Frasier Fir Christmas tree with white and gold tinsel. Image from USA today.Anne Rice, who helped the vampire genre rise again with Interview With the Vampire, died on December 12 at age 80. Here is her obituary in the New York Times. The New Orleans website also has a tribute.

“It was a mess, but a fun mess.” Camestros Felapton shares their reaction to Doctor Who: Flux. I didn’t think it was a mess, personally, even if I didn’t understand pieces of it.

Nichelle Nichols made an appearance at L.A.’s Comic-Con. The iconic actor, who also served as recruiter for NASA, was joined by family members. At age 89, Nichols has been diagnosed with dementia.

Connie Willis edited a large book of American Christmas stories. She talks about it on Facebook. (Thanks to File 770.)

James Davis Nicholl looks at SFF works in which “valuable” does not equal “powerful.”

Did you really think I’d get all the way through a column without a Covid-themed article? Guess again. Publishers Weekly discusses the impact of Covid on publishers with movie and video tie-in merchandise.

How about a dark but hilarious satire of the holidays? Courtesy of the AV Club, here’s a “short holiday film” from Saturday Night Live.

Ars Technica offers a holiday reading list, ranging from fiction to non-fiction and memoir. The books on this list are not new and are not limited to the speculative genre even though it is well represented.

Two golden dragon water puppets. Image from Water Puppet TheaterJohn and Krissy Scalzi bought a church. As he says on his blog, the intent is real-estate (and storage-space) driven, not part of a plan to start a religion.

Popular Mechanics has a tech gift list for you. I love that the first thing on it is a pen and paper notebook!  Farther in, there are books! Don’t worry, there are plenty of chargers, air buds and power blocks on there too.

From last month, The Verge led the gift list parade. Mostly tech, but not entirely.

This short TED video explains why we see patterns in so many things.

This year’s White House Christmas tree is an eighteen-foot Frasier fir from Jefferson, North Carolina.

The puppets of Palermo have survived for centuries, and it looks like they’ll survive the pandemic, too.

The article mentioned Vietnamese water puppets, so here is a video about this style of performance. It’s about three minutes long.

Next week’s column will be single issue, probably me musing over the first three seasons of Agents of Shield.


  • Marion Deeds

    Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town.