Revolt at the North Pole

Revolt at the North Pole by Cora BuhlertRebellion is brewing at Santa’s compound at the North Pole. The elves and the reindeer both are overworked, underpaid and angry, so they unite to take down Santa. However, there’s still Santa’s most fearsome enforcer, the horned, clawed and fanged holiday monster known only as Krampus…

This is a short holiday horror story of 3900 words or approx. 14 print pages by Hugo finalist Cora Buhlert.



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More information:

  • Revolt at the North Pole is a short holiday horror story of approx. 3700 words. This story is a digital premiere and has never been published previously.
  • The initial inspiration for this story was coming across this piece of fantasy artwork by artist Jakub Rozalski on Twitter. In the image, Krampus has just gutted Santa, while a few kids look on. Since Krampus, who also appears in The Bakery on Gloomland Street, another of my holiday stories, is actually supposed to be Santa’s helper, I have course wondered what might have led to Krampus turning on Santa. So I thought, “What if Krampus isn’t Santa’s pal at all, but actually hates him?”
  • Looking through Jakub Rozalki’s portfolio at Art Station, I also came across another holiday related horror image of a reindeer with bloody antlers facing down Santa, while a gutted elf lies on the ground. So I thought, “Maybe it’s not just Krampus who hates Santa? What if the elves and the reindeer hate Santa as well?” The story grew from there.
  • There are several Saint Nicholas helper figures in Germanic folklore, mostly dark characters who provide a contrast to Saint Nicholas as a figure of light. The monstrous Krampus who hails from South Germany and Austria is probably the best known outside Germany. But in my part of Germany, Saint Nicholas travels with Knecht Ruprecht, a man with a bushy black beard who gives the bad kids a thrashing with a birch rod. And across the border in the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas travels with the Zwarte Piet, a black man in faux orientalist garb who doesn’t really thrash anybody, but manages to be controversial nonetheless due to the fact that many portrayals of the Zwarte Piet are pretty racist.
  • Since I had Krampus, I decided to include Knecht Ruprecht, who doesn’t do anything except drink and sleep, and Black Piet, who spontaneously joins the uprising, because he hates Santa, too. I certainly sympathise, cause no one likes being turned into a racist caricature. And besides, I like the idea of Piet, but not the execution, so I decided to do my bit to reclaim him.
  • To be fair, this Santa is a very bad Santa. He exploits his workers, cheats of Mrs. Claus with two attractive young women and he takes drugs, too. So don’t feel too sorry for him.
  • I may also have done something nasty to Donald Trump. But to quote Piet, “Ain’t no one gonna miss him.”
  • Rusty Shelfelf, the fore-elf and class traitor, is a reference to the curious American phenomenon of the “Elf on the Shelf”, a doll shaped like an elf that’s supposed to spy on kids to see whether they’ve been naughty or nice.
  • Revolt at the North Pole is billed as a holiday horror story, but since I’m apparently unable to write straight horror (whenever I try, it either turns into urban fantasy or comedy), the story is actually dark comedy. Everybody who read it before publication (well, basically just my parents) thinks it’s hilarious.
  • The cover is stock art by Denis Zorin.