“Three Ways to Ruin Your Best Friend’s Birthday (and How She Fixes It)” by Andrea Corbin
Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf
Two lighthearted tales surround a more serious one in this trio of very short stories.
Leading off the issue is “Three Ways to Ruin Your Best Friend’s Birthday (and How She Fixes It)” by Andrea Corbin. Alien technology allows the narrator to treat her friend to time travel, a visit to see flying polar bears, and a journey across the stars. In each case something goes wrong, but the friend makes the best of it. This is a simple fable about making lemonade from lemons. The likable characters make it worth reading.
Much more somber in tone, though not without a touch of whimsy, is “That Dark, Sweet Magic” by Travis Burnham. The narrator is a man whose wife has just died. He is carrying her ashes in a wooden box. Along for the ride are a sentient apple tree and a creature made out of shoes. Both of these beings came into existence at her death, and seem to symbolize the things she loved in life. This story feels like a particularly fantastic example of magic realism. It appears to be an allegory for the way in which we remember those we have lost.
The final story is pure comedy. “Plain Jane Learns to Knit Wormholes” by Wendy Nikel deals with a woman new to the art of knitting who accidentally creates a doorway through time. The other women in her knitting group discuss what great event in history they should visit. It all ends with a slapstick disaster that harms nobody. This is a playful story which is likely to raise a smile.
Victoria Silverwolf doesn’t know how to knit.