Tis' the season to spread some holiday joy. And what would be better than a Sci-Fi story about Santa delivering presents at the end of the Universe? Absolutely nothing I tell you. "In The Late December" was a story I read last year and was brought back to mind as the holidays approach. It has quite a bit of heart for such a short tale. Enjoy!
Here's a secret of the North Pole: Santa powders his hands with talc before donning his thick red mittens.Enjoy the rest of van Eekhout's "In The Late December" over at Strange Horizons.
It is a small secret, true, but some would give anything to steal even that. A secret is a detail, and here in the late December, a detail is as precious as a true name.
Santa, a red exclamation in a white world, walks the reindeer line, stroking sugar-and-cinnamon fur. The reindeer shiver and snort and stamp their hooves, the lines connecting them to the parcel-laden sleigh jingling. Santa looks over to his candy-brick castle and waves good-bye, but no one stands in the doorway to wave back. With a sigh, he climbs onto the sleigh's driver's seat, the bench creaking beneath his weight. He pauses, holding the smooth and supple leather reins, and considers how to start the team. Onward? A-heya? Giddyup? Ho-ho? No, he's already used those. He makes a point of uttering a different word to inaugurate every outing, because he's been doing this for a long time, and if he didn't deliberately insert some bit of novelty into the procedure, he fears his jolly round head might well explode. That is another detail.
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Happy Christmas Eve