This time of year it is hard not to come face to face with holiday cheer on a daily basis. Holiday music is played in all the stores and on many radio stations. Bookstores are selling holiday themed anthologies. Hulu.com is running classic ‘holiday episodes’ from popular TV shows. Today, I received an e-mail newsletter from a popular romance publisher. The e-mail featured holiday themed romance books. I know some people feel overwhelmed (or even offended), but I don’t mind. I’ve even written a few holiday short stories myself (though not at all traditional – probably no surprise there).
But all this holiday fiction has got me thinking. Are there no holidays in the future? How about in those dark gritty paranormal worlds we love, no holidays there either? I tried really hard to think of any SciFi or Paranormal Romance that had a holiday setting and came up with one urban fantasy—The Lunatic Café by Laurell K. Hamilton. Here is a little snippet from the beginning of the book…
“IT WAS TWO weeks before Christmas. A slow time of year for raising the dead. My last client of the night sat across from me. There had been no notation by his name. No note saying zombie raising or vampire slaying. Nothing. Which probably meant whatever he wanted me to do was something I wouldn’t, or couldn’t, do. Pre-Christmas was a dead time of year, no pun intended. My boss, Bert, took any job that would have us.
George Smitz was a tall man […]
He sat in front of me, crushing his toboggan hat, kneading it in his big hands. The coffee that he’d accepted sat cooling on the edge of my desk. He hadn’t taken so much as a sip.
I was drinking my coffee out of the Christmas mug that Bert, my boss, had insisted everyone bring in. A personalized holiday mug to add a personal touch to the office. My mug had a reindeer in a bathrobe and slippers with Christmas lights laced in its antlers, toasting the merry season with champagne and saying, “Bingle Jells.”
Bert didn’t really like my mug, but he let it go, probably afraid of what else I might bring in. He’d been very pleased with my outfit for the evening. A high-collared blouse so perfectly red I’d had to wear makeup to keep from looking pale. The skirt and matching jacket were a deep forest green. I hadn’t dressed for Bert. I had dressed for my date.
The silver outline of an angel gleamed in my lapel. I looked very Christmasy. The Browning Hi-Power 9mm didn’t look Christmasy at all, but since it was hidden under the jacket, that didn’t seem to matter. It might have bothered Mr. Smitz, but he looked worried enough to not care. As long as I didn’t shoot him personally.”
That is just brilliant awesomeness, IMHO. The story isn’t about Christmas, the holiday is just part of the world. With well over a dozen books in the series, wouldn’t it be freakish if none of them took place around a holiday? LKH is one of the few paranormalish authors I can think of that routinely uses holidays to bring her story world to life. I’m sure there must be others but I really can’t think of them.
I can understand that holidays might not be the same in an off-world SciFi Romance, but surely there would be some type of holidays. And what about the ones that are Earth-set or use Earth as a historical back drop? Even if religion changes, I find it hard to believe the commercial and cultural remnants of present-day holidays would fade away completely.
So, help me out! Can you think of any SciFi or Paranormal romances that even mentions a holiday? I’d love to hear about them.