A thunderingly tedious, excruciatingly unfunny ""sequel"" to Dickens' A Christmas Carol, which centers on one mildly inventive jollity: that Bob Cratchit was evolved--thanks to Scrooge, who gave away everything and boosted Bob up the ladder to success--into a wealthy, status-hungry snob, and now Scrooge is a pitiful dependent boarder on sufferance at the Cratchit town house. (Tiny Tim is in the process of being expelled from yet another boarding school.) There's also a flutter of a smile at the outset when the author's Dickens is urged by his publishers to use real names in his Christmas Carol--Tiny Tim for example, instead of ""Lame Joe."" However, from there it's a downhill plunge to a muddle of comings and goings and activity around Bob's efforts to dump Scrooge in a workhouse (over Christmas!) in order to secure Bob a knighthood, and the efforts of the rest of the Cratchit household (Mrs. C., Belinda, T. Tim, Creep the butler, Daisy the maid) plus Scrooge's old housekeeper, a young doctor in love with Belinda, and Mr. Dickens, to spring him. There have been some humorists who have successfully satirized Dickens' bel canto prose (the great Robert Benchley springs to mind). However, it takes true genius (not evident here) to pinpoint the core of that mix of sentiment, burlesque and blood-pounding life that is a Dickens' character, and extract the real ground of Dickens' fictional world on which the satire must be built. Here, Scrooge, as a whimpering oldster, hasn't a trace of Dickens' magnificent Nasty or Scrooge's later self--the trumpet-tongued Converted. A deflated Scrooge is tiresome beyond belief. Bah humbug!