Well, truth be told, we’ve already written them. But we here at the SFC are eager to share with you, starting tomorrow, reviews, recommendations, and reminiscences of movies, TV shows, books, comics, games, and more that help us celebrate the Christmas season with a science fiction and fantasy twist.
Is there, really, any time of year that is more “sci-fi” than Christmas? Think about the many ways the fantastic goes mainstream in the month of December. We sing songs about snowmen who suddenly spring to life, and reindeer with neon-red noses. We set out cookies and milk to actively welcome a mysterious midnight visitor who can’t use the front door like everybody else. And we find nothing unusual about trees in the middle of our living rooms! What’s going on?
Some say that ever ‘gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long;
And then, they say, no spirit can walk abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed and so gracious is the time. (Hamlet, I.1)
The Christmas season is so special, and so easily embraces our fondest flights of fancy, because, for all the trappings that go with it today, it is rooted in “our Saviour’s birth”—the very real incursion of the extraordinary and otherworldly into this ordinary world of ours, the birth of “Jesus, our Emmanuel,” our God, the God, with us.
Novelist and Presbyterian minister Frederick Buechner writes that, at Christmas,
A dream as old as time of the God descending hesitates on the threshold of coming true in a way to make all other truths seem dreamlike. If it is true, it is the chief of all truths. If it is not true, it is of all truths the one perhaps that people would most have be true if they could make it so. Maybe it is that longing to have it be true that is at the bottom even of the whole vast Christmas industry… (Buechner, A Room Called Remember, HarperCollins, 1992; p. 63)
And so we hope you’ll celebrate this “sci-fi season” with us. You may be familiar with some of our selections; you may be learning about others for the first time. Some have a very obvious connection to Christmas; others only hint at Yuletide associations. But we have chosen each one with care, like a gift from Santa’s bag, to add a special glow to your holiday, a genre-tinged light that reflects—sometimes clear and brilliantly, sometimes dimly and distantly—the Light that shines in the darkness, the Light no darkness can overcome.
Photograph of Sirius: NASA, H.E. Bond and E. Nelan (Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.); M. Barstow and M. Burleigh (University of Leicester, U.K.); and J.B. Holberg (University of Arizona); from http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/star/pr2005036a/.