Holiday-themed fiction has become sadly predictable: ‘Tis the Season for Santa, reindeer, and family reconciliation. Not that we don’t love tradition and feel-good endings; but it feels like it’s time for something a bit…different.

So for Liberty Island’s first annual Holiday Fiction Contest, we’re asking for you to surprise us. Pick your favorite genre–sci fi, fantasy, mystery, military, what have you–and, using the basic conventions of that genre, tell an interesting and compelling story with a Christmas or Chanukkah backdrop.

The best entries will be featured in Liberty Island’s end-of-the-year blockbuster release, and may be collected in a themed anthology in the future — so be sure to send us your best stuff. And something new: we’ll pick one overall best story and the winning author will receive a gift package of Liberty Island swag.

Entries are due Monday, December 8th. Length should be between 1,000 and 5,000 words. Email entries to to [email protected]; please put "Holiday Fiction Contest" in the subject line.

We look forward to reading a dozen stories about killer android reindeer!


Update: And we have our winners!


"THE 1011000-100110110000011010011 TRUCE" by Thomas A. Mays

"Merry freakin’ Christmas, boys. It don’t get no better than this." Staff Sergeant Malcolm Riddell glared at the snowy, broken battlefield before him and took another long pull from the glass bottle in his hand. The amber liquid within burned harshly going down, but that pleasant pain was a welcome distraction from the monotony the Keystone War had devolved into.


"Get the Greek – A Chrismukkah Tale" by David Dubrow

Judah Maccabee spat a curse, reached out to slam the laptop shut, and threw both hands in the air instead. Rivka kept telling him it was a waste of time watching World Jews Tonight. Why do you want to raise your blood pressure with all that bad news, she would ask. Earth’s a billion miles away on a whole other plane of existence, for cat’s sake.

"Wild Turkey" byWenda Morrone

"You won’t snooker me twice," said Chili.

"Christmas Hits" by Fred Tribuzzo

Not waiting for the storm to let up, seventy-year old Caesar Vincenzo ran stiff legged, head down, from the car into the store. Soaked, he stood proudly inside his twelve-year-old business, Rex Appliances. With his fingers he combed back wet hair and noticed a young couple transfixed before three large plasma screens, two roaring with action movies and a third showing White Christmas, a holiday favorite that he planned on watching soon. He was smiling when the couple turned and withered at the sight of Caesar. Hair dyed black, barrel-chested with thick arms filling out his sport jacket, Caesar’s large chin gave his meaty face a menacing look, the look of a hit man, not a successful business owner, which only depressed him. He shook his head and lost the smile as the young couple scooted toward the appliances lining the back wall.

"Better or Worse" by Mary Madigan

"Live the Martian adventure" the ads said. "Mars has jobs." Amy said. So Joe packed their bags and they left their hometown in Northern Great Lakestan, convinced that this new life would be better.


"Lunar Christmas" by Leigh Kimmel

The scent of pines filled the air, a welcome change from the old gym shoe odor that pervaded the moonbase. Smuggling a Christmas tree aboard a lunar resupply mission had been a running joke ever since Peter Caudell had joined the astronaut corps, but it was unlikely anyone could have gotten something that big past the program managers. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be that hard to slip a few vials of pine oil into someone’s personal kit. Then it’d be just a matter of introducing a few drops at a time into the air recirculators and the whole place would smell like the evergreen forests of his Rocky Mountains childhood.

"ELFILTRATED – A Tale of Deception" by Susan Ouellette

Gabe peered around the corner. The office door was wide open, the chair at the desk empty. It might be his last chance. He slipped off his green felt shoes, careful to silence the jingle bells attached to the toes. Sure, those bells were festive, but their jingle-jangling would alert the boss to his deception. He couldn’t risk that, not with so much at stake.

"An "Out"-standing Chanukah" by Marina Fontaine

"Uncle Jay? You have a minute?"

"Water Like A Stone" by Elisabeth Wolfe

Nobody knew where the guy came from. The triage nurse at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s emergency room had simply looked up from the computer to see a dark-skinned young man on a gurney, his white robe soaked with blood pouring from the gash across his throat, and called for help. Whatever had caused his injury had nearly taken his head off, so getting the bleeding stopped and the wound closed had been a major race against time, and his heart had stopped once or twice before the doctors could stabilize him. But stabilized him they had, and slowly his condition had improved from critical to serious to fair. Everyone said it was a miracle.

"Festive" by Adan Ramie

Editor’s note: this story contains graphic content that may disturb more sensitive readers.

A figure sat on a low branch of a sprawling Sycamore tree in a small, cozy neighborhood. She watched lights go on in each house as the occupants went about their normal Christmas Eve night routines. Some opened presents, some had lavish dinners, and some simply rushed off to bed to wait for Santa Claus. She watched each house, but focused on one, a two story cream-colored home with a ridiculous number of festive lights.