Mary Robinette Kowal’s short story "First Flight" is a story about an elderly woman who time travels to witness the Wright Brothers’ first flight. What made this short story stand out to me was not only the particular voice that Louise Jackson has with the characters around her, but also the keen observations she has regarding the future and her role within it. Louise isn’t your typical little sweet old lady, but rather savvy and apt to say what’s on her mind (and she does quite often in the course of the story, many parts which made me laugh aloud). The expansion on how time travel is achieved, within its respective limitations to when the individual is born, is believable and well-written in the context of the story, even if it’s something I haven’t seen in other time-travel stories to date.
I think the only thing that keeps me from rating this at five stars is that the setting could’ve used slightly more expansion and integration within the story. You do get spot details of the setting (most of which are well-drawn), but it doesn’t quite have the immersible quality that I’ve read even in other short stories. Still, this was a quick read that I loved on many levels and would highly recommend to others for a light-hearted, sweet piece of time-travel and historical tones.
Overall score: 4/5