The witty author of the splendid, multi-award—winning Doomsday Book (1992) and its quasi sequel, To Say Nothing of the Dog (1997), here collects a sheaf of six yuletide tales she’s published annually in Asimov’s magazine, plus two previously unpublished stories. As a bonus, she includes a list of 12 terrific things to read at Christmas—try the originals (Matt. 1: 18—25; 2:1—18 and Luke 1:5—20; 2:1—52) and Dickens’s immortal portrait of Scrooge—as well as 12 others to watch. Willis stomps Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, despite some swell scenes, for its lack of irony, letting Potter off without punishment, and faking the generosity of the townspeople, while praising Miracle on 34th Street on high, as the real Santa is sent to Bellevue for believing he’s . . . well, just see for yourself and let your heart crack. In her introduction, Willis surveys Christmas stories through the ages, admitting her bias toward science-fiction. Her title story, “Miracle,” amusingly savages It’s a Wonderful Life: TV sets play the film on every channel everywhere Lauren goes, and an unwanted Christmas tree from the astral plane, sent by her late sister, grows out of her kitchen floor! A muscular imagination, with drolleries and epiphanies galore. Put this at the top of your Must Buy holiday shopping list.