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Christmas Forever

An anthology of stories edited by

Publisher's Weekly
Hartwell has compiled three previous anthologies of Christmas stories ( Christmas Ghosts and Spirits of Christmas , which combined reprints and original material, and Christmas Stars , a collection of reprinted science fiction tales). Here he gathers 28 all-new science fiction narratives tied in some ways to Yuletide. While the selections are uneven in quality, many stories work quite well with the holiday theme. Gene Wolfe offers perhaps the book's best entry, ''And When They Appear,'' in which a young boy's tragic circumstances turn worse on what should be a happy holiday eve; Brian Stableford's ''Another Bad Day in Bedlam'' is a solid tale of a genetically engineered Second Coming; ''Pal o' Mine,'' by Charles de Lint, suffers a little from the author's characteristic sentimentality, but its neat magical twist and a level of more genuine feeling make it quite moving; and Sarah Smith's ''Christmas at the Edge'' evokes the best of the Christmas spirit in a near-future Boston that's sinking below sea level. Damon Knight, Dave Wolverton, Janet Kagan and the team of James P. Blaylock and Tim Powers likewise deliver good yarns. The powerful effect of some of these tales is somewhat diluted by an array of lighthearted pieces, and some of them fail utterly, but there are enough good ones to make this a good choice for fireside holiday reading. (Nov.)

Library Journal
A legendary birth is given a new twist in Roger Zelazny's ''Prince of the Powers of This World''; a grieving friend finds the true magic of Christmas in Charles de Lint's ''Pal O' Mine''; and three unusual creatures discover a common bond in Alan Dean Foster's ''We Three Kings.'' These, and 25 other original stories by a stellar group of authors, provide unique and sometimes disturbing interpretations of the holiday season. Though some stories are more accessible than others, this collection of seasonal tales makes a good addition to libraries' short story collections.

BookList - Candace Smith
Christmas has always been a time of wonder, but in the hands of talented sf and fantasy writers such as Charles de Lint, Roger Zelazny, and Patricia A. McKillip, it becomes even more magical. Yet whether in a traditional celebration among the ruins of a lost civilization on a distant planet (Jack McDevitt's "Midnight Clear") or a frantic holiday battle against monsters taking over futuristic London (Joan Aiken's "Cockatrice Boys"), the spirit remains. Especially effective are de Lint's "Pal o' Mine," a haunting tale of friendship; Catherine Asaro's "Dance in Blue," the story of a ballerina and her future stepson's trials in a virtual reality mansion; and Dave Wolverton's "My Favorite Christmas," a time-travel fantasy. In all, a well-balanced collection with contents ranging from hard science stories to fantastic fables--one that is sure to herald the season for thoughtful sf readers.

Genre: Science Fiction

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