What a stitch! Willis’ delectable romp through time from 2057 back to Victorian England, with a few side excursions into World War II and medieval Britain, will have readers happily glued to the pages. Rich dowager Lady Schrapnell has invaded Oxford University’s time travel research project in 2057, promising to endow it if they help her rebuild Coventry Cathedral, destroyed by a Nazi air raid in 1940. In effect, she dragoons almost everyone in the program to make trips back in time to locate items — in particular, the bishop’s bird stump, an especially ghastly example of Victorian decorative excess. Time traveler Ned Henry is suffering from advanced time lag and has been sent, he thinks, for rest and relaxation to 1888, where he connects with fellow time traveler Verity Kindle and discovers that he is actually there to correct an incongruity created when Verity inadvertently brought something forward from the past. Take an excursion through time, add chaos theory, romance, plenty of humor, a dollop of mystery, and a spoof of the Victorian novel, and you end up with what seems like a comedy of errors but is actually a grand scheme "involving the entire course of history and all of time and space that, for some unfathomable reason, chose to work out its designs with cats and croquet mallets and penwipers, to say nothing of the dog. And a hideous piece of Victorian artwork.
Nominated for Nebula Award in 1998.
Won Hugo and Locus Awards in 1999.
Few authors have had careers as successful as that of Connie Willis. Inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and recently awarded the title of Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Willis is still going strong. Her smart, heartfelt fiction runs the gamut from screwball comedy to profound tragedy, combining dazzling plot twists, cutting-edge science, and unforgettable characters.
From a near future mourning the extinction of dogs to an alternate history in which invading aliens were defeated by none other than Emily Dickinson; from a madcap convention of bumbling quantum physicists in Hollywood to a London whose Underground has become a storehouse of intangible memories both foul and fair—here are the greatest stories of one of the greatest writers working in any genre today.
All ten of the stories gathered here are Hugo or Nebula award winners—some even have the distinction of winning both. With a new Introduction by the author and personal afterwords to each story—plus a special look at three of Willis’s unique public speeches—this is unquestionably the collection of the season, a book that every Connie Willis fan will treasure, and, to those unfamiliar with her work, the perfect introduction to one of the most accomplished and best-loved writers of our time.
In “Service for the Burial of the Dead,” a young woman mourning her lover comes upon a surprising funeral guest.
Biblical prophecies turn out to have unexpected meanings as the End Times approach in “Lost and Found.”
The dangers of ordering merchandise from the back pages of pulp magazines become apparent in “Mail-Order Clone.”
In “Blued Moon,” a young man uncovers a scientific property of coincidence—and falls in love.
As a tourist attraction, a total eclipse draws an even wider audience than (almost) anyone realizes in “And Come from Miles Around.”
In “Samaritan,” an enthusiastic young assistant pastor plunges the entire church hierarchy into a firestorm of controversy when she brings forward an orangutan to be baptized.
Parental abuse is all the rage in an institute of higher learning—for those who have no parents… and for those who have no children, in “All My Darling Daughters.”
Statistician Sandra Foster and chaos theorist Bennett O’Reilly are brought together by a misdelivered package and urged into their own chaotic world of million-dollar grants, unlucky coincidences, setbacks, and eventually the ultimate answer.
Nominated for Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1998.
Wry and witty science fiction. Carson and Findriddy, the famous planetary surveyors mapping out the planetoid Boohte, have their hands full with base member C.J., ambitious scout Ev (C.J.’s latest conquest), and Bult—the indigenous guide whose chief interest is in levying fines for destruction of the planet’s surface.
Nebula Best Novel winner (1993)
Hugo Best Novel winner (1993)
For Kivrin, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity’s history 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.
In the Hollywood of the future there’s no need for actors since any star can be digitally recreated and inserted into any movie. Yet young Alis wants to dance on the silver screen. Tom tries to dissuade her, but he fears she will pursue her dream — and likely fall victim to Hollywood’s seamy underside, which is all to eager to swallow up naive actresses. Then Tom begins to find Alis in the old musicals he remakes, and he has to ask himself just where the line stands between reality and the movies.
Nominated for Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1996.
This new book by Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning author Connie Willis is an intelligent and satisfying blend of classic science fiction and historical reconstruction. Kivrin, a history student at Oxford in 2048, travels back in time to a 14th-century English village, despite a host of misgivings on the part of her unofficial tutor. When the technician responsible for the procedure falls prey to a 21st-century epidemic, he accidentally sends Kivrin back not to 1320 but to 1348 — right into the path of the Black Death. Unaware at first of the error, Kivrin becomes deeply involved in the life of the family that takes her in. But before long she learns the truth and comes face to face with the horrible, unending suffering of the plague that would wipe out half the population of Europe. Meanwhile, back in the future, modern science shows itself infinitely superior in its response to epidemics, but human nature evidences no similar evolution, and scapegoating is still alive and well in a campaign against "infected foreigners." This book finds villains and heroes in all ages, and love, too, which Kivrin hears in the revealing and quietly touching deathbed confession of a village priest.
Won Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1992
Won Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1993