Dec 11

Flashback Friday: A Christmas Carol

This week’s Flashback Friday: A Christmas Carol  by Charles Dickens.

Some folks are probably asking what in the world does A Christmas Carol have to do with science fiction and fantasy?

Christmas Carol Book Cover ThrowbackThis classic is so deeply rooted in our literature that it is its own trope at this point. Everything from The Muppets and The Flinstones to Mickey Mouse and Epic Rap Battles of History has adapted this book. Even children know who Scrooge is. Even SF/F has retellings and adaptations of it, including Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol and I am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas. Stepping back to the original, the classic carries elements of speculative fiction with the appearance of ghosts and the use of time travel.

I saw the movie version long before I read the book in middle school, and I didn’t fully see the layered symbolism and imagery until I spent 6 years teaching the book to Pre-AP students. (It’s amazing what you learn as you teach.) Dickens’ intended this book to not only be a lesson on the kindness of the holidays, but to serve as a social commentary on poverty and the treatment of the impoverished.

Looking at our society now and the division between the have’s and the have-nots, this book has never been more relevant.

At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge, … it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”
“Are there no prisons?”
“Plenty of prisons…”
“And the Union workhouses.” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”
“Both very busy, sir…”
“Those who are badly off must go there.”
“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”
“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

Growing up poor taught me to value what I had, but reading this book taught me to value others above myself and to help those less fortunate.

It is this ideal that makes authors like Patrick Rothfuss fundraise for charities like Worldbuilders or the folks at Penny Arcade create something like Child’s Play.

In 2016, I will continue my 12 Months of Charities and vow to do more for the world around me. I hope you’ll join me.

Click here to read other Flashback Friday posts including those by bestselling authors Jean Walker, G.G. Silverman, G. S. Jennsen, and Django Wexler.

About the author

Raven Oak

Bestselling science fiction & fantasy author Raven Oak is best known for Amaskan’s Blood, Class-M Exile, and the collection Joy to the Worlds: Mysterious Speculative Fiction for the Holidays.

She spent most of her K-12 education doodling stories and 500 page monstrosities that are forever locked away in a filing cabinet. When she's not writing, she's getting her game on, enjoying cartography, or staring at the ocean.

She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband, and their three kitties who enjoy lounging across the keyboard when writing deadlines approach.