I admit it — I love Christmas stories. Some of the finest fantasies ever told — including Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life — have been Christmas stories. It’s a great time of year to curl up in my big green chair with a cup of hot chocolate, a cat in my lap, and a Christmas fantasy in hand.
One of the better Christmas anthologies I’ve stumbled on recently is Hank Davis’s 2012 A Cosmic Christmas, which celebrates twelve cosmic days of Christmas with a dozen tales of vampires, robots, A.I’s, alien invasions, and stranger things, from the hills of Appalachia to a high orbit space station. It includes a novella by Catherine Asaro, a Jon & Lobo story by Mark L. Van Name, a John the Balladeer tale from Manly Wade Wellman, a Venus Equilateral story by George O. Smith, a Grimnoir Chronicles novelette by Larry Correia, a Technic History story by Poul Anderson — and a brand new novelette by Sarah A. Hoyt.
Joy to the world… or, joy to the worlds! Let heaven and nature — and also the supernatural — sing. A Cosmic Christmas presents twelve stories of Christmas in very unusual circumstances, ranging from vampires to robots, from the hills of Appalachia to a high orbit space station, all celebrating the holiday in their own, off-beat ways.
New York Times best-selling author Larry Correia sends his popular tough guy detective and magicwielder, Jake Sullivan, on a special case, while visions of tommy guns dance in the heads of the thugs he’s up against. Mark L. Van Name’s Lobo, an A.I. housed in a pocket battle starship, drops his usual cynical pose when challenged by a troubled family at Christmas time. Nebula Award-winner Catherine Asaro tells of a romantic weekend that turns into a mystery in a futuristic high-tech house — all that and Christmas, too. Mercedes Lackey delivers a ghost story with a not-so-friendly visitation from the beyond, and George O. Smith, a star of the Golden Age of science fiction, is on hand with an episode from his classic Venus Equilateral series, in which a Christmas celebration on a gigantic space station is interrupted by the arrival of a ruthless interplanetary criminal, who didn’t drop by to hand out presents. And much more, in a holiday package that any fan of science fiction and fantasy would be delighted to find under their tree, on any planet.
A Cosmic Christmas includes stories from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and anthologies Christmas Forever, Christmas Ghosts, and others.
Introduction: Kris Kringle Goes Cosmic, by Hank Davis
“Dance in Blue,” Catherine Asaro (Christmas Forever, Nov 1993)
“Lobo, Actually,” by Mark L. Van Name (Jump Gate Twist, 2010)
“On the Hills and Everywhere,” by Manly Wade Wellman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 1956)
“Angel in Flight,” by Sarah A. Hoyt
“Mad Holiday,” by George O. Smith (Venus Equilateral, 1947)
“Detroit Christmas,” by Larry Correia (Baen Books Free Stories 2011)
“The Vampires Who Saved Christmas,” by S. N. Dyer (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 2000)
“And Visions of Sugar Plums…” S. N. Dyer (Amazing Stories, November 1986)
“The Season of Forgiveness,” by Poul Anderson (Boys’ Life, December 1973)
“Dumb Feast,” by Mercedes Lackey (Christmas Ghosts, November 1993)
“Roads,” by Seabury Quinn (Weird Tales, January 1938)
“Newsletter,” by Connie Willis (Asimov’s Science Fiction, December 1997)
A sequel, A Cosmic Christmas 2, was published on Nov 5, 2013.
We’ve covered several pulp and classic SF/fantasy reprints from Baen over the past few years, including:
Cthulhu: The Mythos and Kindred Horrors by Robert E. Howard (1987)
Unknown, edited by Stanley Schmidt (1988)
The Incompleat Nifft by Michael Shea (2000)
Agent of Vega by James H. Schmitz (2001)
Eternal Frontier by James H. Schmitz (2002)
Planets of Adventure by Murray Leinster (2003)
The Creatures of Man by Howard L. Myers(2003)
A Cosmic Christmas, edited by Hank Davis (2012)
In Space No One Can Hear You Scream, edited by Hank Davis (2013)
The Baen Big Book of Monsters, edited by Hank Davis (2014)
A Cosmic Christmas was edited by Hank Davis and published by Baen Books on November 6, 2012. It is 312 pages, priced at $12 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital version. The cover is by Bob Eggleton.