” by Mary Robinette Kowal, is a story about time travel and friendship and what it means to live to be very, very old.
The three women in these stories– the conflicted Maid Marian, the mourning unnamed mother, and the saucy and impatient Louise — live in three different stages of life, in three different worlds. And yet they all struggle to make choices, to do what is right when doing wrong would be easy, whether the stakes are the fate of kings or that of one twelve-year old boy.
For whether in Sherwood Forest, or alien landscapes, or in a time machine to the first airplane flight, such a choice is universal. And from these stories, we learn:
Tyranny shields us from chaos.
When making the choice for another, safety overrides freedom.
And the truth is a gift worth giving, even when it can harm.