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In Space, No One Can Hear You Laugh

Can you feel it?  It's waiting for you.  It's creeping closer, ever closer, day by day.  Tension hangs in the air, its dreadful keen followiing you everywhere: in the supermarket, at the mall.  You can try to run, but there's no escaping it.  Like Sisyphus, you are doomed to watch in despair as it slips from your hold and crushes you beneath its awful weight once again.  It's.... THE HOLIDAY SEASON.

Okay, okay, I'm (mostly) kidding.  While some people probably do see the holidays as a Sisyphean burden, for most people it's a time to relax, enjoy the sights and sounds of the season, be with friends and loved ones, and eat way more than they usually do.  Still, the coming months are not without their stressors-- the shopping, the traffic, the extra preparations to visit or be visited.  (And there's always that relative you really love better at a distance.)  But I've got some helpful tips for you, and a speculative fiction list, too!

The best way to handle holiday stress is to have a plan: know what you need to do, and get started on it early so you're not trying to finish everything at once.  Don't be afraid to ask for help-- sharing a task can make it fly by, or turn a chore into a fun mini-gathering all its own.  (As my grandmother always said, "Viele Hände, schnelles ende"-- many hands make a quick end!)  Be sure to build in some quiet time for yourself-- stress gets worse when you don't get a chance to release it.  And above all, hang on to your sense of humor-- it will help you through the tight spots! 

While I'm not about to cook your Thanksgiving dinner for you, I am ready to help with the last two on that list!  For me, reading's always been a great way to take a little time for myself.  It doesn't require travel, I can do it almost anywhere, I don't need any specialized equipment, and it fits into my schedule anywhere-- I can read a few pages while standing in line, a couple of chapters on my lunch break, or an entire novel over the weekend.  And as a stressbuster, nothing beats a comic novel-- the zanier, the better.

That's why this month's speculative fiction selections are devoted to making you scream... with laughter!  There's humor here for all tastes.  Take two (or more) and treat yourself to a healthy dose of stress relief this month.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (SF Adams)
Blood Lite by Kevin J. Anderson, ed. (Horror Blood)
The Sound and the Furry: The Complete Hoka Stories by Poul Anderson & Gordon R. Dickson (SF Anderson)
A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony (SF Anthony)
The Mammoth Book of Awesome Comic Fantasy by Mike Ashley, ed. (Fantasy SS Mammoth)
Hit or Myth by Robert Asprin (Fantasy Asprin)
Zombies vs. Unicorns
by Holly Black & Justine Larbalestier, eds. (YA SS Zombies)
Breathers: A Zombie's Lament
by S. G. Browne (Horror Browne)
Misspelled by Julie E. Czerneda, ed. (PbkFantasy Misspelled)
Schrodinger's Ball by Adam Felber (Fiction Felber)
Pyramid Scheme by Dave Freer & Eric Flint (SF Freer)
Space Captain Smith by Toby Frost (SF Frost)
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (Fantasy Gaiman)
Fantasy Gone Wrong by Martin H. Greenberg, ed. (PbkFantasy Fantasy)
The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison (SF Harrison)
The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines (PbkFantasy Hines)
Expecting Someone Taller by Tom Holt (Fantasy Holt)
Johannes Cabal, the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard (Horror Howard)
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones (Fantasy Jones)
Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner (Horror Kenner)
Tick Tock by Dean Koontz (LP Koontz)
Robots Have No Tails by Henry Kuttner (SF Kuttner)
The Best of Joe R. Lansdale (contains "Bubba Ho-Tep") by Joe R. Lansdale (Horror Lansdale)
Gil's All-Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez (Fiction Martinez)
The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore (Fiction Moore)
Heroics for Beginners by John Moore (Fiction Moore)
The Complete Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper (New SF Piper)
Rincewind the Wizzard by Terry Pratchett (SF Pratchett)
Eddie Bear, Private Detective by Robert Rankin (Fantasy Rankin)
Doppelgangster by Laura Resnick (PbkFantasy Resnick)
Yellow, Blue Tibia by A. R. R. R. Roberts (SF Roberts)
The Callahan Chronicals by Spider Robinson (SF Robinson)
The Sheriff of Yrnameer by Michael Rubens (SF Rubens)
The Android's Dream by John Scalzi (SF Scalzi)
The Witches of Karres by James H. Schmitz (SF Schmitz)
The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut (Fiction Vonnegut)
The Misenchanted Sword by Lawrence Watt-Evans (Fiction Watt-Evans)
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (SF Willis)
John Dies at the End by David Wong (Horror Wong)
A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny (SF Zelazny)

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Karen Ostertag's blog

It's always interesting and fun to read. Many years ago, I was an avid science fiction reader, and especially adored fantasy. I abandoned it when so much of it turned to space adventure. Karen's tempted me back, and so many of her recommendations are good!