A book review by Tam Linsey
Christmas Forever is an anthology of short stories ranging in tone from fantasy to hard science fiction. Some of the stories were too confusing for me to follow, while others took my breath away. One of my particular favorites was "My Favorite Christmas" by Dave Wolverton, a story about a boy coming into his manhood who gets a Christmas visit from his future self (to re-live his favorite Christmas,) only to change the course of that future life.
I tend to like my stories, short or long, to include a character arc, which means the character needs to be central to the plot. I liked Catherine Asaro's "Dance in Blue" for this reason, even though the story didn't have much to do with Christmas except be set during the holidays. In this story, a dedicated ballerina solves a mystery, and in the process discovers there are more important things to life than her exterior form.
My least favorite stories were the ones without characters, such as "Sandy Claws", about a "cat" who is the last entity fighting entropy (in a fantastical way) and finally gives in to it knowing a new Big Bang will recreate the universe. This wasn't a bad story, just not to my tastes, and I believe this author accomplished his goal.
Overall, I enjoyed the way each of the authors attempted to bring Christmas to the page in a new way. Some of them set Christmas as a background on a futuristic planet, while others took old holiday mythology / religion / fairy tales and reworked them into a new fantasy mold. Ebenezer Scrooge figures appeared several times, as well as the Three Kings, the Nativity Child (albeit in one story as the son of a demon) and Santa Claus. In spite of a lack of central protagonist, I very much enjoyed "How the
Cohml Leeched Out Christmas" by Alexis Gilliland, which told a fascinating story about
aliens who came to earth in Medieval times and settled a bet which
changed the nature of Christmas by leaving either coal or toys at the humans' chimney hearths.
The stories in Christmas Forever are hit and miss as far as tone, but for anyone who likes science fiction, this is a fun and unique read. Modern holidays don't often receive any focus in futuristic worlds, and I thought it was interesting to see how some authors think Christmas might be in the far future or on distant worlds.
And if you are like me, it may introduce you to a few new authors to request for your stocking.
© Tam Linsey, 2011. All rights reserved.