All the info on this is in the first paragraph of “Seasonal Songs (of Sorts) I” and this second set is similarly structured. (But, however similar, only two tunes actually repeat (one with a different artist and lyrics and the other with different vocals and instrumentation) and this set adds such essential classics as “Stuff the Turkey” and “Last White Christmas.”)
“The Art of Darkness » Link Dumps We Have Heard on High” showed up in my feedreader. One of its links was to “All I Want for Christmas is Darkness and Dread | MetaFilter.” That led me to some cool goth stuff (some familiar; some not) but, as usual, I couldn’t stay in the lane and ended up with much more (some familiar; some not). This is the first of two sets. It moves from the King, to punk, to “metal adjacent,” to comedy (of interest to speculative fiction fans), to the actual techno/goth stuff, before a last tune.
- “How Pleasant the Red Bloom” by Lucy Harlow, Strange Horizons, December 10, 2018 (short story)
- “Cold Heart” by Victoria Dixon, Nature, December 12, 2018 (science fiction short story)
- “Warning Signs” by Emily J. Smith, Terraform, December 12, 2018 (science fiction short story)
“Bloom” is not science fiction or fantasy but slipstream, with oppressed “Ciphers” and oppressing “Diviners.” An imprisoned Cipher plays cryptic mind and word games in text etched under a bed at the bottom of an oubliette. We receive this through colored fonts and typographical gimmicks which mostly represent struck out passages and ironic insertions. “Signs” lacks any control of its point of view, head hopping between a variety of women and a cardboard date rapist. It seems to advocate corporate demolition of the Constitution. “Heart” has an alien who communicates autonomically by heat and color. After he crash lands on Earth, a mixture of (mostly bad) emotions occur over years of captivity and attempts at communication. While the bare situation merits some emoting, this sentimental tale needs to be stronger to bear the amount it has.