Genre for the Holidays – I’m Dreaming of a Bleak Christmas

December 5, 2012 at 11:54 pm (writing) (, , , , , , , , , )

I don’t write a lot of science fiction and when I do, it’s typically cross-genre and dystopian. My only “sci-fi” Christmas story falls into that category as well. I don’t think I’d have much luck writing a convincing science fiction story that did not suggest a bleak future, not without feeling like I’m lying. My days of idealism are long past me, and I honestly just hope I make it to my own end of days without seeing the end of the world. From what I’ve witnessed over the last few years, society seems to be degrading pretty quickly.

That being said I’m not a complete cynic. I still like to hang onto hope as much as the next person, so you’ll find that in my stories as well. As long as there is something worth fighting for, you’ll see some fight from my characters, a striving to better the world even when the odds are very much against them.

Here’s an excerpt from “Gaia’s Gift” – a Christmas-ish post-apocalyptic tale:

There were a few other deaths that Rhys tried not to think about anymore. The last share of the mortality rate caused by Cascade could be attributed to those who just couldn’t take it anymore. Some Cascade survivors had succumbed to despair, just as Rhys would have if Allie hadn’t come along when she had. He probably still would, if he were to lose her again. He couldn’t bear to think what he might do if complications with the pregnancy or childbirth stole her from him. Just a hint of such thoughts made his stomach do somersaults.

That was where the second reason for this scrounging trip came into play. His thankfulness for having her in his life was his other reason for this particular outing. In addition to scrounging food and water, he was looking for a gift, an extra-special gift. Beyond just celebrating their love and the anticipated addition to their family, Rhys had another motive to find her a present. Unlike most survivors, he had insisted on keeping track of every day that passed. He was probably the only person left who still followed the calendar. It was one of his ways of clinging to the past, and of holding onto his sanity. He wanted to know what he would have been doing from day to day if things hadn’t changed. Like today, a week before Christmas, he likely would have been out shopping for gifts. This was the closest substitute he could muster.

The wind picked up a little bit, dousing him full in the face with the bluish-grey ash, one of the side effects of Cascade. Rhys was forced to close his eyes and readjust his facemask. While Cascade had failed to kill him in its typical way, it had brought him to the brink of starvation on more than one occasion, and its “dust” would readily suffocate him if he didn’t protect himself.

Rhys felt around blindly for a rock to sit on and then rummaged around in his bag until his fingers made contact with his goggles. He slid them over his head, blinking rapidly to dislodge the ash from his lashes. It took a few moments before his vision cleared. He sighed, his eyes teary and stinging.

Joy to the world – even a bleak one. J

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2 Comments

  1. Jae said,

    I’d love to see you do a Novel Christmas party for your book, just to see what your characters would be like. Here’s what I mean http://litandscribbles.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/novel-christmas-party/ So far it’s been very interesting seeing what other people’s responses have been. I’m sure yours will be fascinating!

    • chantellyb said,

      Sounds like fun! I’ll do a Magic University version for today’s post.

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