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Christmas Past by Julie Elizabeth Powell

Christmas Past - Julie Elizabeth Powell, Don Warrick

In a far future, humanity is tightly controlled, and has been, for several generations. Many of these rules and cultural norms were put in place to ensure the  survival of the species. However, now may be the time to start a change and it starts by asking about the past, religion in general, and the long-extinct practice of Christmas.

Thomat and Draven are two young men, or at least considered young by their society’s standards. Humans life for many hundreds of years now in their little domed cities. Reproduction is tightly controlled through artificial births. Their world has plenty of logic and science but no religion to speak of. Yet when one of these men overhears and Elder speaking of some bit of arcane forbidden knowledge, he can’t help but want to follow up.

In this short piece, the author brings up several very interesting questions about religion and what it means to an individual versus to the masses. Christmas and Christianity is the starting point for Draven’s & Thomat’s exploration into the forbidden past but it doesn’t end there. Other religions are briefly touched upon.

The focus was more on the joint believe by many people and celebration of life, family, friends rather than any religious minutiae. I’m not a religious person myself so I really appreciated this aspect of the story. Since all births are basically carried out via machines, the world Thomat and Draven inhabit have lost the idea of family. You can easily see why they were fascinated by the topic of Christmas and were willing to risk the punishment of expulsion to dig up more info.

My one little quibble is that all the speaking roles are male characters. There are two female characters that are referred to but they have little if any weight in this story. Setting that aside, I really enjoyed this short tale. I will definitely be enjoying more stories from Julie Powell.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the author (via a post on Quiet Fury Books Blog) in exchange for an honest review.

Narration:  Don Warrick had a very nice voice and he did excellent in performing distinct voices for all the characters. I really enjoyed how he embued wonder in Thomat’s and Draven’s voices as they explored the forbidden knowledge. He also did a very elderly man quite well.