This is a collection of sci-fi and fantasy stories that have the Christmas season as a common element. Some were written explicitly for this anthology, and some date back to the golden age (1930s, 40s, and 50s) of science fiction. I haven't, as of this date (December 17, 2012) finished all of the stories, but here are some brief comments.
- Dance in Blue by Catherine Asaro—This is a story of a ballet dancer and a rich man's son trapped in a futuristic house over the holidays. The house appears to have a mind of its own, and will kill them, unless they can figure out its mysteries.
- Lobo, Actually by Mark L. Van Name—An AI is overcome with emotion, and helps out a family at Christmas time. A different object is involved but it remind some of the song Red Shoes.
- On the Hills and Everywhere by Manly Wade Wellman—I think its in Hebrews that Paul, or whoever wrote it, mentions meeting angels unawares. Well it's not an angel this time. The story is set in the backwoods, and involves a tiff between neighbors.
- Angels in Flight by Sarah Hoyt—A souped up clone finds love and acceptance.
- Mad Holiday by George O. Smith—A space station forms an equilateral triangle with Venus and the sun as the other vertices in the triangle. The station is the object of a hostile takeover by a rival corporate head. Readers of Jack London's story To Build a Fire may remember that it took place in an environment that was 50 or seventy degrees below freezing. Well, it's a mite colder than that in space, and on the station there's a room that's heading for absolute zero, about 450 degrees below zero on the Fahrenheit scale. (The only real one. Centigrade or Celsius has been jacked onto the French abomination known as the metric system.) This story has a better ending than London's.
- The Grimmoir Chronicles: Detroit Christmas by Larry Correia—This is a hardboiled story that involves people who are able to work magic, and involves the the Purple Gang, a notorious group of gangsters that ran Detroit in the 1930s.
- The Vampires Who Saved Christmas by S. N. Dyer—This and the next one are the two funniest stories in the anthology. This one is about vampires who do a good deed.
- And Visions of Sugar Plums by S. N. Dyer—“Ah, The children of the night.” You'll have a howling good time with this one.
- Dumb Feast by Mercedes Lackey—A man regrets the passing of his wife, and brings her back
- Roads by Seabury Quinn —The story is in three parts, and covers events from shortly after the birth of Christ until the modern era. The third part is marred by what could be a bit of Protestant tinged Catholic bashing, but despite that manages to be fairly moving.
- Newsletter by Connie Willis—This one is by Connie Willis who wrote Doomsday Book, which is, in my estimation her best book, and an almost perfect novel. Her other novels have not been as good, and some of her stories have fallen flat. This one deals with an alien invasion that takes place shortly before the Christmas holidays. The story is modeled on Invasion of the Body Snatchers with possibly a bit of Heinlein's The Puppet Masters thrown in. Humans are apparently taken over by aliens, and start being polite and reading strange books:
"Not only that, the guy next to me was reading The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Bulter. When's the last time you saw anybody on an airplane reading anything but John Grisham or Danielle Steele? I tell you there's something funny going on.”" Other strange literature that people are seen reading is Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. Another person buys Hamlet for their daughter. Well naturally you just can't have people reading Samuel Butler or Shakespeare on a plane, that's almost as bad as reading Beowulf. Needless to say there is a more modest resolution than in Heinlein's novel, at least the people don't have to go around naked as they do in Heinlein's story. It's an entertaining read, and well pass an hour or so in comfort.