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A Lot Like Christmas
Cover of A Lot Like Christmas
A Lot Like Christmas
Stories
This new, expanded edition of Miracle and Other Christmas Stories features twelve brilliantly reimagined holiday tales, five of which are collected here for the first time.
Christmas comes but once a year, yet the stories in this dazzling collection are fun to read anytime. They put a speculative spin on the holiday, giving fans of acclaimed author Connie Willis a welcome gift and a dozen reasons to be of good cheer.
Brimming with Willis's trademark insights and imagination, these heartwarming tales are full of humor, absurdity, human foibles, tragedy, joy, and hope. They both embrace and send up many of the best Christmas traditions, including the holiday newsletter, Secret Santas, office parties, holiday pageants, and Christmas dinners (both elaborate and spare). There are Rockettes, the best and worst Christmas movies, modern-day Magi, Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come—and the triumph of generosity over greed. Like all the timeless classics we return to year after year, these stories affirm our faith in love, magic, and the wonder of the season.
Praise for A Lot Like Christmas
"A perfect stocking stuffer for Christmas—celebrating fans of [Connie] Willis's humorous SF."Publishers Weekly

"A collection of Christmas stories with just the right blend of sugar and spice . . . sweet and sharp, whimsical and heartfelt, funny and warm . . . Fans of Willis's gently comic speculative fiction will love this collection, and it will also appeal to readers looking to get into the holiday spirit."Kirkus Reviews
This new, expanded edition of Miracle and Other Christmas Stories features twelve brilliantly reimagined holiday tales, five of which are collected here for the first time.
Christmas comes but once a year, yet the stories in this dazzling collection are fun to read anytime. They put a speculative spin on the holiday, giving fans of acclaimed author Connie Willis a welcome gift and a dozen reasons to be of good cheer.
Brimming with Willis's trademark insights and imagination, these heartwarming tales are full of humor, absurdity, human foibles, tragedy, joy, and hope. They both embrace and send up many of the best Christmas traditions, including the holiday newsletter, Secret Santas, office parties, holiday pageants, and Christmas dinners (both elaborate and spare). There are Rockettes, the best and worst Christmas movies, modern-day Magi, Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come—and the triumph of generosity over greed. Like all the timeless classics we return to year after year, these stories affirm our faith in love, magic, and the wonder of the season.
Praise for A Lot Like Christmas
"A perfect stocking stuffer for Christmas—celebrating fans of [Connie] Willis's humorous SF."Publishers Weekly

"A collection of Christmas stories with just the right blend of sugar and spice . . . sweet and sharp, whimsical and heartfelt, funny and warm . . . Fans of Willis's gently comic speculative fiction will love this collection, and it will also appeal to readers looking to get into the holiday spirit."Kirkus Reviews
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Miracle

    There was a Christmas tree in the lobby when Lauren got to work, and the receptionist was sitting with her chin in her hand, watching the security monitor. Lauren set her shopping bag down and looked curiously at the screen. On it, Jimmy Stewart was dancing the Charleston with Donna Reed.

    "The Personnel Morale Special Committee had cable piped in for Christmas," the receptionist explained, handing Lauren her messages. "I love It's a Wonderful Life, don't you?"

    Lauren stuck her messages in the top of her shopping bag and went up to her department. Red and green crepe paper hung in streamers from the ceiling, and there was a big red crepe-­paper bow tied around Lauren's desk.

    "The Personnel Morale Special Committee did it," Evie said, coming over with the catalog she'd been reading. "They're decorating the whole building, and they want us and Document Control to go caroling this afternoon. Don't you think PMS is getting out of hand with this Christmas spirit thing? I mean, who wants to spend Christmas Eve at an office party?"

    "I do," Lauren said. She set her shopping bag down on the desk, sat down, and began taking off her boots.

    "Can I borrow your stapler?" Evie asked. "I've lost mine again. I'm ordering my mother the Water of the Month, and I need to staple my check to the order form."

    "The Water of the Month?" Lauren said, opening her desk drawer and taking out her stapler.

    "You know, they send you bottles of a different one every month. Perrier, Evian, Calistoga." She peered into Lauren's shopping bag. "Do you have Christmas presents in there? I hate people who have their shopping done four weeks before Christmas."

    "It's four days till Christmas," Lauren said, "and I don't have it all done. I still don't have anything for my sister. But I've got all my friends, including you, done." She reached into the shopping bag and pulled out her pumps. "And I found a dress for the office party."

    "Did you buy it?"

    "No." She put on one of her shoes. "I'm going to try it on during my lunch hour."

    "If it's still there," Evie said gloomily. "I had this echidna toothpick holder all picked out for my brother, and when I went back to buy it, they were all gone."

    "I asked them to hold the dress for me," Lauren said. She put on her other shoe. "It's gorgeous. Black, off-­the-­shoulder. Sequined."

    "Still trying to get Scott Buckley to notice you, huh? I don't do things like that anymore. Nineties women don't use sexist tricks to attract men. Besides, I decided he was too cute to ever notice somebody like me." She sat down on the edge of Lauren's desk and started leafing through the catalog. "Here's something your sister might like. The Vegetable of the Month. February's okra."

    "She lives in southern California," Lauren said, shoving her boots under the desk.

    "Oh. How about the Sunscreen of the Month?"

    "No," Lauren said. "She's into New Age stuff. Channeling. Aromatherapy. Last year she sent me a crystal pyramid mate selector for Christmas."

    "The Eastern Philosophy of the Month," Evie said. "Zen, Sufism, tai chi—­"

    "I'd like to get her something she'd really like," Lauren mused. "I always have a terrible time figuring out what to get people for Christmas. So this year, I decided things were going to be different. I wasn't going to be tearing around the mall the day before Christmas, buying things no one would want and wondering what on earth I was going to wear to the office party. I started doing my shopping in September, I wrapped my presents as soon as I bought them, I have all my Christmas cards done and ready to...
About the Author-
  • Connie Willis is a member of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and a Grand Master of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She has received seven Nebula awards and eleven Hugo awards for her fiction; Blackout and All Clear—a novel in two parts—and Doomsday Book won both. Her other works include Crosstalk, Passage, Lincoln's Dreams, Bellwether, Impossible Things, Remake, Uncharted Territory, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Fire Watch, and Miracle and Other Christmas Stories. Connie Willis lives with her family in Colorado.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 28, 2017
    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.

  • Kirkus

    August 15, 2017
    A collection of Christmas stories with just the right blend of sugar and spice.Willis (Crosstalk, 2016, etc.) has strong opinions about Christmas, from the perfect Christmas movie to watch (not It's a Wonderful Life) to what's wrong with most Christmas stories: they're "improbably sentimental and saccharine." The good news is that Willis has avoided falling into that trap with this book of stories, an expanded version of Miracle and Other Christmas Stories (1999). "Miracle" and "deck.halls@boughs/holly" deliver a pleasantly old-fashioned screwball-comedy tone, complete with romance. In "Adaptation," a story that deftly balances heartfelt emotion and satire, a divorced father yearning to spend Christmas with his daughter encounters the Spirit of Christmas Future--working as a bookstore clerk. In another story that's part satire, part romantic comedy, the narrator of "All Seated on the Ground" struggles to figure out why alien visitors to Earth have responded to a Christmas carol when nothing else has gotten through to them. Some stories, such as "In Coppelius's Toyshop," strike a darker tone or tackle the issue of faith directly, as in "Epiphany." Not all the stories hit--the pod-people premise of "Newsletter" is both too mean-spirited and not pointed enough to work--but those that do are sweet and sharp, whimsical and heartfelt, funny and warm, just like the Christmas stories, movies, and TV episodes Willis recommends at the end of this volume. Fans of Willis' gently comic speculative fiction will love this collection, and it will also appeal to readers looking to get into the holiday spirit.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    October 15, 2017

    Willis (Crosstalk) gifts readers with an expanded, updated edition of her previously published Miracle and Other Christmas Stories, which includes five new pieces and lists of suggested Christmas viewing and reading. Whether the story features the Spirit of Christmas Present (the gift kind, and the here-and-now kind), artificial intelligence that seems like a real girl, or aliens from another planet, these tales all manage to restore at least some of their characters' festive spirit or serve up justice. VERDICT There are a few blasts from the past in the previously published selections as characters use "the Net" and make "Xerox" copies, but overall this collection of wryly funny, off-kilter stories offers an excellent alternative to the usual sentimental holiday fare while still reflecting Willis's love of Christmas.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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