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A Fantastic Holiday Season: The Gift of Stories

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Fantastic Holiday Season: The Gift of Stories (2014) edited by Kevin J. Anderson & Kieth J. Olexa

I picked this collection up solely for the Patricia Briggs story, but once I saw some of the other authors, read through the stories that interested me (but skipped the ones that didn’t grab me after a page or two).

“Naughty & Nice” by Kevin J. Anderson
“Close Knit” by Nina Kirki Hoffman
“Astronaut Nick” by Brad R. Torgersen
“The Longest Night” by Mercedes Lackey
“Jimmy Krinklepot and the White Rebels of Hayberry” by Quincy J. Allen
“Midnight Trains” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“A Christmas Feast” by Jonathan Maberry
“A World Done In by Great Granny’s Grateful Pie” by Ken Scholes
“Santa’s Mortuary” by Heather Graham
“Yes, Virginia2097c, There is a Santa Claus” by Sam Knight
“Christmas Eve at Harvey Wallbanger’s” by Mike Resnick
“The Atmosphere for Miracles” by David Boop
“A Sufficiently Advanced Christmas” by Eric James Stone
“Unappreciated Gifts” by Patricia Briggs

“Naughty & Nice” by Kevin J. Anderson has a zombie for the main character, but I didn’t immediately skip, since it was also a private detective story. I ended up enjoying it.

I have a close cooperative relationship with government agencies, considering all that airspace I fly over— and my work has to be done in a single night, so I have no time to mess with clearances. I even let NORAD track me every year.

Was it a ridiculous story? Yes. But it was fun.

“Close Knit” by Nina Kirki Hoffman is a story about family and magic and relationships and learning to do what is right and correct.

In his parents’ house, he was in his mother’s power, which made it hard to move out.

He had been hoping the split with Melissa was temporary, hoping he’d move home to her and the kids in a week. It had stretched into months.

I really so enjoy her stories.

“Astronaut Nick” by Brad R. Torgersen is a science fiction story. Skipped.

“The Longest Night” by Mercedes Lackey was a story I read more than a couple pages of, but just couldn’t get into, so I eventually skipped on.

“Jimmy Krinklepot and the White Rebels of Hayberry” by Quincy J. Allen was a bit steampunk and definitely alternate history, with the Civil War still going on. It’s deserving of note just for this.

“It’s perfect,” Jimmy said to his sidekick. “Set the power level to one and flip those three switches on the side,” he added, excitement filling his voice like wind-blossomed sails.

William gulped once, his eyes shifting from the pack on Jimmy’s back to the house. He carefully turned the knob from zero to one, noting that it went to eleven, which struck him as a bit odd.

“Midnight Trains” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch was an interesting story that was a bit about trains, a bit about fairies, but mostly about Christmas.

“A Christmas Feast” by Jonathan Maberry I ended up finishing, but I did NOT like it at all. Zombies for one, and terribly sad for another.

“A World Done In by Great Granny’s Grateful Pie” by Ken Scholes was an odd story, that I never quite got a handle on. Again with the zombies (I hate zombies) but the main character was a female veteran and I enjoyed the machinations of her mother–and how they failed.

“Santa’s Mortuary” by Heather Graham I just skipped. Too many zombies.

“Yes, Virginia2097c, There is a Santa Claus” by Sam Knight was SF and skipped.

“Christmas Eve at Harvey Wallbanger’s” by Mike Resnick I read because I generally like the Harvey the Book stories, although

this one was… weak.

“The Atmosphere for Miracles” by David Boop was a very fun story. A Wes

tern that turned all kinds of stereotypes sideways.

She was of a sophisticated age, too old to take for granted, but still young enough to be gawked at.

Evil comes to a town that has nothing but bad luck.

“What’s going on?”
Owner kept wiping the glass he’d taken from the wash sink. “Don’t know. It’s probably just Wednesday. I’d say bad stuff happens in the middle of the week more than any other time.”

More cries of alarm and Patrick got to his feet.

“A Sufficiently Advanced Christmas” by Eric James Stone was skipped.

“Unappreciated Gifts” by Patricia Briggs is the story I bought the anthology for, and I’ve actually read it multiple times. Partially because Asil is one of my favorite characters, and partially because it’s fun.

When packing, he had briefly considered an outfit he’d saved from the rococo era. The silver-blue looked particularly good on him and the fabric looked as though it had been manufactured yesterday instead of nearly three hundred years ago. But, in keeping with the style of the era, it made him appear a little pot-bellied. It hadn’t bothered him at the time, but his tastes had changed. He also had no inclination to wear a powdered wig.

Who a man’s friends are, says a lot about him. She knew who and what I was— and still tried to save you from me. She is brave and loyal. No one needs to apologize for such a friend.”

I really love appearances by Asil.

This is a decent collection with something for everything, even if all the stories don’t appeal to everyone.
Rating: 8/10

Published by WordFire Press

Categories: 8/10, Anthology, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Supernatural, Urban     Comments (0)    



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