cover image The Christmas Thingy

The Christmas Thingy

F. Paul Wilson. Cemetery Dance Publications, $20 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-58767-031-2

Billed by the publisher as ""a heartwarming story for children (and adults!) of all ages,"" this Yuletide tale from two distinguished contributors with their roots in SF/horror is nothing less but little more. The story of how young Jessica, burdened with a permanent leg brace and consequent loneliness, finds her Christmas wish granted when she hopes for a monster, ""a friendly little one to play with,"" moves nimbly via both the words of veteran author Wilson (All the Rage, Forecasts, Sept. 24, etc.) and the more than 30 pages of full-color paintings by Clark, a World Fantasy Award winner. The titular thingy shows up under Jessica's bedroom weeks before Christmas; the complication is that, as the family's housekeeper says, ""Like a rose must bloom and a pig must squeal, a cow must moo and a thingy must steal""--specifically, Jessica's Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, taking them back to Thingyland. Before it can do so, though, Jessica gives it a present, the first it's ever had--leading to an inspired solution to its natural kleptomania. Wilson's story is pleasant and cheerful, but never grips the emotions as some other Christmas tales do (say, Peef: The Christmas Bear). More impressive are Clark's deep-hued, often kinetic paintings, which depict the thingy as a kind of smiling, tentacled mushroom. This isn't an instant Christmas classic, but it's a good bet for those who like their Christmas cheer spiked with a hint of SF and spookiness. (Dec.)