February 22, 2020

Review: We Wish You a Cosmic Christmas

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What do Christmas and science fiction have in common? Not much, or it may seem at least not as much as say, much more science fiction-oriented holidays, such as Halloween.

Ah, but that’s where this week’s review is out to prove you wrong. This week, we’re taking a look at A Cosmic Christmas, edited by Hank Davis and out from Baen Books. OK, we received this one way back last year before Christmas , and its only making its way to the top of the review pile for THIS Christmas! And yes, we already have a copy of A Cosmic Christmas II awaiting review, which we promise we won’t take another year to get to…

A Cosmic Christmas takes tales of ye’ ole mistletoe and frames them into fantastic science fiction scenario situations.  I thought the stories also drew from an interesting length and breadth of 20th century science fiction. Will we still be “decking the halls” when we live on an outpost orbiting Rigel V centuries hence?

A Cosmic Christmas contains a little of everything, from novelettes to short sci-fi fiction and even a long-form poem or two… from horror-laced sci-fi to a steam-punk Christmas, it’s all here.

Here are a few of our faves:

The Season of Forgiveness by Poul Anderson: from a Hugo award winning science fiction master comes the tale of a young trader named Juan Hernandez, bringing back an ancient Earth tradition (you guessed it: it involves trees and mistletoe) to a forlorn outpost in the Pleiades star cluster.  Based in Anderson’s Technic Civilization universe, Hernandez must also contend with the image portrayed by his employers the Plosotechnic League of Traders in the minds of skeptical colonists. Its classic Anderson and his best!

The Vampires Who Saved Christmas by S. N. Dyer: I know, I know, vampires in fantastic fiction are a bit predictable these days. But Yule-tide vampires? Just what do the Legions of the Undead do on Christmas, anyways? In this short tale by S.N. Dyer, we take a peek at the trials and triumphs of horror’s favorite archetype on Christmas Eve and what it means to be un-human. Just don’t linger under the mistletoe, I’m just sayin’. A Cosmic Christmas also contains a second bonus tale by S.N. Dyer, entitled Visions of Sugar Plums.

Roads by Seabury Quinn: a fantasy classic which first appeared way back in the day in the January 1938 edition of the pulp science fiction magazine Weird Tales, Roads is part time-travelling tale, part juxtaposition of mythology. You almost couldn’t kick off a science fiction Christmas short story anthology without the inclusion of Roads. What I really like, and what I think resonates with the story is the way the author cleverly combines the two basic memes of Christmas; Y’know, the whole “Real JC” and Kris Cringle thing.

So pour a glass of your favorite ‘nog, and kick back by a roaring fire and enjoy the best in speculative Xmas science fiction and have A Cosmic Christmas!


  1. [...] Cosmic Christmas 2 You: The sequel to… you guessed it, A Cosmic Christmas 1 out last year and reviewed here on ye ole Astroguyz just recently, A Cosmic Christmas 2 is edited [...]

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