Category Archives: Christmas

The Zombie Night Before Christmas

Sure, we all hate monster mash-ups of the classics at this point. We’ve gotten jaded since the idea of the monster/classic mash-up first arrived on the scene with Pride and Prejudice and Zombieswith its great cover, hilarious study guide, and boring and dumb everything else. Our opinion faltered when we were confronted by a long string of cash-ins, from sea monsters to robots, hastily and messily stitched into anything and everything in the worst, most mercenary way. Fuck you marketing assholes for teasing us so. These books have always and ever been impulse gift books, the kind of thing squealed about after unwrapping – thank you for knowing I give a shit about classics and/or monsters – and then read on the toilet and dumped at the used bookstore. 

However, The Zombie Night Before Christmas is a cut above your usual monster/classic mash-up. For one, being a pretty short little poem, it doesn’t wear out its welcome. I cannot imagine wading through Anna Kareninaa second time just for android bits, and the concept of changing the roach into cats in The Metamorphosissends me into a rage. But whatever many lines of couplets which might have been plagiarized anyway? Sure. The art is good – really very cromulent – and my only complaint here is that there could be more of it. There are several pages where the slightly tweaked lines stand sadly alone, and a page or two more of the funny, bloody art would be cool. 

But the neatest part? So many of these mash-ups are just a half-assed pun – Android Karenina, Jane Slayre- more concerned with an attractive title and cover than creating anything but the most sopping of bullshit within the covers. But, according to the flap, “H. Parker Kelley was a curious child who wanted to know how Santa was able to bring gifts to children for hundreds of years without aging or dying.” Right before Netflix went down for the entirety of Christmas – I see how all you assholes have the day off, and are on the Netflix hard – my husband and I searched for Xmas movies. Being Netflix, much of what was available on streaming was Finnish horror films about Krampus, who, if you did not grow up Scandinavian, is like evil Santa, the stick to Saint Nicolas’ carrot.

An immortal semi-deity who can see when you’ve been naughty and nice is a scary ass thing, when you get right down to it, a sort of God-lite moral agent. While Coca-Cola, Disney, and the entire American mercantile machine has defanged the Victorian Santa who had no qualms about shoving naughty children into sacks and leaving switches in stockings, his scary, home-invasion sensibility still remains under the treacle and sugar plums. Which is why this book kinda rules. It rules more because it was a gift from someone who knows my proclivites, which maybe isn’t hard given all the shatting about zombies I do on the Internets, but the wrapped gift of one’s obsessions is a joy in any season. But even more so on Christmas Eve, the paper stripped to reveal the perfect book at the perfect moment. 

Thank you, Stephanie. You rule.

Christmas Stars: What to Get Your Younger Brother

When they finally prove the existence of the chronoton – that’s the time particle for you folks who haven’t been wallowing in science fiction lo these many years – no doubt the Christmas season will be involved. Some mad scientist will put together one of those rad boxes with der blinken lights and point it at some American trying harriedly to pack up a bunch of boxes and sign cards and survive the company Christmas party without vomiting up gross milk-based hard alcohol concoctions & anger about the recent massive layoffs on management, and the scientist will actually see the chronotons pouring off this frazzled American. Christmas sucks up all your time. All of it. It’s a black hole; a gravity well; an event horizon of weight gain and family squabbles. 


Given my tendency to misuse science concepts in the service of my Christmas melt-down, it probably shouldn’t be surprising that some enterprising editor put together a truly awesome Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of fictional delights: You got my Christmas in your science fiction! Yum. There are two things that I’m astonished by when think of Christmas Stars: Fantastic Tales of Yuletide Wonder. First, that there are enough science fiction stories about Christmas to warrant a pretty hefty anthology. Second, that some of my favorite SFF Christmas stories – which includes “Santa was” by Neil Gaiman collected in Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders and something by Charles de Lint that was about a talking dog – aren’t even included in this anthology. And third, that I can even think of other stories that could be included, but weren’t. I guess that’s three and not two. I’ll come in again. 

So, science fiction nerds, get your ass in gear and get down to whatever random thrift store has this lurking on its shelves. I’m not one for evil gift guides, but if you haven’t been able to think of anything for your younger brother, and you don’t want to get involved in the specifics of his Warhammer obsessions – honestly, whatever you get him will be wrong – this is the book for you. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he’s got on a little space suit, and so do the reindeer, and the sleigh is a spaceship. Oh, yes.