David Nickle and Karl Schroeder's "The Toy Mill"


"His hair was whiter than his flesh. Thick whorls of ice embedded his beard in icicles like a January cataract; more separated the thick hairs of his eyebrows into individual daggers, pushed back by the yuletide winds of the stratosphere so that they swept down to meet at the bridge of his narrow, blue-tinged nose."

"Wisps of pale hair scattered from beneath his red cap, over his small pink ears. His eyesbwere tiny too, pink-rimmed and black at their iris; and looking, searching the eaves troughs, the darkened windows, the empty playground three streets down, questing hungrily and never blinking once in an endless quest for girls and boys."

-The first sighting ot Santa Claus, from “The Toy Mill” by David Nickle and Karl Schroeder

David Nickle writes,

It was 20 years ago (or so) today that we first sat down to write a story about Santa Claus and the freezing-cold arctic Toy Mill, where he employed non-union elves to make awful toys for undeserving brats... erm, girls and boys everywhere. The result was “The Toy Mill,” a blackly comic, holiday-themed novelette about Emily, an ambitious little girl whose wish to be one of Santa's elves comes unfortunately true.

As often happens, the story became a novel, The Claus Effect. Along with the still-deranged Claus, it incorporated some additional trappings—the Cold War, Big Box retail, Ontario cottage country, and Krampus—and appeared in limited release from Tesseract Books, in 1997.

There never was an e-book. Not until now. We are delighted to pull on your coat about an all-new, expanded edition of the 1997 novel (which includes “The Toy Mill”) with a brand-new cover from ChiZine Publications, in electronic versions to suit every conceivable e-reader. Just in time for the holidays.


The Claus Effect