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Written by Si Clarke

The Night Before (a Starship Teapot short) ebook

The Night Before (a Starship Teapot short) ebook

A jolly little story … in space

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Find out why BookRiot included this series in their list of 10 Cozy Sci-Fi Books to Give You Hope for the Future.

Lem and her dog, Spock, have a late-night encounter with a stowaway.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Teapot…

Not a creature was stirring, not even a lonely robot;

The stockings were hung in the mess hall with care

In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The Night Before is a short story in Si Clarke's Starship Teapot series. It's a spoof on – and an homage to – the poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas, more commonly known as The Night Before Christmas, by Clement Clarke Moore.

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’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Teapot…

Not a creature was stirring, not even a lonely robot;

The stockings were hung in the mess hall with care

In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

* * *

Two weeks earlier

I finished brushing my teeth and looked in the mirror. It had been almost a month since I’d had my hair done. The pink and blue streaks were fading back to my normal ashy blond. Shame.

‘Hey, Holly.’

‘Yes, Lem,’ my personal assistance device and translator replied. Although it provided the voices for everyone I met in space, its own voice was flat and expressionless – like a text-to-speech app. ‘How can I be of service?’

‘I was thinking.’ Squinting, I prodded at a spot on my cheek. ‘If we assume the bunnyboos had Spock and me in stasis for just a few hours, then you should be able to calculate what day it is on Earth now, right?’ The bunnyboos were aliens who had kidnapped Spock – my German shepherd – and me from Earth several months before. Since escaping, my new friends and I had set up a galactic transport and logistics company. Quite the career change for this IT project manager.

Was I feeling homesick?

Yes. No. Maybe. Sort of. It’s complicated.

‘How many hours would you like me to factor into that equation, Lem?’

I turned from the mirror and left the bathroom. Spock glanced up at me from the bed, only her eyes moving. ‘Whatever. I don’t know. It doesn’t make much difference. Say, eight hours, I guess.’ I waved my arms in a sort of shrug. ‘Please. Thanks.’

‘Based on that assumption and factoring in the difference in the length of the days, I estimate today’s date is the tenth of December.’

* * *

The Teapotters were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And Spock in her kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long space nap.

How will I get my book?

You will receive your choice of epub (suitable for most ereaders or devices), mobi (for Kindle), or PDF files (for reading in your browser). Files will be delivered by BookFunnel.

How long is this book?

0–1 hours

3k words / 26 pages

Why should I buy direct from the author?

When I published my first book in January 2020, someone at work laughed and asked me when I was going to quit my job. 

There's this perception out there that authors are wealthy people. And I'm sure the big names (e.g. Richard Osman, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, etc.) are doing just fine.

But it's not like that for indie authors. It's tough out there. There are great, amazing things about being an indie author. But most of us aren't making bank.

You know who is making money out of books? Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.

You may have noticed a move in recent years of indie authors selling their books directly to you. There's a reason for that. 

If you buy a book for 0.99 from Amazon, the author gets to keep maybe 0.26 of that. Maybe. It depends on the file size. And they won't even get that for around 3 months. But if you buy a book from an author for 0.99, the author gets to keep around 0.83. And we get that money within days.

Because that first book I mentioned? Four years later, it hasn't come close to paying for itself. 

If you can't buy direct, libraries are a great way to get books for free while still helping authors get their fair share. 

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
Jan Ober
Ho! Ho! Ho!

Will Lem be able to share her Christmas traditions with her shipmates? Or will someone sabotage all her holiday efforts? It doesn't need to be Christmas and you don't have to celebrate or even believe in Christmas spirit to enjoy this fast, fun story.

Regina D.
When Lem and Spock make new Christmassy friends

A short, sweet, and very teapotterly take on the classic poem.

a good read that makes you smile!

Makes you pause and think this Christmas season

David A. FRANK
More marvelous Teapot drama bounty! Very Yes!

SI Clark shares again a wild imagination of what SciFi may delightfully serve us for a dimensional and delightful shift in our perception. Well-written, surprising and very creative future tech enrich great story lines with cosmic twists.


This writer is brilliant, such a lovely, well written, amusing sci fi stories! In a way they remind me a little of Terry Pratchett's Truckers series! A beautiful way to look at the world differently! I do strongly recommend!