“The Princess and the Accountant” by Robert E. Rogoff
In this short story, Rogoff takes a common fairy tale element, the quest to marry the princess, and reimagines it with a science fiction twist. Ralph is an accountant with the Royal Distribution Agency and has been for three centuries, when he tells his manager he’s quitting. He feels it’s his destiny to marry the princess, even though he has a middle-class genome, and the time has finally come for him to go to the palace. Many people try to stop him along the path, including the police, a war fighter a journalist, even a female tenant farmer who asks him to join her for a drink. He tells each his story and is allowed to pass.
“If this is your destiny, then it cannot be denied.”
It turns out it’s true, destiny cannot be denied. However, remember this isn’t a traditional fairy tale. It isn’t everyone’s destiny to marry the princess.
The sci-fi aspects here are pretty light, there are robots and new-fangled data sheets, but no technical details to bog down the story. I’m really enjoying these tales in Once Upon a Galaxy edited by Wil McCarthy, Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers. I’m glad I picked up the book when I saw it at the library.
John hosts Short Story Monday at The Book Mine Set. Head over there to see what he and others have been reading.
I borrowed my copy from the library and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.