Spec the Halls: A Winter Celebration of the Weird and the Fantastic

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2009 - October 23, 2009 Newsletter | November 28, 2009 Newsletter | December 12, 2009 Newsletter | December 20, 2009 Newsletter | December 25, 2009 Newsletter
2008 - November 1st Newsletter | November 9th Newsletter | November 27th newsletter | December 7, 2008 | December 16, 2008 | December 24, 2008
2007 - November 23rd Newsletter | December 8, 2007 | December 21, 2007
2006 - 2006 Spec the Halls Winners | December 1st Newsletter | December 9th Newsletter | December 22nd Newsletter | January 7th Newsletter


December 25, 2009

(I didn't post this in a timely fashion because I found myself with 10 minutes on a dial-up connection during a Christmas gathering with my in-laws--email notification went out, but not much else.)



Note from the editor

Merry Christmas! (Or other seasonal holiday of your choice, handling charges may apply.)  If you're reading this email, it means I survived the perilous road-trip-into-a-Wisconsin-blizzard that I'm about to go on once I've finished drafting this email. Last time we tried this, we were attacked by deer--and we drive a small enough car that the deer could take us. Apparently I have survived! Time to count my blessings and enjoy reading some holiday speculative fiction.

Happy holidays,

Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Editor

2009 Spec the Halls Winner!

What effect would destroying a cultural icon with the galactic significance of Santa Claus have on the Multiverse? Virginia of the Multiversal Time Protection Unit is determined not to find out.
 

Zombie Elves
by Sue Penkivech


Granted, we’d encountered some odd attempts to alter the history of Earth time/space 227, but this had to be the most ridiculous yet.

“Oh come now, where’s your Christmas spirit?” Douglas asked, his eyes twinkling with amusement as he picked up his period-appropriate pipe from the end table, and pressed the button that made it give off convincing though completely non-carcinogen-containing smoke. There were limits to what even he was willing to endure in the name of historical accuracy, and to my relief authentic tobacco was apparently outside them.

Still, it was a filthy habit. “I think it disappeared the moment you mentioned “zombie elves,” I countered. Sniffing indignantly at the pipe – I was becoming increasingly suspicious that Douglas smoked it less for authenticity than because he was developing a genuine affection for the habit – I got up from my chair and paced over to the sideboard, where I poured several finger-widths of sherry into a glass. The occasion certainly seemed to call for it. Honestly. I knew the Victorian era of Earth 227 was of particular interest to historians, given the way the American Uprising of 1775 had played out, but attempting to modify it by assaulting a cultural icon with the galactic significance of Father Christmas was just too much. Moreover, given St. Nick’s practically unique status as a non-sequential temporal-spatial anomaly, rendering him ineffectual in one timeline would cause a cascade effect throughout the others, causing irreparable havoc throughout all of space-time.


Read more.

Read all recommended submissions.
Read all submissions.

2009 Spec the Halls Honorable Mention!

Medusa's Holiday
by M.M. Bergstrom


Here upon an evening dreary
Though all the world is wet and weary
I bundle up my head of snakes
To deliver all my Yuletide cakes

For legends aught to be polite
If just for one sad, starless night
The going is quite tough and slow
For snakes move poorly in the snow
Read more.

Read all recommended submissions.
Read all submissions.

Holiday Tip
Enjoy.

 Handy Links
Abra Staffin Wiebe's main webpage
Abra Staffin Wiebe's blog
Aswiebe's Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Market List
Spec the Halls Main Page - http://www.aswiebe.com/specthehalls.html

Submission Guidelines - http://www.aswiebe.com/specthehalls/guidelines.html
Recommended Submissions - http://www.aswiebe.com/specthehalls/recommended.html
All Submissions - http://www.aswiebe.com/specthehalls/submissions.html
FAQ - http://www.aswiebe.com/specthehalls/faq.html



-
Spec the Halls: A Winter Celebration of the Weird and the Fantastic
http://www.aswiebe.com/specthehalls.html


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December 20, 2009


Note from the editor

It's easy to think that this is the time for a last-minute flurry of activity to get everything done before Christmas. Nope. Now is the time to relax, breathe deeply, and enjoy what the holidays bring--the wondrous, the hilarious, and the "Well, at least this will make a good story later." Patience, good humor, and a sense of the absurd is essential equipment.

As is typical at this time, I've received more submissions I'd like to recommend than the ones I've excerpted here, so go enjoy them!

Happy holidays,

Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Editor

Recommended Submissions

When new recruit Ferris arrives on a planet ruled by an abundance of chlorophyll and mysterious aliens, he finds that all he can think about is Christmas back on earth.

A Green Christmas
by Jon C. Forisha

The snow was green because damn near everything on the planet was green. It had an abundance of chlorophyll – something like four hundred percent the amount found on earth (though, as the almost unending flurry of skeptics would point out, how the devil is someone supposed to measure that?) – which is what had sent NASA’s long-reaching grubby little fingers all the way out there. So much chlorophyll that even the water was forever tinted. Padnig had been there for three years and he was still marveling at it.

“So what’s Christmas like here?” I asked, still not entirely used to the way my voice echoed inside the suit when I talked.

“Nothing like home, I can tell you that right now. The first year of the mission here, we kept up a Christmas tree for a good portion of the year. I guess it was an attempt at making the place feel more like earth, but since then no one’s really tried.”

I had heard much the same during my training, but it didn’t make it any less depressing. My father was a minister for most of his adult life, and even though I didn’t identify myself as the most active Christian, Christmas still held something special for my family and I.

“Anyway, man, you won’t be missing Christmas too much once you see the Elves.”

I had heard of the Elves, too. “Those are real?”

“Real as my kidney stones five years back, man. Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll meet them before too long.” Padnig grinned through his suit and motioned for me to follow him back to the bunker.

Read more at Spec the Halls Recommended Submissions.

Read all submissions.


Chris, having lost wife and son, tries to recreate the joy of Christmas.
A Son is Given
by Risa Wolf

Chris had never been one for Christmas celebrations. It had seemed gaudy and somehow selfish until Sarah came along. Sarah had loved all aspects of Christmas with unparalleled joy. The tinsel, the lights, the month of religious milestones, the pine smell, the cookie-baking, the red-and-green color scheme, the angels, the celebratory hymns – she had adored it all. Midnight between Christmas Eve and Christmas had been a magical time for both of them. Sarah would have finished all of her preparations, and she would kneel down in front of a bank of candles or, once they bought their house, the fireplace to sing her favorite carols. Chris, caught in the moment and struck with dumb love at the look of delight on her face, would follow along. Each time Chris had lit the next Sunday candle in the advent wreath, the memory of Sarah bending over them, her brown eyes shining, was a soft, sweet punch in the stomach.

No time for tears, Chris thought sternly, and turned back to the decorations. Everything was laid out in their boxes, all labeled with Sarah's precise block capitals, firmly taped with Chris' omnipresent duct tape. Sarah had packed away the Christmas decorations with more care than she had packed their old apartment. Once Chris had asked her what it was she liked about Christmas.
Read more at Spec the Halls Recommended Submissions.
Read all submissions.

Holiday Tips and Links

 Handy Links
Abra Staffin Wiebe's main webpage
Abra Staffin Wiebe's blog
Aswiebe's Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Market List
Spec the Halls Main Page - http://www.aswiebe.com/specthehalls.html

Submission Guidelines - http://www.aswiebe.com/specthehalls/guidelines.html
Recommended Submissions - http://www.aswiebe.com/specthehalls/recommended.html
All Submissions - http://www.aswiebe.com/specthehalls/submissions.html
FAQ - http://www.aswiebe.com/specthehalls/faq.html


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December 12, 2009


Note from the editor

Hello, my name is Abra Staffin-Wiebe, and I think I have a problem. With eggnog. I can't help myself. I see it in the stores, enticing me with it's sweet, rich deliciousness, and I can't resist. Ah, well, at least it's only available for part of the year--and there are worse things than an "addiction" to nog.

Speaking of when things are available, remember that this weekend is pretty much the deadline for ordering gifts and being able to receive them by standard m