Author and blogger Heather Massey is a science fiction romance aficionado who finds and spotlights the best otherworldly tales being published today. So we knew we had a winner on our hands when Massey brought to our attention the upcoming Carina Press' e-anthology A Galactic Holiday. Intrigued by the idea of a holiday-themed sci fi romance collection, Massey spoke with the authors and made her own deductions about the stories:
A Galactic Holiday (December 2012) is a science fiction romance anthology collection from Carina Press. Featuring three novella-length stories from authors Stacy Gail, Sasha Summers, and Anna Hackett, readers can escape the hustle and bustle of the holidays with these otherworldly adventures. I have lots to share with you about this anthology, but first, here’s an overview, courtesy of Carina Press:
Do androids dream of electric sugar plums?
A detective who refuses to modify her body teams up with her cyborg rival to track down a burglar who is putting toys into homes. A solitary ice miner finds love and friendship while stranded on the surface of Galileo. And two hardheaded negotiators put their differences aside to evade an assassin and save their planets. Enjoy these visions of Christmases yet to come with three science-fiction novellas from Carina Press.
Edited by Angela James, this anthology includes:
"How the Glitch Saved Christmas" by Stacy Gail
"Galileo's Holiday" by Sasha Summers
"Winter Fusion" by Anna Hackett
That’s a good teaser, but what’s the story behind A Galactic Holiday? I went straight to the source — the authors — to get the lowdown on what exactly this sci-fi romance holiday anthology means for readers.
Anna Hackett pointed out its unique existence, stating that “ … it's not often you see science-fiction in a romance holiday anthology.”
That’s true, and it’s also why readers can expect a fresh take on the usual tale. Ms. Hackett also shared that “A Galactic Holiday is different because it doesn't just offer romance under the mistletoe — there's action, adventure, unique world-building and some pretty cool gadgets.”
Stacy Gail was intrigued by the challenge of blending SF and holiday elements: “The dynamic melding of science fiction and a holiday theme was what attracted me to Carina Press’s A Galactic Holiday.” She observed that, “No matter what the era is when it comes to the holidays, there is one thing that makes them truly magical — spending that special time with your loved ones.”
Sasha Summers put it this way: “You get all the hot steamy sensual goodness, heart-thumping romance, and warm-fuzzy holiday tones … with a side of other-worldly creatures, droids, and space age tech to boot. Some might call it … strange. I think it’s pure awesome.”
Speaking of awesome, here are the blurbs for each story. I’ve also included heat level descriptions as provided by the authors.
"How the Glitch Saved Christmas" by Stacy Gail
(Sizzle-o-meter: “I’d say it’s definitely steamy” noted the author.)
Reina Vedette chose principle over position when the Chicago police department ordered her to accept performance-enhancing body modifications or lose her rank. Demoted to a level one detective, Reina's stuck chasing a bizarre, Grinch-in-reverse break-in case with fiery bod-mod enthusiast and level five top detective Edison Wicke.
Wicke has had his eye on Reina for ages, and as the two of them hunt down the benevolent burglar, they take turns warming each other with body heat in the subzero Chicago winter. Despite professional friction and their opposing views on bod-modding, Reina soon has to admit that she and Wicke are perfect for each other.
But when they track down their philanthropic quarry on Christmas Day, an unexpected glitch in a homemade android brings out Reina's emotional side, and she and Wicke must decide whether love between a Neo-Luddite and a "walking toaster" is a gift that either of them can give.
"Galileo’s Holiday" by Sasha Summers
(Sizzle-o-meter: the author describes it as “Spicy. Somehow, my characters always end up naked — at least once.”)
Ice miner Riley works alone in the depths of space, and that's the way she likes it. She's proud of her independence, and when her ship gets destroyed by raiders on the icy surface of Galileo, she's not sure she wants to rely on rakish trader Leo and the kindness of a band of settlers to survive.
Despite her attempts to keep her distance, it's not long before Riley warms to the family atmosphere of the settlers' station. As Galileo's Holiday approaches and she develops feelings for the handsome, charming Leo, she questions whether she really wants to remain alone.
But Leo is hiding cargo the raiders want, and when they come back for it, everyone on the small station is in danger. Riley will risk anything to protect her new friends — because if the raiders succeed, the choice between Leo and a life alone won't be Riley's to make.
"Winter Fusion" by Anna Hackett
(Sizzle-o-meter: The author shared that “I write sensual love scenes, so the heat level in "Winter Fusion" is high but not erotic.”)
Ex-space marine Savan Bardan survived the Galactic Wars to become the most ruthless trade negotiator in the galaxy. His planet needs energy to survive, and he'll do anything to close the deal for the Perman fusion crystals that can provide it—even if it means seducing his beautiful, infuriating opponent, a rival icier than her planet.
Perma's top negotiator, Brinn Fjord, lost her father when Savan delayed her planet's Trade Guild membership years ago. She hates the handsome Rendarian and the planet he represents. She's determined to finish the deal and get rid of him as quickly as possible, so she can celebrate the holidays.
But soon the rival negotiators are in a fight for their lives. Besieged by mysterious accidents and unforgiving weather, Brinn and Savan have no one to depend on but each other. As they put the past aside, they uncover a desire hot enough to melt ice, and Brinn discovers a secret that may keep them apart.
Intrigued? I knew you would be. ;)
Now I’m going to take this feature to another level. Blending science fiction with romance and holiday elements invites us to enjoy some entertaining warm and fuzzies, but it also sets the stage for quiet reflection about our cultural traditions. In other words, what are some of the underlying messages in the A Galactic Holiday stories?
Sasha Summers noted that the anthology “ … is all about the essence of the holidays: family and love. I’m not necessarily referring to the family you’re born into, though. The people that live on Galileo Station and Leo’s crew are very much family, protecting each other and taking care of one another.
“Riley, the heroine, is the only one who has never really experienced that. It takes being trapped on the Station, threatened by raiders, chased by cryptids, and almost losing Leo for Riley to realize that love and family beat being alone in the black (space) anytime.”
Stacy Gail’s story explores the idea that it’s never too late to experience a sense of belonging, one that holiday traditions reinforce. She sums it up thusly: “The hero, Edison Wicke, had a terrible childhood that was devoid of anything “Christmassy.” Reina helps broaden his horizons on various traditions, until he takes it upon himself to bring home a tree. Unfortunately it’s a glittering monstrosity throbbing with lights and bad music — a hopeless guy-tree that no sane woman would ever be caught dead with.
“But when Reina sees how proud Edison is of his prized Christmas decoration, she finds herself falling for it (and starts to realize she must be falling for Edison too, to accept that kind of an eyesore :D).”
Anna Hackett’s story touches upon global themes that have relevance for us today: “On the holiday side, my story features Yule — I thought a winter festival was the perfect holiday to celebrate on the heroine, Brinn’s ice world of Perma. Permans are a tough, hardy people who have a strong sense of family and community. My hero, Savan, on the other hand, is from an energy-dependent world, Rendar, that no longer has families or holidays. So Brinn has her work cut out for her showing him the true meaning of Yule and there is a little exploration of what his planet has lost in its rush for more technology and personal gratification.
“Perma is also very dedicated to environmental protection, so there's an underlying theme of balancing technology and the comfort it brings with the planet's environmental health.”
Romance. Futuristic settings. Sexy times. Cool tech. And a shiny silver bow of social commentary ties it all together. I hope you have fun unwrapping A Galactic Holiday!
- Heather Massey
You can download a copy of A Galactic Holiday available from online retailers December 3. For more futuristic romances, you can visit Heather Massey's blog The Galaxy Express and our Everything Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Page.