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Fairies, Robots and Unicorns?--Oh My!

A Collection of Funny Short Stories Sarina Dorie
Print Length: 158 pages
Publication Date: April 29, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC ASIN: B01F06DFDW
Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton

While I’ve read more than my fair share of sci-fi, I haven’t read all that many short stories in the genre and even fewer intentionally humorous SF yarns. Some have stuck in my mind, such as one tale in which a female author had a group of “Wendys” rebelling from the adolescent chauvinism of Peter Pan and his Lost Boys expecting the Wendies to forever take care of all their domestic needs.

Excluding one anthology of Harry Harrison stories, Fairies, Robots and Unicorns was the first collection of light-hearted offerings I ever sat down to read. I’m glad I did. I don’t plan on it being the last collection of such fare I spend time with. In particular, Sarina Dorie is often wickedly clever, laugh out loud funny, and extremely original, one of my favorite characteristics from an author in any genre.

For example, “Five Tips for Slaying a Unicorn” is a bit of humorous advice told in a list, a literary device the author wanted to experiment with. “Speed Dating Books” is about a trip to a bookstore where books try their seductive best to get buyers to take them home. “Debbie Does Delta Draconis III” plays with thinly-disguised characters from Star Trek, or at least alien surrogates for them, who invade a lawyer’s dreams.

Some stories aren’t so much comical as offbeat or simply quirky.” Eels for Heels” is a weird modern fairy tale where a woman is cursed by a sea witch who gives her eels magically attached to her heels until she finds her true love. Not every tale tries to be comic. In one of my favorites, “The Quantum Mechanic,” a more straight-forward sci-fi story features some hiccups in the space-time continuum with happy results, at least for one soon to be involved romantic couple. Likewise, “Cinderella’s Holo-Wand” is a cautionary tale about wanting to use technology to transform from an undesirable body into hopeful physical perfection.

In such a collection, few readers are likely to like everything. I wasn’t too fond of “Red as a Pickle” which has aliens draining away all the colors on earth until they are outwitted by a housecat. “The Office Messiah” is a rather underdeveloped play on the philosophy of Jesus as juxtaposed against workplace realities. “Blackboard Galaxy” is a simply odd tale of a human teacher trying to deal with alien children who expect to be eaten when they are bad. Eaten but restored to health unlike digested human food.

Some yarns are obvious parodies as with “The Optimist Police” where negative thoughts are criminalized. I’m certain every reader who’s ever tried to work with tech support from any company you can think of will emphasize with a starship captain under attack from aliens unable to get help until he extends his warranty in “Interstellar Tech Support.” Speaking of parodies, “Lady Chatterly’s Computer” is a very clever take-off of the D.H. Lawrence novel.

Some titles, like “Confessions of the Orgasm Fairy” and “Robo-rotica,” might suggest the collection isn’t intended for YA readers. But the content really isn’t anything too heavy for most teenagers. “Robo-rotica” is the most explicit of the fantasies, describing hot sex between two machines. If that titillates you, then be concerned. Be very concerned.

Among the many characteristics we learn about Sarina Dorie is that she has a background of classroom teaching, that she has an Italian mother, she likes food, and, of course, enjoys sex. At least invoking it in her writing. This collection is but a thin slice of her 100 or so short stories which you can learn more about at—

Fairies, Robots and Unicorns is entertaining, light reading with its occasional social commentary delivered with more than a spoonful of sugar, sometimes just silly, often simply twisted, sometimes wickedly funny. It’s the sort of collection you can read in short sessions as some of the tales are extremely short indeed.

This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on April 7, 2018