At its best, science fiction presents us not just with a vision of the future, but with more understanding of ourselves and how to get to that future. It presents us with ways to think about relationships and people. And this time, it's about the shapes of relationships. In these eight stories, we run the gamut. Whether a shipboard fantasy about a captain that turns into more or the new fiancé meeting the former spouse, people remain people, with loves and confusion.
We know what lurks in the bleak midwinter nights. Fear. In these eight tales, collected to give you shivers in the coldest season, we bring the fear right inside, to lie beside your bed or stand at the door. Or even to rest in the warmth of your kitchen. Come to abandoned mines, the bedrooms of children, the most silent of nights, and even a place where the Earth itself awakens with a fearsome hunger. Turn up the lamplight. Draw closer to the fire. And tell yourself it's just a branch scraping the window.
In almost all traditions, winter has been a time to huddle around the fire and be thankful for those the fire is shared with. The holidays grew out of a need to celebrate that time, from Christmas to Chanukah to Solstice. The longest night of the year has always held some special mystery, and we're proud to present you with several stories of how those mysteries bear fruit.