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Connie Willis

Connie Willis(1945- )
Connie Willis
 has won ten Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards. Ms. Willis was graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 1967. She lives in Greeley, Colorado with her husband who teaches physics at the university. Connie Willis was inducted into the Science Fiction Museum and Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009. Find out more at Connie Willis’s website.

The Last of the Winnebagos: Hugo and Nebula Award winning novella

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The Last of the Winnebagos by Connie Willis

After a virus has killed all of the dogs on Earth, the Humane Society (“The Society”) has been given the power to prosecute and punish anyone who, even accidentally, harms an animal. The government has started putting walls around highways, tracking vehicles with videocameras, and banning recreational vehicles from the roads.

After a photojournalist stops to report a dead jackal on the highway, he becomes involved in The Society’s investigation. During the process he meets an elderly couple who claim to own the last Winnebago, and he visits the woman who accidentally killed his own dog, one of the last to survive, 15 years earlier. Along the way, he keeps hoping to get a candid photo that will show, through its owner’s face, one of these beloved dogs who’ve been lost.

The Last of the Winnebagos... Read More

Doomsday Book: Historically robust time travel with deeply satisfying characters

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Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Although it took a good two-thirds of the novel for me to decide, I've come to the conclusion that I really enjoyed this multiple award-winning book by Connie Willis. At its core, Doomsday Book is sci-fi time travel, but it’s got depth and intelligence, and leaves little wonder that it won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards for Best Novel (in 1992 and ’93, respectively), as well as the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 1993, and a nomination for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature (also in 1993).

Doomsday Book follows two parallel stories separated by 500 years. In the 21st century, history professor James Dunworthy finds himself caught amidst an epidemic, trapped in a quarantine... Read More

Miracle and Other Christmas Stories: Speculative Christmas-themed stories

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Miracle and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis

Miracle and Other Christmas Stories (1999) is a collection of eight short science fiction and fantasies by Connie Willis, plus an introduction and an afterword. It was on sale for $1.99 in early December 2016 ― a great value. It combines Willis’ heartfelt love for Christmas with a clear-eyed but sympathetic view of humanity and its foibles. In the introduction, Willis talks about how she has tried to walk the fine line between cynicism and “mawkish sappiness.” I think she’s done a fine job of it.

"Miracle:" 4 stars. In this story, as sometimes in real life, office Christmas party planning and politics threaten to sideline the true meaning of C... Read More

Inside Job: Hugo Award-winning novella

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Inside Job by Connie Willis

I have a goal of eventually reading all of the major SFF award winners, including novels, novellas, novelettes, and short stories, so that’s why I picked up Connie Willis’s Inside Job when I saw that it was available on audio. Inside Job won the Hugo Award for Best Novella in 2006. Just a couple of months ago, by the way, Connie Willis received the SFWA Grand Master Award (January 2012).

Inside Job is a story about Rob, a professional debunker of pseudoscience, and his new partner Kildy Ross, a beautiful and famous actress. They attend séances and visit faith healers, psychics, and palm readers, always figuring out how these hucksters are cheating the gullible and publishing their findings in their magazine, The Jaundiced Eye.

Mostly it’s the same thing... Read More

The Winds of Marble Arch: Hugo award winning novella on audio

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The Winds of Marble Arch by Connie Willis

Tom and his wife are visiting London so Tom can attend an academic conference while his wife goes shopping with a friend. When Tom takes the Tube to the conference, he feels a strange wind in the Underground. It’s more than just the normal drafts created by trains coming and going; this wind smells ancient and deadly and makes him feel afraid. Skipping the conference, and forgetting to buy theater tickets, Tom spends the next couple of days riding the Tube all over (under, actually) London to try to find the origin of the winds that only he seems to feel.

Connie Willis’s The Winds of Marble Arch won the Hugo Award for Best Novella and was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella. Like several of her stories, this one involves a time-traveling academic, except that he doesn’t actually ... Read More

Blackout and All Clear: One of my favorite reads of the year

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Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis

With Blackout and All Clear, which together comprise a single fluid story, Connie Willis returns to the time travel universe that was home to her acclaimed early novel Doomsday Book. If anything, she has only gotten better with, ahem, time.

In the late 21st century, time travel is a tool employed by historians to observe and to take part in historic events, though it appears that something inherent about the travel precludes them from being sent to extremely pivotal points and settings so as to ensure they do not change history. In Blackout and All Clear, the time travel setting is World War II, England. Merope Ward has been sent to observe the children’s evacuation to the co... Read More

All About Emily: Blends Broadway and science fiction

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All About Emily by Connie Willis

Claire Havilland is an aging Broadway actress who considers herself too old to wear a leotard and fishnets, but is not quite ready to be called a “legend.” One of her most successful roles was playing Margo Channing in the Broadway musical adaption of the film All About Eve. When Claire meets a charming young woman named Emily, who seems to know all about Claire’s career, Claire feels threatened. Could Emily be planning to steal Claire’s career, as Eve Harrington did to Margo Channing in All About Eve?

Connie Willis’s new novelette All About Emily (only 96 pages) blends Broadway and science fiction — something I don’t think I’ve ever seen done before — and it works. It was fun to explore Manhattan’s Theater District and ... Read More

The Best of Connie Willis: Everyone must read Connie Willis

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The Best of Connie Willis by Connie Willis

Connie Willis has received a staggering eleven Hugo and seven Nebula awards in her career, an achievement nobody has equaled. Her induction in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009 and receiving the SFWA Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement in 2011 can hardly be called surprising. Of her novels, three or four, depending on whether or not you count the two volumes Blackout and All Clear as a single work, have won awards, the rest Willis received for her short fiction.

The Best of Connie Willis: Award-winning Stories contains ten pieces of fiction, ranging from short stories to novellas. As the title suggests each has won at least one award. Willis has written an introduction to the collection and brief afterwords for each of the stories. Three of her acceptanc... Read More

Crosstalk: The perils of over-communication

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Crosstalk by Connie Willis

In Crosstalk, Connie Willis’ new near-future science fiction novel, Briddey works for Commspan, a smartphone company that is anxious to compete with Apple. For the last six weeks Briddey has been in a whirlwind romance with Trent, a hot young executive at Commspan, who swept Briddey off her feet with his suave charm and his Porsche. Now Trent has invited Briddey, as a prelude to getting engaged, to get a popular “minor” neurological brain surgery, called an EED, along with him, to enhance their ability to sense each other's emotions. Emotional telepathy, if you will. Briddey's co-workers are thrilled for her, but her Irish relatives and her co-worker C.B. Schwartz are urgently telling her not to get the EED: her relatives because they dislike Trent, and C.B. because it’s brain surgery and unintended consequences are always a danger. Briddey, ... Read More

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume One

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The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume One edited by Jonathan Strahan

My first and foremost complaint — and this is really a quibble more than anything else — is that the title doesn't tell you what year this anthology belongs to. Which isn't really a problem if you bought it recently but in case you find in the bookstore bin several years down the line, it's nice to know what era this collection represents (in case you don't know the answer, the book was printed in 2007). With that out of the way, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume One is a good collection that draws from both the fantasy and science fiction genres, and I'm really looking forward to the sequel.

Personally, however, because I read a large number of anthologies in 2007, I’ve seen many of these stories before because they’ve been reprinted in numerous ... Read More

The Nebula Awards Showcase 2011: Sample the best SFF

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The Nebula Awards Showcase 2011 edited by Kevin J. Anderson

The Nebula Awards are one of the great institutions in science fiction and fantasy. Each year since 1965, the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) have voted for the Best Novel, Novella (40,000-17,500 words), Novelette (17,500-7,500 words), and Short Story (less than 7,500 words) in SF and fantasy. Compiling a list of the nominees and winners for all those years would get you an excellent reading list and a comprehensive cross-view of the best that can be found in the ... Read More

More speculative fiction by Connie Willis

SF book reviews Connie Willis Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the DogTo Say Nothing of the Dog — (1997) Publisher: From Connie Willis, winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, comes a comedic romp through an unpredictable world of mystery, love, and time travel… Ned Henry is badly in need of a rest.  He’s been shuttling between the 21st century and the 1940s searching for a Victorian atrocity called the bishop’s bird stump.  It’s part of a project to restore the famed Coventry Cathedral, destroyed in a Nazi air raid over a hundred years earlier. But then Verity Kindle, a fellow time traveler, inadvertently brings back something from the past.  Now Ned must jump back to the Victorian era to help Verity put things right — not only to save the project but to prevent altering history itself.SFF book reviews Connie Willis Water Witch


Water Witch — (1982) With Cynthia Felice. Publisher: At the instigation of her con-artist father, Deza masquerades as a witch who can control the water supply of the desert planet of Mahali, in order to deceive its rulers and become rich, but the deception backfires.


SFF book reviews Connie Willis Fire WatchFire Watch — (1985) Publisher: 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.


SFF book reviews Connie Willis Lincoln's DreamsLincoln’s Dreams — (1987) Publisher: For Jeff Johnston, a young historical reseacher for a Civil War novelist, reality is redefined on a bitter cold night near the close of a lingering winter. He meets Annie, an intense and lovely young woman suffering from vivid, intense nightmares. Haunted by the dreamer and her unrelenting dreams, Jeff leads Annie on an emotional odyssey through the heartland of the Civil War in search of a cure. On long-silenced battlefields their relationship blossoms–two obsessed lovers linked by unbreakable chains of history, torn by a duty that could destroy them both. Suspenseful, moving, and highly compelling, Lincoln’s Dreams is a novel of rare imaginative power.SFF book reviews Connie Willis Light Raid


Light Raid — (1989) With Cynthia Felice. Publisher: As civil war rages between eastern and western North America — fought with massive laser beams called “light raids” — young Ariadne works desperately to clear her mother’s name from a charge of treason while struggling to survive the deadly onslaught.


SFF book reviews Connie Willis Impossible ThingsImpossible Things — (1993) Publisher: 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.


SFF book reviews Connie Willis Remake Remake — (1994) Publisher: Winner of more Hugo and Nebula Awards than any other science fiction author, Connie Willis is one of the most powerfully imaginative writers of our time. In Remake, she explores the timeless themes of emotion and technology, reality and illusion, and the bittersweet place where they intersect to make art. Remake. It’s the Hollywood of the future, where moviemaking’s been computerized and live-action films are a thing of the past. It’s a Hollywood where Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe are starring together in A Star Is Born, and if you don’t like the ending, you can change it with the stroke of a key. A Hollywood of warmbodies and sim-sex, of drugs and special effects, where anything is possible. Except for what one starry-eyed young woman wants to do: dance in the movies. It’s an impossible dream, but Alis is not willing to give up. With a little magic and a lot of luck, she just might get her happy ending after all.


SFF book reviews Connie Willis Unchartered TerritoryUncharted Territory — (1994) Publisher: 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.


SFF book reviews Connie Willis BellwetherBellwether — (1996) Publisher: 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.


SFF book reviews Connie Willis Promised LandPromised Land — (1997) With Cynthia Felice. Publisher: 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…


SFF book reviews Connie Willis PassagePassage — (2001) Publisher: 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.


SFF book reviews Connie Willis D.A.D.A. — (2007) Publisher: 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.


All Seated on the Ground Connie WillisAll Seated on the Ground — (2007) Publisher: 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), [email protected]/holly, and now the hilarious All Seated on the Ground.


CLICK HERE FOR A FEW MORE TITLES BY CONNIE WILLIS.


World Fantasy Convention 2011: Day One

“Sailing the Seas of Imagination” is the theme of World Fantasy Convention 2011 here in sunny, temperate San Diego, so you don’t go too long without someone issuing an “Arrrh!” or a panel about what happens under the sea. It’s a great group of people: fans, writers, critics, all people who read with passion and heart. And I'm here and get to blog about it!

Once registered for the convention, I trudged directly over to pick up my goodie bag. World Fantasy is famous for these bags: sturdy canvas totes jammed with enough reading material to last at least a month. I returned a number of the books to the Book Swap table because I already owned them, but I’ve still got 10 new books (and I’ve already tasted A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans, which I’ve b... Read More

World Fantasy Convention 2011: Day Two

I'm reporting about Day 2 today. Read about Day One here.

There were lots of interesting panels today, and it was frustrating to try to boil them down into the ones I wanted to see.

My first choice was “Retelling Old Stories: The New Fairy Tales.” I’ve got all the modern fairy tale collections edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow and many other rewritings, so I was eager to hear this discussion, and it didn’t disappoint. The first question addressed by the panel was the obvious one: why rewrite fairy tales? Jessica Day George Read More

Marion and Terry report on the 2013 Nebula Awards Weekend

The 48th Annual Nebula Awards weekend was held by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at the San Jose Convention Center in northern California from May 17 through 19, 2013. Terry Weyna and I, who both live in Northern California and both are aspiring writers, decided to see what a bunch of published writers get up to when they party together.

Gene Wolfe and Teri Goulding



Marion Deeds: I think what surprised me most is how light on programming the weekend was. I thought there would be sessions about the nuts and bolts of a writing career, but I guess that SFWA members already have a pretty good idea about that. Still, I thought we’d hear about things like the new Amazon publishing arms, the Night Shade Books mess, that sort of thing.

Terry Weyn... Read More