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The Birthday Present is a pair of short stories for teens, about girls who come from tiny groups that formed because of an argument with the larger culture over the interpretation of history. But what if both sides are wrong? Each girl owns an item, like a box or bracelet, that can explain the truth—and whether or not the truth sets you free, it can certainly clear things up. In “The Birthday Present,” Lucy Hintara lives in a hidden colony of humans in the distant future. She’s supposed to blend in with the others, but she is actually a time-traveler from the distant past with a built-in mission of her own. In “Millhaven Castle,” set in a fairy-tale kingdom, Alyce Lomlossa belongs to a humdrum little society dominated by an elderly dispute over the royal succession. The king cares as much about those old politics as they do and he wants Alyce to help him eliminate the problem.
Science Fiction and Fantasy; Short Stories and Anthologies. 117 pages. No content warnings.