A grand package of 18 original tales of fantastic fiction, chosen by top stage illusionist Copperfield and editor/author Berliner (as Gluckman: Child of the Light, 1992), with a huff-and-puff preface by Dean Koontz. Copperfield himself leads off with a seemingly autobiographical story about a boy who conjures up snowflakes--a trick that is now one of Copperfield's greatest closing acts, during which a whole audience is dusted with falling flakes. Ray Bradbury follows with a sweetly written snippet about a husband and wife who go to a magic show that features a girl superpickpocket and the husband's doppelgâ€žnger, who acts as a stage shill. The late comic-strip author Jack Kirby contributes ""The Conversion of Tegujai Batir,"" from an unpublished novel called The Horde, in which an evil jinn takes over a Saddam Hussein--like monster--a thoughtful, well-written piece. Hyperkinetic Ninja-master Eric Lustbader tries out his midrange in ""The Singing Tree"" and writes a remake of Warren Beatty's Heaven Can Wait that may well be the most moving and heartfelt 30 pages of his career. You may not understand too quickly Joyce Carol Oates's ""The Hand Puppet"": It tells of a mother hiding from her daughter, who in turn hides from her mother in the form of a voice in an ugly hand-puppet; the mother faces a hysterectomy because of a benign tumor but is herself a hand puppet for her own youth, which jumps up within and scares her while she smokes alone in the attic. F. Paul Wilson's shortie, the mystical title of which is both unsayable and unprintable, is among the most brilliantly intriguing in the collection, about a man who accidentally is given a word that assures the correct answer to any bet. Also on hand: Larry Bond, Raymond E. Feist, and editor Berliner's Garboesque sendup of Carlos the Jackal, ""Indigo Moon."" No illusion: This delivers the real goods.