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Author Topic: Connie Willis  (Read 2884 times)

Offline ravenoak

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Connie Willis
« on: March 20, 2015, 07:12:08 PM »
I'm sure there have been conversations about her works on here before, but I figured I'd kickstart the conversation again.

Have you read any of her works? What did you like? Dislike?

The first novel I read from her was The Doomsday Book, which sat at the top as my favorite SF/F book of all time for quite a long stretch of my years. I followed that up with To Say Nothing of the Dog, Firewatch, Passage, and many more. Right now, Blackout and All Clear have shifted Doomsday out of the top location.

I love her use of language and word choice as much as I love Neil Gaiman's. Her worldbuilding is rich and well researched. I never thought I'd enjoy SF novels that could border as cross-genre historical fiction until her because of her worldbuilding.
Author of bestselling fantasy, Amaskan's Blood, & sci-fi space operas Class-M Exile and The Silent Frontier. More info at www.ravenoak.net

Offline Elfy

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Re: Connie Willis
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2015, 11:39:58 PM »
I've read a couple of Willis'. I read Blackout/All Clear first, and unlike many I prefer that to Doomsday Book, which I read earlier this year. Her short story in Rogues (Now Showing) was one of the anthologies stand out stories for me. She's very funny in person, I was fortunate enough to see her speak a few times at Renovation (Worldcon 2011) at which she also controversially won the Best Novel Hugo for Blackout/All Clear. Lejays17 has read nearly everything she's written, also first becoming interested in her when Blackout/All Clear was nominated for the 2011 Hugo.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Roxxsmom

Re: Connie Willis
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2015, 09:45:17 PM »
I love her books. I've read the Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Bellwether, Passage, and Blackout/All Clear, as well as a couple of her novellas. I've enjoyed each of these, though I tried Lincoln's Dreams and didn't get pulled in.

I enjoy her quirky humor and the way she can weave wry observations about the absurdities of daily life into even the most serious or tragic situation. She's really a writer who can make me both laugh and cry. Also, as someone with background in academic research, she has a good grasp of its frantic, disjointed nature. She's always got a bunch of people trying to coordinate and communicate in the background, while balancing the rules with limited windows of operation, and that "cat herding" sense that just rings very true.

For this, I can forgiver her that improbable future where no one seems to use mobile phones.

Offline Elfy

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Re: Connie Willis
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2015, 11:37:15 PM »
Her humour is one of the things I really like about her writing. The antics of the Hodbins in Blackout/All Clear had me crying with laughter at times. She has received criticism about her vision of the future and I'm pretty sure the mobile phone thing was an oversight, but she could explain it away because it's an alternate future. The Oxford historians may think they leave everything as they found it, but did they really?
I will expand your TBR pile.

http://purpledovehouse.blogspot.com

Offline Lejays17

Re: Connie Willis
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2015, 07:49:10 AM »
Her humour is one of the things I really like about her writing. The antics of the Hodbins in Blackout/All Clear had me crying with laughter at times. She has received criticism about her vision of the future and I'm pretty sure the mobile phone thing was an oversight, but she could explain it away because it's an alternate future. The Oxford historians may think they leave everything as they found it, but did they really?

And you haven't even read one of her full-on comedy ones yet!

For that, I'd recommend Bellweather which has some fun info about fads too.
"Logic, my dear Zoe, merely enables you to be wrong with authority." The Doctor - Wheel in Space

"It's not destiny!  It's a crazy scientist with a giant snake!" Sinbad - For Whom the Egg Shatters

Offline sennydreadful

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Re: Connie Willis
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2015, 11:45:45 AM »
I loved The Doomsday Book - rarely have I read such a relentlessly devastating novel.
The Copper Promise

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Offline ravenoak

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Re: Connie Willis
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2015, 04:22:13 PM »
I've read a couple of Willis'. I read Blackout/All Clear first, and unlike many I prefer that to Doomsday Book, which I read earlier this year. ...She's very funny in person, I was fortunate enough to see her speak a few times at Renovation (Worldcon 2011) at which she also controversially won the Best Novel Hugo for Blackout/All Clear.

I do love Blackout and All Clear. Sometimes they hop above Doomsday. :)
I took a master writing class with her as the teacher last year. It was an amazing experience to pick her brain about writing. She's very funny (wry sense of humor like my own) and very blunt. Not afraid to call it like she sees it.

I enjoy her quirky humor and the way she can weave wry observations about the absurdities of daily life into even the most serious or tragic situation....For this, I can forgiver her that improbable future where no one seems to use mobile phones.

She's very much a technophobe. Have you seen her website? I believe Geocities and the year 2000 are calling. ;) But it's forgivable.

For that, I'd recommend Bellweather which has some fun info about fads too.

Bellweather is amazingly awesome.

On the flipside of funny, if you haven't read Passage, you should. It's about death and is very dark, and yet very beautiful.

Author of bestselling fantasy, Amaskan's Blood, & sci-fi space operas Class-M Exile and The Silent Frontier. More info at www.ravenoak.net

Offline Elfy

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Re: Connie Willis
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2015, 11:39:21 PM »
Her humour is one of the things I really like about her writing. The antics of the Hodbins in Blackout/All Clear had me crying with laughter at times. She has received criticism about her vision of the future and I'm pretty sure the mobile phone thing was an oversight, but she could explain it away because it's an alternate future. The Oxford historians may think they leave everything as they found it, but did they really?

And you haven't even read one of her full-on comedy ones yet!

For that, I'd recommend Bellweather which has some fun info about fads too.
I did however read Now Showing in Rogues, which is full on comedy. I also heard her read some of that in progress UFO novel she was working on at Worldcon in 2010, and the humour in that, combined with her own timing (she should have become a stand up comedian) was a highly amusing reading.
I will expand your TBR pile.

http://purpledovehouse.blogspot.com

Offline Lejays17

Re: Connie Willis
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2015, 08:17:53 AM »
I've read a couple of Willis'. I read Blackout/All Clear first, and unlike many I prefer that to Doomsday Book, which I read earlier this year. ...She's very funny in person, I was fortunate enough to see her speak a few times at Renovation (Worldcon 2011) at which she also controversially won the Best Novel Hugo for Blackout/All Clear.

I do love Blackout and All Clear. Sometimes they hop above Doomsday. :)
I took a master writing class with her as the teacher last year. It was an amazing experience to pick her brain about writing. She's very funny (wry sense of humor like my own) and very blunt. Not afraid to call it like she sees it.

I enjoy her quirky humor and the way she can weave wry observations about the absurdities of daily life into even the most serious or tragic situation....For this, I can forgiver her that improbable future where no one seems to use mobile phones.

She's very much a technophobe. Have you seen her website? I believe Geocities and the year 2000 are calling. ;) But it's forgivable.

For that, I'd recommend Bellweather which has some fun info about fads too.

Bellweather is amazingly awesome.

On the flipside of funny, if you haven't read Passage, you should. It's about death and is very dark, and yet very beautiful.

I've read Passage, and found it to be ever sadder than Doomsday Book in certain ways (I think I was prepared with Doomsday Book for what happened, knowing a bit of history of the time Kivrin goes to).  I don't know if I could re-read it again though, for that reason.  I could quite "happily"  ;) re-read Doomsday Book though.
I also didn't particularly enjoy Lincoln's Dreams, it just didn't connect with me - I'm not hugely interested in the minutae of the American civil War, so a lot of what she wrote about went straight over my head.
Actually, I think I've read almost every one of her novels that I can get my hands on easily, and I've got 3 collections of her short stories as well.
And all of this since I read Blackout/All Clear in 2010  ;D
"Logic, my dear Zoe, merely enables you to be wrong with authority." The Doctor - Wheel in Space

"It's not destiny!  It's a crazy scientist with a giant snake!" Sinbad - For Whom the Egg Shatters

Offline Roxxsmom

Re: Connie Willis
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2015, 03:16:01 AM »

For that, I'd recommend Bellweather which has some fun info about fads too.

That one was fun. I'd recently moved from Boulder, CO when I read it, and she nailed the place pretty well. And she anticipated the switch from angels to fairies among the new age crowd. I loved the part where a certain "precious shop" on the Pearl Street Mall was doctoring all their angel merchandise to make it more fairy like.