The Drabblecast ~ #228 ~ A Fairy Tale of Oakland, By Tim Pratt
Art by Bo Kaier
And Merry Christmas again! I feel I should have used my Christmas rant from the last Drabblecast post here, but instead I think I will talk about how awesome this episode is. Once again we are blessed to have Tim Pratt as our feature author this week. Tim is one of The Drabblecast’s favorite authors, and It shows too, because if being published by the same audio fiction outlet 11 times doesn’t mean something then I don’t know what’s going on. This weeks story carries on the Christmassy theme that was sparked in last weeks episode, “The Star” by Arthur C. Clarke, but goes the next step to show what happens to balance out those miracles that the Hanukah, Kwanza, or Boxing day season brings us.
Drabble and twabble this week hit it on the nose. “Last Christmas”, by Greg Winkler, was terrifyingly hilarious. Hope my mom doesn’t start “stuffing the turkey” without supervision. The twabble by Steve D. Lidster, aka ROU Killing Time on the DC forums, with this baby: “The sky grew dark and Quetzalcoatl beat leather wings against the sky. We were wrong about Y2K, but right about maYan2K.” Scary.
Like I was saying before Tim Pratt is a favorite at The Drabblecast, as well as one of my favorite authors too. He has a way with words, a way with wrapping someones mind in the elements he creates with his stories. I rarely find myself day dreaming or simply not paying attention when reading/listening to one of Pratt’s stories. He is the author of the urban-fantasy series based around his bad-ass character, Marla Mason, that he publishes under the name T.A. Pratt. Be sure to swing over to www.marlamason.net where he will soon be serializing, Grim Tides, a new addition to the Marla Mason series. I highly recommend any of those novels, or any of his short story collections; Hart & Boot & Other Stories, or Little Gods.
“A Fairy Tale of Oakland” is the second christmas story that Mr. Pratt has been commissioned to write for The Drabblecast and I must say that seems like a tradition worth keeping. Last years story was “Rangifer Volans“. In this episode we learn that there is a balance that needs to be kept. With light there must be dark, and with good there must be evil. That’s were the Krampus comes in. I had never heard of this before this episode. I mean don’t get me wrong, I had heard of the word, Krampus, but I just thought it was some silly reference to a Seinfeld joke. I’m glad it’s not.
With this whole new idea in my head I will be warning my kids about the Krampus for years to come. Just makes christmas more fun than it already is. Besides it’s just as creepy knowing that there is a creature that will stuff you in his sack and possibly eat you if your naughty, as an “elf on a shelf ” statue that is designed to sit in your living room and watch your kids only to report to santa if they’re naughty. Hmm, Maybe there should be a tiny Krampus elf that does the same thing. Just a satyrish goblin that watches ominously from a dark corner. Or hell go one step further and put that tiny monster in your kids room and tell them it watches them sleep. I can see the naughtiness slipping away already.
Anyway, good stuff as usual from Tim Pratt. This story, like the one last week, made me think about justice and how it’s meaning has changed over the years. The tales of the Krampus were probably abolished for the same reason you can’t spank your kids these days. If your kid cries to someone that Mommy and Daddy are terrorizing them with a tiny monster that will come and eat them if they’re bad, well, then that someone will probably turn you in and then the real Krampus (aka the government) comes , and your kids get eaten by a system that is unstable and has cracks the size of the Grand Canyon. Just saying, something to think about.
Good fiction usually gets my vote, but throw Mr. Pratt in the salad and I really like what I see/hear. I give this episode 5 out of 5 stars in alignment, mainly though for Norm’s line, “Like you really want to piss of a bad kid and then give him some coal. terrible idea.”
Oh and be sure to jump over and take a look at Tim Pratt’s new novel, Briarpatch.