e99 Online Shopping Mall

Geometry.Net - the online learning center Help  
Home  - Authors - Willis Connie (Books)

  1-20 of 100 | Next 20
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  

click price to see details     click image to enlarge     click link to go to the store

1. All Clear
2. Blackout
3. To Say Nothing of the Dog
4. Doomsday Book
5. Remake
6. Passage
7. D.A.
8. Bellwether
9. Lincoln's Dreams
10. Miracle and Other Christmas Stories
11. Fire Watch
12. Inside Job
13. Uncharted Territory
14. Impossible Things
15. The Winds of Marble Arch
16. Year's Best Fantasy 6 (No. 6)
17. Futures Imperfect (Three Short
18. Blackout
19. Promised Land
20. All Seated on the Ground

1. All Clear
by Connie Willis
Hardcover: 656 Pages (2010-10-19)
list price: US$26.00 -- used & new: US$16.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553807676
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In Blackout, award-winning author Connie Willis returned to the time-traveling future of 2060—the setting for several of her most celebrated works—and sent three Oxford historians to World War II England: Michael Davies, intent on observing heroism during the Miracle of Dunkirk; Merope Ward, studying children evacuated from London; and Polly Churchill, posing as a shopgirl in the middle of the Blitz. But when the three become unexpectedly trapped in 1940, they struggle not only to find their way home but to survive as Hitler’s bombers attempt to pummel London into submission.

Now the situation has grown even more dire. Small discrepancies in the historical record seem to indicate that one or all of them have somehow affected the past, changing the outcome of the war. The belief that the past can be observed but never altered has always been a core belief of time-travel theory—but suddenly it seems that the theory is horribly, tragically wrong.

Meanwhile, in 2060 Oxford, the historians’ supervisor, Mr. Dunworthy, and seventeen-year-old Colin Templer, who nurses a powerful crush on Polly, are engaged in a frantic and seemingly impossible struggle of their own—to find three missing needles in the haystack of history.

Told with compassion, humor, and an artistry both uplifting and devastating, All Clear is more than just the triumphant culmination of the adventure that began with Blackout. It’s Connie Willis’s most humane, heartfelt novel yet—a clear-eyed celebration of faith, love, and the quiet, ordinary acts of heroism and sacrifice too often overlooked by history.    ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

3-0 out of 5 stars I wish the historians would do some historical scholarship
The one serious flaw I see in "Blackout" and "All Clear" is that, with so many pages to play with, Connie Willis did not take advantage of them to show her historians actually doing historical scholarship. The main reason to use time travel in the first place is to immerse oneself in the culture of the time and place firsthand. Anthropologists and sociologists call this practice "participant observation", and the associated methodology of observation and record-keeping is generally called "ethnomethodology". Some sort of systematic sampling and record-keeping are essential; you can't do real scholarship from memory! It wouldn't take more than a few well-chosen scenes here and there to transform the characters (who are rather bland) into historians doing real work.

All the good things said in other reviews are quite true. So are all the bad things. I won't rehash either, but I will say that on balance, this two-part set is probably worth buying if you don't set your expectations too high.

5-0 out of 5 stars Such a satisfying ending!!!
Connie Willis has written a simply amazing book. Yes, All Clear is the second half of the book begun in Blackout. People who are so confused by this or upset and can't be bothered to pick up the first book to orient themselves probably aren't clever enough to enjoy these books anyway. I can't quite understand the reviews I've read where people had such a hard time with this.

All Clear continues the story of our time travelling historians with a few of the marvelous, heart-wrenching twists that Willis is famous for. It really does seem that NOTHING can be made to come out right and just by coming, they've messed up everything. But despite that, Willis' usual incredible humor shines through- she has a gift for these small comedic scenes that seem so true to real life and so believable... they lighten the tone just enough and you feel that just like Mike, Polly and Eileen, you are being dragged along through the terrors and shortages of the war- but must find respite in the day to day, just as the citizens of London had to.
But even more, this book is a salute and a love letter (or a personals notice!) to the human spirit. I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone with an interest in the Blitz or WW2 history. The tone, the detailed descriptions, the double view from both the historians' points of view AND the 'contemps' as they call them- all of these weave together to create a seamless environment of London during the Blitz. I have seldom, maybe never, read a book that catapulted me so believably into another time period. I actually had to MAKE myself stop reading to take breaks from it- it was so good, and so intense. I wanted to stretch it out, but I needed quiet time to read, and then process what I had read.

Upon finishing it, I immediately thought of people to loan it to. I actually wept just a little bit at the end. I want to go read Blackout again and re-look at all the time travel paradoxes with a fresh view. I want to hug Connie Willis and thank her for being such an amazing writer and meticulous and honest researcher. I want to reread all my old Connie Willis books. I want her to hurry and write something else.
These books are a marvel and deserve all the awards and praise they will surely earn. If you are thinking person you can't help but enjoy them.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good setting, poor plot
Let me preface this by saying that I love history, and if Connie Willis has done anything right with this book, it is to compact an absolutely amazing amount of detail about the Blitz into a fictional book about time travel.

But if you don't like history, you probably won't like this book, because that's its most redeeming factor.

Essentially, this book is a classic example of what happens when you have a good setting but a poor plot. The setting is fantastic - a bunch of time travelers lost in WWII with bombs falling all around them, but the plot is absolute rubbish. Take the following two lines, copy and paste them until you run out of space in one book, and then continue through the end of a second book:
"Gasp! We might have changed the space-time continuum!"
"Oops, oh, no. Everything is fine."

Intersperse with too many repeated cliffhangers involving chapter ends with historians nearly dying (Will They SURVIVE?) and some slapstick involving nobody being able to get ahold of each other, ever, and you've basically got Blackout and All Clear.

The first time this device is used, it's interesting and tense. The 47th time the historians wonder if they altered events (and they didn't) you just sort of roll your eyes and hope for more details about parachute bombs or V1 wrangling.

This book shouldn't have been split in twain - it should have been ruthlessly edited down to half its size (by cutting out all the redundant redundant plot points) and put into one, tighter, novel. I love Willis' books, but this really needed someone to take a +5 Axe of Editing to it with a vengeance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, thoughtful depiction of WWII
It's taken me a week to sort out the (what might seem like a) mass of confusion that is the combined novel 'Blackout' and 'All Clear'.These are not separate, but one continuous novel - somewhat like Lord of the Rings.One complete story told over more than one book.The first confusion for the unfamiliar reader of All Clear is that it starts at the beginning. The story begins in Blackout.

As announced in the book jacket, the premise of the story is that historians going back to study WWII have discovered that their actions have altered the past somehow, in violation of the tenets of timetravel (which inherently prevent that from happening), and that the accumulated changes may result in a drastically altered future (in which, obviously, time travel doesnt 'exist) - hence the concern over the fact that their 'drops' (portals between past and future) won't open.

The premise begs the question of a neatly tied up ending.How can we get to the future that we know, in which Hitler lost the war, when all these events have been corrupted?We can't expect the fictional characters to go out and kill the very people that in the course of the story they've saved (out of basic Human kindness)?

The story begs, in fact, for something to be altered.And the story is about the heroism of the ordinary individual in war, and involves the (fictional) logistics of 'timetravel.'The story focusses on three characters from the future, who have to do something to save their future.The first book, Blackout, illustrates the character of these three.Mike Davies is a resourceful guy, who leaps into the mix, and is somewhat controlling.When, in the first book he tells his companions that they must stick together at all costs, he realizes the greater implications of that statement - that he has to somehow stick their present to their (and humanities) future as he understands it.Eileen is stuck with two horrible children who test the patience of every single person the come in contact with.Polly is the intellect of the group (she makes for a horrible shopgirl - grins).She's obviously an Oxford educated graduate student, no matter her disguise!She fits in the least.

Another confusing part is, as they all say, 'this is timetravel'The future people should just show up whenever they want to extract them.But this is a false premise, as it is revealed that any time someone shows up at a particular time, they cannot return, else the time paradox is invoked (where you can't meet yourself in the past without one of you being destroyed). This introduces the concept of a 'deadline.'Characters (including rescuers) who are in a situation once, cannot go back to that exact time.

So what seem at first like long drawn-out scenes actually include people from the future who are looking for them, or people who have lived long enough through the timetravel disaster to encounter someone they know at a different entry point into the past.You have to have both books in front of you and go back and forth, as the narrative covers a span of many years!

There are also two interesting allegories in the text.Both are about paintings.In one, Faulknor is tying two boats together (past and future?); in the other, called The Light of the World, Christ is knocking on a closed door (the portal to the future? the human heart?). And Willis asks, in the text, that kindness and goodness have to count for something?

For the mathematicians among us, the story illustrates interesting aspects of chaos theory.Also the whole premise of the 4th dimension (time): does 'time' as an entity do what it needs to do to guarantee the future?Is it 'chaos' the way things unfold, or a deliberate, intellectual continuum that 'self-corrects'?The constant missed opportunities or coincidences - are these just annoying aspects of the book, or a comment on the physics of time?

It's a great duo of books, in spite of some confusion.At bottom it's an incredibly vivid depiction of WWII. And in the end it makes you think hard about the kind of love and sacrifice that the war extracted from everyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent end to the story
I've been waiting for this book for 8 years. It was worth the wait. If you didn't like blackout because it stopped in the middle of the story, I understand, but don't let it get in the way of finishing this incredible work. ... Read more

2. Blackout
by Connie Willis
Paperback: 512 Pages (2010-09-14)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$9.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345519833
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Oxford in 2060 is a chaotic place, with scores of time-traveling historians being sent into the past. Michael Davies is prepping to go to Pearl Harbor. Merope Ward is coping with a bunch of bratty 1940 evacuees and trying to talk her thesis adviser into letting her go to VE-Day. Polly Churchill’s next assignment will be as a shopgirl in the middle of London’s Blitz. But now the time-travel lab is suddenly canceling assignments and switching around everyone’s schedules. And when Michael, Merope, and Polly finally get to World War II, things just get worse. For there they face air raids, blackouts, and dive-bombing Stukas—to say nothing of a growing feeling that not only their assignments but the war and history itself are spiraling out of control. Because suddenly the once-reliable mechanisms of time travel are showing significant glitches, and our heroes are beginning to question their most firmly held belief: that no historian can possibly change the past. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (125)

4-0 out of 5 stars It would have been five stars if not for the sudden, cliff-hanger ending.
Sequel (??) to Doomsday Book and Fire Watch
Note: I'm not certain this is a sequel, as I haven't read either story, but it seems to be set in the same universe. As far as I know, however, it doesn't share characters.

In the year 2060, historical research has become quite different from what we do today.Thanks to the invention of time travel, historians can now send themselves back to their period of research and do field work among the "contemps" - the contemporaries living at the time.Right now the most popular place to visit seems to be World War II, with several young men and women heading there.Merope Ward, under the name Eileen O'Reilly, is living with London evacuees in a country manor.Her friend Polly is a shopgirl in the middle of London's Blitz, learning about how ordinary Londoners adapted to the bombings.Michael Davies is preparing for a whirlwind tour of the past, including stops at Pearl Harbor and Dunkirk.But things have gone a bit chaotic - without warning, the time travel lab is suddenly canceling and rearranging assignments with no explanation, and Mr. Dunworthy - head of the time travel program - is away from Oxford on a trip to London.When Merope, Polly and Michael finally reach their destinations, problems emerge.Michael arrives in the wrong location; Polly finds herself in London on a different day than planned.Worse, Merope finds that her drop - the gateway between times - no longer opens, and she's stranded in rural 1940s England.A terrifying possibility emerges, one formerly thought impossible: have our heroes somehow changed the past, and their future?

Blackout is fantastic.It's probably one of my favorite books that I've read this year.Willis' time travelers are focused on how ordinary people transcended the horrors of World War II, so the book focuses on those in humbler positions: the brave men who sailed out to rescue people in the Dunkirk evacuation, the children removed from their homes in London and sent on trains to the rural parts of England, female ambulance drivers and normal civilians coping with daily bombings in London.It really brought the time period to life in vivid detail. Plus, time travel!That's always cool.

Throughout the book, there's clearly some deus ex machina at work.The historians never seem to be in any real danger.After one too many miraculous survivals, I was beginning to wonder if anything bad ever happened.Sure, a time traveler's survival can easily be attributed to the time stream somehow protecting them, plus their foreknowledge of when and where bad things happen, but this extreme good luck seemed to extend to most of the people they met, too.But maybe that's just how it was in WWII.A friend would lose contact and you'd worry sick they'd been hit by a bomb, only to have them pop up a week later right as rain.
Unfortunately, the book has a major flaw.MAJOR FLAW.It ends very, very abruptly - practically mid-sentence.It's a KILLER cliffhanger, and it was exceptionally frustrating because there was no. resolution. whatsoever.

OK, I don't like cliffhangers.(Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while knows this.)But I can live with them, as long as there's some resolution.For example, take the The Lord of the Rings"movies. The second movie, The Two Towers", ends on a major cliffhanger - Frodo's on his way to destroy the ring with psycho Gollum and Sam, while the rest of the Fellowship are getting ready to declare war on Mordar, right?But we're given some resolution because the Fellowship has just beaten the armies of Sauron and won the battle of Helm's Deep.We have some closure.We can step back from the story with some satisfaction until the next installment comes.Not so in Blackout.The book just ends. Bam. Randomly.It's very, very annoying.

The second half of the story - I can't even call it a sequel, because I really think Willis or her editor just took a complete book and chopped it in half for who knows what reason - came out October 19th.Amazon already has the book, All Clear on its way to me.I was angry enough about the sudden end that I thought about not reading the book, but hey, it's really freakin' entertaining.So I'll be reading that ASAP.

5-0 out of 5 stars Time Travel and history lovers will enjoy it
In 2060, time travel has been invented by Mr. Dunworthy and practiced at Oxford University by a small group of historians that go back in time via drop points to investigate particular aspects of some event. Along with Dunworthy, there are several main protagonists, all of whom are visiting England during 1940: Polly Churchill, Merope Ward, Michael Davies, and Gerald Phipps. Colin Templer a teenager, has a major crush on Polly. Back at Oxford, the time travel technicians are very busy but, as the story opens, seem to be busier than usual causing all manner of schedule changes for the historians. After a time, three of the four historians' drop points become unavailable, either due to local circumstances or for reasons unknown. These three gather in London where they hope that their fourth colleague's site remains functional. The one little problem is that they are not certain exactly where in England he was supposed to go or what cover name he is using. The final chapter describes the arrival of another time traveler who remains unidentified. And, finally the mystery, what is happening with the time travel apparatus to cause these unusual situations. Unfortunately, we must wait until the second part of the story to find out.

My review of "Blackout" is from the audio book format. An essential part of an audio book experience is the person reading the book. I found Katherine Kellgren's reading to be first rate, providing a complete mental picture for each character. "Blackout" is a big book, around 500 pages on 16 CD's, which comes to almost 19 hours of listening. I am a fan of science fiction, especially time travel and a history buff as well so my expectations for this story were high. I did find that some of the disks were were a little wordy and my attention wandered just a little from time to time. This story is heavily detailed but did provide a wonderful insight about life and hardships endured during a crucial time in history. There was only one drawback. "Blackout" ends with a cliffhanger, which may leave some readers dissatisfied since the whole story won't be completely resolved until a concluding volume titled 'All Clear' is available. All in all, it's an entertaining story that Time Travel and history lovers will enjoy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable journey, and on Audio too.Part 1 of a 2 volume tale.
I 'read' the audio version of this book, and am looking forward to the continuation, the second half of the tale, which is separate:All Clear

Connie Willis has long been one of my favorite writers, and I recommend her writing to a variety of people -- including those who are science fiction fans and those who have previously avoided SF.

If you are new to her writing, I suggest reading her other works first.The best place to begin are her collections of short stories, such as Impossible Things.After that, if you are in the mood for long novels, then read Doomsday Book, and To Say Nothing of the Dog.If you are in the mood for lighter, quicker reads, there is:Miracle and Other Christmas Stories.Those 4 recommended works are my favorites, and also seem to be favorites among her other fans.

To Say Nothing of the Dog is generally considered to be her best novel to date.Both 'Doomsday Book' and 'To Say Nothing of the Dog' involve time travel, but there is little emphasis on technology; the emphasis is on people, with well written, believable characterization, and on historical situations.Her time travel books are like well-researched historical fiction, but with an emphasis on the lives of ordinary people (rather than on flamboyant kings, queens, and generals, all in fancy attire, as emphasized by typical historical fiction writers).

After those books, if you are ready for another long novel, I recommend Passage, which is very good, but quite different than the other novels I mentioned.'Passages' takes a while to get going, but gradually builds into a great read, with strong emotional impact.

The latest novel, a two-part series, will be more challenging to some readers.It is not a book for the impatient; it seems styled for readers who want to slow down and enjoy the journey, rather than getting quickly from Point A to Point B, or getting from Beginning to End.Of all her novels, it seems the slowest to get going, gradually building up.Out of all her novels, I feel I am learning the most from this one -- history from World War 2, especially regarding the Battle of Britain, and the experience of ordinary people in a city being bombed almost nightly.

By the way, the audio-book CD version is well narrated.

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointment Veering into Self-Caricature
"Blackout" got a single star from me because I think so highly of Connie Willis's other work, especially her masterpiece "The Doomsday Book" and its shorter, comedic but no less fine counterpart, "To Say Nothing of the Dog."I know she can do so much better than "Blackout" because she has done so, with essentially the same material.I write this review before I will have read "All Clear," and so it is possible the scales will fall from my eyes after that, although somehow I doubt it.(I cannot help resolving to read the sequel out of curiosity.)To stick to the volume at hand, it is far too long and far too repetitious of itself as well as of the milieu, techniques, and themes of her earlier time travel novels. As the novel "progresses," you get the idea . . . again and again and again.Unless you find readers of "All Clear" proclaiming "stick with it--it all makes wonderful sense in the end," I would not recommend opening this volume.

4-0 out of 5 stars Willis's latest in audio format
Connie Willis is a few cuts above your typical genre writer. I'm a great admirer of her novel "Doomsday Book", which is quite an engaging story that does justice to one of the most horrific and yet oddly overlooked chapters of human history, the Black Death. Most stories about time travel focus mostly on the cerebral aspects of the topic--paradoxes, free will versus fate, causality, etc.--but while Willis does explore these ideas she is always far more interested in telling stories about human beings. Her books are about the distance and separation that come from being apart from your own time and place, but they're also books about universal human truths and our ability to get along with each other. In "Doomsday Book" we see characters from different time periods, with way different outlooks on everything, nevertheless form deep bonds of considerable emotional depth. It's a power that Willis is well known for. She often uses the device of time travel to try to show us what it really means to live in a different time, how truly alien another time's social rules and beliefs can be, and to try to restore to us readers just some of the vitality and history of lost eras. Other time travel stories might interest themselves with kings and generals, but Willis has always been interested in what the lives of ordinary people have to say about their times and about ourselves.

So it would seem natural that Willis's sometimes brilliant novel Blackout would take as its theme the lives of ordinary civilians during World War II, and that its most basic idea is that much of the real heroism during a war is displayed by the people trying to keep things together on the homefront. Blackout contains no scenes of fighting--only one brief episode takes place during the evacuation of Dunkirk--and it is mainly told from the point of view of the people of London, and their involvement with the war involves continual sacrifice and the dodging of perpetually incoming German bombs. The book follows three separate time travelers struggling to find each other in London, but the book's best characters are all the characters at the margins of the story--bratty kids who have to face up to disease and death long before they should have to, a famous Shakespearean actor who devotes himself to giving people uplift and entertainment during the war's darkest days, the women who walk past bombed-out shops on their way to work, an extremely old naval retiree who is intent upon getting to Dunkirk for his moment of glory. Willis has created quite a few compelling characters for this book, many of whom make an immediate and indelible impression. Many of these character sketches show Willis at the absolute height of her game. I liked the way Willis evokes her Blitz-era London setting as well, which does indeed become something of a character in the novel. It's down but not out, stiff upper lip, and several other cliches I'm sure. There is, though, real texture here. I'd say Willis's attempt to evoke a time and place succeeds.

But, despite its virtues, the novel has some problems. The book's main characters are not well developed, which isn't a problem in some parts since the book has quite a few great secondary characters that are quite capable of stealing the show, but the book also features way too many scenes where characters worry about whether they're affecting the future. This is an intentional theme of the book, but the severe repetition of roughly the same points--and the identical rebuttals to same--grows extremely tedious after a time. These two points are related inasmuch as the three main characters worry continuously about the effects of time travel to the extent that it is the most characterization they really get. It's to the point that the time travel elements really don't add too much to the story, and Willis would probably have been better off writing a straight period novel instead. The scenes in 2060 are also problematic since, as other reviewers have indicated, the characters fifty years in the future don't have wireless devices, and actually seem stuck with technology from 1990 or so, save for the time-travel device itself. I suspect the reason for this is that the novel takes place in Willis's fictional universe that she's been utilizing since the 1980s, a time when cell phones were barely even around, and she wants to maintain her universe's continuity. Personally I think she could have gotten away with a little retconning, and the book's contradictions hurt it to some extent.

Ultimately, though, while Blackout isn't quite as impressive as some of Willis's other work, it's well worth reading for fans of the science-fiction genre. The moments where Willis hits here are so worth getting through the moments where she misses, and I'm looking forward to reading the continuation. Incidentally, Katherine Kellgren does solid work reading the novel for the audiobook version. Different voices for the characters that aren't distracting, and generally good voice acting in general. If you choose to experience the audiobook, just know that from a technical standpoint it works out great. ... Read more

3. To Say Nothing of the Dog
by Connie Willis
Hardcover: 493 Pages (1999-01-01)
list price: US$18.40 -- used & new: US$12.51
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0613152425
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Ned Henry shuttles between the 1940s and the twenty-first century while researching Coventry Cathedral for a patron interested in rebuilding it until the time continuum is disrupted.Amazon.com Review
To Say Nothing of the Dogis a science-fiction fantasy in the guise of an old-fashionedVictorian novel, complete with epigraphs, brief outlines, and a ratherugly boxer in three-quarters profile at the start of each chapter. Oris it a Victorian novel in the guise of a time-traveling tale, or ahighly comic romp, or a great, allusive literary game, complete withspry references to Dorothy L. Sayers, Wilkie Collins, and Arthur ConanDoyle? Its title is the subtitle of Jerome K. Jerome's singular, andhilarious, Three Men ina Boat. In one scene the hero, Ned Henry, and his friends comeupon Jerome, two men, and the dog Montmorency in--you guessed it--aboat. Jerome will later immortalize Ned's fumbling.(Or, moreaccurately, Jerome will earlier immortalize Ned's fumbling,because Ned is from the 21st century and Jerome from the 19th.)

What Connie Willis soon makes clear is that genre can go to thedogs. To Say Nothing of the Dog is a fine, and fun, romance--anamused examination of conceptions and misconceptions about other eras,other people. When we first meet Ned, in 1940, he and five other timejumpers are searching bombed-out Coventry Cathedral for the bishop'sbird stump, an object about which neither he nor the reader will beclear for hundreds of pages. All he knows is that if they don't findit, the powerful Lady Schrapnell will keep sending them back in time,again and again and again. Once he's been whisked through the ratherquaint Net back to the Oxford future, Ned is in a state of super time-lag. (Willis is happily unconcerned with futuristicvraisemblance, though Ned makes some obligatory references to"vids," "interactives," and "headrigs.")The only way Ned can get the necessary two weeks' R and R is toperform one more drop and recuperate in the past, away from LadySchrapnell. Once he returns something to someone (he's too exhaustedto understand what or to whom) on June 7, 1888, he's free.

Willis is concerned, however, as is her confused character,with getting Victoriana right, and Ned makes a good amateuranthropologist--entering one crowded room, he realizes that "thereason Victorian society was so restricted and repressed was that itwas impossible to move without knocking something over." Thoughhe's still not sure what he's supposed to bring back, various of hisconfederates keep popping back to set him to rights. To Say Nothingof the Dog is a shaggy-dog tale complete with a preternaturallyquiet, time-traveling cat, Princess Arjumand, who might well be thecause of some serious temporal incongruities--for even a mouser mightchange the course of European history. In the end, readers might wellbe more interested in Ned's romance with a fellow historian than inthe bishop's bird stump, and who will not rejoice in their first Netkiss, which lasts 169 years! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (272)

3-0 out of 5 stars Kafkaesque Comedy
I am rating this 3 stars respecting the writer but allergic to her nonetheless. I could never stand Kafka because as good as his work is, I come away with the feeling of frustrated paralysis one sometimes gets in an anxiety dream; you can't accomplish the task, or you can't get away from pursuers. Another analogy is from cinema: "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" and "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" are comedies I just cannot watch because everything goes wrong and I end up wanting to strangle someone because I cannot stand the floundering and malicious universe balking our heroes at every turn.

So what am I allergic to? Do we call it her style? Her plotting? Her universe? I am reduced to the previous analogies, because I can't stand her (well written!) work but would not change anything because, Connie, it's not you, it's me, as my girlfriend said.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Lovely Lighthearted Read
This book takes place in the same universe as Willis' other time-traveling novels "Doomsday Book" and "Blackout" but it is neither a sequel nor a prequal to those books.

In a not too future world, people invented time travel only to discover that nothing from the past can be brought into the present and history cannot be significantly changed (at least that's the way it was explained in "Doomsday Book").For this reason, time travel was abandoned as a commercial project and left to the scientists and historians.However, in "To Say Nothing of the Dog" this fundamental truth of time travel is thrown into chaos when something is brought forward and something may have changed.

It's part comedy of manners and part lighthearted, small scale mystery revolving around a cat, a dog, the various romantic pairings of a Victorian country house, a lost piece of hideous art, and a pair of (sometimes inebriated) time-traveling historians.Never has the fate of the future hinged on things quite so small and seemingly inconsequential (but in a nice way).

An amusing romp with a nice, low-key romance and a great love of pets.In no way as serious in tone as either Doomsday or Blackout.This one is primarily comedy, and a quite enjoyable one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Smart, fun and odd
I really enjoyed this. A smart, intricate time-travel plot that somehow takes the back stage for most of the book to a leisurely paced romantic comedy set in Victorian England, with a frequent sprinkling of surprising historical details concerning the larger question of how history is determined: "large, impersonal forces" vs. "historical accidents" vs. "character." I haven't been sucked into a book like this for a long time - and I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end.

4-0 out of 5 stars Quirky and funny.
Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog is definitely worth the read. I picked this up on the recommendations of the Foglios (responsible for the Girl Genius comic, for which they credit this book as a bit of the inspiration) and quite enjoyed it. It is a well-woven narrative involving time travel and the dangers associated with it. Taking place mostly in the Victorian era, this plays up the quirkiness of the time period as seen through the eyes of a tired and skeptical historian, Ned. The supporting cast is very interesting, as is the mystery they are trying to solve.

5-0 out of 5 stars Comedy of errors
Ned Henry and Verity Kindle are severely "time-lagged" historians living in mid-21st century England. Both work for the Oxford time travel research center, and when the book opens, Ned must find a Victorian vase known as the bishop's bird stump, last seen in Coventry Cathedral on the evening when it was bombed by the Nazis. What ensues is a post-modern comedy of errors, for the science of time travel is still in its infancy, and glitches abound. This novel is a delightful pastiche of missteps and suppositions as Ned and Verity travel to late Victorian Warwickshire, to, among other things, return a cat (cats are now extinct in England) that mistakenly reached the future, and foster two seemingly impossible romances, to locate the bird stump, and to catch up on their sleep to get over the time lag. Filled with literary references, Victorian personalities, fish, and a frenetic plot, TSNOTD is a refreshing, witty, hilarious, intelligent way to lose yourself in a good book. ... Read more

4. Doomsday Book
by Connie Willis
Mass Market Paperback: 592 Pages (1993-08-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553562738
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
For Kivrin, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity'shistory was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing an alibi for a woman traveling alone.For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking calculations and careful monitoring of the rendezvous location where Kivrin would be received.

But a crisis strangely linking past and future strands Kivrin in a bygone age as her fellows try desperately to rescue her.In a time of superstition and fear, Kivrin -- barely of age herself -- finds she has become an unlikely angel of hope during one of history's darkest hours.

Five years in the writing by one of science fiction's most honored authors, Doomsday Book is a storytelling triumph.Connie Willis draws upon her understanding of the universalities of human nature to explore the ageless issues of evil, suffering and the indomitable will of the human spirit.Amazon.com Review
Connie Willis labored five years on this story of a history studentin 2048 who is transported to an English village in the 14th century. Thestudent arrives mistakenly on the eve of the onset of the Black Plague. Herdealings with a family of "contemps" in 1348 and with her historiancohorts lead to complications as the book unfolds into a surprisingly dark,deep conclusion. The book, which won Hugo and Nebula Awards, draws uponWillis' understanding of the universalities of human nature to explore theageless issues of evil, suffering and the indomitable will of the humanspirit. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (477)

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth the read
I read this book out of the need to experience Nebula Award winner Connie Willis more than anything. I'd not heard of Willis until recently, and can say that she is a fine, above the fold writer, who can tell a captivating story. I agree with many who think the book was longer than it needed to be, but it seemed that everything worked to propel or stop the story as a way of manipulating the reader into similar emotional experiences felt by the characters. When the main characters felt frustration, so did I, on multiple levels. I also agree with several reviewers that the last 1/3rd of the book is its redemption, and that anyone feeling frustration up to that point might well find their reward should they power through to the end.

The story line takes two paths, one follows Mr. Dunworthy, a professor at Oxford in the near future (mid 21st century). It is here that historians not only study history, but observe it. Trained as time travelers, they visit the time periods they wish to study. It is in this Oxford that an epidemic of enfluenza breaks out, just as Kivrin, a history student is sent back to 1320, just prior to the outbreak of the Black Death. While Dunworthy runs around trying to get Kivrin back from the middle ages, everyone around him falls ill, and he finds himself frustratingly trying to track down the source of the flu and the head of the University, while setting up sick wards, etc. It is this story line most people find fault with, but Willis does a good job of pulling Dunworthy in so many directions that he couldn't possibly get anything accomplished. He becomes the father figure who is impotent to save his student from imagined horrors, while he can scarcely do anything to help those around him falling like flies due to the modern day horrors of an unidentified flu strain.

The second story line follows Kivrin into the middle ages and into the lives of "contemps." WIllis has created a much more engaging story here, in which Kivrin becomes part of these peoples' lives, and we begin to question the time travel paradox laid out before us. Is it really true that time travelers cannot affect the lives and outcomes of those they come in contact with. As the story progresses, we see Kivrin figure out that she is not in 1320, and we watch as she struggles to save the people around her.

Has she infected the people she's come into contact with? Has she changed the future? Will she ever manage to get back to 21st century Oxford? and in the end, will it matter?

This is an engaging read, if slow and frustrating at times. The ending, while full of sadness, is the story's (& the characters') redemption. Willis weaves the two stories together with a loose thread, but the connections are very palpable and hold true. Read Dooms Day Book with a willingness to experience the failings and hopefulness of the human condition, then go out and do something fun.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most remarkable novels of any kind I've ever read
This is one of the most remarkable novels of any kind that I have ever read, and a truly stunning piece of time-travel/historical/science fiction.

I started reading Doomsday Book because I'd read Connie Willis's Blackout earlier in this year and was anxiously awaiting [book:All Clear].I knew that DOOMSDAY BOOK was a Hugo and Nebula winning and I knew that Connie Willis was an outstanding writer, so I figured the book was going to be a good one.

It was a remarkably good one.I've come across very few books that are both page-turners, and emotionally jarring as well.There have been even fewer books that have moved me to tears multiple times.But this book was one of them.Connie's portrayal of the middle ages during the plague is brutal, and made more so by her impeccable ability to make the reader feel for the characters as if you know them, as if you are there with them experiencing the horrors.You almost wonder if Connie has the ability to travel back in time and used that ability to form the research for this novel.

Everything about the work is impressive, from the description and historical details, to the humor she injects, to the style of her writing and the care and effort she clearly puts into it.

5-0 out of 5 stars science fiction for people who aren't really into scifi
I love this book because you pick up a book ostensibly about time travel, and you get an adventure, a mystery, a comedy, an unidentified plague running rampant and a relationship story.No sex, no gore, some death (it's a plague after all!), but no violence.I laughed, I cried, I got surly when people interupted my reading time.

Read this, and then "To Say Nothing of the Dog" also by Connie Willis.You won't be sorry.

4-0 out of 5 stars Time Travel Is For Universities
In the near future, Time Travel is a reality - a highly-regulated, university-sponsored reality. Historians travel through time to research various eras of time, and there is a bit of friendly rivalry between colleges in the Time Travel department. The latest jump involves student Kivrin travelling to the 1300's.

As with any good science fiction book, things begin to go wrong. Kivrin's translator device appears to be malfunctioning, and she falls ill with a strange sickness. Back in modern times, Professor Dunworthy is confused and frightened because the readings show that Kivrin had been sent to the wrong time, but cannot tell exactly when she is. Meanwhile, more people fall sick and the college is placed under quarantine.

The nice thing about Doomsday Book is that author Connie Willis has made everything from the characters to the time travel technology feel very natural. At no point is the concept of "slippage" described in detail, but you get a sense for it over time. The characters themselves are very strong, both in the present and the Medieval age. Colin and Agnes are especially memorable, which is odd considering neither is a main character.

Don't let the book's title scare you off, either; humor is fairly prevalent throughout, from Finch trying to find enough supplies during the quarantine to the patter between Agnes and Rosemund to the overprotective Mrs. Gaddson. As with everything else, the humor is character-driven and feels completely natural.

The narrative of the book does jump back and forth between present day and the past, which leaves the book riddled with many mini-cliffhangers. Just as you get into what Kivrin is doing in 1300, you're suddenly whisked away back to 2054 to get an update on the epidemic. It's not exactly jarring, but the transitions happen frequently.

4-0 out of 5 stars Lasting and Touching Science/Historical Fiction
Although it took a good two thirds to decide, I've come to the conclusion that I really enjoyed this book.

"Doomsday Book" follows two parallel stories separated by about 500 years. 50 years in the future, history Professor James Dunworthy finds himself caught amidst an epidemic, trapped in a quarantine and unable to confirm the safety of his most beloved student, Kivrin. Kivrin has been sent into England's medieval past, to 1320, in search of understanding a pre-plague England. It's clear that something went wrong with Kivrin's jump into the past, but it's less than clear what it was or how serious it might be. While Dunworthy balances life in quarantine, Kivrin finds herself in 14th century England lost and very ill.

Willis carves out parallel paths between the present and past. Characters from both worlds mirror each other and reflect what's different in each era and what remains very much the same. Both paths have religious intolerants, blindly blaming sickness under a pretense of godly rationale. Both tell stories of hope and courage in face of intolerable odds. Both stories tell stories of how religion effects people - both believers and non alike. All of this is strung together by disease running rampant across the modern and historic England.

The story is thick and rich. Each world is built very steadily and is framed in the minutiae of life's daily details. Through these details, a very character-driven story emerges and this is what ultimately led to my enjoyment of the book. Kivrin's relationship with two young girls who live in the home in which she recovers is the most potent. A bond develops quickly, and Willis writes with a tone and palette and that feels very genuine, both in time period and in the voice of youths. Dunworthy develops a relationship with a friend's great-nephew, Colin. This relationship is paralleled by Kivrin's to the girls, and sewn together by the touching relationship between teacher and student.

The middle 150 pages or so includes a lot of hand wringing and anxiety. Credit to Willis for writing it such that I couldn't help but feel the worry as well. Willis' purpose in pushing the reader through this development becomes apparent only in the final 150 pages when the story screams to its conclusion. There were times when I felt the story's mysteries were obvious, but in fact they weren't. Only towards the end did I truly understand why Willis spent as many words building relationships, characters and environments as she did.

The book is as much historical fiction as it is science fiction. It's not a light read, but it's deep and satisfying. ... Read more

5. Remake
by Connie Willis
Paperback: 172 Pages (1995-01-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553374370
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In a future Hollywood where special effects have made actors obsolete, Alis wants to actually dance in the movies, and Tom learns that some things just can not be faked. By the author of Doomsday Book. Amazon.com Review
In the Hollywood of the future there's no need for actorssince any star can be digitally recreated and inserted into anymovie. Yet young Alis wants to dance on the silver screen. Tom triesto dissuade her, but he fears she will pursue her dream--and likelyfall victim to Hollywood's seamy underside, which is all to eager toswallow up naive actresses. Then Tom begins to find Alis in the oldmusicals he remakes, and he has to ask himself just where the linestands between reality and the movies. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

2-0 out of 5 stars Good idea, but not enough story
About half way through the book, I finally got tired of waiting for the story to begin and quit reading. She does a good job of building a world, but it's not one either I or the characters want to live in.

One of the odd things I noticed is that while the narrator is supposed to be a guy, his personality feels like that of a woman. This may be one of the hazards of writing in the first person where the character is the opposite gender, but it was a bit off putting.

The idea is ok, if dystopian, but in the end, I felt that the main insight came early in the book, where the narrator observes that it is strange that so many people want to be someone they aren't, when the main asset they have to offer is their own uniqueness.I was hoping for more strong insights and a gripping story, but sadly, the other main interest in the book is a compilation of good movie quotes.

2-0 out of 5 stars A disappointed Willis Fan
Being a big Connie Willis Fan it grieves me deeply to give anything she writes a bad review. It is obvious that she did a tremendous amount of movie research before writing this and she did enlighten me on a lot of trivia about some of my favorite movies. Yet, the book in itself, was boring and a big disappointment.

4-0 out of 5 stars Watch Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and Read This!
It's been ages since I've read this book, but I was reminded of it today while watching "Sky Captain."The "bad guy" in the film is the actor Laurence Oliver-despite having been dead how many years?It gave me chills, just like the first time I saw Fred Astaire dancing with a Red Devil vacumn cleaner.Well, they say science fiction predicts the future.The future is now.

4-0 out of 5 stars Let's Dance
In Remake, Connie Willis displays the humor, deft-plotting, and imaginative detail that have made her one of the most award-winning writers in science fiction history.Set in the Hollywood of the future where movies are no longer made so much as assembled, where all the great actors and actresses of the twentieth century have been digitalized and can be programmed to act out any scene at the touch of a button, a cynical digital processor meets a woman who wants to do the impossible -- dance in the movies.

2-0 out of 5 stars short but still tiresome
The small amount of action in this story is lengthened into description after description of the narrator doing drugs and drinking while altering classic movies. You really want to shout "OK, I get the idea, already! Would you please move on???"

Finally we get to the climax, and it's not much. There is no suspense, more of just an explanation of how the would-be dancer Alis has mysteriously appeared in some of the old movies. It's a required SF explanation (so that the story can be called SF) but really it's hard to be curious when you just want the thing to end, please -- by this point in the story you know it's not going to get any more interesting.

It seems that Willis put all her energy into coming up with the SF premise and watching old movies so she could insert little descriptions of scenes into the text. It needed more attention to the characters and a plot. This would have made a passable short story. ... Read more

6. Passage
by Connie Willis
Mass Market Paperback: 800 Pages (2002-01-02)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553580515
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
A tunnel, a light, a door. And beyond it ... the unimaginable.

Dr. Joanna Lander is a psychologist specializing in near-death experiences. She is about to get help from a new doctor with the power to give her the chance to get as close to death as anyone can.

A brilliant young neurologist, Dr. Richard Wright has come up with a way to manufacture the near-death experience using a psychoactive drug. Joanna’s first NDE is as fascinating as she imagined — so astounding that she knows she must go back, if only to find out why that place is so hauntingly familiar.

But each time Joanna goes under, her sense of dread begins to grow, because part of her already knows why the experience is so familiar, and why she has every reason to be afraid.

Yet just when Joanna thinks she understands, she’s in for the biggest surprise of all — ashattering scenario that will keep you feverishly reading until the final climactic page.Amazon.com Review
Most of us would rather not spend a lot of time contemplating death, butthe characters in Connie Willis's novel Passage make a living at it.Joanna Lander is a medical researcher specializing in Near DeathExperiences (NDEs) and how the brain constructs them. Her partner in thisendeavor is Richard Wright, a single-minded scientist who induces NDEs inhealthy people by injecting a compound that tricks the brain into thinkingit's dying. Joanna and Richard team up and try to find test subjects whoseability to report their experiences objectively hasn't been wrecked byreading the books of pop-psychologist and hospital gadabout MauriceMandrake. Mandrake has gained fame and fortune by convincing people thatthey can expect light, warmth, and welcoming loved ones once they die.Joanna and Richard try to quantify NDEs in more scientific terms, afrustrating exercise to say the least.

The brain cells started to die within moments of death. By theend of four to six minutes the damage was irreversible, and people broughtback from death after that didn't talk about tunnels and life reviews. Theydidn't talk at all.... But if the dying were facing annihilation, whydidn't they say, "It's over!" or, "I'm shutting down"?... Why did theysay, "It's beautiful over there," and, "I'm coming, Mother!"

When Joanna decides to become a test subject and see an NDE firsthand, shediscovers that death is both more and less than she expected. Tellinganything at all about her experience would be spoiling the book'ssuspenseful buildup, but readers are in for some shocks as Willis revealsthe secrets and mysteries of the afterlife. Unfortunately, several runninggags--the maze-like complexity of the hospital, Mandrake's oily salespitch, and a tiresomely talkative World War II veteran--go on a little too long and threaten the pace of the story near the middle. But don't stop reading! Weexpect a lot from Connie Willis because she's so good, and Passage'spayoff is incredible--the ending will leave you breathless, and more than alittle haunted. Passage masterfully blends tragedy, humor, and fearin an unforgettable meditation on humanity and death. --ThereseLittleton ... Read more

Customer Reviews (213)

2-0 out of 5 stars repetitious
Connie Willis is a decent storyteller with an extremely limited vocabulary. "Confabulating" appears at least a dozen times, as the single term to describe filling in memory gaps by fabrication. But that is just a striking example of what is altogether scratchy prose. Ms. Willis' writing is laudatory for a junior high school student.

The book, about near death experiences, is repetitious to the extreme. The main characters are clueless doctors. There were many opportunities to explain medical constructs which Ms. Willis skips over to instead pursue the senseless scurrying of her lead character.

If you like science fiction, there's not much to like here. If you like character development, there's not much to like here. If you like an intriguing plot, you've chosen the wrong book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Jhaeman's Review
Several years ago, I read Connie Willis' The Doomsday Book and thought it was stupendous, so I recently picked up another of her novels, Passage. This one has an intriguing premise: a researcher into near-death experiences believes that there is some sort of pattern involved in what people see, so she decides to start simulating the experiences through chemical hallucinogens. (in other words, the plot is a bit like Flatliners, but she is not actually dying each time). The first hundred or so pages are as exciting as anything I have read in recent memory, but then it begins to drag--there is a lot of repetition (a character who always tells war stories, difficulty in figuring out how to maneuver through a maze-like hospital, etc.), insufficient characterization for the main protagonist (she does not seem to have much of a personality apart from an obsession with NDEs), and an annoying back-and-forth about whether what she is seeing is real. At almost 800 pages, I think a good editor could have solved a lot of these problems and delivered a slimmer, most powerful book. There are some great ideas here, but they are not expressed in a great way.

4-0 out of 5 stars Charming and clever medical thriller
Since I'm way late to the party reviewing this one, and since there are so many fine reviews here, I thought instead of rehashing what's already been said, I'd merely toss four more stars the author's way and comment on the most frequent criticism: that the book's too long and too repetitive, and that a trained psychologist like Joanna would be able to deal with people, like Mr. Mandrake, who she didn't want to meet, instead of going out of her way to avoid them.

While on the surface that's true, I would argue that the repetitiveness shows signs of desperation--Joanna is becoming more emotionally distraught as the tale continues, and the author means the repetitiveness to emphasize this. In addition, when the viewpoint switches from Joanna to the far less distraught Richard, things become more precise. From Joanna's POV, for example, the cafeteria's never open; from Richard's POV we learn that it's open 11-1, but apparently not Fridays.

Nor was I concerned about the book's length. It's quite readable, and I've read books half its length that exhausted me and left me with a "glad that's over" feeling. Not this one.

Then too it's amazing how fast the book, with a 2001 copyright date--and and meant to be set in the near future from then--seems quaint in parts only nine years after publication: the characters rent video cassettes, and the young woman Kit, who cares for her ailing uncle, has to be told about cell phones. And indeed, I suspect the author tacked that on as she was getting to the end after she'd submitted the ms. to her editor.

2-0 out of 5 stars Tedious
Wow, did this book need some editing. I think cutting two-three hundred pages would have done this book a world of good. I was drowning,(excuse the pun)in the minutiae of Joanna's life, which really slowed the book down.Are writers getting paid by the word again?

2-0 out of 5 stars Needed to be about 1/3rd shorter
I really wanted to like this, but I couldn't finish it.About 4/5ths of the way through, after the last tedious plot twist I finally decided this wasn't fun any more, and not even worth reading to find out the ending. Her writing really needed tightening. She overindulged in extensive passages with lots of technical jargon, labored needlessly over character development, and after the nth foray onto the dream Titanic, where she seemed to go about a foot further every time, it was just too much for me.Often she seemed like she was writing for neurologists who were Titanic buffs, which is an awfully small target audience. I am actually fascinated by neuroscience and psychology, and it was starting to bore me. Those of you who aren't all that into it,I can't imagine would like it better.I also did not feel the obvious jabs at the Titanic film, although I too didn't like it,were really necessary, and they kind of knocked me out of the book's world each time. ... Read more

7. D.A.
by Connie Willis
Hardcover: 80 Pages (2007-06-25)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$7.12
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596061200
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Theodora Baumgarten has just been selected as an IASA space cadet, and therein lies the problem. She didn't apply for the ultra-coveted posting, and doesn't relish spending years aboard the ship to which she's been assigned.But the plucky young heroine, in true Heinlein fashion, has no plans to go along with the program. Aided by her hacker best friend Kimkim, in a screwball comedy that has become Connie Wills' hallmark, Theodora will stop at nothing to uncover the conspiracy that has her shanghaied. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly Short
"D.A." is, in general, a pretty good book; however, it's VERY short. It's so short, it barely qualifies as a novella. After I finished reading it, I couldn't help but wonder whether it was originally intended as chapter 1 of a much longer, more detailed book. When I read the last page and discovered the "secret" (which I won't reveal here), I thought to myself, "Ok, now the REAL story begins..." But instead, the book ended. As much as I love Connie Willis -- and I will continue to buy her books -- I want the money back that I spent on "D.A."

If I have one word of advice... Don't spend your money on this one. Check it out at your local library. You'll like the story, but you'll hate paying full price for such a tiny book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Inside Joke, Folks!
Connie Willis wrote this story with a nod to LA Con IV, the World Science Fiction Convention of 2006 which hosted her as the Guest of Honor. The theme for the convention was Space Cadets/Space Academy; the fundraiser to secure the bid for Los Angeles solicited supporting memberships that made one a Fellow of the Academy. Just so, I have my Space Cadet sash & merit badges as mementos of the event.

The story is a wickedly funny reality check - not everyone is a high-minded dreamer who longs to bounce off bulkheads in orbit.

If you're disappointed that it wasn't a full-blown novel, you shouldn't be: this was intended as a shared moment of mirth with those who recognized the talents of a very capable & fun-loving author. And now that you've got a frame of reference, maybe you won't feel so cheated.

4-0 out of 5 stars Short but sassy
I loved Heinlein when I was growing up, and keep an ongoing lookout for stories/novella/books that evoke those memories.And this one certainly did.
It's very short, and an easy read, but I was hooked from the beginning--and at the end I was hoping for more.

4-0 out of 5 stars Have Spacesuit, Will Travel for the modern generation
If you are an SF fan of a certain age, you remember the Heinlein "juveniles" -- books written for young readers that included good stories, appropriate messages (such as "think for yourself"), and definite, forward-thinking science fiction elements. Most of those stories stand the test of time, I think; certainly I loved every one, even when I read them as an adult.

Connie Willis, whose science fiction and fantasy has made plenty of adults laugh and sigh, turns her attention to the same young audience in D.A. It's a very quick read for a grownup -- I zoomed through it in 40 minutes -- which makes the book pricey, if you judge it on a cost-per-page basis. (I got mine from the library. I recommend you do, too.) On the other hand, I have a 12-year-old grand-niece who probably wouldn't get through a long book, and I am very tempted to send her a copy at the next gift-giving occasion.

The values imparted by our heroine are appropriate for the 8-to-12 reader (though I do wonder about the stink bomb...).

Did I mention that it's entertaining? It is, very. To an adult, this is a chuckle; I suspect the references to annoying teachers and even-more-annoying classmates would be more powerful.

I've read every word of Connie Willis's that I can get my hands on, and I admit that this isn't on the must-have pile. But I like this book, and I think it'd be a great way to turn a youngster onto science fiction.

5-0 out of 5 stars HeinleinTribute Shines
Connie Willis' novelette D.A. is in the tradition of the best of Robert Heinlein's writings for "juveniles"...meaning that anyone over the age of 12 and under the age of death is going to find it a great read. ... Read more

8. Bellwether
by Connie Willis
Mass Market Paperback: 247 Pages (1997-06-02)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553562967
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Pop culture, chaos theory and matters of the heart collide in this unique novella from the Hugo and Nebula winning author of Doomsday Book.
Sandra Foster studies fads and their meanings for the HiTek corporation. Bennet O'Reilly works with monkey group behavior and chaos theory for the same
company. When the two are thrust together due to a misdelivered package and a run of seemingly bad luck, they find a joint project in a flock of sheep. But a series of setbacks and disappointments arise before they are able to find answers to their questions.Amazon.com Review
A sociologist who studies fads and a chaos theorist are brought together by a strange misdelivered package.This book has all the wit and clever writing that characterized Willis' earlier Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Doomsday Book. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (124)

4-0 out of 5 stars Light, quick, enjoyable. Perfect for the Metro to and fro.
An enjoyable read. Light, quirky, fast paced and loaded with fun observations about people and the stupid stuff we cheerfully do, wear, collect or consume as part of the herd. Points out many absurduties of life without mocking. Just shy of five stars due to typos too numerous to count. Crisp writing that perhaps got tangled during transformation into e-book format.

2-0 out of 5 stars Hugely Disappointing Tedious Satire
Prior to picking this up, I'd read and greatly enjoyed two of Willis' other books: To Say Nothing of the Dog and Doomsday Book. However, despite the science fiction packaging, this one is a completely different kettle of fish -- and not in a good way. It's basically a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy blended with an unsuccessful social satire. The heroine is a sociologist working for some kind of research firm (how this firm actually makes money is entirely unclear) who is attempting to isolate what triggers social fads in general, and hair bobbing in particular. She's kind of a Sally Sad Sack, smart and sensible but never sticking up for herself even when she knows she's been wronged. The question is whether she will succumb to the attention of a trend-following rancher, or pursue a decidedly untrendy physicist working on chaos theory. Just as the answer to that is entirely obvious the first time we meet the characters involved, so too is the satire entirely obvious and dead on the page.

About 1/3 of the satire is directed at the firm the heroine works for, but making fun of giant companies is like shooting fish in a barrel, and there's nothing remotely fresh or funny about Willis' efforts here. However, if you think jokes revolving around how the "Simplified Funding Application Form" is actually longer than the original form, then maybe you'll get some giggles out of this. Personally, I found it all pretty tedious. Similarly, there is a lot of oversatirization of trends which mainly comes off as cranky and dated, rather than light fun. Indeed, it reads all too much like an author working out their frustration with modern society. Overall, quite disappointing, considering how much I enjoyed the other books of hers I'd read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Heli-Ox: Light-hearted with Substance!
If you're new to Connie Willis (which I was when I read Bellwether), you can rest assured that time invested in reading her work is not wasted.Winner of 10 Hugo Awards, and 6 Nebula Awards, Willis is a smart, funny, engaging human being, and Bellwether reflects those same qualities.

Connie Willis writes stories whose humor and delightful characters do not obscure her underlying intent:bringing thought-provoking information about the world we live in, or may someday live in, to the audience for consideration.Bellwether does not have the rough-edged intensity of the drug-fueled speculations of Philip K. Dick, the manic brilliance of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, or the chilling hard tech projection of books like Gibson's Neuromancer.Bellwether does not contain the sweeping sociological analyses of an Ursula K. Leguin tale. Nor does Bellwether contain the sort of quotable wisdom that has resulted in Asimov's Three Rules of Robotics being so frequently resurrected lately in discussions about military robots. What DOES Bellwether have?
It has a truly enjoyable tale, populated by characters that have hearts, minds, and depth.It has a delightful romance, the type of love story that eschews anatomical detail for the (IMHO!) more deeply satisfying pleasure of a relationship built on humor, common cause, mutual admiration, and a sense of adventure.Lust is the sauce in a Willis romance, rather than the main course, and much power to her for helping the reader to remember such a concept.

Bellwether also has, underpinning a misleadingly lighthearted style of prose, substantial food for thought.Bellwether's discussion of what drives fads/trends/fashion, mixed with a dose of chaos theory, is intriguing and informative.And, Bellwether has this:scientists as Good Guys; scientists as full humans that not only care about, but derive huge pleasure from, the world in which they live.Bellwether has the kind of scientists that make one say "I'd like to be someone like that when I grow up".No left brain hypertrophied, right brain atrophied geeks need apply, both sides of the brain required to live successfully in a Willis novel.

Bottom line?When you pick up Bellwether, don't expect prolonged episodes of staring off into the distance as your brain reconstitutes itself in accordance with a newly dawning world view (though a few such moments may indeed occur).Do expect to be charmed by the characters, and to root for them.Be comfortable that there are some interesting takeaways in store.Relinquish the idea that absorbing new concepts requires arduous diligence and/or mental gymnastics. The literary atmosphere in this novel is one of Heli-Ox: some helium for a light heart, some oxygen for sustenance of cerebral metabolism. Just read, and enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not science fiction, but still fascinating
I can understand why this book isn't everyone's cup of tea--it's not your usual science fiction, instead working much more like modern literary fiction. But I think it's fascinating because the book's structure actually models its subject (which, loosely speaking, is the relationship between chaos and social structure).At points the book feels random and repetitive, but this seems a deliberate comment on the topic at hand. In some ways, Bellwether reminds me quite a bit of Susan Griffin's "Our Secret" in terms of how it connects cultural studies and science and the study of an individual's life.The book at first appears to answer questions about how fads work (and if this is all you think about the plot, I can see how the novel might seem overly simplistic), but I think it raises more questions than in answers--and this, too, is replicated in the plot of the book, as it culminates in the start of a new research project.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Fun and Creative Solution to Chaos Theory Question
Willis writes great fun books.Her new ways of addressing old (and in this case new) SciFi situations is always interesting.In this case, the story revolves on what triggers a state change in a complex adaptive system (words she doesn't use.)Solve this problem and get richer than Bill Gates.Her solution is both unique and has a basis in old human experience (with sheep.)Maybe she is right.

What fun.Buy it. ... Read more

9. Lincoln's Dreams
by Connie Willis
Mass Market Paperback: 256 Pages (1992-06-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553270257
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Haunted by the nightmares of Annie, a young woman he has just met, historical researcher Jeff Johnston leads Annie on an emotional odyssey through the heartland of the Civil War in search of a cure for her troubles. Reissue. NYT. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (60)

2-0 out of 5 stars typos and a big HUH? ending ~ Evelyn/Virginia
loved her previous works; however, this one left me scratching my head.typos were quite distracting.great historical research - Ilive in Culpeper County Virginia.fabulous theme but poorly executed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly Beautiful Civil War Sci-Fi/Mystery/Love Story Mix
Connie Willis' books defy easy categorization, and her outstanding achievement "Lincoln's Dreams" is true to type.Part historical novel of the Civil War (there is a "novel within a novel" element to the story, as one of the characters writes historical Civil War fiction), part contemporary love story, part mystery (the protagonist tries to unravel how and why his love interest seems to be having dreams not about Robert E. Lee, but from him in the sense that they are Lee's dreams -- yes, the title is a bit of misdirection), and part science fiction (again, the mystery of the dreams).Civil War buffs would need a bit of a suspension of disbelief, but the descriptions of Lee's campaigns and some major battles such as Fredericksburg are flawless and insightful.Willis' trademark quality of humor is less in evidence in this book -- it is more serious in tone -- but her compassion, empathy, and creative genius are all present.A fascinating, interesting book that crosses genre lines -- and made it onto the radar screens of the New York Times (as a "notable book") when most speculative fiction never sees the light of day in the book review section of the "the Old Gray Lady."

4-0 out of 5 stars Kindle version
Like other books by Willis, I find myslf think about this book long after I've finished reading it.I felt definate pangs of sympathy at the ending of the book.

However there was some very strange formatting in the book, separate words run together, words divided, and most often the contraction "I'll" rendered as FU, or LU, especially when it occured at the beginning of a sentence.

5-0 out of 5 stars A love story
This is a remarkable novel by a remarkable writer.The theme was extremely interesting (dreams and the Civil War) but essentially this is a love story.Not necessarily physical love but spiritual love between humans as well as animals.The writing flows well and is easy to read and interpret but still many mysteries remain.It made me want to learn more about the great conflict, the battles and its participants. If you like Connie Willis then you definitely should pick this one up.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just as powerful the second time around!
I read this book last century and was floored by it. I reread it in October, 2008 and was just as knocked out. But this time, because I remembered the story, I could more easily appreciate the little plot devices that Willis includes (for instance the bit about Annie's hands).

This is a lyrical and haunting novel that deals with the developing love between two people who are connected by dreams and history. They also have parallels to characters in a Civil War historical novel one of the protagonists has just finished. And although their love is obliquely ackowledged, it is never consummated (which is perfectly sensible given the surprise ending -- imagine the creepiness that would suggest had they been physical).

I kept turning the pages to find out what Annie's dreams (and Lincoln's) meant and in so doing I learned some pretty sad and awful things about the Civil War and the nature of loss and responsibility. At the end when I was slammed with the surprise, I was still stunned by its consequences.

This is a five-star book and deserves to be read by readers who like to draw their own conclusions and who can believe that holding someone's hand can be an extremely intimate and revealing act. ... Read more

10. Miracle and Other Christmas Stories
by Connie Willis
Mass Market Paperback: 336 Pages (2000-10-31)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553580485
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, Connie Willis capture the timeless essence of generosity and goodwill in this magical collection if Christmas stories.These eight tales-two of which have never before been published-boldly reimagine the stories of Christmas while celebrating the power of love and compassion.This enchanting treasury includes:

"Miracle," in which a young woman's carefully devised plans to find romance go awry when her guardian angel shows her the true meaning of love
"In Coppelius's Toyshop," where a jaded narcissist finds himself trapped in a crowded toy store at Christmastime
"Epiphany," in which three modern-day wisemen embark on a quest unlike any they've ever experienced
"Inn," where a choir singer gives shelter to a homeless man and his pregnant wife-only to learn later that there's much more to the couple than meets the eye
And more
Amazon.com Review
Connie Willis loves Christmas. "I even like the parts most people hate--shopping in crowded malls and reading Christmas newsletters and seeing relatives and standing in baggage check-in lines at the airport. Okay, I lied. Nobody likes standing in baggage check-in lines," she writes. Willis knows it's hard to write good Christmas stories: the subject matter is limited, the writer has to balance between sentiment and skepticism, and too many fall into the Victorian habit of killing off saintly children and poor people. Here she presents eight marvelous Christmas tales, two of which appear for the first time.

The stories range from "The Pony," about a psychotherapist who doesn't believe that Christmas gifts can answer our deepest longings, and "Inn," in which a choir member rehearsing for the Christmas pageant becomes part of the original Christmas story, to "Newsletter," where an invasion of parasitic creatures causes unusually good behavior in their hosts, and "Epiphany," a story of three unlikely Magi following signs through a North American winter toward the returned Jesus Christ. "Miracle" is a comic romance echoing Willis's favorite Yuletide movie, Miracle on 34th Street, and "Catspaw" is a homage to the traditional Christmas murder mystery with a sly, science-fictional twist. The collection also includes "In Coppelius' Toyshop," in which a bad guy is trapped in Toyland, and "Adaptation," a Dickensian story about what it means to keep Christmas in your heart.

Those who want only SF stories may find this collection lacking, but anyone who enjoys complex tales with true Christmas spirit will treasure it. --Nona Vero ... Read more

Customer Reviews (30)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Magic of Christmas
I've put the Connie Willis Christmas book away for now, stowed it carefully in my Kindle, and if it gets too crowded there, it'll always be available on my computer or in the Amazon archives. Come next November, however, I'll want it back there, right at the top of my reading list again, to savor some quirky story of Willis's in the quiet moments while waiting somewhere in a line, while riding in the car or bus to some destination, when a speaker's delivery isn't up to snuff, or when I'm waiting for the doctor to see me.

Hopefully, I'll use them again to better evaluate my place in the world in terms of the stories and their allusions to history and to myth.

To me, that's the value of reading great stories: self-evaluation and, of course, inspiration. I won't discard other Christmas favorites: Dickens's A CHRISTMAS CAROL and Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory." Or even the ones Willis recommends there in her own collection.

There's something unique in reading Christmas stories with that fantastical and, at times, science-fictiony element that Willis is so renowned for. The whimsy and the easy nature of her storytelling is so conducive to the Christmas spirit.

So next year, sometime after Thanksgiving, I wouldn't be surprised if my wife catches me cozied down in the leather recliner with a subtle smile on my face reading about Joseph and Mary caught up in current times through some time warp or something, finding themselves in a Christian church where people are encouraged not to get too caught up in compassion, and the two of them not knowing quite how to get back on the path to Bethlehem. I'll be contemplating "Joseph lying about the baby being his, and the wise men sneaking out the back way, the holy family hightailing it to Egypt and the innkeeper lying to Herod's soldiers about where they'd gone."

My wife will speak to me, asking what I'm reading, and I'll say, "We are all capable of murder. It's in our genes." She'll say, "Boy, you're getting in the Christmas spirit, aren't you?" and I'll say, "You know, 'the story of the Second Coming was a single narrative, but it was actually a hodgepodge of isolated scriptures.'"

About that time, the electronic file on my Kindle will magically disappear. It had its origins in Connie Willis, after all, and she has just that kind of magic in her writing. If you've read these stories, you know just what I mean.

5-0 out of 5 stars Need some Christmas spirit? Read this book!
Connie Willis, one of my favorite authors, loves Christmas and doesn't much care for Hans Christian Andersen:

"Nobody, before Andersen came along, had thought of writing such depressing Christmas stories. Even Dickens, who had killed a fair number of children in his books, didn't kill Tiny Tim. But Andersen, apparently hell-bent on ruining everyone's holidays, froze innocent children, melted loyal toys into lumps of lead, and chopped harmless fir trees who were just standing there in the forest, minding their own business, into kindling."

Willis goes on to say in her Introduction to Miracle and Other Christmas Stories that she prefers Miracle on 34th Street to It's a Wonderful Life when watching holiday films (so do I), and she joyfully rolls with abandon through lists of her favorite Christmas stories. What she sets out to do in this book is provide all sorts of well-written, fun holiday short stories, and she succeeds brilliantly.

For those of you who are more familiar with Willis's science fiction novels, be warned that these stories aren't exclusively in that genre. There's something for everyone. For example, "Inn" is a church choir story with a time-travel twist; "Miracle" is a delightful duel between Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life; and "Cat's Paw" is a British country house Christmas mystery.

My two favorites are "Adaptation" about a divorced bookstore employee trying to spend Christmas Eve with his daughter, and "In Coppelius's Toyshop" in which a world-class jerk gets his just desserts. And if that isn't enough, Willis includes lists of her twelve favorite Christmas stories and movies at the very end.

Normally I don't seek out holiday-themed reads. If they fall into my hands, all's well and good. I'm very glad this particular Christmas book fell into my hands this year. I love Christmas but have found myself lacking the true spirit. (I don't want to sound like Hans Christian Andersen, so I won't go into the reasons why I feel this way.) Miracle and Other Christmas Stories went a very long way in bringing some much-needed cheer into my rather bleak frame of mind. Connie Willis continues to be one of my Go-To Authors.

5-0 out of 5 stars Connie Willis loves Christmas
This book of eight short stories is both entertaining and though-provoking. My favorites were "Miracle" and Epiphany", the first and last stories in the book. The first is a chaotic, magical story where nothing seems to go right, the last a modern retelling of the Three Magi. And don't skip the introduction or the afterward, you'll find references to great Christmas stories there, as well as in the included lists of twelve great Christmas reads and twelve great Christmas movies.
And, yes, I admit to being a fan of both Willis and Christmas!

3-0 out of 5 stars Fun Christmas Tales
Cute collection of Christmas tales (which I'm a sucker for!). Not your typical saccharine-sweet fare. Instead there's a murder mystery, an alien invasion, and more.

Willis is a great writer but often I felt thrust into the story with no idea of who the characters were. Just a little description (physical, age, temperament) would have helped distinguish them in my mind. Instead, many seemed interchangeable.

All the same, it was a fun and quick read.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing...
I generally love Connie Willis novels, and had read great things about this book. I must have missed something. A couple of the stories were okay, which got me through the rest of them. But overall, I was not entertained or interested, and found most of the stories rather pointless. Yes, I know there were supposed to be messages or morals conveyed in the stories. They just didn't pack any punch for me, which I am sorry to say. ... Read more

11. Fire Watch
by Connie Willis
Mass Market Paperback: 288 Pages (1998-04-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$74.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553260456
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Winner of six Nebula and five Hugo awards, Connie Willis is one of the most acclaimed and imaginative authors of our time.  Her startling and powerful works have redefined the boundaries of contemporary science fiction.  Here in one volume are twelve of her greatest stories, including double award-winner "Fire Watch," set in the universe of Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, in which a time-traveling student learns one of history's hardest lessons.  In "A Letter from the Clearys," a routine message from distant friends shatters the fragile world of a beleaguered family.  In "The Sidon in the Mirror," a mutant with the unconscious urge to become other people finds himself becoming both killer and victim.  Disturbing, revealing, and provocative, this remarkable collection of short fiction brings together some of the best work of an incomparable writer whose ability to amaze, confound, and enlighten never fails.Amazon.com Review
Fire Watch collects 12 stories from one of science fiction's most decorated authors. Although the stories are thematically unrelated, an undercurrent of mortality weights many of the tales with a powerful sense of humanity's frailties. Two of the best pieces are "A Letter from the Clearys" and "The Sidon in the Mirror," both of which show people reacting to death in characteristically odd (and disappointingly human) ways. Fans of Willis's time-travel books, The Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, will be delighted to find that the title story tells of another hapless Oxford history student sent back to World War II Britain to learn a hard lesson. Just when the book threatens to leave you morose and depressed, Willis reveals her wonderfully absurdist side in "Mail Order Clone" and "Blued Moon." Willis is a master of the novel, but her short stories are superb reading as well. This is a nice collection for a fan's library and a greatintroduction for those unfamiliar with her work. --Therese Littleton ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

2-0 out of 5 stars Kindle errors... Really, people
Wonderful, fabulous stories. Willis never disappoints. I wish the same could be said of the Kindle store version of this otherwise amazing collection: the amount of typos and errors are beyond belief. Makes for an extremely distracting read... The works of this talented author deserve better. I'm very disappointed an Amazon for this sloppy work.


Update: The situation was made worse by the idiotic response email that came from Amazon in response to my complaint - which made it clear that the customer "service" representative didn't actually read my email.Just adds insult to injury. Thanks so much.

5-0 out of 5 stars Love the stories, appalled at Kindle typos
I love the stories in Firewatch and have loaned out my paperback copies to several of my friends and family over the years, to the enjoyment of all. Bought the Kindle edition because I enjoy re-reading them.
Wow- I imagine it never got proofed at all after it was scanned to e-text. Mostly the errors are a nuisance. In some instances, a problem.Since C.W. Plays so much with language, I found myself more than once relying on previous reads to make sense of the gibberish substituted for the original text.If it were my first time reading it, I'm not sure I would have made sense of it all. I hope they release an updated version with corrections!

2-0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite
I recently read Willis' Blackout (which was phenomenal!) and was eager to read some of her older works. I picked up Fire Watch for Kindle and got to reading. The title story is mediocre at best. It was hard to follow and I wasn't loving it, but in the end, it's been one of the better stories. I believe I'm still deeply disturbed by "All My Darling Daughters," and wish I had never read it.

The Kindle version is riddled with typos. I is CCI in several spots, rn's are m's and so forth and so on, that it's extremely distracting and difficult to follow.

Don't waste your money.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money or time
If I could give this zero stars I would.Love Connie's books, but these stories are just plain dumb.Read some of her other works and enjoy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Stories, but Kindle transfer rife with typos
I was delighted to buy some great stories by my favorite author -- other reviewers have described them wonderfully, so I won't repeat that.My only gripe is that it seems no one proofed the transfer of the text to Kindle format. I counted an average of one mistake every two Kindle pages.For example the word "burn" was often ported with the "rn" interpreted as an "m" -- rendering the otherwise scary prospect of incendiaries burning the Cathedral into the more amusing "buming" of the Cathedral. Although I was mostly able to read around these errors, given the purchase price, I would have appreciated cursory edit by someone empowered to fix these frequent and distracting typos. ... Read more

12. Inside Job
by Connie Willis
Hardcover: 99 Pages (2005-08-30)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$13.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596060247
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars Beware spoiler!
Being an H.L. Mencken fan, I loved this novella by Connie Willis.The premise is simple, Mencken, long dead, seems to "channel" himself into individuals with views abhorrent to him.Then, he uses these individuals to spout classic Mencken views in public forums, surprising all attendees and, most of all, the person he uses to channel himself.The only hitch is by using this technique, Mencken is proving channeling to be authentic, an activity that he debunks as fraudulent.A real dilemma!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Job!
There are very few writers of whom it can be said that _everything_ they write is worth poring over: Connie Willis is just such a writer.Somewhere back along the path of her decades-long career, she figured out how to mix just the right amounts of humor, pathos, spot-on dialogue and and brilliantly-drawn characters."Inside Job" (winner of yet another Hugo Award) is all that and more.The name of the character of Kildy recalls all of the great, 1930s/40s-era screwball comedies (like "His Girl Friday") and Willis uses that as a springboard to cobble up a tale that is equal parts mystery, polemic (addressing religious fundamentalists, of which there are many), comedy and romance.Since it's a novella, it behooves me to not go into too much detail about plot.Suffice it to say that Kildy and her boss Rob (editor of a "Skeptical Inquirer" type magazine, debunkers of psychics and other frauds, are called in to disprove the claims of a famous female psychic who claims to channel dead spirits from the past.And they get help from the most unlikely of souls.A rousing and page-turning read for those who still have a sense of humor about the many foibles of the human race.As always, Willis does a great job!

4-0 out of 5 stars Amusing little novella
Rob is a professional skeptic. He makes a living debunking psychics, channelers, mediums and other frauds. One day, his employee, Kildy Ross, urges him to go see Auriaura Keller, who channels a spirit named "Isus", but she won't tell him what's so different about this woman. They go, and, what a surprise! In the midst of the usual New Age b.s. from this so-called spirit, a second voice interrupts, calling the proceedings "hokum" and Keller a "snakecharming preacher". What the heck is going on?

As they attended in their own names, and being known in their profession, Keller appears at the office and blames Rob for what has happened. In the midst of her ranting, she again begins to talk about "quacks and crooks". But it's her reference to a trial in Dayton, and "boobus Americanus" that causes Rob to realize she's spouting H.L. Mencken. Why would she fake channeling the skeptic's skeptic? And is Kildy in on it? Is she "a beautiful, calculating woman who seduces the hero into helping her with a scam"? Or is it real? And if it's real, what a can of worms!

A very engaging, clever and amusing novella.

4-0 out of 5 stars In typical Willis style
Another lovely novella by the queen of modern science fiction. It was such a quick, fun little read, very much in her regular style. She gets a little paranormal fun in there along with her trademark screwball love story. She is, in my opinion, the greatest science fiction writer still producing new work, and one of the greatest writers ever to meld science fiction and comedy, and this little book is just another example of her fun side.

5-0 out of 5 stars an excellent introduction to Connie Willis...
Inside Job is the 2005 Hugo Award winning novella by Connie Willis. Inside Job is a modern day paranormal mystery story with a generous helping of pop culture, literature, and movie references.

Rob is a the publisher of a skeptic's magazine The Jaundiced Eye and a professional debunker. His job description is pretty much what it sounds like: he, and his staff of one, debunks claims of the paranormal. When his employee, more of a side kick, calls him about a new claim to debunk, Rob is brought into a mystery of the paranormal which might be more real than he could expect.

While other reviews and descriptions have given away details of the plot which could entice a reader, there is something to be said for letting the novella surprise the reader. Inside Job offers up a fun and sometimes silly story about skepticism, Hollywood, fake psychics and the literary tradition (yes, Willis weaves all of this together in fewer than one hundred pages). References to noted skeptic and reporter from the early 20th Century, H.L. Mencken abound and this adds to the narrative. More specifically, Inside Job is somewhat built around Mencken's ideas as each chapter opens with a Mencken quote.

Willis has written a fine, fun novella and without knowing what else was nominated for the Hugo that year, I can certainly see why Inside Job won. It's a good, fast, fulfilling read. The time investment is small, but now I want to read more of Connie Willis's work. That's the mark of a good book, no matter what the size.

-Joe Sherry ... Read more

13. Uncharted Territory
by Connie Willis
Mass Market Paperback: 160 Pages (1994-06-01)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$2.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553562940
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Noted planetary surveyors Carson and Findriddy undertake the task of mapping the planetoid Boohte, a mission complicated by their companions, a young intern specializing in mating customs and a native guide who levies fines to pay for roulette wheels. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars Findriddy and Carson Explore an Alien World
This is the first of Connie Willis' books I've read, but I'm now a fan. I love the humor and the political satire of Uncharted Territory. Since very little was explained, I did have to figure things out as I went along--the technology, the "ponies", the indigenous scout, Bult, etc. But this wasn't a problem as the story was more about characters than technology. The romance is subtle, though by the end of the book you'll know who loves whom, even when it isn't spelled out. And you might even start asking your loved ones, "Where did you put the binoculars?"

5-0 out of 5 stars Wickedly funny satire
A funny yarn that doesn't seem to go anywhere--until it does. And leaves you with a satisfying tale of two explorers, man and woman, chosen by the bureaucrats for their "gender balance" but whose relationship matures into something closer to love. While their indigenous scout has romantic notions of his (her?) own. Meanwhile, it's a wickedly funny satire on political correctness, sensitivity training, and multiculturalism. All SF authors seem to delight in sending up bureaucracies, but Willis does it better than most.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great little story
You can always count on Connie Willis to have a fresh story that makes you think.I had a hard time putting it down.Great little read for the beach.

5-0 out of 5 stars Short, sweet, subtle
I tend to reach for this book if I'm feeling down, and it always cheers me up.Ms. Willis likes to make her readers work, which I love--so the story starts in medias res.This will lead the unwary into making assumptions which get blasted away one by one until what's really going on on Boohte is revealed.Read it, then go back to the start and read it again.I promise you'll enjoy it even more the second time.

Oh, and "Where did you put the binoculars?" has entered my family's lexicon as a way of saying "I love you."

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun, quick read.
This was an enjoyable and quick read. The humor at the beginning was wonderful and the surprise in the plot was perfect. I throughly enjoyed this read. ... Read more

14. Impossible Things
by Connie Willis
Mass Market Paperback: 480 Pages (1993-12-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553564366
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
A collection of science fiction tales by the winner of six Nebula and two Hugo awards features a tale of an outrageous colony in outer space, a distraught woman obsessed with the past, and creatures who roam London during the Blitz. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not her best stuff
"Chance" was the best story by far. "Even the Queen" was hysterical. "Last of the Winnebagos" was good but too heartbreaking - I wish I'd never read it. "Winter's Tale" was worthy of a read, but the rest were mostly disposable. "Spice Pogrom" was too silly & long-winded to even finish. I prefer her novels.

3-0 out of 5 stars Eh... Not as good as I know Willis can be
After reading "Passage," I was anxious to devour more of Willis. "Impossible Things", a collection of short stories, sounded like a perfect way to get a quick fix - a buffet table to expose myself on as many different aspects of Willis as possible.

Next time I'm sticking with the full-length novels. Not that there's anything *bad* about the stories in "Impossible Things", it's just that there's nothing outstanding about them either. For one thing, they're long, in most cases much longer than they need to be. For another, they're somewhat dated, which is understandable given that most were written in the '80s. Yet you never get that sense in the stories of, say, John Varley.

Perhaps I just had expectations that were too high. As I said, no one story was ever bad, and some were actually quite good. "A Winter's Tale" is probably my favorite, a story about Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare's wife, and what she may have known about the famous bard that continues to puzzle literary scholars today. "Even the Queen" is clever and provocative, short and snappy, as well as being timely. "Spice Pogrom" is also clever and funny, but it's much, much too long.

The stories in "Impossible Things" are a somewhat confusing mix of wit and despair. Willis alternates between mocking PC sensitivity in "Ado" and a horrifying description of a young housewife's descent into madness in "Chance", with little unifying theme to tie the book together. I enjoyed the stories individually, but the collection as a whole fell somewhat short.

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed fan
Connie Willis has written several wonderful books, from the delightful "Bellwether" to the deeply moving "Doomsday Book."She brings a characteristic wit and perspective to anything she touches.Strangely some of the same things that I treasure in her novels didn't translate well to this book.

First of all, it is a book of short stories (something I didn't realize when I bought the book).While not an issue in and of itself, I do wish I hadn't picked up the book expecting a novel, as the disappointment probably colored my enjoyment.

A second aspect of the book that isn't necessarily an issue, but reduced my pleasure in her work, was that these stories tended toward melancholy.The bitter-sweet memory of times gone by seemed to be a predominant theme.This kind of work has its place, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had waited until I was in the proper mood.

The only real issue I have is with her writing style.She tends to start her works by thrusting you right into the middle of something without any setup.This is disorienting, but was entirely appropriate and well used in "To Say Nothing of the Dog" (another of her novels).In contrast, in her short stories, a reader is just getting his feet under him when the story ends.In the course of a single story, this is exasperating, but the feeling quickly builds to annoyance when reading a succession of stories in a single sitting.

Any one interested in completing their collection of Willis's works will obviously need this book, but, if you are new to the author, I would recommend starting with one of the five-star books I mentioned in the first paragraph.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, Witty and Hilarious
There are so many good short stories in this book, I hardly know where to begin. "Even the Queen" is the most hilarious answer to `The Feminist Question' ever. I don't think anyone could ever top it. "In the Late Cretacious" is the funniest and most accurate portrayal of university politics I have ever read. "Ado" is a funny look at political correctness taken to its most extreme absurd conclusion. I can't recommend this book enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterful short stories
A collection of stories by Connie Willis, one of the modern masters of the science fiction short.

"The Last of the Winnebagos" -- I remember reading this story years ago and not caring for it that much. Rereadiug it ten years later, I find it much more appealing. In one sense it is a mystery story; in another it is a cautionary tale. The way that Willis weaves together the two-- the tale of the dead dog and the new, authoritarian society--is fresh and clever. Sentimental? Yes. But in the best way.

"Even the Queen" -- One of my favorite stories, not just because it flirts with taboo, but because it is written with such an easy and joyous manner. Willis' comic stories are like those by Wodehouse--she is never content with a single gag, but can mix in wordplay, pop references, slapstick, and play off the old cliches in new and unpredictable ways.

"Schwarzchild Radius" -- Just so as you don't get the impression that I worship the paper that Willis types upon, I will gladly admit that I don't care for this particular story. I believe that this was one of the first stories in which she portrays a physics concept in characters and setting. Later on, in "Blued Moon" and "At the Rialto," the same method, when used with comedy, works to much better effect.

"Ado" -- One of the comedies that has not aged well, due partly to the backlash against "Political Correctness" of which this story was only a small part. There are parts that are still funny, like the running battle between the teacher and the sun worshipping student fought with Bible versus, but the end less litany of offended organizations goes stale about halfway through.

"Spice Pogrom" -- This is the kind of comedy that will never die; well, at least I hope it won't, because, like Willis, I am enamoured of the screwball as nothing else. Yes, it may seem as formulaic as any pulp adventure, but it has at its core some thing that no mere adventure story has, and that is a true sense of romance. We may want to be the Lone Ranger, but we know in our hearts that we can not ride Silver. On the other hand, with a little wit and luck, we are able to be romantic and silly--it is closer to us.

"Winter's Tale" -- One of the reasons Will is appeals to me so is that I share so many of her interests--screwballs, Wodehouse, and Shakespeare. Here the scholar in Willis truly shows, similar to her wonderful novel Doomsday Book. A great story and a history lesson--what more can you ask for?

"Chance" -- This is as close to a mainstream tale as you will ever see in a genre publication (it first appeared in Asimov's) but it is the kind of story that is popping up with more regularity in small-press literary and mainstream magazines.

"In the Late Cretacious" -- This is another one that did not age too well. Basically, it tries to put a comparison between academic competition and the evolution of dinosaurs, along with a running joke on parking. Bits are funny, but the whole is tired.

"Time Out" -- Another one in a similar vein, although in the end it feels more like "Space Pogrom" then "Ado." The comedy is present, but more organic--not relying so much on repetition, as it does character. And, while it is a story about time travel, it is also, and more importantly, a story about time.

"Jack" -- Another war story, but one that I was able to relate to. Loosely related to Dracula, this has some interesting points about war and its effect on people. Much more subtle than normal Willis fare.

"At the Rialto" -- I like this story. Of course I do--I'm a sucker for quantum physics--but even I have problems following the pattern and ideas here. In this case, Willis worked hard on her research. At least you can read it without understanding everything.

A very good collection on the whole, and definitely worth your time. ... Read more

15. The Winds of Marble Arch
by Connie Willis
Hardcover: 600 Pages (2007-09-25)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$95.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596061103
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
"Variety is the soul of pleasure," And variety is what this comprehensive new collection of Connie Willis is all about. The stories cover the entire spectrum, from sad to sparkling to terrifying, from classics to hard-to-find treasures with everything in between -- orangutans, Egypt, earthworms, roast goose, college professors, mothers-in-law, aliens, secret codes, Secret Santas, tube stations, choir practice, the post office, the green light on Daisy's dock, weddings, divorces, death, and assorted plagues, from scarlet fever to "It's a Wonderful Life." And a dog.Famous for her "sure-hand plotting, unforgettable characters, and top-notch writing," Willis has been called, "the most relentlessly delightful science fiction writer alive," and there are numerous examples here. Among them, Willis's most famous stories -- the Hugo- and Nebula-Award-winning "Fire Watch" and "Even the Queen" and "The Last of the Winnebagos" -- along with undiscovered gems like Willis's heartfelt homage to Jack Williamson, "Nonstop to Portales." Her magical Christmas stories are here, too, from "Newsletter" to "Just Like the Ones We Used to Know..." which last year was made into the TV movie, Snow Wonder, starring Mary Tyler Moore.We've collected stories from throughout Willis's career, from early ones like "Cash Crop" and "Daisy, in the Sun," right up to her newest stories, including the wonderful "The Winds of Marble Arch." There's literally something for everyone here. If you're a diehard Willis fan, you'll be delighted with hard-to-find treasures like the until-now uncollected, "The Soul Selects Her Own Society..." If you've never read Connie Willis, this is your chance to discover "A Letter from the Clearys" and, well, "Chance." To say nothing of, "At the Rialto," the funniest story ever written about quantum physicists. And Willis's chilling, "All My Darling Daughters."And...oh, there are too many great stories here to list and pleasures galore. So enjoy! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Connie's rules
Yes, it's true Connie Willis is a great writer and just gets better. This collection of her earlier short works is brilliant and this edition from Subterranean Press is a fulsome tribute to her skills. Read on and be spellbound and highly amused. A wicked wit. Highly recommended.

3-0 out of 5 stars Hit and Miss
Connie Willis is a very readable writer. Short stories often tend to be tedious yet hers never are. But at the same time, this anthology was poorly organized, full of typos, and many of the stories leave you wondering what the point was. Had half the stories been left out this would have been a far stronger collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Effortless, Imaginative & Lots of Fun
Kudos to fellow reviewer J. Fuchs for the detailed story-by-story account elsewhere in this list. If you read that list of stories, you'll have a rough idea if this is a book for you. I'm writing to recommend this to all writers out there for two principal features of Willis' wonderful style. Number one, the ease with which she starts a story. That's no mean feat. These stories already seem to be in motion and events are underway when us lucky readers join the fray. This creates a terrific sense of forward-motion and tension. Number two, the breezy, casual dialogue. In a big thick book of rich stories, the dialogue jumps out as brilliant. In the title story in particular, not a word seems stiff or forced. Finally, the stories here are imaginative, quirky and occasionally dark. My favorites were "At The Rialto" and "Non Stop to Portales" for how their underlying concept was so deftly revealed. For the last year, I've read one of these stories in between full-length books and there were many times I couldn't wait for the books to finish up so I could return to the musings and descriptions of Connie Willis.Final note: the hardback itself is very well produced; quite high quality paper and binding (though I don't know much about this). So, well worth the price.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Author Creates a Great Collection
Ask 25 different Connie Willis fans which short stories should have been included in this collection and you will get 25 different answers.But all of us will probably agree that Willis did a good job picking the stories included here, even though we might have picked a little bit differently.We also might have changed the order in which these stories are presented which is not, to my mind, the best it could have been as the better stories come in toward the end.With the exception of the title story, these are all pieces that have been published before.Many of these I was rereading for the first time in a long time and I am pleased to say that most of them held up quite well and some of them I liked even better than the first time I'd read them.One of the only real disappointments in the bunch is, in fact, the title story, the Winds of Marble Arch, which is the only totally new story in the collection.For this one it feels like Willis threw a lot of elements she's used before into a blender and pulled out a story.Hang in there, though and you will be rewarded.The stories just keep getting better and better.If you're not familiar with Connie Willis, you should know she likes screwball romantic comedies, the London blitz, time travel, Christmas, Chaos theory, romances that almost were, animals and Christianity, but not necessarily the way you think.Here, then, is a rundown of each:

1."The Winds of Marble Arch":something strange is happening in the London Tube - weird smells and weather phenomena that only a few people can sense.Kathy just wants to go shopping by taxi but Tom, her husband wants to find out what's happening underground, preferably before losing his marriage.The first of the three stories in this book devoted to the London blitz.

2. "Blued Moon":waste emissions from a chemical plant have a strange effect on people's luck.Another one of Willis's stories in which the wrong people have to break up and get together with the right people.In this one, the right man will have to find a young woman who can "generate language."And yes - hilarity will ensue.

3. "Just like the Ones We Used to Know":Freak worldwide snowstorms change people's lives at Christmastime.Sweet, if not Willis's best.

4. "Daisy, in the Sun":One of the stranger stories in the book.The sun seems to have fizzled out for good and Daisy is avoiding puberty as hard as she can.Is she in a mental institution or somewhere else?

5. "A Letter from the Cleary's":Danger in a post-apocalyptic world.What's in the post-office that may change things for one fourteen year old girl?

6. "Newsletter":A fun mix of an alien takeover and those newsletters people seem to send out every Christmas.What would you do if everyone suddenly turned as nice at Christmas as everyone always says they should be?

7. "Fire watch": One of the best stories in the book and one that will ultimately make you cry.A history student from the future is assigned to help out with the fire watch at St. Paul'sduring the London blitz.This story is incredibly heartaching and really brings home what was lost in World War II.Easy to understand why it's won so many awards.

8."Nonstop to Portales":This is Willis's homage to writer Jack Williamson.A little piece of time travel fluff that will either bore you or amuse you as a tour group travels through a tiny little town in New Mexico looking for signs of its favorite writer.

9."Ado": This was at one time a very cutting-edge story about political correctness involving the elimination of lines that parents might find objectionable in Shakespeare.A statement in general about the relevance of arts and the dumbing down of college curricula and, although it feels a bit dated, it's one to which we can all relate.

10."All My Darling Daughters":Willis has a tendency to write G and PG rated stories that are really rather wholesome.Here she slides firmly into the R camp, writing a story so disturbing you just want to cry at the end when you find out what a group of teens at a college in the future will do to get sex or to avoid it.One of the few truly dark and disturbing things Willis has ever written.

11."In the Late Cretaceous":A sometimes fun little romp comparing a college paleontology Department with the survival of the dinosaurs they study.Just another story like "Ado" in which Willis gets to decry what she might call the stupidification of our educational system.A bit dated, but nevertheless entertaining.

12."The Curse of Kings":This is the one story in here that I truly don't get.Arguably, a story about genocide, it's way too confusing, tries too hard, and never quite sucks you in.There are other stories I would have put in this collection instead, such as the beautiful "Time Out" from "Impossible Things," which deals with time travel in a unique and interesting way.Sadly we get this confusing story instead.

13."Even the Queen":A fun little story about the change in attitudes toward menstruation.Yes -- a menstruation science fiction story.Silly, but entertaining.

14."Inn":This is one of the two stories that asks the question what would we do if Joseph and Mary or Jesus appeared amongst us.Homeless people keep arriving at Reverend Farreson's church during a snowstorm and Sharon must decide what to do with them.

15."Samaritan":Do monkeys have souls?You may not have decided by the end of this story, but you will be moved to tears by what happens to one orangutan named Esau.

16."Cash Crop":Homesteaders on a satellite away from Earth aren't getting the medical supplies they need.Can any of them survive long enough to grow a cash crop they can sell to Earth?

17."Jack":Another story set in the blitz, this one first appeared in "Impossible Things."Jack seems too good to be true when he arrives to help put out incendiaries with Mrs. Lucy's fire watch.But is he?He certainly seems to know where the bodies are buried.Not quite as moving as Fire Watch, but a darn good story nevertheless.

18. "The Last of The Winnebagos":One of Connie Willis' best, this novella won several awards.Although Willis seems to have a blind spot when it comes to predicting technology, particularly phones, this story about the end of the existence of dogs and about the people who loved them works from start to finish.You will care about everybody in this story and believe that there will be a time when animals are so revered the Humane Society constitutes the major police power.Holds up incredibly well despite Willis's failure to have seen some of where technology would go.

19. "Service for the Burial of the Dead":Willis's ghost story is one of the weaker stories in the book but still worth reading.

20. "The Soul Selects Her Own Society" is one of the funniest stories Willis has ever written, a mock critical paper explaining how the Martian invasion actually happened in Amherst and was repelled by Emily Dickinson from the grave.Makes great fun of the habits of well-known English poets and writers, particularly Emmy Dickinson and her non-rhymes.Despite not getting all the references, I laughed out loud with this one.

21. "Chance":When I first saw that this was included I wondered why Willis didn't instead include "Time Out," which was also published in "Impossible Things."Although I prefer the time traveling craziness of Time Out to that of Chance I have to say that this time around I did really appreciate the wistful "could have been" "should have been" message of "Chance" more than I did when I first read it.This is the story in which Willis really began examining the wrong turns we take and the tiny little things choices we make that send our lives in a certain direction. What if we had dones things differently? This is an incredibly moving story and one of Willis' all-time best.

22. "At the Rialto":Although this one feels a little dated this is a great romp through Hollywood at a conference on quantum physics.As the physicists run around seemingly at the fate of Heidelberg's uncertainty principle, the theory of chaos emerges, but even more importantly love does as well.Great silly fun, despite the obvious exaggeration of just how stupid people in Hollywood are.

23. "Ephiphany": A fitting closing for the book as three people try to go west during a terrible snowstorm, not realizing that they may be the modern version of the three wise men setting out to find Jesus.It won't matter what your religion is -- you'll be pulling for Mel, B.T. and Cassie to find what they're looking for, which seems to be a small town carnival on the move, leaving them signs all along the way, if only they were open enough to pick up on them.

Reading this book reminds me why I love Connie Willis so much and why I'm always first in line for anything she writes.On her worst day she does better than just about anybody else.If you haven't read most of the stories in here you could do a lot worse than get this compilation.It will make you think, laugh and cry and want to tell all your friends.Yes it is that good and I'm glad it's all together in one place.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not usually a fan of short stories...
I'm not usually a big fan of short stories, but of course I'll read anything Connie Willis writes. Even the ones that have been published before are fun to read again. I was thrilled to see "Firewatch" included in this collection, and felt the ending as strongly this time as I did the first time I read it. Other stories, like "Blued Moon" and "At the Rialto" carry Willis' trademark corporate stupidity and mangled language, but others, like "A Letter from the Clearys" and "Nonstop to Portales" are so subtly written, it's both a joy (because you can finally see how well Willis works her craft) and a sorrow (because the story's over!). Some endings are a bit overdone (title-story "The Winds of Marble Arch", "The Last of the Winnebagos"). Others endings are a bit muddled ("The Curse of Kings", "Daisy, In the Sun", "Cash Crop"), but some endings ("All My Darling Daughters") are all too clear. The inclusion of such hilarious gems as "Even the Queen" and especially "The Soul Selects Her Own Society..." (pay attention to the footnotes!) more than make up for any flaws. Overall, the collection is a must-read for any Willis fans, and anyone else who just wants to read a broad collection of well-done stories. ... Read more

16. Year's Best Fantasy 6 (No. 6)
by Bruce Sterling, Esther Friesner, Neil Gaiman, Gene Wolfe, Kelly Link, Garth Nix, Connie Willis
Paperback: 352 Pages (2006-09-15)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$7.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1892391376
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Continuing to showcase the most compelling new genre fiction, this annual compendium presents an impressive lineup of bestselling authors and rising stars of fantasy. Fantasy fiction continues to attract talented authors and dedicated readers, and this intriguing sampler features the best new tales. Whether learning garden magic, battling trolls, or discovering one's relative mortality, these wondrous stories tell of epic heroes and ordinary people performing feats of glory, honor, and occasional ridiculousness.
This year’s contributors include Timothy J. Anderson, Laird Barron, Deborah Coates, Candas Jane Dorsey, Esther Friesner, Neil Gaiman, Gavin J. Grant, Ann Harris, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Claude Lalumiere, Yoon Ha Lee, Kelly Link, Garth Nix, Tim Pratt, Patrick Samphire, Heather Shaw, Delia Sherman, Bruce Sterling, Jonathan Sullivan, Greg Van Eekhout, Jeff Vandermeer, Liz Williams, Connie Willis, and Gene Wolfe.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
A reasonable collection of fantasy, with a 3.55 average.The best stories being Garth Nix's very funny and clever giant monster short, and Laird Barron's horror piece.

There is a quite brief piece by the editors about the state and source of stories in general, and each individual tale is prefaced with further info.

A solid 4, this book

Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Eating Hearts - Yoon Ha Lee
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : The Denial - Bruce Sterling
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : The Fraud - Esther Friesner
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Sunbird - Neil Gaiman
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Shard of Glass - Alaya Dawn Johnson
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : The Farmer's Cat - Jeff Vandermeer
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Crab Apple - Patrick Samphire
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : The Comber - Gene Wolfe
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Walpurgis Afternoon - Deliah Sherman
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Monster - Kelly Link
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Robots and Falling Hearts - Tim Pratt and Greg van Eekhout
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Still Life with B00bs - Ann Harris
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Heads Up Thumbs Down - Gavin J. Grant
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Newbie Wrangler - Timothy J. Anderson
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Being Here - Claude Lalumière
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Mom and Mother Theresa - Candas Jane Dorsey
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : The Imago Sequence - Laird Barron
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Magic in a Certain Slant of Light - Deborah Coates
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Single White Farmhouse - Heather Shaw
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Read It in the Headlines! - Garth Nix
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Niels Bohr and the Sleeping Dane - Jonathon Sullivan
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Mortegarde - Liz Williams
Year's Best Fantasy 6 : Inside Job - Connie Willis

Perfect magician, belt up and bonk.

3 out of 5

We're dead, stupid.

3.5 out of 5

Pregnant unicorn variation end.

4 out of 5

"I have a presentiment of doom upon me," ..."And I fear it shall come to us with barbecue sauce."

4 out of 5

Racist memory power runaway.

4 out of 5

Moggie ursa major makes troll mob minor.

3.5 out of 5

Dryad heart dump.

3 out of 5

Swiftly tilting city.

4 out of 5

Witchiness good for gardens.

3.5 out of 5

Hey, Bungalow Jim
I Might Eat Him

3.5 out of 5

Reality altering with replicating rodent robots. With a bit of mechanical criticism of the critical literary abilities of people.

3.5 out of 5

Mendicant mammaries.

4 out of 5

Sound of music is Matchless.

3 out of 5

Gud is bloody lazy, Zep Boy.

3.5 out of 5

Can't see this one, maybe that's us.

2.5 out of 5

No Aunt, just gimme shelter.

3 out of 5

Awful art lust trephination escape cave meld.

4 out of 5

Predicting dirigible desperation.

4 out of 5

Architectural pr0n, same?

3.5 out of 5

Very large Daikaiju font.

4.5 out of 5

Statue sword-slinger saves scientist.

4 out of 5

World Tree gatespeaking wyvern blood lecture dissection decision.

3.5 out of 5

Making monkeys of mediums.

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

5-0 out of 5 stars Bizarre and beautiful
YEAR'S BEST FANTASY 6, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, is an engaging anthology of the absurd, the fantastic, the beautiful, and the horrifying, comprising twenty-three stories written by some of the best in the industry. The tales range from light and whimsical, as in "Still Life with Boobs" by Anne Harris, to dark and chilling, as in Laird Barron's much-acclaimed novella, "The Imago Sequence," which has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award in the long fiction category for 2005.

The book comes in with a tiger in Yoon Ha Lee's elegant parable "Eating Hearts," and goes out with a tiger, in Connie Willis's smartly crafted homage to H. L. Mencken entitled "Inside Job." Kelly Link's outstanding "Monster" is a tongue-in-cheek modern-day version of Beowulf in a boys' summer camp; and Bruce Sterling's satirical "The Denial" brings to mind the genius of Isaac B. Singer. Authors include Esther M. Friesner, Neil Gaiman, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Jeff VanderMeer, Patrick Samphire, Gene Wolfe, Delia Sherman, Tim Pratt and Greg van Eekhout, Gavin J. Grant (husband to Kelly Link), Candas Jane Dorsey, Timothy J. Anderson, Claude Lalumière, Deborah Coates, Heather Shaw, Garth Nix, Jonathon Sullivan, and Liz Williams.

Award recipient David G. Hartwell is the senior editor at Tor/Forge Books, the publisher of THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF SCIENCE FICTION, and the author of AGE OF WONDERS.

World Fantasy Award winner Kathryn Cramer is an editor at THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF SCIENCE FICTION. She has also co-edited the outstanding anthologies, THE ASCENT OF WONDER, THE HARD SF RENAISSANCE, and the YEAR'S BEST SCIENCE FICTION series.

YEAR'S BEST FANTASY 6 is highly recommended reading for anyone who enjoys variety in the fantastic.
... Read more

17. Futures Imperfect (Three Short Novels)
by Connie Willis
Hardcover: Pages (1996)
-- used & new: US$3.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1568651864
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Humanity in the looking glass...
Each of the three short novels/novellas in this collection has a different "feel", yet they all investigate some aspect of what it means to be human in an imperfect world. In "Uncharted Territory," the struggle to ensure a low-level culture isn't exploited by human greed is the backdrop for exploring friendship, love, and desire."Remake" delves into the lengths to which people will go to fulfill a passion.And "Bellwether" explores both the herd instinct and the extent to which we often deceive ourselves about our own motivations, against a backdrop of corporate misunderstanding of science.Recommended for anyone interested in the human side of SF!

4-0 out of 5 stars Best appreciated separately
I am a huge Connie Willis fan--The Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Lincoln's Dream, Impossible Things...are just amazing.Connie Willis has won more awards than just about anyone in the science fiction genre but is not nearly as well known as she should be.Her works (books and short stories) tend toward extremes of hilarity or devastation--sometimes even in the same book. The stories in this collection are a bit like that, and I like them all in varying degrees--although I don't personally think that any of them are representative of her best work.(I do love Remake, and a lot of people really like Bellweather.)If you've never read Connie Willis before, I recommend you start with To Say Nothing of the Dog and then read The Doomsday Book. If you're not hooked after that, maybe Connie Willis isn't for you.If you are, welcome to the club!

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
A collection of short books I didn't find very remarkable. If you get a
cheap bookclub edition or used, that is not so bad though.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Bargain!
My 2 favorite stories by Connie Willis are in this 3-book-in-one collection: Bellweather and Uncharted Territory.The middle book, Remake, is okay.

Yes, Bellweather or Uncharted Territory might be found at your local library--but if you're like me, the best books should always be found close at hand.You can't beat a cheap, hardback, 3-book-in-one edition! ... Read more

18. Blackout
by Connie Willis
Hardcover: 491 Pages (2010)
-- used & new: US$21.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003735TPS
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars A publishing faux pas.
First of all, let me say that I love Connie Willis's time travel books.To Say Nothing of the Dog and Doomsday Book are two of my favorite novels.Consequently, I was really looking forward to reading Blackout.Unfortunately, Blackout never reaches the heights of either of those books and worse, it's seriously flawed in a couple of ways.Chief among these is the fact that it's just plain boring.The premise is fine, the main characters are fine, but the book is at least 50 percent too long -- and it's just the first half of a two-part book! Which brings me to the second flaw.Expecting readers to stay with this story for almost 500 pages only to come to a seriously annoying cliffhanger of an ending and then expecting them to wait and then shell out more money for what will presumably be another 500 pages of boredom was a serious mis-judgement on the part of the publisher.This book should have been edited down to a single volume.It might then have been the exciting, intriguing novel of time travel gone wrong that Ms. Willis has done so well in the past.I look forward to the suthor's next time travel novel (really, I do), it just won't be the follow-up to this novel, All Clear.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent novel of England in WWII
I loved this book!I've read the others in Connie Willis's time travel series (The Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog), and I like all of them very much.She develops very interesting characters, and has obviously done extensive research on the times they visit.I don't usually read science fiction, but she is really a mix of genres.I frankly can't understand the negative reviews of this book; just goes to show how differently people react to books.I was on the edge of my seat, and couldn't put it down.And I already knew I had to wait until October for the conclusion, so I wasn't let down.Now I can't wait until October!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting!
I found this unique novel to be utterly riveting. Connie Willis in "Blackout" combines two of my favorite topics, time travel and WWII, in a spellbinding story of suspense. I knew going in that it was part one of two, so I was prepared to be left on the edge of a cliff at the end. I have October 19th marked on my calendar for the "All Clear" resolution to this wonderful story.

Note: Amazon has this book confusingly listed on two separate pages. I'm going to post this review on both.

1-0 out of 5 stars Tedious beyond words
I am a sucker for books about World War II and, as it happens, time travel. So this, I thought, was perfect for me. But what a disappointment! None of the tension and high drama of England during the Blitz, nor the glamour of travelling back in time were conveyed by this low-octane thriller, which had all the literary appeal of an afernoon "soap". To rub salt in the wound, the story doesn't even have an ending. We are left in mid-air, obliged, cynically, to buy the next volume in the series, if we want to find out how it ends. Not that I care one way or the other. This was a total, one hundred percent dud.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this book - it's bad for your mental health.
William Faulkner said that the key to good writing is to "Kill your darlings". Connie Willis has apparently never learned this lesson. All five hundred plus pages of this waste of paper can be summed up in one sentence: Three characters travel back in time to WWII England, get stuck there, and spend days - weeks - months - thinking the same two thoughts over and over and over again: "OMG, have I accidentally altered the course of history?" and "OMG, why hasn't anyone come from the future to rescue me?"

It doesn't take long before you start skimming over large portions of the book, in a hurry to reach the end and get the painful experience of reading it over with. Finally, you get there - and that's when you discover that the author and her publisher created this abomination for the sole purpose of playing a cruel joke on the reader. The final words of the book are "For the riveting conclusion to Blackout, be sure not to miss Connie Willis' All Clear, coming from Spectra in Fall 2010."

That's right, after numbing your senses with 491 pages of drek, Ms. Willis has the nerve to suggest you should spend another twenty bucks and wade through another book full of her mindless ramblings in order to see how it all comes out. This is the point at which you will kick your dog, beat your head against the wall and feel your blood pressure reaching dangerous levels.

Save yourself the aggravation. Find something else to read. ... Read more

19. Promised Land
by Connie Willis, Cynthia Felice
 Paperback: 368 Pages (1998-08-01)
list price: US$6.50 -- used & new: US$16.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0441005438
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
It has been fifteen years since Delanna Milleflores set foot on Keramos. Now her mother has died, and she has returned only to settle and sell her estate.

But Keramos has some surprising laws. To sell her farm, Delanna must first live on it for one year. And along with her land comes one Tarlton Tanner, heir to the adjoining farm.

A man who, at the moment of her mother's death, became Delanna's husband... ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not her best effot
Nah.It's sort of a trashy love story set on a distant planet.Perhaps the problem was the collaboration.I made it all the way to the end but was annoyed with myself for doing so.

2-0 out of 5 stars Harlequin romance in SF clothes, badly done
This book is a romance novel with science-fiction trappings.I might not mind that (I loved 'To Say Nothing of the Dog', which was a romantic comedy with science-fiction trappings), but this is a *bad* romance novel.Why?

The heroine is just barely three-dimensional, and the rest of the characters are cardboard cutouts.

From about page 5, the plot is obvious, obvious, obvious.This plot was old when Danielle Steele and Barbara Cartland were filing the serial numbers off of it.

The 'surprise twist' at the ending is so thoroughly telegraphed that it's not a surprise at all.

Had there been real characters or an interesting plot, I might have enjoyed this book.As it was, the best, most exciting part was when the heroine, who has been spoiled by a life of fussy luxury in the big city and who knows nothing about the backcountry, turns out to make great time on the caravan because her expensive school has taught her how to use the latest navigational software.

I cannot *believe* Connie Willis is first author of this book.It should have been credited to Alan Smithee.

3-0 out of 5 stars Romance novel knockoff
Connie Willis is amazing, wonderful, deep, and witty.Which makes me wonder why she wrote this book: it's a Harlequin romance only set on a different planet.

For fun and romance, try her Bellweather.Later, read Firewatch, which I consider one of her unappreciated best.Just please, don't take this as an accurate example of her brilliance.

2-0 out of 5 stars Bad beginning, slightly entertaining in the end
When I first picked up this book, I detested the main character and her bug as shallow, stupid, unadaptable and spoiled.I plowed through only because I love Connie Willis.Once Delanna, the main character, reaches her farm, things began to amuse me more - however, that might only be because I enjoy romance.The book was predictable, the characters infuriating and their emotions undecipherable - who moons after a five-year-old for fifteen years, anyway?And why does Delanna like Cadiz so much when all she ever does is complain?On second thoughts, maybe that is why - they're kindred spirits.Connie Willis can do so much better!

3-0 out of 5 stars A Good Read for Early Teens
I began reading the book because I love Connie Willis.After 20 pages, I was disappointed; after 50 or so pages, I was mad.The only thing that kept me going was the fervent hope that the unbug would get squashed after mortally wounding the shallow and obnoxious "heroine."And then, unexpectedly, I began to enjoy the story, mostly because of the science-fiction elements, and I realized that if this book were marketed for young people, it would be quite good.It's a very moral story... the wretched Delanna sees the error of her thinking, proves to be a hard worker, kind to animals both warm and cold-blooded, and learns to love a good and uncomplicated hunk of a man.And there are no scenes you would be embarrassed to read aloud to your 13-year-old daughter, who I think is the perfect audience for this rather charming but predictable story.I hope there's a sequel, perhaps written more towards adults... and this time, the unbug gets it. ... Read more

20. All Seated on the Ground
by Connie Willis
Hardcover: 128 Pages (2007-11-26)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$78.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596061618
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The aliens have landed! The aliens have landed! But instead of shooting death rays, taking over the planet and carrying off Earthwomen, they've just been standing there for months on end, glaring like a disapproving relative. And now it's nearly Christmas, and the commission assigned to establish communications is at their wits' end. They've resorted to taking the aliens to Broncos games, lighting displays, and shopping malls, in the hope they'll respond to something!

And they do, but in a way nobody ever expected, and Meg, the commission, and an overworked choir director find themselves suddenly caught up in an intergalactic mess involving Christmas carols, scented candles, seventh-grade girls, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Meg's Aunt Judith, Victoria's Secret, and Handel's Messiah.

Multiple Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author Connie Willis may be most famous for her books To Say Nothing of the Dog, Doomsday Book, Inside Job, D.A., and The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories, but she's also a huge fan of the holidays and their accompanying frivolity and nonsense, and has written a marvelous array of Christmas stories, including Miracle and Other Christmas Stories, Just Like the Ones We Used to Know (made into the CBS movie Snow Wonder), deck.halls@boughs/holly, and now the hilarious All Seated on the Ground. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Quick read
Aliens have landed.Now all they do is stand there and glare.Meg finds herself on the commission charged with trying to communicate with the aliens.Their glaring reminds her of her Aunt Judith.While at the mall with the aliens, the aliens suddenly sit down.Now the problem is finding out what caused them to sit down.Meg hooks up with Calvin Ledbetter, a choir director.Together they must unravel why the aliens are finally responding to something.

After a few pages of introductory exposition the action starts up, and doesn't end until the book does.Willis is a master at capturing the fun of the old madcap romantic comedies of Hollywood's golden era.The only problem is the brevity of the work.I can't wait for her to actually put out a full length novel again.

1-0 out of 5 stars Here be horror...
I really wanted to like this novella, even moreso as it came to my attention basked in the brilliance of a Hugo Award. I wanted to read something short and entertaining, so that I could share a nugget of charm with my friends, but I cannot do that. I feel that this book is not deserving of a Hugo award in the slighest, and I reached its final page thankful that it was mercifully short.

To keep it short and to the point so that I dont become too nasty in my dismissal, I found the story to be horribly cliched, the protagonist characters were paper thin to the point that I didnt care about them and the "antagonist" are frustratingly boring and shallow. I hated the aliens on their high and mighty horse, as they were nothing more than a bunch of pretentious jerks that invited themselves to our planet, blundered onto it, started rudely glaring at people (Because what a surprise that people would be chaotic over aliens landing) watched as the main characters bent over backwards trying to show them we arent all that bad, then the humans are the ones that receive the scorn. They are linked to the main characters Aunt Judith, who herself is a stuck up snob, uncaring of the emotional inferiority she puts others through as long as her standards are reached for. Really, the aliens should have been wearing top hats while sneering through their monocles.

Add to this the authors 'bare-bones' method of writing (That is, next to no description or detail) and the characters just seem to plod from scene to scene with the energy of a flacid tyre, trying to appease some intertellar, hypocritical stiffs, and with a romantic subplot that's as malnourished as a prisoner of war.

As I said, I really tried to like this story, but I found very litle enjoyment from it. I dunno, maybe I was expecting too much from a novella, or maybe I was taking the text too seriously. I can understand fans of the author enjoying it far more than myself and if one finds entertainment and delight in it then I am happy for you, but personally, I cannot recommend this.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Christmas classic.
Really, this is one of the best and funniest Christmas stories since, well, Jean Shepherd's "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash" (also known as the film "A Christmas Story") and David Sedaris's "Holidays on Ice."It also reminds me, peculiarly, of Kurt Vonnegut's funnier and less morose short stories (such as "Who Am I This Time?"), probably because it is told in such a plain-spoken but still rather antic and witty voice.

It's terrific, romantic in an odd way, and completely cinematic - I wish someone would turn it into a feature film.It would be a great Christmas movie.

4-0 out of 5 stars Seated onthe couch with this book.
Very entertaining.Read it in one afternoon as I couldn't put it down.Love Connie Willis's work and this is a good example of her wit and writing style.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun story, but head to the library or wait for a paperback
Connie Willis is one of the funniest authors around, in the SF genre or any other. She always manages to identify human frailties and make us laugh at them, but she is never, never mean. As a result, I'd pick up ANY story she wrote. Heck, I'd read her grocery list.

She also has the gift -- or curse -- of writing great stories that are relatively short. While she's written a few long books (such as Passage and Doomsday Book), she can tell a wonderful short tale, either as short stories or here, as a novella. (I've lost count of the number of times I've given away copies ofher Bellwether, which is also low in the page-count department.) Short fiction is great to read (at least, if you have something else to do with your life), but it makes the pages-per-dollar ratio for a book like this a bit dear.

But I _do_ think you should read this one, even if you have to head to the library to make it affordable until a paperback version comes out or this is repackaged into a larger collection. (That's what I did.) Because it isa wonderful example of Willis' writing: the sweet satire, the love story that's obvious to everyone except the protagonist, the appreciation and love of human absurdity. And Christmas. Connie Willis loves Christmas, and she makes even bah-humbug folks like myself appreciate why. (She has a collection of Christmas short stories, and this one would fit right in.)

The situation itself is simple enough: aliens land on earth, but they refuse to communicate with any humans. Until they start to behave oddly (for them) right before Christmas, and Our Heroine -- and someone she runs into at the shopping mall -- has to figure out why. It's laugh-out-loud funny, and absolutely worth your time.

Incidentally, there's no sex or intimations of such (through there's a bit of poking at the religious right). A teenager could read this without parental disapproval. ... Read more

  1-20 of 100 | Next 20
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  

Prices listed on this site are subject to change without notice.
Questions on ordering or shipping? click here for help.

site stats