“Christmas on Ganymede” – in July

Against Jupiter’s great yellowness was outlined a flying sleigh, complete with reindeer.  It was only a tiny thing, but there was no doubt about it.  Santa Claus was coming.

There was only one thing wrong with the picture.  The sleigh, “reindeer” and all, while plunging ahead at a terrific speed, was flying upside down.

I don’t mind posting about Isaac Asimov’s short story “Christmas on Ganymede” (written in 1941) in July because years on Ganymede are not the same as years on Earth.  This little fact plays into the conclusion of the story that I would describe as enjoyable, funny and, I’ll say it, cute.

Mild-mannered Earthman, Olaf Johnson, works on Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede, for a company that ships Ganymedan natural resources to Earth.  When Olaf unwittingly tells the Ganymedan natives (also employed by the company) about Santa Claus, they refuse to work until they see him, putting the company’s quota in jeopardy.

The rest of the story consists of Olaf’s reluctant plan to let the Ossies (that’s what the native Ganymedans are called, you’ll have to read the story to find out why this is so) see Santa Claus – in order to appease his boss, a sort of outerspace Scrooge if I may allude to another more famous Christmas story.

This is the first writing of Isaac Asimov’s that I’ve ever read.  I have a feeling that not all of his stories are as light and fun as this one, but I was exactly in the mood for this story.

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2 responses to ““Christmas on Ganymede” – in July

  1. Hi Dale,

    Sounds like a great little story. I’ll have to look for that one. Coincidentally, I read an Asimov short story as part of my project yesterday. It was called “Homo Sol,” and I didn’t find to be one of his better efforts. I doubt I’ll even blog about it.

    Amazing that you’ve made it this far as a reading without being touched by Asimov until now.

    -Jay

    • Hi Jay! I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy (more fantasy) when I was a kid, but for some reason I never read Asimov. I remember a librarian at the public library I went to when I was in grade school who said she loved science fiction and fantasy and that she didn’t like anything realistic. I agreed with her at the time, but then in tenth grade, I discovered Hemingway and I only wanted books that were “realistic”. Since then, I would say that I’ve developed a reading taste that goes beyond any certain genre. From your posts about him last year, I decided his work was a “gap” in my reading so I put him down as one of my reading project authors for this year. I think I’m going to enjoy his work. I’ll probably read his autobiography at some point, too.

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