A Christmas Carol Re-Imagined for the Rational

Modern Christmas CarolA new novella-length piece of fiction is coming out just in time for the Christmas holiday season. A Modern Christmas Carol, by Bob Seidensticker, who has a programming, software, and technology background in addition to blogging here at Patheos, probably wouldn’t make Dickens laugh (but Dawkins might). That’s because it makes serious fun of greedy televangelists.

Smoothly written and without excess verbiage (only 113 pages), this modern Carol lacks most of the amateur flaws found in so many self-published books, which I sometimes can’t finish reading. There’s a good balance of dialogue and of “showing, not telling.”

The tale has supernatural elements, of course, as it’s a takeoff on Dickens’ famous A Christmas Carol. But the supernatural bits are there purely as a gimmick for the story, not to convince readers that there exists a mystical creator up there or out there somewhere. Nor does it slavishly follow Dickens’ fine original, at least what I recall of the latter.

One character in A Modern Christmas Carol says (toward the end), “When the Bible conflicts with common sense, common sense wins.” If only that were universally held to be the case.

I did think the greedy televangelist who was visited by several ghostly guides may have been a little too one-sided. He got rich partly by offering super-cheap Chinese-made giveaways to those who donated to the church. Later in the story we do find out he was once much more idealistic and only fell under the sway of another evangelist who saw nothing wrong in exploiting believers for financial gain.

Learn more at Seidensticker’s blog, Cross Examined, which is, according to the Author’s Note in A Modern Christmas Carol, “an energetic but civil critique of Christianity,”

Copyright (c) 2013 by Susan K. Perry

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