"In the Late December" is a 2003 science fiction short story by Greg van Eekhout. It is about how Santa Claus battles the heat death of the universe by giving out gifts to any life form he can find.
The End Is Scary Enough Already!
The death of the universe is not a pleasant thing to think about, and I have read several stories describing the nasty, bitter end. But what about all the fun things in life – like Santa Claus – did anybody stop to think what the end of it all would mean to them? Here’s a short story that does just that.
Non-spoiler Summary in a Nutshell
Santa has been doing his job for a long, long time. So long, in fact, that there is only a handful of life-forms still around. So, after billions of years of delivering gifts, Santa prepares his sleigh and reindeer once more. This time, however, Santa is having some trouble finding the kids on his list, and that can mean only one thing: his arch-enemy, The Big Empty, has been taking them down! The line has been crossed, and now Santa is going to do something about it!
Interesting Tidbits About This Story:
- Page Count: 5
- Word Count: 2,798
- "In the Late December" was nominated for the 2005 Nebula Award for Best Short Story.
- Special thanks to one of my readers, Mangelo, for suggesting this cool little story.
Where You Can Find In the Late December:
- This story was originally published on 22 December 2003 in the web-zine Strange Horizons – where you can still read it online for free.
- You can listen to an audio version of "In the Late December" at Escape Pod.
- This short story can also be found in Greg van Eekhout’s chapbook Show and Tell and Other Stories.
If you liked this story you may also be interested in Ancient Engines by Michael Swanwick – about robots who try to live to the end of the universe.