Monday, December 21, 2020

A Very Scalzi Christmas by John Scalzi


Reviewed by Kristin

John Scalzi has a warped sense of humor. And I like it.

I’ve always liked science fiction, but I used to believe that it had to be serious and at least pseudo-scientific. Isaac Asimov is obviously one of the first science fiction authors who comes to mind, along with Ray Bradbury, H.G. Wells, and the other greats of decades past. A few years ago I began to branch out to a newer generation of science fiction: Robert J. Sawyer, Connie Willis, Becky Chambers, James S.A. Corey and more began to populate my reading lists. I first began reading Scalzi a couple of years ago when I saw the book Redshirts, (reviewed here) a comical take on how people on a certain starship would meet bad ends only if they were assigned red uniform shirts. Star Trek, anyone?

Scalzi is a rather prolific author, so I haven’t made it all the way through his published work yet. Fortunately, I was able to find this small volume of short stories full of Christmas cheer, some of which have a sci-fi bent, and some of which do not. Interview with Marta Pittman, anyone? Who is she? Oh right, she’s Santa’s lawyer. There was a bit of ongoing litigation over Rudolph, but Ms. Pittman can’t comment, naturally.

I especially liked the chapter entitled “Christmas in July” as people around the world woke up on a bright July day to discover trees, presents, and Christmas hams baking in the oven. Also worth mentioning is “A personal top 10 of things that are not titles to Christmas songs and/or Lifetime holiday movies and HONESTLY I DON”T UNDERSTAND WHY.” After all, why don’t we have a movie or a song called “Jingle! Jangle! Gerbils!”? Honestly I don’t understand why.

“Sarah’s Sister” is more of a rarity in Scalzi writing, an achingly painful short story of love, loss, and family. This chapter doesn’t really go along with the rest, but that’s okay, I’ll take the bittersweet along with the mildly eyebrow raising humor and the laugh out loud funnies Scalzi has included in this holiday volume.

If you’re feeling ho-hum about the 2020 holiday season and would like some ho-ho-ho’s to perk you up, check out A Very Scalzi Christmas today.

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