Together for the first time!
Scrogged: A Cyber Christmas Carol
A Ghost Story of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Be based on the 2001 Enron scandal
A Wall Street Christmas Carol
A Ghost Story of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Be based on the 2008 Great Recession
With both modern retellings in one book, readers can compare a classic story reinvented from the same bones, twice, with lighter and darker depths of malfeasance.
When mystery superstar Anne Perry invited Carole into a story anthology called "Death by Dickens," Carole framed her murder mystery in a modern retelling of "A Christmas Carol."
I bump into Carole Nelson Douglas every year at DragonCon, and we have a lot to talk about since we're both writing in the mean streets of urban fantasy; Carole has her Delilah Street series, I have my Dan Shamble, Zombie PI series. Carole just did a great job with a book in our recent Urban Fantasy bundle, and when I mentioned I was trying to find titles for the Holiday Fantasy batch, she immediately jumped on board. – Kevin J. Anderson
"In the pages of his novels, Charles Dickens railed against injustice in all its forms—the miserliness of Ebenezer Scrooge, the indifference of the aristocracy... He captured the bitter unfairness of the class system and the violence that erupted between rich and poor. Now, today's masters of mystery [offer] new stories inspired by Dickens and his immortal classics…
Three spirits visit a modern-day Scrooge to save his soul—and solve a murder—in Carole Nelson Douglas' 'A Cyber Christmas Carol."
"With a different flare though, is the comically written tale by Carole Nelson Douglas entitled, Scrogged: A Cyber Christmas Carol. This is definitely an original version of the Scrooge tale, but with strong ties to the Enron scandal and the executives. Ms. Douglas' tale with Ben Scroggs, who strongly resembles Scrooge, is a wonderful combination of the past and the present. From his personal secretary and her ill son, to the dissolving of the 401K plans, to the relationship of the nephew, even though the reader should know how this will end, there are enough new twists to keep the reader deeply enthralled with this tale."–Reviews by Teri
"notable reads include… a retelling, with sly winks to contemporary society, of Dickens’ beloved holiday story (Scrogged: A Cyber Christmas Carol by Carole Nelson Douglas.)"–RT Book Reviews
"Newly re-imagined versions range from thoughtful pastiches of the great master to a hip modern Scrooge. [Among] the most memorable [is] Carole Nelson Douglas’s hilariously updated Christmas Carol with Scrooge as a nerdy financial officer caught in an accounting scandal at a megacorporation in Texas…. The skillful collaboration between the ghosts of Dickens past and some of the best contemporary authors make this anthology a thoroughly enjoyable read."–Historical Novel Society
"Among the most memorable pieces was Carole Nelson Douglas’s hilariously updated Christmas Carol, with Scrooge as a nerdy financial officer caught in an accounting scandal at a thinly disguised Texas megacorporation…. The skillful collaboration between the ghosts of Dickens past and some of the best contemporary authors make this anthology a thoroughly enjoyable read."–Book Loons
"A Wall Street Christmas Carol" asks, and answers, the question: On Christmas Eve 2011, Caleb Gould is the most hateful and hated man in the world…can a modern billionaire match a nineteenth-century pinch-penny for ill will toward humanity and the capacity to change?
Gould must have failed to secure the French door to the penthouse rooftop, for it gave behind his back. A sweeping pull with his arms swung George Smith like a square dance partner into the cold, softly lit dark, the contested pistol still in their hands.
Smith's eyes widened as they glimpsed the crouching gargoyles.
Gould himself was surprised to detect a distant, deep thunder rumble like nothing he'd heard before in the city, sinister and indefinable, but not from above. He almost thought his garden gargoyles were growling, but the sound seemed to come from the bottom of Manhattan's glass and metal and stone canyons.
A church bell tolled twice.
"They came!" Smith shouted, his voice almost lost in the shrill whistle of the wind.
Both men had ceased struggling, their hands welded to the gun that was rapidly becoming a knuckle-chilling fistful of pain cutting into their crushed fingers.
"Who came?" Gould demanded. "Another spirit?"
"It's a spirit, all right." Smith's bland hazel eyes blazed like the embers Gould had seen falling from his cigar to the street far below earlier that night. "The spirit of the people," Smith continued triumphantly. "So you hear them? Finally? They're real and they're here. They're the 'losers' your insanely selfish and risky business practices created, those you despise for not surviving the financial and emotional ruin you visited on them so you could live like a Roman emperor. But Rome fell, Gould, and so will you."
"What are you jabbering about?" Gould jerked hard and suddenly on the gun, feeling Smith's custody give for a breathtaking moment before it tightened again.
Smith was in full cry now. "Your judges, the people. I put up a website. I podcast and Tweeted. I told the world to come to this address tonight to witness Caleb Gould, the richest and most hated man in America and the world, show an astounding change of heart."
"There are…people down there?"
"There are always 'people down there,' Gould, but you wrote them off along with your huge tax deductions. Their suffering and anger were just so many headlines and online whinings to you."
The deep thunder in the canyon now sounded like pounding flood rapids surging in the street below. Gould let his hands slip off Smith's. The wimp wouldn't shoot him, in cold blood or hot.
He shuffled his frozen, wet, still-bare feet through two inches of snow to the stone balustrade. Leaning over, he saw all traffic had stopped at this very wee hour of the morning.
The dark streets were still dotted with pale fairy lights. People, their faces lifted up to his rooftop, called, shouted, chanted. His name. Caleb Gould. Over and over. The sound of his name on thousands of lips thrilled him. So Smith's "Roman emperor" would receive the tribute of the mob, after all. And he would accept it, by God.
Then he realized the winds up here had masked the true words.
Ghouls lived off the dead. Dead bodies, dead hopes.
Gould drew back, averting his face. The snow flurries seemed to shape themselves into the features of J. Jacob Marsh and the Spirits of Christmas Past and Present. Wasn't there a third spirit in that silly, sentimental story that his tormenters were replaying in his lofty penthouse this night?
Why reinvent Dickens' classic Christmas story…twice?
When A Christmas Carol debuted in 1843 and cruel miser Ebenezer Scrooge underwent a dramatic change of heart, Charles Dickens immediately became "the man who invented Christmas." This thrilling ghost story combined sly humor with social ills and open-hearted humanity. Inspired, the readers of Dickens' day made Christmas into the spiritual and commercial holiday it is today.
"Scrogged: A Cyber Christmas Carol " is a modern retelling (with a Texas twang) set against the November 29, 2001, collapse of Houston corporate energy giant, Enron, where young corporate executives chortled in emails about extravagantly overcharging "the grannies in California" for their heating and cooling.
Why was it any surprise when all of Wall Street plunged off the deep end like Enron seven years later and harmed us all, not just grannies in California?
So I felt driven to create a darker version of my "Cyber Scrooge," who had been more alienated and insensitive than greedy, than the monster of power-grabbing selfishness in "A Wall Street Christmas Carol."