So, thing that destroys my productivity is still a thing. But I've managed to get a little reading done.
And as you know, I do enjoy the holiday season. So to make up for the missing posts, here's your Christmas present: one full week of holiday-themed posts! That's right, every (week)day until Christmas, I'll be posting a short review of a seasonal fic. Sure, you might say "that's only five mini-reviews, it's not really 'five days worth of content,'" but you know what? I'm doing it over five days, so that makes it five days' worth. So head on down below, and see what fic got the Chris treatment today... and make sure you come back tomorrow, because we're going M-T-W-T-F in the leadup the holidays!
Memory, by Algernon97
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Lyra sits alone on a bench on Hearth's Warming Eve, working up the will to go somewhere.
A few thoughts: I wonder where the 97 in the author's name comes from? When I see something like that I usually assume it's a birth year, but obviously that can't be right in this case because babies can't write fanfoh my God 1997 was twenty years ago there are people born in 1997 in college right now I am so freaking old.
(as usual, thank you to my small but vital-to-Chris's-sense-of-youthful-identity cadre of followers for whom their thirties are already a fading memory; I can always count on you to remind me that I'm not old, it's the children who are wrong)
Okay, now for some thoughts about the story: it feels to me like it has maybe one too many pieces of sorrow built into it; for a story under 2000 words, there's enough in terms of melancholic event that it starts to feel contrived. But that sense of contrivance is thankfully limited to the quantity, not the actual execution; Algernon97 wisely doesn't overplay the ending, mostly letting the dialogue and character action/expression speak for itself. The writing is a little repetitive in wording, but is otherwise solid; while the brief, dry, and sometimes almost accountant-like descriptions might be out of place in most stories, here they work to give the story a much-needed sense of reserve. And the respect with which Lyra's dad is handled at the end was much appreciated by me; stories that tackle this subject matter can easily feel offensive and/or exploitative, but that doesn't happen here.
Recommendation: If you're in the market for a short tear-jerker, this is a very good choice. If you're the sort of reader whose suspension of disbelief is easily disrupted by repeated tragedy, this probably isn't a great fic for you, though, nor is it for anyone looking for more than a wintertime slice of melancholy.