A LONG TIME FROM NOW IN A GALAXY WE CALL HOME...
It is the twenty-third century and scientists, dreamers, crooks and believers have bridged the vast cosmos, staking their claims where distant suns burn fierce in the sky. Yet for all of humankind’s technological marvels, life for many is far from a wondrous fairytale.
A petty thief is offered riches to steal a very special device, but has he let the genie out of the bottle? Can a poor, down-trodden kitchen slave find her prince in the shape of a young, dashing space captain? A priest is rescued after a quest to find the mythical alien home world ends in disaster, but who is the mysterious stranger wearing his boots? A man caught up in a war wonders if he can go on, so why does a hologram taunt him by showing the greatest blunders of his life? A trader and his young daughter seek refuge in a mysterious starship crewed by a beastly robot, but can she stop herself being spirited away for good? Can a hot-headed young job applicant really hope to impress by stealing Christmas? It is supposed to be the season of goodwill!
This collection brings together the prequel seasonal tales from the space-opera Worlds of Hollow Moon:
- "GENIE And The LAMP"
- "To Dance Amongst The Stars"
- "The Watcher And The Priest"
- "It's A Blunderful Life"
- "The Narcissus Solution"
- "Stealing Christmas"
- Epilogue: Extract from Paw-Prints Of The Gods
- Timeline Interviews, part 1: Prequels.
The December 2021 edition of this collection now also includes all other prequel tales published elsewhere:
(* Revised text exclusively published in this anthology.)
The timeline interviews are a light-hearted look at how the various novels and short stories fit together. In this volume, Private Inari and Corporal Namtar run through the key events leading up to the five systems of the late twenty-third century.
HOLLOW MOON CHRISTMAS SHORT STORIES have been published every December since 2011. These are generally science-fiction reinterpretations of traditional tales popular in the British tradition of pantomime, while fitting into the overall story arc of the novels. This collection was revised and reissued in December 2019 and 2021.
(First published 12 December 2017. Last updated 21 December 2021; approx 84,000 words.)
Cover artwork by WyrdStar; 'Dancers' image by OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay.
Timeline Interviews, part 1: Prequels
So how do the novels and short stories in the Hollow Moon series fit together? Via the wonders of extra-dimensional space-time portals, author Steph Bennion interviews Private Inari and Corporal Namtar, twenty-third-century royalist soldiers from the Epsilon Eridani moon of Yuanshi...
AUTHOR: You’ve both survived a fair few mishaps! The alien-worshipping Dhusarian Church became a potent force on Yuanshi under Maharaja Kashyap. Taranis, the movement’s spiritual leader, comes across more like a creepy mad scientist than a priest.
INARI: I remember the telepathy machines in church. They were into cloning and mind control and stuff like that. Taranis disappeared on some quest (“The Watcher And The Priest”) and we all thought he was dead. Then nine years later he’s back, scaring the life out of poor young Ravana and her friends. Though we did that too.
NAMTAR: Coincidentally, it was while Taranis was away that the rebellion against Que Qiao became a civil war. I find it curious that in these stories the mysterious Athene was apparently present at both junctures, though after the way it ended with Ravana and Taranis, nothing about these so-called ‘watchers’ surprises me anymore (Hollow Worlds). Ravana and her father Quirinus lived on Yuanshi at that time; they were preparing to flee when their ship was hijacked by the Maharaja’s widow and young son (“It’s A Blunderful Life”). As you know, all found a safe haven on the fringes of civilisation in the Barnard’s Star system, aboard the century-old colony ship Dandridge Cole. It was a forgotten ark to a world few cared for, circling a sun too dim to see. Their little hollow moon was a place to hide, a refuge for the runaways fleeing the rank and file of someone else’s great game. I remember it well.
INARI: Then we turned up and kidnapped the young Raja (Hollow Moon). Taranis and Kartikeya wanted him at the peace conference on Daode. That didn’t go well.
NAMTAR: That was years later! Please don’t jump ahead. Anyway, the civil war on Yuanshi and the corporation’s heavy-handed response caused upset across the five systems. The secret agent Commander Kedesh makes an appearance around the time of the Maharaja’s assassination (Part One of “Psyche’s Seven”, Merry Christmas, Mister Wolf), as does young Cethlenn in Alpha Centauri (“The Non-Existence Of Gravity”). Both were destined to cross paths with Ravana and friends in the years to come (Paw-Prints Of The Gods and The Avalon Job). Governor Jaggarneth and his ilk only had themselves to blame for the upheavals that followed.
AUTHOR: Then we come to odd stories like the strange tale about young Damkina from the hollow moon, a magnificent starship and a beastly robot that wanted rather more than she was prepared to offer (“The Narcissus Solution”). Do things like that happen often in the five systems?
INARI: Giving machines brains is stupid. Fancy robots are invented by people who think being clever is smart, when it ain’t.
NAMTAR: My word. That may be the most profound utterance I have ever heard you belch from your lips. Have you perchance been replaced by an educated robot yourself?
Read the full interview with Private Inari and Corporal Namtar in TO DANCE AMONGST THE STARS!
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