A Fantastic Holiday Season: The Gift of Stories
Edited by Kevin J. Anderson and Keith J. Olexa
Wordfire, Jul 28 2014, $16.99
Living up to its title, this is A Fantastic Holiday Season fantasy anthology. The fourteen superb stories are anchored by five entries from popular series. “Naughty & Nice” by Kevin J. Anderson stars Dan Shamble helping Santa Claus. “The Longest Night” by Mercedes Lackey occurs at a gifted school in the Secret World. Married Krewe of Hunter agents work a ghost case in “Santa’s Mortuary”. In Chicago, Harry the Book enjoys “Christmas Eve at Harvey Wallbanger’s”. Patricia Briggs has a werewolf in Missoula on an email blind date in “Unappreciated Gifts”.
Occurring in the future, two entries (“Yes, Virginia2097c, There Is a Santa Claus” by Sam Knight and “Astronaut Nick” by Brad R. Torgersen) focus on whether there is a Santa. Another pair occurs in the nineteenth century; as David Boop’s “The Atmosphere for Miracles” takes the audience to a cursed 1890 Arizona Territory town and in 1868 the lad is in trouble for fricasseeing chickens in Quincy J. Allen’s Jimmy Krinklepot and the White Rebels of Hayberry, Missouri”. Separated Leo wants to spend Christmas with his family but his magic fails him in “Close Knit” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman. It started with the pig in Ken Scholes’ “A World Done in by Great Granny’s Grateful Pie”. The lonely American takes the “Midnight Train” (by Kristine Kathryn Rusch) to the ghost station on Christmas Eve. The man and boy are hungry, cold and scared as they avoid the dead until they reach Santa’s house to find “A Christmas Feast” by Jonathan Maberry.