Posted by : Starships and Dragons Monday, June 30, 2014
"Day before yesterday I saw a rabbit, yesterday a deer, and today, you."
Robert F. Young, a lesser known science fiction writer in the 20th century, died on June 22. As he's the author of one of my favorite short stories, I wanted to write something about him (I'm a week late, but I've always been a procrastinator).
Dandelion Girl is one of Young's, if not the most, famous story of his. It has influenced the anime RahXephon and is referenced several times in the visual novel Clannad.
The novel is about a married, middle-aged man named Mark Randolph. He goes on vacation, which he only has twice a year, to a nearby rural area alone (his wife, Anne, has jury duty, and their son is at college), and meets a young woman with dandelion-colored hair wearing a white dress named Julie Danvers on the hilltop there. She informs him that she is from the year 2201, using the time machine her father made. Mark does not believe her, but goes along, partially because of her smile. They talk for a few more hours before leaving. The next few days, he goes up to the hill and meets Julie, who wears a different colored dress, and they talk for hours about their mutual interests.
Well, that's as far as I can get without spoiling it. It's honestly something you have to read to experience. Although I've read stories very similar to this, The Dandelion Girl has touched me in a poignant way, similar to, say, the French novella The Little Prince (which I'll talk about another time). The language is slightly dated, considering it is from the 1960s, but the message still gets across.
If you have read The Dandelion Girl, then I'd recommend you to read some of his other short stories. Star Mother has a very similar vibe, and is about a woman whose son becomes a 'star', or an outer-space vigil for the American government. L'Arc De Jeanne is about Joan of Arc in an extraterrestrial scenario. His novel The Last Yggdrasil is about several people wanting to cut down the last world tree (referencing Yggdrasil, the tree in Norse mythology where all the worlds are located and the home to many beings).
If reading isn't your thing, but you like video games, the RPG To The Moon has the same type of atmosphere and is more tragic. It's short and doesn't exactly have great dialogue, gameplay, or world design, but it will make you cry. Like The Dandelion Girl, you have to play it to understand why it's good.
May I see you again, Angela