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Julian: A Christmas Story (Novella)

Last modified: 2023-12-09 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
Keywords: book | julian: a christmas story | novella |
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Robert Charles Wilson's novella Julian: A Christmas Story was published first in 2006 and is available on line («by permission of the author and publisher») here (PDF) and here (HTML). (See more info here.)

This dystopian speculative fiction novella is set in 22nd century North America, sharing time line and setting with the upcoming novel Julian Comstock, A Story of the 22nd. Century, by the same author, expected to be published later this year. In this fictional future, civilization (at least in North America) has regressed to 19th cent. levels, after the «End of Oil and the False Tribulation».
António Martins-Tuválkin, 25 January 2009

United States of America

[USA flag with 60 stars]
image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 25 January 2009

The plot of _Julian: A Christmas Story_ is set in 2172-2173, in the U.S. state of Athabasca, which indicates that in this future at least part of Canada has been taken over by its current southern neighbour. There are mentions to an U.S. national flag with 60 stars, almost surely standing for the same number of states (the upcoming novel will probably give more information):

(.4 §2 ¶1)

stirring scene of an American flag, its thirteen stripes and sixty stars rippling in sunlight

(.5 §3 ¶3)

Every Independence Day he addressed the townsfolk and reminded them of the symbolism and significance of the Thirteen Stripes and the Sixty Stars.

(.2 §2 ¶4)

an archaic version of our own flag, with something less than the customary sixty stars.

António Martins-Tuválkin, 25 January 2009

Europe or Netherland

In the novella, Europe is briefly refered as such as an enemy of United States

Footnote to .4 §3 ¶7.

my first finished story, which I had called "A Western Boy: His Adventures in Enemy Europe."

Individual european countries seems to have retained some kind of distinctness, as in a mention to :

.4 §1 ¶23

a portable Swiss dynamo (probably captured from the Dutch forces)

or even kept separated as such.

The novella mentions several times a War in Labrador against Dutch forces

( .5 §3 ¶22)

drive the Dutch out of Labrador

these featuring in a propaganda movie:

(.4 §1 ¶25)

Dutchmen under their cross-and-laurel flag.

These "Dutch" may be either the actual item, or, by metonymy, (North) Europeans in general, or even the not new confusion with Deutsch (i.e., Germans) again, the upcoming novel will probably give more information. Their flag may be imagined as a hybrid of the U.N. wreath and the scandinavian cross.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 25 January 2009

Christmas Banner

The novella mentions decorative flags used in Christmas season public ornamentation:

(.4 §2 ¶1)

pine and holly wreaths pinned to doorways, cranberry-red banners draped above the main street to flap cheerfully in the cold wind, carols and hymns chanted or sung

(.4 §1 ¶30)

the banners and tokens of the Christmas season

(.4 §2 ¶32)

Christmas banners hung limply in the frigid air

António Martins-Tuválkin, 25 January 2009

Banner of the Cross

The novella Julian: A Christmas Story mentions a "Banner of the Cross" among the refered Christmas decorations: The mansions and other buildings of Duncan-Crowley Estate were

(.5 §2 ¶6)

dressed for Christmas; a holly wreath hung on the door; pine boughs were suspended over the lintels; a Banner of the Cross dangled from the eaves.

This seems to be something other than the mentioned Christmas season decorative red flags, perhaps something akin to the current Christian Flag?
António Martins-Tuválkin, 25 January 2009