Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Probably Still the Chosen One, by Kelly Barnhill

Read this issue
(Portal Fantasy) Corinna was eleven when her magical journey to the Land of Nibiru ended with her returning to her kitchen at home. Now she’s waiting for her friends to return for her. Probably. (6,885 words; Time: 22m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Amusing, Clever, and Moving.

"Probably Still the Chosen One," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 81, published on .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: The surface plot is very simple: Corinna’s patience and devotion are finally rewarded. The “terrible cost” isn’t so bad; she and her kids get to live in a magical realm where she’s queen, and she gets rid of those troublesome priests too.

At a deeper level, it’s a story about being willing to sacrifice to hold onto your childhood dreams in the face of the challenges of adulthood. Corinna manages to be competent at almost everything she does—including child care. She could have been very successful in our world, so it’s clear that she has sacrificed a great deal for her dreams. Not just in material terms either. It's heartbreaking when she tells her father she doesn't want to come live with him and he weeps, thinking she doesn't love him.

When she does return, she does so despite the priests, not because of them. They're not at all pleased with this older version of her, nor with the notions she's acquired. But she takes control, and they defer.

It’s mildly amusing that Nibiru is the name of an imaginary solar planet that’s supposed to cause the end of the world.

Con: It's not clear why she wants to go back so much. The visiting priests think her modest house is a palace. It's easy to view the whole thing as a huge mistake on her part.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 81)
Kelly Barnhill Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Liked this one a lot! Nice that when she's finally pretty much decided to move on with the new job that the opportunity to go back on her own terms appears.

  2. Oh, and thanks for the info about Nibiru! :)

  3. This is a good story. I agree with the rating.

    It is also quite political when one thinks of the implications of a young ruler, who only sees the real situation when she has grown up and away from it.

    Very clever ending