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

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The Ghost of Contests Past

Spec the Halls is now under new management over at http://www.specthehalls.com/.

Due to the time demands of my other projects, I am not able to continue Spec the Halls at this time. However! Steven Saus has picked up the ball, and the new incarnation of Spec the Halls can be found at http://www.specthehalls.com/. It now has two parts: a holiday anthology (ebook) whose proceeds go to support Heifer International, and a contest for winter holiday-themed speculative fiction. See guidelines here.
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What is Spec the Halls?

Spec the Halls is a contest for speculative winter holiday-themed fiction, artwork, and poetry. The holiday may be fictional or real; it may be Christmas or Yuletide as we know and love it, or it may be something much stranger. Links to the submissions can be found at Recommended Submissions and All Submissions. You may sign up to receive the Spec the Halls weekly email (from mid-November to Christmas), containing contest news and weekly featured selections, at any time by entering your email in the box above. These newsletters will also be duplicated in an RSS feed spun off from my blog at http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com/data/rss?tag=specnews

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

 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

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