cover image A Lot Like Christmas

A Lot Like Christmas

Connie Willis. Del Rey, $17 trade paper (544p) ISBN 978-0-399-18234-1

SFWA Grand Master Willis (Crosstalk) offers up a hearty helping of Christmas cheer with sprinklings of mystery and magic in this reprint collection, drawn from over 30 years of work. She begins by describing her love for all things Christmas and her thoughts on what constitutes a proper Christmas story. The stories all have a similar tone of romantic comedy mixed with speculative fiction. Many also weave in Willis’s holiday-entertainment preferences, so “Miracle” features the original Miracle on 34th Street (which she prefers to It’s a Wonderful Life) as well as the Spirit of Christmas Present (one of many references to her beloved Dickens). “All Seated on the Ground” imagines a first contact with aliens in which carols are the keys to communication. The Holy Family appear via time travel or dimensional warping to be initially unwelcome again in “Inn,” and modern-day magi travel from the East in “Epiphany.” There’s unexplained snowfall in “Just like the Ones We Used to Know” and a Christmas murder that riffs on Conan Doyle, Christie, and Poe in “Cat’s Paw.” There are androids and Rockettes, Christmas decorations, newsletters, and much more folderol with happy endings all around. This is a perfect stocking stuffer for Christmas-celebrating fans of Willis’s humorous SF. (Oct.)