Miracle and Other Christmas Stories (Connie Willis)

[As I'm reading this, it is actually Christimas time. By the time this will be published it is at least still winter. ;)]

Miracle and Other Christmas Stories is a short story collection by Connie Willis. Not surprisingly, they are all connected by a Christmas theme.

The collection is a mixed bag of beans, I thought. Put altogether it was a little to Christian for me (and I know how weird it is to say that about a book of Christmas stories, but I’m weird that way), but it wasn’t bad. I wanted and expected it to be a little more SFF-y than it was. In any case, in the end it accomplished what I read it for: it put me in a Christmassy mood.

ConnieWillis_Miracle

More about each story after the jump.

Miracle

Lauren works in an office that is slowly getting into all the craziness of Christmas. But then a guy just pops up in her apartment and that is only the start of trouble.

Miracle was cute and exactly the right kind of Christmassy. A little nostalgic, sweet, with a sense of humor, predictable and with a nice, fun version of Santa.

Inn

During the church choir rehearsal, Sharon finds a young couple of homeless people in front of their door. Despite the church’s warnings about thefts in the area, she lets them in. But they are not ordinary at all.

Inn was way too far on the religious side for my taste. And I didn’t really get why Sharon would be so afraid of being caught with the two homeless people. It just didn’t work for me.

In Coppelius’s Toyshop

A guy is stuck with the kid of the woman he dates and has to take him to a toyshop, when he would rather do anything else than be nice or at least not an asshole. But Coppelius’s Toyshop isn’t just any toyshop.

In Coppelius’s Toyshop was creepy and dark – in my opinion the best story of the anthology. I really regretted that it was so short.

The Pony

The sisters Barbara and Ellen and Ellen’s daughter Suzy celebrate Christmas together. But it seems to be a slightly magical Christmas.

Hmm. Yeah, that one was meh. I have to admit that it irritated me a lot that _ passed on her sister’s phone number – until I remembered that the story was probably written before cell phones. And then I felt dumb.

Adaptation

Edwin Grey, recently divorced (which has been difficult) and father of a daughter, works in a bookshop. Around Christmas, things are especially tense with his ex and busy in the shop. But his boss hires some special help.

Adaptation was really sweet as well. I liked it and it actually made me want to read Dickens. (I tried to read Oliver Twist when I was little and failed pathetically to be interested in it at all. I haven’t touched Dickens since.)

Cat’s Paw

Touff├ęt, a detective in the style of Hercule Poirot (with a dash of Sherlock Holmes), gets invited to Lady Charlotte Valladay’s place for Christmas and a mystery. So he packs his assistant and off they are.

I think that if I was more into crime stories, I would have really liked this one. But I’m not and so it was also more of a case of meh.

Newsletter

In Nan’s family, newsletters are a huge thing. Only Nan doesn’t really have anything to write about. Or so it seems at first.

The idea was fun, but the story would have needed more editing and a bit of reworking to really catch me. Especially the ending came a little too quickly.

Epiphany

Father Mel had a sudden epiphany: a moment of clarity where he just knew that Jesus has already returned to earth. Based on this hunch, he sets off.

This story, too, was way too religious for me. And the thing with the carneval was so obvious that the entire story suffered for it. But it was ok.

Summarising: If you’re in the mood for Christmas, you could do worse than read this.

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