Looking for something a little different to read this holiday season? We offer you tales of Christmas in the future, in space, and on other planets. Bonus: most of these recommendations are short story collections, perfect for break-sized reading!
A Cosmic Christmas to You (stories)
This creative and sprightly Christmas science fiction anthology spins in some surprising directions. Joe Haldeman's "Angel of Light," is about a father trying to sell a scandalous ancient book to buy Christmas presents, Connie Willis's "Christmas Card" features aliens competing to think up the best not-gifts, and Tee Morris's steampunk "In the Spirit of Christmas" introduces us to a Scrooge who summons Eliza and Wellington from the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences to rid him of some ghosts. 9 additional tales celebrate Christmas in off-beat ways.
To Follow A Star (stories)
Christmas on Ganymede
by Isaac Asimov is a humorous tale in which the Ossies, Ganymede's native race, refuse to work until the get a visit from Santa. The Star
by Arthur C. Clarke considers the origin of the star that led the wise men to Bethlehem. Other stories include: Santa Claus Planet
by Frank M. Robinson, The Christmas Present
by Gordon R. Dickson, Christmas Treason
by James White,The New Father Christmas
by Brian W. Aldiss, and La Befana
by Gene Wolfe.
Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (stories)
The holidays can bring out the beast in anyone. They are particularly hard for lycanthropes. Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner have harvested the scariest, funniest, and saddest werewolf tales by an outstanding pack of authors, best read by the light of a full moon with a silver bullet close at hand. Whether wolfing down a holiday feast (use your imagination) or craving some hair of the dog on New Year's morning, the werewolves in these frighteningly original stories will surprise, delight, amuse, and scare the pants off readers who love a little wolfsbane with their mistletoe.
Christmas Forever (stories)
A legendary birth is given a new twist in Roger Zelazny's "Prince of the Powers of This World"; a grieving friend finds the true magic of Christmas in Charles de Lint's "Pal O' Mine"; Sarah Smith's "Christmas at the Edge" evokes the best of the Christmas spirit in a near-future Boston that's sinking below sea level; and three unusual creatures discover a common bond in Alan Dean Foster's "We Three Kings." These, and 24 other original stories by a stellar group of authors, provide unique and sometimes disturbing interpretations of the holiday season. *You might also like Christmas Magic
and Christmas Stars
Hiddensee by Gregory Maquire
Hiddensee imagines the backstory of the Nutcracker, revealing how this entrancing creature came to be carved and how he guided an ailing girl named Klara through a dreamy paradise on a Christmas Eve. At the heart of Hoffmann's mysterious tale hovers Godfather Drosselmeier -- the ominous, canny, one-eyed toy maker made immortal by Petipa and Tchaikovsky's fairy tale ballet -- who presents the once and future Nutcracker to Klara, his goddaughter.
Hogfather by Terry Pratchett.
It's that time of year again. Hogswatchnight. 'Tis the season when the Hogfather himself dons his red suit and climbs in his sleigh pulled by -- of course! -- eight hogs and brings gifts to all the boys and girls of Discworld.
But this year, there's a problem. A stranger has taken the place of the Hogfather. Well, not exactly a stranger. He's actually pretty well known. He carries a scythe along with his bag of toys, and he's going to SLEIGH everyone he sees tonight. Ho ho ho.
A Lot Like Christmas by Connie Willis.
The winner of multiple Hugo
Awards, Connie Willis offers an expanded, updated edition of her previously published Miracle and Other Christmas Stories.
"All Seated on the Ground" imagines a first contact with aliens in which carols are the keys to communication. The Holy Family appear via time travel or dimensional warping to be initially unwelcome again in "Inn," and modern-day magi travel from the East in "Epiphany." 8 other speculative stories round out this wry collection.
A Yuletide Universe (stories)
Editor Thomsen pulls together Christmas tales by mostly sf and fantasy authors, although stories by mystery authors Donald E. Westlake and James Powell, Oz-inventor L. Frank Baum, and western writer Bret Harte appear, too.
"A Proper Santa Claus" by Anne McCaffrey, young Jeffrey has the ability to paint things and make them real -- he decides to create the perfect Santa. Neil Gaiman offers a very short story "Nicholas Was" -- rumor has it he wrote it for a Christmas card for his friends. 14 other tales round out this unique collection.
What types of books do you love to read this time of year?