* The holiday episode of StarShipSofa: The Audio Science Fiction Magazine is now live, and it includes my dramatic reading of Jeff Carlson's "A Lovely Little Christmas Fire," as well as an introduction by the author himself. The story (which runs roughly an hour long) was a pleasure to read, and if you listen, I hope you enjoy it! You can download it or listen to the episode here.
* I've just finished reading a fascinating novel called Peace Under Earth: Dialogues from the Year 1946 by Beatrice Warde. First published in 1936 (as The Shelter in Bedlam), this dystopia looks with remarkable foresight a decade into the future and imagines a world in which the inhabitants live underground in bunker-like shelters to avoid bombing raids by their enemies. I was intrigued by the premise, and I didn't even realize until I was reading that it is a Christmas tale. It's quite poignant to follow an uncle as tries to recount the nativity story to a child who simply cannot relate to its concepts; he eventually substitues "garage" for "stable" and "factory workers" for "shepherds," for example, and has to explain that a heavenly voice might be something other than the shouted "Magnavox Advertising Slogans" that routinely assault the citizens. It was an intriguing read, with an especially moving meditation on what "Good Will" means in an atomic age, and I'm glad I came across it with such perfect timing for the season.
"Because they'd seen a light in the sky, and heard a sound...."
"Oh Uncle, please don't have an air raid in this story. I don't like it. Even when they're all shot down in flames, I don't like it. PLEASE."
"What makes you think it was an air raid?"
"What else would it be, at that time of night, up in the sky?"
- from Peace Under Earth by Beatrice Warde