I only had 24, though I mentioned one more in a thread. Repeating it here with a couple of other additions because she asked for it! Well, several more...
The spirit of Ebeneezer Scrooge returns to the 20th century to teach a lonely woman the meaning of Christmas in this delightful holiday fable from Nebula Award-winning author Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. A workaholic with no room in her life for home, family, or love, Monica Banks finds her life dramatically transformed by the arrival of a special spirit from Christmas past, Ebeneezer Scrooge, who takes her on a journey that teaches her about the joy of Christmas.
In this more modern (published in 1996), gender-swapped conceptualization of the Charles Dickens classic, our Scrooge this time 'round is Monica Banks, a former tax auditor, now CEO of Databanks, a Seattle-based software company that develops Siri-like technology. Secretly addressed as "Dragonlady" by her employees, Monica's staff sometimes joke that she must have had a past life as a member of the Third Reich. Yeah, THAT bad.
As the holidays approach, Monica gets a visit from the OG Ebenezer one night to give her the heads up on the visitations coming her way. Obviously the skeptic in her disregards the message. But sure enough, the visitors come bearing reminders of painful memories and an even more unpleasant future, should Monica not turn her behavior around. Through these scenes, just as in the original story, we learn what has happened over the course of her life to have turned her into the witchy woman people now see her as. A few of the main deviations from Dickens' original:
1) Monica inheriting Databanks from brother Doug after his untimely death. Doug ran the company much like Google headquarters -- colorful art in offices, fun environments with toys, inflatable furniture, aquariums.... Once Monica takes over, she does away with all that, starting her on the path of becoming the battle-ax boss.
"You wouldn't know it was the same place," Sheryl said with a woeful shake of her head," Would you, Harald?" she asked another fellow, this one thin, dark, and bespectacled and perhaps a bit older than the others.
He shook his head sadly and held up a slice of pie with what appeared to be cheese melted on it. "Nope. Look at this. Cold pizza. On Christmas Eve, no less. Dragonlady closed all the cafeterias after 5 P.M. and charges more than a five-star restaurant to eat there, plus we only get half an hour."
Phillip chimed in, "When Doug was alive, they were always open and FREE, so if you were working on a problem at 2 A.M., you could still get a noshie."
"She brought in time clocks," Melody said with a delicate shudder.
"Sold the art collection too," Sheryl added forlornly. "I could tell which building I was in by that art collection. Now all the interiors look the same. I was lost for three days once trying to get back from the restroom."
"Pay toilets," a red-haired woman interjected.
"I used to be able to tell where I was from Matt-in-development's inflatable shark hanging from his ceiling, Karen-the-coder's aquarium, tester Bob's stuffed gorilla, and the different Doonesbury, Far Side and Peanuts cartoons on people's windows, but they're all gone now, " Curtis said, shaking his head, grieving for what had gone before. "All gone."
2) Dickens' original "Tiny Tim" character is represented here by eight year old redheaded Tina Timmons, who loves reading and making origami animals. But instead of Tim's faulty legs, Tina's health issue is a problematic heart. Tina's grandfather is the janitor at Databanks. Tina's grandmother and father are both deceased. Tina lives with her grandfather, mother and her teenage aunt and uncle in a slum apartment building where they joke, "cats and dogs not allowed, only rats, mice and cockroaches."
3) The spirit of OG Scrooge also seems to be able to interact with Monica's employees, even though they explain away his presence as some freak computer glitch (this is after he first makes his presence known by speaking through a computer and they can't figure out how to make him stop). Eventually they just accept him as some sort of avatar full of wisdom and mysterious powers of prophecy. It was a little confusing to work out at times but it also seems the employees are sometimes able to witness Monica's visitations as a distanced, detached (not in the room with her, I mean) audience?
Scrooge is able to travel through computer games, virtual reality programs, emails, etc to gather information and communicate with others. This process, the way it's laid out in the book, is sometimes a little difficult to visualize, but the concept is fun and later proves a nice vehicle for Scrooge seeing this modern world and being shocked by the rampant materialism of the day. As he puts it when Monica's employees show him a mall for the first time, "A small pile of these gifts could fund the Cratchetts for several years!".
The prologue to this book almost serves as an epilogue to Dickens' original work, Scrooge giving readers a rundown of what happened after the final scene of that classic story, up to the last five years of Scrooge's life. While the sci-fi / fantasy element introduced into Dickens' original concept makes for good reading fun (especially when reading it now and seeing how dated the 90s ideas already seem), there's also some heavier topics addressed here. Along with talks on unhealthy levels of consumerism, author Elizabeth Ann Scarborough also addresses the important discussion of mental health dips during the holidays. Holiday depression, work fatigue, it all gets hashed out between characters. Even a talk on slave labor comes up. I don't know about Scrooge's comment on overworked employees though, "Surely a Christmas so hard won must be all the sweeter..." LOL
Certainly a unique twist on a holiday favorite!
One of my New Year's resolutions is to get my shelves updated. I'm going to make an effort to do a better job than I have been doing the past 6-8 months.
So... I did listen to about 4-5 audiobooks in both November and December, and all but one of those titles will fit the book tasks for this year's 24 Tasks of the Festive Season. I'll try to put up brief reviews this coming week - I was out of commission with the flu and then back issues for over two weeks in December - but for now I'm just going to match up my books/reads with the various holidays.
Melbourne Cup Day: Book About Horses - Reflex by Dick Francis
Advent: Fourth Book in a Series - Persons of Interest by Peter Grainger
St Andrew's Day: Book Set In Scotland - A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber
Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Book with a Strong Woman Character -
Lane by Peter Grainger
Christmas: Book About Christmas - A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Yule and Solstice: Book Set In December - The Man With the Sack by Margery
Dia De Los Muertos: Reread an Old Favorite by a Deceased Author - Trojan Gold by
Russian Mother's Day: Book Where a Key Character is a Mother - Charringham 4-6
by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello
Guy Fawkes Night: Book Set in the UK: The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE HERE ON BL!
Yay! I finally finished a Dickens book! Helps that it was short and one that I'm well familiar with thanks to Mickey Mouse and Xena. :D He's still a little long-winded but being restricted by a short story certainly helped the rambling. The Disney animated classic is quite accurate adaptation, but I still like Xena's more. :D
What's your favorite retelling of A Christmas Carol?