Superman Still Believes in Santa Claus

You know what Clark Kent needs? A little bit of Bruce Wayne’s stark realism.
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In the mood for a Holiday read? How about a story from Elizabeth Hand? How about helping out a charity? How about all three!

All proceeds from the ebook sales for Elizabeth Hand’s short novel Chip Crockett’s Christmas Carol, a quirky modern-day homage to A Christmas Carol, will be donated to Autism Speaks.

Here’s what the story is about…
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Diane Turnshek is an astronomer whose short fiction has been published in Analog Magazine and elsewhere. She teaches astronomy and experimental physics lab at Carnegie Mellon University and at the University of Pittsburgh “The Physics of Science Fiction” as well as astronomy. She’s a contributing author of Many Genres/One Craft, a 2011 award-winning book on writing. She has taught college writing classes, helped organize science fiction conferences, founded Alpha, the genre workshop for young writers, and ran the 2007 SFWA Nebula Awards in NYC. Diane has four stellar sons and an out-of-this-world boyfriend.

I am on Mars, at least that’s what it looks like here in the high desert of Utah. Six of us are living in the Mars Desert Research Station, a two-story cylindrical habitat 30 feet across with steep ladder stairs between floors. Our bunks are 4 by 11 feet and we share one bathroom. Why am I here for Christmas instead of home with my four children? For science.

We are pioneers, studying how humans could live on another planet. We’re in full sim. We eat rehydrated/dehydrated food, suffer a 20-minute lag time with communications, travel outside the Hab in spacesuits and ride ATVs in the red desert. We each pay for our travel and a flat fee for food and lodging, but what we get back is invaluable. We have forwarded the progress of science, taking humanity one small step closer to striding onto the surface of Mars.

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VIDEO: Batman’s Cool Cruel Christmas Caper

Bad news for Gotham City when Mr. Freeze, dressed as Santa Claus, steals the diamond star from the Christmas tree during the Gotham City Christmas parade!

What ever will we — oh, right…Batman and Robin are also in the parade. They’ll handle it.

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Song: “Chiron Beta Prime”

Artist: Jonathan Coulton

Album: Thing a Week Two

Jonathan Coulton is arguably the most successful singer/songwriter of the internet age. Much has been written of his “Thing a Week” project, where he wrote, recorded, and released a new song every week during a 12 month span in 2005 and 2006. Many other artists have tried similar tricks, but Coulton’s success is due more to the undeniable quality of his songwriting rather than any gimmick.

Coulton’s songs combine a Beatle-esque level of songcraft with a They Might Be Giants’ sense of fun and humor. The sheer number of flat-out great songs that he produced during this period is truly remarkable. This week’s Tuesday Tune was written during this time.

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Tuesday Tune: Merry Axemas

Album: Merry Axemas

Artist: Various

Tis’ the season to be inundated with a stocking full of crappy Christmas music. In the interest of sanity preservation, I’d like to spend the next few weeks here on SF Signal recommending some less-cliched Christmas music that may be appealing to the Sci-Fi Fan.

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