IāVE GOT YOUR BAG OF GOODIES RIGHT HERE
Christmas... a time when we get together to celebrate the survival of another year in this veil of tears. Pagans used to celebrate it because it meant that spring would be returning, and that they had a chance to survive another brutal winter on the meager food stocks and rare game they could eat. Celebrations on Christmas were not festivals of light and goodwill; they were about blood on the snow, great bonfires fed with sacrifices, and ritual hunts wilder than anything Celtic gods could imagine. Thatās what Christmas is all about; blood and terror and survival. And, if you look close at the Hallmark/Coca-Cola celebrations today, you can still see itās influence readily apparent. And people wonder why suicides are up.
Now, donāt get the impression that I donāt enjoy Christmas. In fact, I love this season. I just prefer to know the real reason behind itās existence. All across the real world and Subreality, the Yule parties, homages, and yes, even those painful Christmas specials are appearing. Women dressed in too tight elf costumes and drunken mall Santas roaming loose in a gaggle of children. Rather scary when you get right down to it, and Iām not even going to get into the whole Fruedian aspects of the whole Īsit on Santaās lap and tell me want you wantā ritual. Nope, I am here to tell you about fan fiction. Christmas fan fiction, in fact. So, pull a chair closer to the fire, stuff your face with turkey and plum pudding, pile the coal by the kids stockings, struggle into that Christmas underwear, and listen as Dex in his cap tells you all about the Uncanny X-Mas tales.
Happy Hanukah by Jaya Mitai is a touching and disturbing piece simultaneously. Based in an Elseworlds setting in which Erik Lensherr gave up the mantle of Magneto when Magda returned to him, it evokes conflicting emotions when read, switching for a wistful, happy household and future, to a shadow of pain to come. There is an underlying tone of menace in the work, much like the one in Erik himself. Rigid self-control is a central theme in the story, even during an attack by a group of Neo-Nazi teens in the middle of the tale. The most curious aspect is that of the meeting with Charles Xavier and Lensherr. Cushioned by the family around him and accepted by the village, Erik is still drawn in by the Dream. Written not only with skill but empathy, Jaya Mitai has deftly deepened the character of Magneto as a man.
12 Hours Of Christmas is not a nice piece. Itās unpleasant, blunt, almost painful. If it wasnāt so brilliantly written and so close to reality for far too many of us, it would be offensive. Set during a Christmas celebration at Muir Island, the tone of the story switches between jovial and dismal with astonishing precision. Dr Benway has an amazing grasp of real life emotional transitions, and has captured all of the diverse feelings apparent in most holiday get togethers. Itās very rare that people want to show the ugly side of there characters, yet Benway manages to balance it by making it a human side; Piotrās drinking, Brianās handling not drinking, Rahne own feelings of guilt, and the bloody twisted world of John Smith. The innocence of Douglock at the very end of the piece brilliantly underscores the themes running through out it. Dark and disturbing, but required reading.
In a much lighter tone, what happens when Santa Claus needs to break into the mansion to deliver his gifts? A Generation X-Mas by the talented and funny Me is a priceless collection of pratfalls, characterization, and warm humour. The reactions of Banshee to his Īuniqueā intruder are perhaps the most memorable. Meās wonderful sense of pacing and tone are the true value of this story, echoing the bizarre situation in which she focuses the Generation X crew. With only a few paragraphs, the entire Christmas at the school is laid out, a deft skill obviously apparent.
Rarely does fan fiction venture into the world of poetry. Even more rarely does it do so successfully. However, in the hands of Min it can soar. The Snow Hare has a duel level in meaning, in content, in technique and in success. The story is an allegory about the deaths of the Hellions, and itās effects on the White Queen, and her redemption through the Generation X students. But that is far from all. It is a deft revealing of the mind of Emma Frost, and the events surrounding her. The poem itself is free verse, yet tightly controlled, owing less to T.S Elliot then to Robert Frost. Vivid imagery and empathy are rife through the piece, drawing the reader further and further in the maelstrom of emotions evoked and examined. The mute Penance is one of the central characters in the story, and plays the martyr of sorts to the mean lot of the villagers. Not an easy read, requiring several readings to pull the meaning out. Print it out and spend a quiet few minutes with it, itās worth the time.
Dealing with the Devil has itās dangers, but writing about angels can be just as perilous. Kerrin W. takes the challenge head on in her stunning work, Angeldust And Parasites . The story is about an angel who is stuck with the luckless job of bringing together Jono and Paige... and, well, youāve all seen that relationship. Pairing with the unlikely and empathic hobo, Marty, the angel Darcy does her best to try and set them on the path of true love. The story is as much about an angelās lack of insight into the human condition as it is on the love between the hapless Generation Xāers. The byplay between the down and out Marty and the persistent Darcy is priceless, both at complete bewilderment to the behaviour of the other. More than a Christmas story or a love story, itās a human story told from the sidelines, and all the more powerful for it.
And finally we have our last piece from the prolific, talented, and daring Kaylee. I sometimes wish that type could convey the tone of voice, because this story deserves itās praise in a hushed, warm respectful voice. Til Christmas is a stunning piece of work, breathtakingly simple and heart wrenching in itās clean emotion. There is no pretense, no melodrama, no theatrics in the piece. Itās honest. Professor X, dying from lung cancer, is determined to reach Christmas. Scott ends up his quiet companion to the edge, his love and respect for the man whom he considers his father in truth. There is a raw element of grief, a hopelessness and anger communicated directed over to the reader, making the words run together. As a critic, itās likely the kiss of death, but there is only one praise I can give this story that comes close to matching what I think of it. Go read it, now. Please.
*sigh* And we draw to a Christmas close. Looking back, I note Iām a pretty gloomy bugger. Oh well. As always, youāre stuck with Dexā picks for what heās bothering with these days, and they are following his Christmas themes.
The CD for the holidays is the every fun and bizarre ĪIrish Rovers Christmasā. The CD features the famous ĪGrandma Got Runover By A Raindeerā but is full of jaunty Irish Christmas tunes, some original work by the Rovers, and the most untypical group of themes. ĪMerry Bloody X-Mas To Meā is a personal fave.
The book is the brilliant ĪThe Hogfatherā by Terry Pratchett. Pratchett, one of the funniest and most empathic writers on the planet, has a deft hold on the strange and diverse elements of Christmas on the Discworld. While all of his work is worth the time, Hogfather could easily become a holiday tradition for those twisted like me.
And for the recommended comic purchase, ĪWinterās Edge 2', the Vertigo holiday special is bleak and wonderful in itās range. While Paul OāBrian produced the most brilliant analysis of the collection, Iād like to point out the Ennis Hellblazer short in particular, being a lovely jaunt into the mind and dismal life of John Constantine. Ellisā Transmetropoliton short is fun, but not to his usual ability, but the bastardized Calvin and Hobbes homage is worth a look.
Anyhow, before we all drown in this good cheer and merriment, I leave you on the holidays. As always, feedback can be directed to this address Flames, comments, reviews of other work or mine, whatever you want, send it along. And vote in the CBFFAās at C-Fan folks. Fully supported by IMHO.
For a brief and never to be duplicated serious moment, I wish you and yours a happy, safe, fun, carnel, drunken, and merry Christmas, and a New Year full of hopes and dreams.
Now sod off before I knee cap you...