Time travel, ghosts, entities from another dimension.
Now that’s great fantasy.
But you mostly don’t think of Charles Dickens.
More’s the pity.
A Christmas Carol is classic literature… and classic fantasy. The novel has what fantasy needs: Memorable characters going through extraordinary circumstances while facing daunting odds but eventually coming out victorious.
In this story, the daunting odds are in getting a stubborn old sinner to change into a man with… well, with humanity. Remember as we’ve discussed before, fantasies need to speak to the human condition. And, boy, did Dickens know how to do that!
In life – in reality – don’t you find your most daunting challenge is to change the self, that is, yourself? Maybe that’s why, though A Christmas Carol is not overtly religious, it maintains a Christian tone. The novel faces the fact man can be quite wicked. But man, with help, can choose to change.
Inner change, not physical change, needs supernatural help, not by ghostly visions or through words of terror, but by the spirit of something stronger than the self needing to change, through words spoken directly to the human heart.
Fantasy is an imaginative story that shines on truth in such a way you see reality with a new perspective.
And in the process, you approach the danger of changing.
If you’ve never read A Christmas Carol, take some time to read it this Christmas. It isn’t long at all. Why, compared to other Dickens novels, it’s a breeze. Five chapters and you’re done.
Or maybe watch the movie. There are multitudes. Black and white versions, musicals, animations, TV series send offs. I like the Quantum Leap episode that takes on the Scrooge fable. But for my favorite, check out the version where Scrooge is portrayed by Patrick Stewart. Yeah, you know, Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation. How’s that, sci-fi and fantasy fans?
In A Christmas Carol you’ll meet lasting characters; you’ll root for the underdog, even when you find out the underdog’s the villain; you’ll get the adrenaline scared out of you; you’ll ache over lost opportunities and lost love; and you’ll cheer when everyone lives happily ever after.
That’s a Merry Christmas.
God Bless Us, Every One.