An Update From Connie Willis
AUGUST 4, 2013
Hi, everybody! It's been a wild spring and summer, with lots of
travelling, even more working on the novel, and a new short story
It's called THE BEST OF CONNIE WILLIS and is a collection of all of my
short stories, novelettes, and novellas which have won the Nebula or
Hugo Award (or both.) It's also got three of my speeches in it,
including the speech I gave when I was the Guest of Honor at Worldcon
several years ago, my Grand Master acceptance speech, and a speech
nobody's ever heard before. (The explanation for why is in the
book). Plus, I wrote new afterwords for all the stories.
In May, I went to the Nebula Awards Weekend in San Jose, the highlight
of which was getting to spend time with Gene Wolfe, who is one of my
favorite people and who was there to be named an SFWA Grand
Then a week later my family and I raced off to England for two
weeks for a Jane Austen-King Arthur-Primeval-Sewing Machine Tour (more
about that in the next update), and in late June I went to Seattle to
emcee the annual LOCUS Awards Weekend, which has become more fun every
It's not like any other awards banquet, in or out of science
fiction. Although the awards are very serious (LOCUS boasts the
largest number of people voting of any award in science fiction), the
banquet is anything but. Everyone wears gaudy Hawaiian shirts (if
you don't, you have to wear a sign that says, "I did not wear a
Hawaiian shirt," which automatically enters you in a drawing for a
lovely Hawaiian shirt) and leis, and people go to incredible lengths to
outdo each other. Jay Lake's shirts are practically blinding,
Greg Bear somehow obtained a limited-edition Disney LILO AND STITCH
shirt, sarongs abound, and one guy this year came in a brilliant orange
and red shirt, even more brilliant Hawaiian shorts, red tights, and
There are drawings, contests and prizes, Nancy Kress is the official
heckler (and is way too good at her job), there are guests like Neil
Gaiman, Gardner Dozois, James Patrick Kelly, and Ursula LeGuin.
This year's list included Nancy Kress, Daniel Abraham, Eileen Gunn, Ty
Franck, Jack Skillingstead, Greg and Astrid Bear, Liz Hand, and John
Clute, who was being taken into the Science Fiction Hall of
Fame. Liza Trombi, the editor of LOCUS, presides, the
entire class of Clarion West attends, and a great time is had by
It's not clear exactly how all this came about. One version is
that one year several authors decided to wear Hawaiian shirts to tease
Charlie Brown, and the next year a lot of the fans did, too, and pretty
soon the whole thing had gotten out of hand, with light-up leis and
hula contests (you should have seen Gardner Dozois in a hula skirt and
coconut bra!) and all sorts of Island craziness.
Another version, which I like better, is the one I recounted this year
at the banquet:
I just got
back from England, so I
thought this year the theme for the Locus Awards should have an English flavor.
Well, that, and the fact that Liza told me I couldn't spend the whole time talking
about PRIMEVAL like I did last
PRIMEVAL?" did you say?
one of the
things I was so impressed with in England
was how old
we ate in an inn that was opened in the 800s.
through the New Forest--where,
by the way, Connor and Abby
ran into the
fake dinosaur in that one episode--sorry--
everything had this really impressive history.
The New Forest
was established in 1066, and
when we went to Winchester Cathedral we found out it had been built in 1093
to replace the
old church, which had burned down.
And it set me
to thinking about LOCUS.
So I started
asking people what they knew about its history and they said, "I don't know.
N. Brown decide to do a fanzine about science fiction
and print it
out on a mimeograph machine or something?
And win about
a million Hugo Awards?
people wear Hawaiian shirts at the Banquet?"
And I realized
I should fill you in on the actual history of Charles N. Brown and LOCUS.
founded in 1126 by Charles N. Brown, then a friar at Oakland Abbey in Sherwood
Forest, where he
painstakingly copied out the magazine by hand and illuminated the illustrations himself.
magazine faced enormous obstacles:
populace couldn't read
on Nottingham kept trying to shut him down
for that part of BEOWULF with the dragon in it,
there was no
such thing as science fiction.
did not let that stop him.
tirelessly to jump-start SF, lobbying
Chaucer to include "The Wyf of Betelgeuse" in his Canterbury Tales,
Richard II that he shout, "My
Westeros, my Westeros,
kingdom for somebody
who'll tell me how THE GAME OF THRONES ends!"
and trying to
convince Anne Boleyn that she
should forget about Henry VIII
and write a
Alas, she did
not listen to him, and in the
ensuing rash of beheadings,
was forced to flee the country, stopping only to see Shakespeare
on Avon and suggest he change
Titania and Oberon
green men, before sailing off
with the explorer James Cook.
It was on one
of his many voyages with Captain Cook that Friar Brown first encountered Hawaii. He took to it like a duck to water, abandoning his friar's habit for gaudy
Hawaiian shirts and
(non-puffy) shorts, though
retaining the sandals, and
joining the natives in drinking mai-tais and singing "I Want a Little Grass Shack in
Captain Cook do the same, but his advice was once again ignored.
Cook's death, Charles escaped with
the help of Elvis Presley,
working as a busboy at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, and hitched a ride on
The Black Pearl and then on
the Pequod with novelist Herman Melville,
insisted Charles call him Ishmael.
hard to convince Mel (sorry--Ish) that he should write a screenplay instead
of a novel and that it should
be about a pair of humpbacked whales who are our only link to an alien race
and who need
to be rescued by Kirk and Spock who
have travelled back in time.
Ish--said no, but Charles had
better luck with Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, who rescued him after he'd been forced to
walk the plank and had
subsequently caught pneumonia.
Mary took him
home with her to Italy to nurse him back to health.
convinced her to stop writing goopy fan-fic about sparkly vampires and write something commercial, like FRANKENSTEIN.
science fiction was born, and
Charles hurried to California
to invent the
staple and expand the magazine, stopping
in England on the way
to infect the
Martians who'd invaded London, and
try to convince H.G. Wells to turn his account of the invasion into a trilogy called RED MARS, BLUE MARS,
and GREEN MARS.
refused to listen, Charles stuck him in a time machine
and went off
to help Alexander Graham Bell
invent the telephone
invent the wireless so he
could call Orson Welles
to tell him
WAR OF THE WORLDS would make a
really scary radio program.
He also called
Hugo Gernsback to tell him to
get an award named after himself so Locus could win it, and called Rod Serling to tell him about
Mary Shelley's fan fic.
"Do you think I could make a TV series out of it?" Serling asked.
"No," Charles said, whispering. "One, TV hasn't been invented
yet, and two, no one with an IQ over 17 would watch it, but TWILIGHT
might make a good title."
"Twilight?" Serling said. "Nope, not punchy enough."
"How about the Twilight Area? Or the Twilight Locale?" Charles
"What?" Serling shouted. "I can't hear you. Speak up."
"I can't," Charles whispered. "My pneumonia came back, and I've
lost my voice. Plus, I'm not allowed to shout. I'm in a
was so grateful, he sent
Charles a mimeograph machine, and
the rest, as they say, is history!
The true highlight of the banquet is the Hawaiian shirt trivia contest,
which you get to compete in if your Hawaiian shirt is really
gaudy. Questions range from, "How many islands does Hawaii
consist of?" (eight, according to Wikipedia, or possibly 137) to
"What redheaded, ukulele-playing radio host popularized the Hawaiian
shirt on the mainland?" (Arthur Godfrey) to "What Hawaiian-shirt and
toe-ring-wearing editor founded the Locus Awards?" (Charlie Brown)
Because I'd just come back from England, all of this year's questions
were about the astonishing similarities between the British Isles and
the Hawaiian Islands. They are just alike.
really, they're both green, they both have a royal history, and they
both like absolutely inedible foods. For the British, it's toad
in the hole, kidneys, and watery cabbage. For the Hawaiians, it's
loco moco (white rice topped with a hamburger, fried egg, and brown
gravy) and poi. And they both like Spam. They're
Don't believe it? Here's a sampling of this year's trivia
questions (answers at the end of the update):
1. Both Hawaii and England have lots of oil. Hawaii's is
SPF50 and is mostly found on the beach. Where is England's oil
supply found? And no, I don't mean in fish and chips fryers.
2. Both have ideal climates. Hawaii has balmy trade winds,
70-degree weather, and azure skies. England has rain, mist,
drizzle, mizzle, and what form of weather beloved by Arthur Conan Doyle
and Jack the Ripper?
3. Both have royal princesses. Princess Victoria Kai'ulani
did her bit for the royal family by translating the Book of Common
Prayer into Hawaiian, and Princess Kate is about to do her bit by doing
what? (Note: as of this date, she's already done it.)
4. Both England and the United States, of which Hawaii is one,
have been doing a lot of illegal spying lately. The US has
the NSA, and England has The News of the World, The London Times, and
The Sun. Who owns them?
5. Both proudly boast the sport of kings. In England it's
horseracing. In Hawaii, it's what sport originated by King
6. Both Hawaii and England are famous for their jewels.
England has the 106-carat Koh-i-noor diamond. What is Hawaii's
7. Both Hawaiian and British movies have starred brilliant
actors. British movies have included Laurence Olivier, Alec
Guinness, and Andrew Lee Potts of PRIMEVAL. (Oh, come on--did you
really expect me to do this without mentioning PRIMEVAL?) Anyway,
brilliant actors in movies set in Britain include Olivier, Guinness,
and Andrew Lee Potts, and stellar actors in Hawaiian movies include
Adam Sandler, Ricky Nelson, and Elvis Presley, who starred in what
movie set at Waikiki?
8. Both Hawaii and England have lots of wildlife. Hawaii
has dolphins, nenes, and tourists from Iowa. England has red
deer, red foxes, and what animal with impossibly short legs and a
penchant for being carried around by the Queen or her mother?
See, I told you Hawaii and England are just alike.
The top prize for the trivia contest is a banana autographed by all the
attending authors, and lesser prizes have included light-up neon leis,
Gilligan sailor hats, Don Ho LPs, dashboard hula dolls, and
You might want to start studying now for next year. And haunting
thrift stores for the perfect Hawaiian shirt. My favorite this
year was one that was plain blue on the front. I was about to put
an "I didn't wear a Hawaiian shirt" sign on it when the wearer turned
around to reveal the back of the shirt, which sported a painting of a
mermaid which filled the entire shirt.
Till next time,
almost forgot. The answers to the trivia questions
1. The North Sea
2. Having a baby
4. Rupert Murdoch
6. Diamond Head
7. Blue Hawaii
8. The corgi
July 10 - Best of Connie Willis Roundup (Updated August 18)
With the release of The Best of
Connie Willis, there's
some new interviews surfacing on the web with Connie as well as various
articles about Connie. Here's links to some of them (with more
added as I find out):
Science Fiction/San Francisco - Fanzine with a report
on the Nebula Awards plus a bonus report from Cordelia Willis about
their Jane Austen trip (more on that to come from Connie soon).
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books - Interview Part
Suvudu.com - Audio
Suvudu.com - Follow
up to audio interview in regards to Shirley Jackson
SFGateway - Connie
Willis Author of the Month
(with all Gollancz Connie Willis e-books at 2.99 Pounds - UK Only)
Writing by Lorraine Berry
1 - History is the Raw Data, Part
2 - Success is the Best Revenge
SFFWorld - Review
by Mark Yon
by Emma Engel
Journal Sentinel - Review
by Jim Higgins
SFCrowsNest - Review
by Kelly Jensen
The UK Release
is a trade paperback and e-book from Gollancz and is called Time is the Fire The Best of Connie
|April 7 - An Update from Connie
Hi, everybody! Spring is here! Or at any rate, it will be
once the blizzard that's supposed to be coming in tonight is over and
we win that lawsuit against Punxatawney Phil, and I for one am
overjoyed. I hate that No Light No Warmth No Fun and God Help Us,
Congress Is In Session Again Post-Christmas period.
This year, however, it was made easier to bear by
1. I made good progress on my telepathy novel,
currently known as CONNECTION.
2. I got to go to Condor, a great SF
convention in San Diego. It's held at a gorgeous
palm-tree-and-swimming-pool-studded resort (I'd recommend the con for
the resort alone), plus I got to be on great panels about what to take
with you when travelling in time and which our favorite Horrible
Science Science-Fiction Movie was.
My personal fave is 2012, which is sort of a
Greatest Hits of Bad Science Movie. Where does all that water
which swamps the Himalayas come from--and where does it go
afterwards? Actually, I know the answer to the first part of that
question. The water was clearly left over from Waterworld.
But is there a bathtub drain I don't know about? And if so, could
you send a little water to the West? We're having an awful
At Condor I saw Vernor Vinge and David Brin,
talked to old friends Michael Toman, Bill Wu, and Mark Barsotti, and
just generally soaked up the sunshine.
3. My bulldog Smudge became a Broadway
star! Okay, maybe not Broadway. More off-off-off-off-off
Broadway, but still... He played Rufus in the University of
Northern Colorado production of the musical LEGALLY BLONDE.
Remember how Elle's hairdresser broke up with her and he took her dog
Rufus, and Elle, in her first legal case ever, gets him back?
That was Smudge.
How did this happen? Well, just like Lana
Turner at Schwab's Drugstore, Smudge was discovered as we walked him
near the theater building on campus. The director came running
out, pronounced him as perfect for the role, and asked him to be in the
show. He stole the show! Six performances, and he never
flubbed a single line or missed a cue. And all the kids adored
His sister (our daughter Cordelia, who has had parts
in numerous musicals, has won Best in Show at Comicon several times,
and is currently appearing in BRIGADOON in San Jose) flew home to see
her brother's theatrical debut, and my sisters-separated-at-birth Betty
Williamson and Patrice Caldwell (of Jack Williamson Lectureship fame)
sent Smudge flowers from New Mexico (with dog biscuits attached.)
Through it all, Smudge remained his sweet, funny
self and did not go Hollywood. Except for the sunglasses.
And wanting to watch the movie over and over, reliving his glory
days. Just like Gloria Swanson in SUNSET BOULEVARD. Except
we don't have a swimming pool.
[For a full report, we have a PDF of
In other news:
A new collection of
my short stories is coming out from Bantam in July. It's called
THE BEST OF CONNIE WILLIS, and has all the Hugo- and Nebula
Award-winning stories plus a new intro, new afterwords, and the
speeches I gave when I was Guest of Honor at Worldcon in LA and my
Grand Master speeches. I'll be doing a booksigning for the new
book at the Broadway Book Mall in Denver on July 21 and at other
places, which I'll let you know about as they get finalized.
I'll also be speaking at the Longmont Public Library in Longmont,
Colorado on August 8.
I'll be attending:
The Jack Williamson Lectureship in Portales, NM--April 11-13
Constellation in Lincoln, Nebraska--April 18-21
The Nebula Awards Weekend in San Jose, CA--May 16-19
The Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle--June 28-30
Bubonicon in Albuquerque, NM--August 23-25
Worldcon in San Antonio--August 29-September 2
|Dec 11, 2012 - Updates Galore (with
more to come).
This has been a busy year for Connie as well as her webmaster, so there
hasn't been much updated here for a while. I've got a brand new
update from Connie (below) as well as Connie's report on her trip to
New Zealand with her family earlier in the year (which ties in nicely
with some movie opening this weekend). I'll have more
updates shortly (including a special page for the Nebula Awards Weekend
where Connie was presented with the Grand Master Award).
Dec 10, 2012 - An update From Connie
It's that time of year again, only this year it may not come, due to
the Mayan calendar thingee.
First, an apology. I've been incredibly remiss about keeping
everybody up-to-date on what's been happening in the last few months,
which can be summed up as:
1. Teaching Clarion West.
2. Going to the Nebulas, the Locus Awards, Bubonicon, Worldcon,
VCon, and Milehicon.
3. Working on my telepathy novel.
4. Working on Obama's campaign.
5. Converting people to watching PRIMEVAL and/or watching it with
Actually, now that I look at that list, I can see why I've been so
remiss: I've been really busy.
Anyway, a quick update:
1. My husband Courtney and I will be going to
COSINE in Colorado Springs on January 25 through 27.
2. THE BEST OF CONNIE WILLIS, a collection of
all my Nebula and Hugo-Award winning stories is in the pipeline and
coming out soon. (I just did the copy-edited manuscript.) I
wrote new afterwords for all the stories.
3. I've been working on my telepathy novel and
on a story for George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois's anthology,
ROGUES. It's about the movies and is called "Now Showing."
4. Andrew Lee Potts (Connor on PRIMEVAL) has a
new short out (on youtube and the Virgin Films shorts site) called
LITTLE LARRY. It's charming. I also recommend RUDE
AWAKENINGS (available on Netflix) and TRUE BLOODTHIRST (Syfy.)
5. All the cons were great, but Worldcon in
Chicago had three special highlights for me, two SFish and the other
not. The first was that the con scheduled "An Hour with Robert
Silverberg and Connie Willis," a chance for us to chatter merrily to
each other about whatever for an entire hour. Oh, all right, I
chattered merrily and Bob was his usual clever, sarcastic, cynical,
totally cool self, but it was great!
The second was a party Random House threw for its
writers. They chartered one of the river cruise boats which went
up the Chicago River and then back down and out onto Lake
Michigan. We wended our way past Chicago's beautiful art deco
buildings, which were artfully lit, and then out onto the moonlit lake
to look at the glittering city and the multicolored lights from the
amusement park on the Navy Pier. Magical! If you are in
Chicago, definitely take one of these cruises.
And speaking of the Navy Pier, that's where we went
to see the third highlight of Worldcon: the Stained Glass
Museum. It's not a traditional museum. They haven't put the
art in rooms but all along the halls of the Navy Pier's exhibition
halls stretching for what seemed like miles. The museum
originated with E.B. and Maureen Smith's collection, who may have
gotten the idea from the Tiffany exhibit at the 1893 Chicago World's
Fair, and it includes all sorts of windows and panels from Victorian
houses and Art Deco skyscrapers that were being torn
down. And LOTS of Tiffanys.
I am a sucker for Tiffany windows. His colors
are amazing and completely unlike anyone else's. Somebody said
Yves St. Laurent had a "perfect eye," like perfect pitch only in regard
to clothing design. Well, Tiffany had perfect pitch for
color. Lavender blues, delicate spring greens, slaty purples, and
he does sunsets better than anyone else.
My husband and I try to seek out Tiffanys wherever
we go. There are some wonderful ones in the Presbyterian Church
in Topeka, Kansas (I know!), at the Morton salt mansion in Nebraska,
and in the Unitarian Church just off the Boston Commons. And of
course there are a bunch at the Met in New York. But this museum
had a ton of them.
A couple that stood out were one of an autumn scene
with fiery golds and oranges, and the other was of a summer
landscape. As I said, Tiffany does wonderful skies and sunsets,
but this was the first window I'd seen with piled-up summer cumulus
clouds, and he'd caught the colors perfectly!
All right, end of update and on to the holiday season--or the end of
the world, though why anybody thinks the Mayans are experts, I don't
know. Their civilization HAD its end of the world, and they
hadn't predicted IT correctly at all. But then again, people
believed John of Toledo, who predicted the end of the world in 1186,
and Jeane Dixon, who predicted it in 1962 (on February
fourth.) And THE NEWS OF THE WORLD, who predicted it every
year until THEY experienced their own private one.
The Mayans definitely have more credibility than any
of them, so maybe they're right. And just in case there are, you
might as well settle back, forget your Christmas shopping, and read a
Here are some very good End of the World stories and books to read
while waiting for the end.
1. "The Last of the Spode" by Evelyn Smith
2. THE SUNDIAL by Shirley Jackson
3. "By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benet
4. "When We Went to See the End of the World" by Robert Silverberg
5. ALAS, BABYLON by Pat Frank
6. "Lot" by Ward Moore
7. ON THE BEACH by Neville Shute
8. EARTH ABIDES by George R. Stewart
9. "The Day They Got Cleveland" by H.L. Gold
10. CAT'S CRADLE by Kurt Vonnegut
And, if you still have time, my "Daisy, in the Sun" and "A Letter from
Oh, and if you want to see something where the end of the world
is narrowly averted, Season 5 of PRIMEVAL, but you have to watch the
first four seasons to get the full effect. Which is actually a
On the other hand, the end of the world probably won't happen, and on
the twenty-second, you'll be stuck having to listen to lots of opining
about how dumb everybody was for believing it.
Or, you can watch some Christmas movies. I've listed my favorites
before on this site, but here are a few I've discovered since then:
THE APARTMENT. Billy Wilder's SOME LIKE IT HOT is his most famous
comedy, but I think this is his best. It's sweet and sad and
cynical all at once, and has a best last line to rival
CASABLANCA's. And it's the only Christmas movie I know that
revolves around adultery and suicide.
ABOUT A BOY. This is one of my favorite Christmas
movies. It's got two Christmas dinners, one with parsnip gravy
and Frankenstein, plus renditions of the truly awful "Santa's Super
Sleigh" and singing with your eyes closed.
OFF SEASON. It's a TV movie, but it's got Hume Cronyn as Santa
Claus, and it's set in Florida, and it's really charming.
TWELFTH NIGHT. Not the Kenneth Branagh-directed one, but the one
with Imogen Stubbs and Helena Bonham Carter, with Ben Kingsley as
Feste. It's my favorite Shakespeare play, and this is the best
version ever. And very funny. Watch it on a double bill
with SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE.
I also have several Christmas episodes of TV shows to
recommend. (Don't gag. I know, they're usually awful,
especially LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, but there are actually some
good ones. Including:
DR. WHO'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL (of course) and THE CHRISTMAS INVASION.
The "A Mall and the Night Visitors" episode of FRASIER (Season
Three). This episode manages to tackle last-minute shopping,
parental angst, and educational toys, and still leave you in
tears. Frasier, Niles, and Dad (and Eddie) at their
The "Silly But It's Fun" episode of the BBC's GOOD NEIGHBORS (THE GOOD
LIFE in England). This whole series about a suburban couple who
chuck corporate life to become backyard farmers and their appalled
upper-crust next-door neighbors is one of the best ever, and it only
ran four (short British) seasons, so it's not impossible to watch the
whole thing during this festive season, but this Christmas episode is a
masterpiece, silly, surprising, and a touching ode to friendship.
And in case you were too worried about the Mayans to enjoy
Thanksgiving, you can watch:
PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES (now as much a
Thanksgiving tradition as A CHRISTMAS STORY and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
are Christmas traditions)
DEAR GOD (it covers Thanksgiving and Christmas)
YOU'VE GOT MAIL (ditto, plus it provides a lead-in to spring, which is
always a good idea to be thinking about in the depths of winter!
and here's to the first daffodil!
New Zealand Trip
by Connie Willis
(Presented in three PDF files)
Part 1 - We Saw All Kinds of Stuff
Part 2 - Primeval New Zealand
Part 3 - Middle Earth
May 12, 2012 -
Webmaster Note: Some updates to the website got lost in the
shuffle as I started a new job and got have been playing catchup for a
while. I will be in Washington D.C. for the Nebula Awards
this coming week and will have some pictures from there to share. SFWA
did have a
short interview with Connie recently.
In the meantime, please check out the belated updates posted
Connie Willis Ebooks Available
Cynthia Felice - The three titles Connie co-wrote with Cynthia Felice
are being released as e-books by Cynthia. Promised Land and Water Witch are currently available
on the Kindle with Light Raid
coming soon. Editions for the Nook are also in the works.
the images below to take you directly to the Amazon.com web page for
26, 2012 - A late winter update from Connie - A List of Favorites.
It's the dead of post-holiday winter, which is good for absolutely
nothing except cleaning closets, having colds, and catching up on your
reading while you wait for spring to come. In connection with
which, several people lately have asked me to post a list of my
It's impossible to really do one properly--there are
just too many to reduce to the top ten, all-inclusive lists of your
favorite five hundred and sixty-eight are too long, and you always
forget something obvious, which everybody yells at you for.
And besides, when you put Gaudy Night on the list,
you don't really mean Gaudy Night. You mean all four of the Lord
Peter and Harriet Vane books: Strong Poison, Have His Carcase,
Gaudy Night and Busman's Honeymoon. You don't mean Twelfth Night,
you mean all of Shakespeare's comedies. All Hallow's Eve is just
a stand-in for all seven of Charles Williams' books, and trying to pick
between Mark Twain's Roughing It and Life on the Mississippi is like
Solomon cutting the baby in half.
On the other hand, I adore book lists. When I
was in high school, the Rocky Mountain News published an eight-page
insert of books everybody should read. I plowed my way through
it, conscientiously crossing out the books as I read them, and in the
process, I found a bunch of great stuff I would never have even known
existed otherwise, like Kristin Lavransdatter and The Circus of Dr.
Lau. And yet, even that list wasn't complete--it had no
children's literature, hardly any history or science, and no science
fiction or fantasy.
But it was still helpful, and in that spirit, I
present the following set of lists. They are in no way intended
to be complete or even representative. (You'll detect a huge British
slant and an equally large leaning toward the fantastic. (And
yes, I know there's no Dickens here, and no Bradbury, but that doesn't
mean I don't love them.) They're just a bunch of books, and a few
movies and TV series, which a) I love, b) you might not have read or
seen, and c) you might like.
Or not. Reading is an intensely personal
business. I'm always being told by people, "You'll love this
book," and then I not only don't love it, I absolutely loathe it.
And I've recommended lots of things that made people say, "What did you
like about this book again?"
But hopefully you'll find something new and good in
here. And then you can add it to your own list.
A few notes:
1. Consider these books just a sample of that
writers' works--there are dozens of great Agatha Christie books and
Shirley Jacksons and P.G. Wodehouses to read besides the ones on these
lists, and Tom Stoppard wrote lots of other plays besides India Ink,
like Arcadia and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which are great.
2. Charles Williams (All Hallow's Eve) was one
of the Inklings along with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and my
favorite of them. He had the most unusual mind I've ever
encountered. His prose, however, can be appallingly convoluted,
but he's worth the slog.
3. Lloyd Lewis (Myths After Lincoln) was Carl
Sandburg's best friend. They worked together on the Chicago Daily
News. Carl was writing his biography of Lincoln, and Lloyd got
interested in all the stuff that happened after Lincoln died. An
4. I chose ten science fiction stories rather
than ten novels because it's always seemed to me that the heart of
science fiction lies in its shorter works. When I'm asked to name
my top ten science fiction novels, I have to think about it, but I can
rattle fifty science fiction short stories off the top of my head, and
the ten stories listed here are my absolute favorites.
5. Beany Malone is the first book in a very
long girl's series by L.M. Weber, a Denver writer, and they're all
great. She was writing terrific YA before there even was such a
thing, but that's not the only reason she's on my list. The other
is that I got to meet her when I was in high school, and that was the
day I realized writers were real, flesh-and-blood people and that
writing was an actual career that a young girl from Denver might aspire
6. Into the Woods and India Ink (and of course
Twelfth Night) aren't books, they're plays, and are best seen rather
than read, but if that's the only way you can access them, then
definitely read them.
7. You've all heard me rave about Primeval
before, so I won't here (see previous updates), except to say that it
only improves on rewatching. Right now I'm also obsessed with
Sports Night, an Aaron Sorkin-written series which has snappy dialogue,
a charming sense of irony, and a real gift for romantic comedy.
8. If I told you one of the most sweet, touching
romantic comedies I've seen in recent years starred Ricky Gervais,
you'd think I was crazy, but it's true. It's called Ghost Town.
It's also got Greg Kinnear, colonoscopies, a 1940s nurse, Egyptian
mummies and Aasif Mandvi. And one of the best endings ever.
Anyway, I hope you find something on these
lists that you've never read before and that you love. And even
if you don't, this should get you through to spring.
Final note: The correct answer to
Shakespeare's question, "If winter come, can spring be far behind?" is,
A PARTIAL LIST OF CONNIE WILLIS FAVORITES
KRISTIN LAVRANSDATTER by Sigrid Undset
ALL HALLOW'S EVE by Charles Williams
TOUCH NOT THE CAT by Mary Stewart
GAUDY NIGHT by Dorothy L. Sayers
THE HOUSE ON THE STRAND by Daphne DuMaurier
TWELFTH NIGHT by William Shakespeare
LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
THE MOVING FINGER by Agatha Christie
A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE by Peter Beagle
10. AN EPISODE
OF SPARROWS by Rumer Godden
NIGHT TO REMEMBER by Walter Lord
MYTHS AFTER LINCOLN by Lloyd Lewis
UNCOMMON READER by Alan Bennett
THREE MEN IN A BOAT by Jerome K. Jerome
THE WOODS by Stephen Sondheim
QUARTETS by T.S. Eliot
LORD OF THE RINGS by J. R. R. Tolkien
FICTION YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson
A ROOM WITH A VIEW by E.M. Forster
A DEATH IN THE FAMILY by James Agee
INDIA INK by Tom Stoppard
GUYS AND DOLLS by Damon Runyon
THE SEARCHERS BY Alan LeMay
COLD COMFORT FARM by Stella Gibbons
THE CIRCUS OF DR. LAO by Charles Finney
THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY by G.K. Chesterton
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES by Ray Bradbury
MOST OF P.G. WODEHOUSE by P.G. Wodehouse
12. TILL WE
HAVE FACES by C.S. Lewis
AND SOME GREAT
ROUGHING IT by Mark Twain
STANDING UP by Steve Martin
WE DIE by Sherwin W. Nuland
OF INFAMY by Walter Lord
YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING by Joan Didion
CHRESTOMATHY by H.L. Mencken
DENIAL OF DEATH by Ernest Becker
CLINGING TO THE WRECKAGE by John Mortimer
PRACTICE OF HISTORY by G.R. Elton
SEX NECESSARY? by E.B. White and James Thurber
SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORIES
"Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes
Light of Other Days" by Bob Shaw
Million" by Frederik Poh;
Can Remember It for You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick
Bitsy Spider" by James Patrick Kelly
"Bernie the Faust" by William Ten
Man Who Lost the Sea" by Theodore Sturgeon
by Ward Moore
Ordinary Day, with Peanuts" by Shirley Jackson
"Great Escape Tours, Inc." by Kit Reed
LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott
OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery
WIND IN THE WILLOWS by Kenneth Grahame
WATER BABIES by Charles Kingsley
MALONE by Lenora Mattingly Weber
IN OZ by L. Frank Baum
LITTLE PRINCESS by Frances Hodgson Burnett
GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST by Gene Stratton Porter
SPACE SUIT, WILL TRAVEL by Robert A. Heinlein
TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith
THINGS TO WATCH
OFFICE (the American version)
TWELFTH NIGHT (with Imogen Stubbs)
OH, AND JUST
IN CASE YOU'RE
FEW OF MINE
ALL CLEAR (one book)
TO SAY NOTHING
OF THE DOG
ALL SEATED ON
|Jan 17, 2012 - An Update from Connie in
regards to the Grand Master Award.
Hi, everybody! I just got terrific news--I've been named a Grand
Master of Science Fiction, or been given the SFWA Grand Master Award,
or been Grand Mastered by SFWA--I'm not sure how you're supposed to say
it. But whatever the correct phrase is, I'm beyond thrilled!
honored! To have my name on any list that includes Jack
Williamson and Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov and Ray
Bradbury--all of whom I absolutely worshipped as a teenager--does not
even seem possible.
I just saw a Kurt Vonnegut video on Youtube about
plotting, and he was graphing the plot of Cinderella, starting at the
bottom with her in the ashes and then going up to the ball and then
back down to the ashes and then way up when the prince finds her.
"Prince comes, shoe fits," Vonnegut says and shoots the line right up
off the corner of the graph. "Off-scale happiness!"
That's definitely the phrase for what I'm feeling
right now--off-scale happiness! And so much gratitude to all the
people who helped me get started--Gardner Dozois, who bought my first
story, and Ed Bryant and Cynthia Felice, and Charlie Ryan, my first
editor. And all the friends who kept me going through assorted
bad patches and ash-covered periods--Jim Kelly and John Kessel and
Charlie Brown and Nancy Kress.
And all the great fan and writer friends I made
along the way, people like George R.R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass and
Bob Silverberg and Liza Trombi and Leslie Howle and Rose Beetum and
Chris Chrissinger and Lee Whiteside and Robert Frazier and Terri and
David Haugen and...oh, no, I know I sound like one of those people at
the Oscars who thank everybody from their mom to their childhood
tap-dancing teacher, and who keep saying, "Oh, I know I'm forgetting
somebody...I'm sorry, whoever you are," but I know how they feel.
Nobody gets anywhere in this field or any other without helping hands
and encouraging words and shoulders to cry on. I literally
wouldn't have lasted five minutes in science fiction without all of the
above and countless others I've forgotten to mention
in my excitement.
And without all my brilliant (and patient)
editors and agents, Sheila Williams and Anne Groell and Ralph Vicinanza
and Shawna McCarthy and Chris Lotts and Patrick Delahunt, my writing
would have been just terrible! You should have seen my first
story! I want to thank all of them! And all of you,
faithful (and patient) readers! Off-scale gratitude!
|Jan 16, 2012 - Connie Willis Named SFWA
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of
America today announced that Connie Willis will be the next
recepient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award at the Nebula Awards
Weekend being held in Arlington, Virginia, May 17-20, 2012.
In the SFWA
announcement, Connie says "Being named a Nebula Grand
Master is an unimaginable honor–quite literally. When I began writing
science fiction as a teenager, my biggest goal was to actually sell a
story. My greatest castles-in-the-air fantasy was to someday win a
Nebula Award. If you’d told that teenaged girl that she’d someday end
up a Nebula Grand Master, with her named linked to those of the authors
she worshiped, demigods like Jack Williamson, Ray Bradbury, Joe
Haldeman, and Robert A. Heinlein, she’d NEVER have believed it. I’m not
sure I believe it. But I’m very, very grateful. And I’m even more
grateful that I’ve been able to spend my entire life among the work and
the people I fell in love with when I was thirteen."
Congratulations to Connie!
|Dec 17, 2011 - A Holiday Update from Connie!
Hi, everybody! Christmas is bearing down on us, and because you
all have so much time to read during the holidays, Lee thought you
might like a list of my Christmas short stories. For a long time,
I've written Christmas stories for Asimov's, although I wasn't terribly
regular about it during the years I was writing Blackout/All Clear.
Here it is. (I added "Fire Watch" because it takes place in
December of 1940, "A Little Moonshine" because it's set on New Year's
Eve, and "Winter's Tale" because it takes place in the winter.
Doh. And chunks of Blackout and All Clear take place at
Some of these stories are up on line, and a lot of
them are in the collection of my Christmas stories, Miracle and Other Christmas Stories.
Several others are available as very skinny books from Subterranean
Press, and some are in The Winds of Marble Arch, my big collection from
Subterranean Press. My story "Just Like the Ones We Used to
Know..." was made into a CBS TV Christmas movie called Snow Wonder,
which starred Mary Tyler Moore.
"Adaptation"--Asimov's December 1994
OTHER CHRISTMAS STORIES.
"All About Emily"--Asimov's
(out shortly from Subterranean Press)
"All Seated on the Ground"--Asimov's
"Cat's Paw"--MIRACLE AND OTHER CHRISTMAS STORIES
"deck.halls@boughs/holly"--Asimov's December 2001
"Epiphany"--MIRACLE AND OTHER CHRISTMAS STORIES
THE WINDS OF MARBLE ARCH
"Fire Watch"--Asimov's February 1982
THE WINDS OF
(and lots of
"In Coppelius's Toyshop"--Asimov's December 1996
MIRACLE AND OTHER
"Inn"--Asimov's December 1993
MIRACLE AND OTHER CHRISTMAS STORIES
THE WINDS OF MARBLE ARCH
"Just Like the Ones We Used to Know..."
--the CBS TV movie SNOW WONDER
"A Little Moonshine"--CHRYSALIS 10
REALMS OF FANTASY, 1994
"Miracle"--Asimov's December 1991
MIRACLE AND OTHER CHRISTMAS
"Newsletter"--Asimov's December 1992
OTHER CHRISTMAS STORIES
THE WINDS OF
"The Pony"--Asimov's December 1986
MIRACLE AND OTHER CHRISTMAS STORIE
"Winter's Tale"--Asimov's December 1987
I have very strong opinions about what makes a good
Christmas story--and what doesn't. I hate anything involving
Lifetime-Channel goopy sentimentality and/or small children freezing to
death in the snow. On the other hand, I don't want to read
stories where callousness, cynicism, or downright meanness
triumph. Mr. Potter should not win.
This narrows down the number of acceptable Christmas
stories quite a bit. But here are three (besides the list above)
that you might like. One's actually a poem, but never mind...
1. THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER by Barbara
2. "Christmas Trees" by Robert Frost
and 3. A true story:
There once was a boy who loved books, though he had
very little access to them. A girl he knew loaned him Dickens'
PICKWICK PAPERS, and he loved it so much that when he had finished it,
he walked three miles to a bookshop to find more Dickens.
When he reached the bookshop, he asked for the
cheapest copy of DAVID COPPERFIELD they had, and the bookseller brought
out a battered copy and told the boy it cost twenty-five cents.
The boy only had fourteen cents. He told him
that, but the bookseller wasn't impressed. He turned away to wait
on somebody else while the boy stood there, defeated, thinking
despairingly of the long walk home.
At which point a "tall, handsome gentleman" came
over, put his arm around the boy's shoulder, and asked him which book
He told him.
"How much do you need?" the gentleman asked him, and
when the boy told him he was short eleven cents, said, "Is that
all? Here you are. When you get rich, you can pay me back."
The gentleman was a butcher--a butcher!--whose name
is unfortunately lost to the mists of time.
The boy was Will Durant, who went on to devote his
life to books and to write the Pulitzer Prize-winning eleven-volume
STORY OF CIVILIZATION, thus amply paying the butcher--and everybody
else--back for the loan.
"I was so grateful that I could not speak," Will
Durant wrote about the butcher's giving him the eleven cents. "I
trudged home in ecstasy over the pleasures in store for me in the 860
pages which I carried under my arm." And over "the goodness of
May you all have a merry holiday season! And
may you see many manifestations of the goodness of human nature, from
butchers and baristas and bond traders and bellboys and
biologists. And of course from books.
A couple of notes on the list above from the Webmaster...
1. Snow Wonder - The CBS TV Movie aired once on CBS and has not turned
up anywhere else that has been noted. For whatever reason, it is
not being including in any cable channel's annual deluge of Christmas
movies. I have found some You Tube clips of the movie posted by a
fan of the actress Poppy Montgomery. Clip 1 includes
the opening credits while Clip 2 and Clip 3 have more
scenes from the movie.
2. Christmas Card - STARWIND - This
story may have not been published or was a small run of copies.
I've asked Connie for some more details, but she's not sure if it ever
did get published. More to come on this one....
3. Online excerpts - I've put in links on the three most recent stories
from Asimov's that still have the preview excerpt of the story
online. Just click on the link to that issue of Asimov's.
Nov 21, 2011 - An update from Connie:
MileHiCon, World Fantasy, Thanksgiving, and Primeval
I just got back from the World Fantasy Con,
and right before that, Milehicon.
fun. At Milehicon, the highlight was probably the challenge panel
on "Scariest Robot Ever," which I won with my brilliant defense of the
Daleks, even though I had already been thrown off the panel.
Gardner Dozois was the guest of honor at Milehicon,
and I got to interview him, which is probably the easiest job I’ve ever
had. All you have to do is say a few key words—"Army," "slush
pile," "plastic jumping penis"—and he’s off and running, telling great
stories about the awful manuscripts he’s read over the years, or the
series of news stories he had to write for Stars and Stripes on the
subject of, "Don’t do this, Or You Will Die," or about convention
dinners where everyone was so reduced to hilarity that the poor waiter
quit halfway through the meal. (He actually made me laugh so hard at
one dinner I snorted a piece of lettuce up my nose and nearly killed
My favorite Gardner memory is of an Asimov's Award
dinner in New York. It was at a Chinese restaurant, and we were
at two big tables. At the Analog table, they were having an
earnest discussion of the space program’s future and at ours (the
Asimov’s table) Gardner was displaying his wind-up plastic jumping
penis for us—which neatly sums up the difference between Asimov’s and
After Milehicon I had two days to unpack, do my
laundry, repack, head for the airport again--in a blizzard--and fly off
to San Diego for the World Fantasy Convention. It was held at a
beautiful resort with four swimming pools, dozens of rose-lined paths,
palm trees, and gazebos and gardens and shady bowers, all of which I
felt really guilty about because back home my poor husband was dealing
with fifteen inches of snow, broken tree limbs, and no
electricity. For two and a half days.
I felt really bad. Not bad enough to leave San
Diego, however. Which I couldn’t because I had toastmaster duties
to perform. (It had nothing to do with the palm trees and the
balmy weather, I swear.)
I saw lots of people—my friends Michael Cassutt and
Christine Valada and Len Wein and Melinda Snodgrass (we spent an entire
breakfast talking about Primeval), Bob Silverberg, Daryl Gregory, Ellen
Datlow, Catherine Montrose, and Bob Vardeman, and met lots of new
I also got to spend some time with Shawna McCarthy,
who was my editor at Asimov’s and then at Bantam. She was an
editor guest of honor at the convention, and we spent a lot of time
catching up. The other guests of honor were Parke Godwin and Neil
Gaiman (who I know), Jo Fletcher (who I’d never met, though we’d worked
together on the British editions of Blackout and All Clear), and the
fantasy artist Ruth Sanderson (who I was meeting for the first time).
One of the highlights of the convention was
discussing Primeval with Kit Reed. I had found out at the
International Conference on the Fantastic that she was a fan, and we
caught up on Season Four and also discussed our theories about how the
resort we were staying at could possibly make it in this day and age.
(For the theory we eventually arrived at, see Agatha Christie’s At
Bertram’s Hotel. Or maybe something really sinister, along the
lines of Kit’s short story, "The Wait.")
Another highlight was a "conversation" I had with
Neil Gaiman. "Conversation" is in quotes because it was conducted
in a ballroom with 500 people in it, so it wasn’t quite as casual as
other conversations we’ve had, but it was still lots of fun. We’d
agreed beforehand we didn’t want to discuss the usual stuff we get
asked in interviews: what are you working on now? etc.
Instead, we talked about why we write, who we’re
influenced by, how exciting that moment is when you discover a writer
you’ve never read before, and, oh, just all sorts of things. One
of Neil’s big influences was the Alice books, which he read so many
times he can recite them word for word. (I believe him.) I waxed
rhapsodic about Agatha Christie, and we both talked about how important
it is to be excited about what you’re writing and not just write the
same thing over and over.
Like all good conversations, it rambled all over the
place, and covered lots of ground. A very fun hour and a
half. [You can see the entire panel HERE on YouTube]
But probably my favorite thing of the convention was
getting to talk to Peter Beagle. He’s always lovely, and I was so
happy he was being given a lifetime achievement award. He
so-o-o-o deserves it.
I first read his A
Fine and Private Place when I was twelve (I was reading my way
through the library alphabetically and had gotten to the B’s).
The novel's set in a cemetery and is about a man who lives there, a
widow who comes to visit her husband’s grave, a pair of ghosts, and a
talking raven. I absolutely adored it the first time I read it
and was astonished to find out it had been written by a twenty-year old.
I’m still astonished every time I read it (which is
once every few years). Young writers usually have style and
imagination but not much originality--and no knowledge of the
world. But somehow Peter Beagle had all of the above, even though
he was writing about middle-aged people, grief, the nature of true
love, and death. I believe the term is "wise beyond his years."
His wisdom, compassion, and decency shine through
everything he writes, but they’re all on full display in A Fine and Private Place, plus his
brilliant sense of irony. If you haven’t read it, you definitely
The fifth season of Primeval started on BBC
America on November 12th and is on Saturdays (at 7 my time).
(Warning: this is a series that needs to be watched from the
beginning to get the maximum effect. The first three seasons are
out on DVD, and Season Four is up on YouTube.)
I’ve watched all five seasons, but we’re also glued
to the set every Saturday night, watching it again.
You’ve all heard me rave about Primeval
before. One of my favorite SF authors, Kit Reed, loves it, too,
and so does author and screenwriter Melinda Snodgrass--I got her
hooked. (She’s blogged about it. You can read
her comments at her blog, Busted Flush (www.melindasnodgrass.com.)
And lots of people I’ve met at conventions are as addicted as I am.
I can’t say much about Season Five without doing
spoilers, so I won’t, except to say that it’s great--and that, once
again, like the end of season three, if the five seasons are all there
is, it’s a very satisfying ending, but that there’s also a great
cliffhanger to make you desperate to see Season Six. (I’m always
impressed with their ability to do both things at the same time.)
I can also say this: the other day I read a
review of Season Five, and it set me thinking about the nature of the
series and why I like it so much.
The reviewer was complaining about one of the
characters stopping in the middle of trying to ward off a horrible
disaster to rescue a civilian. "You're trying to save the world
and you stop to save one girl and her stupid dead girl friend," the
reviewer wrote. "I don't buy it. The world is much more
But that’s the whole point of Primeval:
the bad guys are always totally focused on saving the world.
They’re certain they’re right, they’re sure that what they’re doing is
more important than anything else, and they’re willing to sacrifice
anything--and anyone--to reach their goal.
The good guys want to save the world, too.
("We'll probably have to save the world before bedtime again,
professor!") But, unlike the bad guys, they never lose sight of
who and what they’re saving it for. They aren’t willing to
sacrifice people, principles, or relationships in the name of a Greater
They are, however, more than willing to sacrifice
themselves to save others, and do so frequently. They’re willing
to die to protect their friends. And total strangers. But
they always keep it firmly in mind that it’s the individual, the
innocent bystanders, the civilians, that they’re fighting for.
The bad guys talk a lot about "saving humanity" and
"the greater good," but never seem to translate that desire into saving
I know, I know, sometimes a person or a group of
people have to die to save others. I spent eight years writing
about World War II. But I’m always distrustful when people start
saying, "You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs."
For one thing, you can bet the person speaking is not one of those
"eggs" he plans on breaking.
And I can’t tell you how many defenses of Joe
Paterno and Penn State I’ve read in the last couple of weeks that talk
about how they had to cover up Sandusky’s "shower incident" to protect
the football program. I mean, think how much good Sandusky and Paterno
and Penn State have done over the years!
As Russell Baker says, "Usually, terrible things
that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not
really progress at all, but just terrible things."
What I’m trying to say is that Primeval understands
that, and that’s why I love it. Along with its humor, Lester’s
dry sarcasm, the dinosaurs, its lovely sense of irony, and of course,
Connor’s being ridiculously adorable!
Happy Thanksgiving to everybody! I’m actually
descended from Governor Bradford of the Pilgrims (Pilgrims were not
Puritans! People always get the two confused. Pilgrims wore
colors and had a sense of humor. Puritans didn’t.) So in my
great-great-great something grandfather’s words:
"They began now to gather in the small harvest they
had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all
well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good
plenty... All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in
store of fowl, as winter approached...and besides waterfowl there was
great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison,
etc. Besides, they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now
since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion."
"Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His
hand that made all things of nothing and gives being to all things that
are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here
kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation…"
"All great and honorable actions are accompanied with great
difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable
And from his great-great-something granddaughter: Have a happy
Thanksgiving! Watch the Macy’s Parade and eat lots of turkey or
spaghetti carbonara (Calvin Trillin’s vote for what we should eat on
Thanksgiving) or quinoa or whatever! And take a sec to think
about what you’re grateful for. For me it’s Starbuck’s eggnog
lattes and the new Sherlock series and Kit Reed and my terrific family
(including the Pilgrims) and Jon Stewart and the new Muppets
movie--and, of course, Primeval.
I did an interview with Adventures
in Scifi Publishing while I was at Bubonicon.
If you are having trouble finding hardbacks of Blackout and All Clear, you might try Broadway Book Mall:
It’s in Denver, so if you want a book
personalized, I’d be happy to do that. Ron and Nina Else, who run
the Book Mall, are great. They also have hardbacks of Passage and my Christmas short
story collection, Miracle and Other
Christmas Stories, plus lots of collectable editions of my stuff
and pretty much everything of mine in paperback.
* * *
I'll be going to Cosine in Colorado Springs in
|Oct 12, 2011 - "All About Emily" in
December Asimov's plus limited edition cover art.
The December issue of Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine has hit the
shelves at Barnes & Noble bookstores and likely other stores that
still carry Asimov's . You can read an excerpt of the story on the December
Subterranean Press has release the J. K. Potter cover for the limited
edition of "All About Emily
" that will be shipping at the end of
|Sept 14, 2011 - An Update From Connie -
Worldcon & Bubonicon
Hi, everybody. I just got back from the double whammy of Worldcon
in Reno and Bubonicon in Albuquerque where I had a great time!
All of this year's Worldcon, Renovation, was fun,
but the highlights were:
1. Winning the Best Novel Hugo Award for
Blackout/All Clear. People always ask me if the awards still mean
a lot to me, and the answer is yes! I'm always as nervous and
convinced I'm going to lose as I was the first time--when I did lose,
to George R.R. Martin, a fact he has never let me forget and which he
reminded me of only three days ago at Bubonicon. And when I win,
I'm just as thrilled as I was the first time.
This Hugo was especially important to me.
Blackout/All Clear was a labor of love. I have always adored
World War II and especially the London Blitz, and the entire eight
years I worked on the book, I was convinced that A) I couldn't do
justice to the Blitz and the civilians who played such a critical part
in winning the war, B) I was never going to finish the stupid thing,
and C) that if I did, no one would like it.
So winning--and even more important--having so many
people tell me what the book meant to them--was wonderful.
If you're interested, you can see my acceptance
speech and/or the entire Hugos ceremony here: www.thehugoawards.org or
just google 2011 Hugo Awards Ceremony video. [Direct Link to
Ustream of Hugo Awards Ceremony - Silverberg is at the 2:44:00 mark,
Best Novel starts at 2:51:00]
2. The Hugo itself. This year's award is
gorgeous. The rocket, created by Peter Weston, was lovely, and
the base was designed by a French artist, Marina Gelineau, who designed
it in layers of glass in which are embedded the images of prehistoric
creatures. It immediately made me think of Primeval, even though
that probably wasn't what the artist intended, and the centipede that
poisoned Stephen and the giant bug that nearly killed Connor, and the
beetles that overran the lab. They make it even more
perfect--it's my Primeval Hugo!
Which brings me to the best (and worst) moment of
3. Meeting Paul Cornell onstage after the
Hugo Awards. We were waiting to have our pictures taken and he
thanked me for mentioning Primeval in my acceptance speech and told me
he'd written an episode for the show (the mammoth episode in Season 2,
with that great moment for Lester and the charming interlude with
Connor and Abby in the church singing (of course) "All Creatures Great
and Small"). At which point my daughter and I totally disgraced
ourselves with gushing: "Oh, gosh, Mr. Cornell, this is such an
honor. I love the show, and that's one of my favorite
episodes! We have it totally memorized," etc. A total
fangirl moment. How embarrassing!
I got to have dinner with Paul Cornell and his wife
in Bubonicon, where I attempted to apologize and redeem myself, but
probably failed. Well, but it is a terrific show, and the mammoth
episode was great!
4. The panels. I was put on an
"Essentials of Casino Gambling" panel for some reason, even though my
expertise consists entirely of playing nickel video poker, a game whose
charms are that you're not being able to lose that much even if you
play for days and you are able to draw to inside straights, even though
everywhere else in life that's a terrible idea. It's a terrible
idea in nickel poker, too, but all you can lose is a nickel. And
there's a certain excitement in being able to do something so
ill-advised and foolhardy. And if the gamble pays off, you can
play for weeks on your winnings.
The panel also gave me a chance to talk about one of
my favorite movies: the original Ocean's 11 (no relation to the
George Clooney ones, except that they rob casinos). The original
stars Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, and has a devilishly
well-constructed script by George Clayton Johnson, an SF author who
wrote the novel Logan's Run and some classic Twilight Zone
episodes. When Dean Martin says, "The odds are with the house,"
he's not just talking about Vegas, and the movie's ending is terrific!
I was also on panels about "The Big Bang Theory (the
TV show, not the cosmological event) and one called "The Geek Gets the
Girl," both with Kristine Katherine Rusch, one of my favorite people to
be on a panel with. We had a great time discussing Leonard,
Sheldon, Penny and Wolowitz, and I managed to bring up Primeval (Connor
and Abby, one of the best "Geek Gets the Girl" romances ever done on
TV) a number of times.
Actually, I managed to bring up Primeval on every
single panel I was on. And at my reading and my
kaffeeklatsch. And on the Stroll with the Stars. (In case I
didn't say this before, Primeval's a great show. Watch it.
From the beginning. The first 3 seasons are out on DVD and
Seasons 4 and 5 will be on BBC America in January (See earlier updates.)
5. Reno. Back in the day, this was the
Divorce Capital of the U.S. Women came here from New York and
L.A. in the thirties and forties to get quickie divorces. Well,
comparatively quick. It took six weeks to establish residence,
which were spent on dude ranches with lots of cute bronco-busters, and
then one day to get a no-fault divorce. (See The Women and Merry
Wives of Reno and Maisie Goes to Reno.)
Nowadays, it's famous for the Mustang Ranch brothel,
which all the taxis sport signs for. It's also known for its
wedding chapels and for its casinos, which the two main hotels for the
convention were located in. Which means all meals were eaten in
neon- and smoke-saturated casinos with lots of bells and
jangling-jackpot sounds. One restaurant had giant orange
jellyfish hanging from the ceiling and the other one enormous nude
Roman sculptures which revolved. (This was still far more
tasteful than the creepy statues at Caesar's Palace which move and open
their eyes. That should definitely be Reno's slogan: More
Tasteful Than Vegas.)
All in all, a very fun convention.
Bubonicon was a nice, easy coming-down experience
from Worldcon (like those special pressure chambers they put you in
after deep-sea diving so you don't get the bends by surfacing too
fast.) I was on great panels discussing the end of the world,
what writers do in their spare time (I told them I watched Primeval)
and the end of the world. Yes, two "how will the world end?"
panels, which were remarkably hopeful and upbeat, even though Hurricane
Irene was raging on televisions just outside the room.
I also got to talk about irony for an hour, which is
always fun. And to see lots of great people: Walter Jon
Williams, Melinda Snodgrass, Ian Tregillis, Joan Saberhagen, and George
R.R. Martin, who ordered me to address him as "Number One New York
Times Bestselling Author George R.R. Martin, the American Tolkien," and
when I refused, said mean (and completely untrue) things about Primeval.
I'll have an update later about my Rockette story,
which is coming out at Christmas, and the novel I'm working on.
And Seasons 4 and 5 of Primeval which Cordelia and I just finished
watching. Oh, my gosh! Wow! It's a good thing Paul
Cornell's not here.
In the meantime, end trans. (As Whoopie Goldberg
|Sept 12th - All About Emily Novelette News
Subterranean Press will have a limited
edition of Connie's new Christmas novelette, All About Emily, available
soon. If you subscribe to their email list, you will have a
chance to win an Advance Readers Copy (details
There will be a 400 copy signed and numbered leatherbound edition and
2000 trade cloth bound hardcovers. Dust jacket and
interior illustrations are being done by J. K. Potter.
|Aug 22 - Pictures from Reno
For a full set of pictures, thanks to
Cordelia Willis, check out the Renovation
pictures blog post.
Connie with the Best Novel Hugo
Hugo Fiction Winners
With George R. R. Martin
|Aug 20 - Blackout/All Clear is Hugo Best
Connie won her 11th Hugo Award
for Blackout/All Clear at the Hugo Awards ceremony at Renovation. Locus Online
has a full
list of winners. The awards ceremony should be viewable to
watch on the Worldcon
|July 31 -Two Updates From Connie
(read them in chronological order)
everybody! I just got back from Seattle, where I emceed the Locus
Awards Banquet, attended the Science Fiction Hall of Fame inductions,
and had a great time!
Awards Banquet is one of the most fun things I get to do. It's
sort of a cross between the Nebula Awards and a scene from Beach
Blanket Bingo. In tribute to founding Locus editor Charlie Brown,
everyone wears Hawaiian shirts. If you don't, you have to wear a
badge that says, "I didn't wear a Hawaiian shirt" and it makes you
eligible to win one. We gave away six really lovely ones this
Best Hawaiian Shirt competition and a trivia competition ("What pilot
of a spaceship in a TV series wore Hawaiian shirts until he was dumb
enough to agree to be in the movie version and got lunched?"*)
prizes--this year's were Gilligan hats and Gumby flamingos in hula
skirts--and the grand prize is a plastic banana inscribed with
celebrity signatures. (It used to be a real banana, till people
complained it turned black before they could sell it on eBay.)
in honor of Gardner Dozois's being a Hall of Fame inductee we had a
special event: a Gardner Dozois singalong of all the songs he's
taught me and hundreds of science fiction fans. We sang Emily
Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" to the tune of "The
Yellow Rose of Texas," (if you don't believe me, try it yourself.
We also sang Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" to
the tune of "La Cucaracha," and portions of "The Rime of the Ancient
Mariner" to the theme from Gilligan's Island. It was very fun.
Liza Trombi, the Locus staff, and my lovely and talented assistant Gary
Wolfe, the banquet came off without a hitch, except for major heckling
from Gardner and his partner-in-crime Nancy Kress, who were punished by
having to wear a grass skirt (Nancy) and a flowered coconut-shell bra
(Gardner), though that didn't appear to inhibit them at all.
Oh, and we gave out the Locus Awards, too, and
Blackout/All Clear won for Best Science Fiction Novel. I was very
After the awards we all changed out of our Hawaiian
shirts and into something fancy and trooped over to the EMP-SF Museum
for the Hall of Fame ceremony. This year Terry Bisson was the
emcee, and Harlan Ellison, Gardner Dozois, illustrator Vincent Di Fate,
and graphic novel artist Moebius (Jean Giraud) were inducted.
Neither Moebius nor Harlan were able to come,
but Vincent Di Fate was there, and he gave a charming
speech. And it was my very great honor to introduce Gardner
Dozois. I've sent my speech along so you can see it here [available as a PDF].
Gardner gave a great speech, everyone got to look at
the glass bricks commemorating each of the inductees, and we then all
went to a champagne reception in their honor (the inductees, not the
And then the next day I taught an all-day workshop on romantic comedy
at Hugo House. And somewhere in there I did a reading with Terry
And then I came home, collapsed on the couch with a
cold I'd caught somewhere along the way, and watched episode 4 of
Season 5 of Primeval repeatedly. Only two episodes to go, things
are in a terrible mess, and I am worried sick about what's going to
happen to everybody.
This is such an appropriate comeuppance for me
(Primeval, not the cold.) I've spent years telling readers who
were anxiously awaiting the end of some story I'd read part of at a
reading or the second part of Blackout/All Clear that waiting was part
of the price readers pay--and now here I am!
Maybe I'd better keep this in mind in regard to my
next book, and hurry up and get busy writing it. As soon as I get
over this cold.
I'm over my
cold, I've been working on my UFO novel, I finished my Rockette story,
and now it's only a few weeks till Reno. There truly is no rest
for the wicked. But at least I'm sane again (comparatively) now
that I've finished watching Season 5 of Primeval. I was so
worried about what was going to happen, especially to Connor and Abby,
that I literally couldn't sleep nights.
And now I can't tell you, since I hate people who do
spoilers and Season 5 won't be on BBC America till sometime next
fall. But--oh, my gosh! Season 5 was so good!
Anyway, as I said, I finished my story, which is
called "All About Emily," and which is about a robot who wants to be a
Rockette. It's going to be in the December issue of Asimov's and
then Subterranean Press is bringing out a special
limited edition, like they have with Inside Job and D.A. I
loved writing this story because it gave me an excuse to do all this
research about the Rockettes and Radio City Music Hall, which came this
close to being torn down. But not all stories have unhappy
endings, even in real life, something I find I need to remind myself of
now and then.
I'm really looking forward to Worldcon in
Reno. I'm doing lots of stuff there, including panels with
Kristine Kathryn Rushch, James Patrick Kelly, Harry Turtledove, and
Michael Swanwick. Here's the schedule as it stands now:
Wednesday at 4 p.m.--a panel on "The Real Revenge of
the Nerds: Geek as Hero" (I plan to talk about Connor)
Wednesday at 6 pm.--a panel on "Nevada as a Setting
for SF and Fantasy"
Thursday at 4 p.m.--a panel on "Understanding Casino
Gambling"--(a natural; I am the world's acknowledged expert on nickel
Thursday at 8 p.m.--The Liars' Panel with James
Patrick Kelly and Jay Lake
Friday at 1 p.m.--a panel on "Who Is This Robert E.
Lee person?--How Much Background Info is Really Needed in Historical
SF?"--(they got the title from me--somebody really did ask me once who
this Robert E. Lee person was)
Friday at 3 p.m.--I'm being interviewed, along with
Robert Silverberg, Gary K. Wolfe, and Jonathan Strahan, on guest of
honor Charles N. Brown. I only wish Charlie could be there.
Saturday at noon--a panel on "The Craft of Writing
Short Science Fiction and Fantasy"
Saturday at 3 p.m.--a panel on "The Big Bang
Theory--The TV Show, Not the Cosmological Theory" (I plan to talk about
Sunday at 11 a.m.--I'm reading from my new novel.
Sunday at noon--a panel on "Chronological
Dissonance: Modern Archetypes and Morals in a Historical
Setting," which sounds intimidating, but is actually about how any of
us travelling back in time would be caught as impostors within seconds.
I'll also be autographing at some point and doing a
kaffeeklatsch and some sort of walk with fans, since apparently they're
worried that no one will ever go outside the casino.
And somehow I am determined to find a little time to
play a little nickel video poker and talk to anyone who wants to about
Primeval, especially people who've seen seasons 4 and 5. I'm
about to explode from not being able to talk to anybody about it!
Really looking forward to seeing everybody
*Wash on Firefly and Serenity
June 25 - 2011 Locus Awards
Best Science Fiction Novel
was awarded Best Science Fiction Novel at the 2011 Locus Awards in
Seattle today. Tor.com
has the full list of winners. If you'd like to relive the live
coverage via CoverItLive at the Locus web site, go to this
link. Look for additional links to pictures and other
June 25 - UK Releases of Blackout and All Clear
Gollancz in the UK has
released Blackout in
hardback, trade paperback, and ebook in June with a release of All Clear
scheduled for October. Below are the UK covers.
|June 8 - Catching Up With Connie
Apologies for not getting any updates
online for a while. Personal life and con running took over the
webmasters spare time for a while. Let's catch things up in
reverse chronological order, mostly dealing with award news:
26 - Video Interview with Connie via Lore-online
The Not-Yet-Live Lore-Online.com has posted a short video
interview with Connie Willis to YouTube.
May 22 - Blackout/All
Clear gets Best Novel Nebula Award
Blackout/All Clear was awarded Best Novel
Nebula Award Weekend in Washington, D.C. The
Greeley Tribune in Greeley, CO, had this
report on her award, Connie's seventh. Denver's Westword
blog also had this
May 11 - Blackout/All Clear
is Locus Awards Finalist
Magazine announced the finalists
for the Locus Awards to be awarded at the Science
Fiction Awards Weekend happening June 24-25 in Seattle, WA. Blackout/All Clear is a finalist
for Best Science Fiction Novel, along with
- Surface Detail, Iain M.
Banks (Orbit UK; Orbit US)
- Cryoburn, Lois McMaster
- Zero History, William
Gibson (Putnam; Viking UK)
- The Dervish House, Ian
McDonald (Pyr; Gollancz)
24 - Blackout/All
Clear nominated for Best Novel
Renovation announced the nominees for the
Hugo Awards to be given out at the convention in August and Blackout/All Clear
made the Best Novel list. Other Best Novel nominations are:
Cryoburn by Lois McMaster
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald
Feed by Mira Grant (Orbit)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by
N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Renovation has made available a Hugo Voter's packet with electronic
versions of many of the nominees. Voting deadline is Sunday, July
|Feb 28 - Nebula Ballot Best Novel Nomination
has announced the nominations
for this year's Nebula Awards and Blackout/All Clear is nominated
for Best Novel. The full list of novels nominated are:
The awards will be presented during the Nebula Awards Weekend
May 19-22 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. You do not
have to be a SFWA member to attend.
- The Native Star, M.K.
- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms,
N.K. Jemisin (Orbit UK; Orbit US)
- Shades of Milk and Honey,
Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
- Echo, Jack McDevitt (Ace)
- Who Fears Death, Nnedi
Clear, Connie Willis (Spectra)
|Jan 23 - A Note for Hugo Nominators from
the ConnieWillis.net Webmaster
It is that time
of year when members of the previous year's WorldCon (AussieCon 4) and the upcoming
WorldCon (Renovation) fill
out their nominating ballots for the Hugo Awards to be given out
at WorldCon in August.
Many authors on their blogs and websites have been pointing out what
they have published in 2010 that is eligible for the Hugo Awards.
As you just might know, Connie Willis published two books in 2010, Blackout and All Clear, which are really two
volumes that make up one big book Connie has always made it clear
that it is one book, not two separate books, so the general consensus
is that the two books should be nominated as one work instead of
nominating one or the other. So, if you are filling out a Hugo
nomination ballot, the best way to nominate Connie's work is to list it
Author: Connie Willis.
|Jan 20 - An Update from Connie
Primeval and Churchill
I usually hate January. It's dark and cold and dark and Christmas
is over and there aren't any decent movies to go to because we already
saw "The King's Speech" and "Tangled" at Christmas and for some reason
people think it's a good idea to release movies about dead children and
suicide when you're already depressed, and Congress is back in session
and it's dark and the sun is never going to return.
But not this year. This year I've loved January--well, not loved
it, exactly. I mean, it's still dark, but from January first
there's been something to look forward to every week: a new
episode of PRIMEVAL.
My daughter and I are hopelessly addicted to the
show, and no, it's not just as a friend of mine said, that Andrew Lee
Potts is "ridiculously adorable," although that is certainly
But this British show (it's on BBC America right now
and has been on Syfy) is also really well-written, fast-paced, full of
unexpected twists and turns, and very involving. Everyone we've
introduced to the show (we gave it to lots of people for Christmas) has
A NOTE OF
CAUTION: If you've never watched PRIMEVAL, don't start watching
the new season. Buy the DVDs of the first three seasons or rent
them from Netflix or watch them on your computer first. In
order. From the beginning. This is like BABYLON
5 or LOST. It has to be watched from the beginning. And don't
give up if the first few episodes seem like "The A-Team Fights
Dinosaurs." Things will get very interesting very soon.
So why do I like it so
much? Let me count the ways:
1. Andrew Lee Potts is ridiculously
adorable. The way this all happened was that I saw the Johnny
Depp ALICE IN WONDERLAND (which I liked--sort of), and my husband and I
then had an Alice film festival, including the 1930s version (with Cary
Grant and W.C. Fields), the 1960s British version with Dudley Moore
(which was even worse than ARTHUR), and DREAMCHILD (my favorite movie
of all time.)
When I told my friend Rose Beetum what we were
doing, she said, "Oh, then you need to watch the ALICE that was on
I did, fell in love with Andrew Lee Potts's Hatter,
bought the miniseries for my daughter, and she also fell in love and
found out that he'd been in PRIMEVAL. I didn't think Connor could
possibly be any better than Hatter, but he was, and we were--and
are--completely hooked. Harrison Ford who?
2. The series is really well-written.
It's got foreshadowing (your key to quality literature), interlinking
plots, clever dialogue, and stunning reversals. My daughter
bought the DVDs before I did, so she was several episodes ahead of me,
and when I got to a particularly surprising turn of events, I called
her at five in the morning her time. "Hello, Mother," she said
calmly. "I presume you've just seen Episode 6."
"Yes," I said. "Oh. My. God."
A couple of days ago a friend called me nearly as
early. "I just watched Episode 6," she said. "Oh, my
God." And then my brother...well, you get the idea. And
Episode 6 is nothing to what happens in Season 2.
3. In spite of all the rampaging dinosaurs,
PRIMEVAL is one of the best romantic comedies I've seen in a long time,
second only to Jim and Pam on THE OFFICE and of course, Syfy's
ALICE. Or as Connor says, "It isn't every day you meet a
potential girlfriend. And find a dinosaur."
4. It's very funny. Humor's hard to get
right, especially when you're killing off characters, but PRIMEVAL
strikes just the right note. Connor's very funny, and Cutter's
got a dry wit, but my favorite's Lester, who's the best paper-pushing
5. It's really well-written, full of subtlety
and nuance. I know, I know, it sounds ridiculous in a show about
dinosaur-hunting in modern-day London, but it's true. One of my
favorite episodes actually explores the whole notion of
knighthood--from a medieval knight trying to kill a dragon (well,
actually, a dracorex) to a damsel-in-distress trying to save it.
And a kid in a "Working Class Hero" T-shirt trying to rescue a flying
lizard from the clutches of e-Bay. And who knew dragons were
6. The characters are terrific. When I
saw the first episode, I thought, "Okay, we have your curmudgeonly
scientist, his love interest, his ex-wife, the handsome action hero,
the geeky computer nerd, the hot blonde, the military guy, the
government bureaucrat who stands in their way. Got it." I
thought I knew exactly where this was going (and where it would have
gone if this were an American series.) Instead, nothing turned
out the way I thought it would, and everyone revealed surprising--and
sometimes upsetting--depths. Even the dinosaurs.
7. Finally, I've been really impressed with
the writers' skill in plotting. At the end of Season 3, they did
something I didn't think could be done. After the third season
(those short British seasons of six or ten episodes), the show was
cancelled. Two years later, it's, as they say in their ads, "Back
from Extinction," but at the time regular writers knew that last
episode was the last one ever. And it managed at the same time to
be one of the most exciting cliffhangers ever and--if it really had
been the end of the series--a totally satisfying ending. Don't
see how that's possible? Neither did I till I saw it.
DISCLAIMER: I'm not secretly working for BBC
America or ITV or anything, and we're not getting a kickback for all
the people we've convinced to buy the DVDs (including the poor hapless
clerk who waited on me in Barnes and Noble.)
But I'll admit my judgment may be clouded by how
cute Andrew Lee Potts is, although my husband loves PRIMEVAL,
too. (Though his judgment may be clouded by how cute Hannah
Spearritt is. And Lucy Brown. And Ruth Kearney.)
Or this could all just be a sort of January Madness
brought on by exposure to too much March Hare. But anyway, it's
getting me through till the sun starts coming up at a reasonable time.
But I think the truth is PRIMEVAL's just a great
show. And I can't wait till next week.
MID-JANUARY UPDATE 2:
I told a
story on my book tour about how Alexander Fleming's father saved the
boy Winston Churchill from drowning. The story goes that
Churchill's father was so grateful that he offered to send Fleming's
son Alex to school, Alex became a doctor and discovered penicillin,
which then saved Churchill's life again when he got pneumonia during
World War II.
I had read the story years ago in a book about the
war, and it had never occurred to me that it wasn't true, but according
and other sources, apparently it's not. No record exists of
Churchill's having nearly drowned or of the elder Churchill paying for
Alexander's education, and when asked about it Fleming called it a
It's apparently not even true that Churchill was given penicillin for
his pneumonia--instead it was sulfa drugs, though in 1946 Churchill did
consult with Fleming about a staph infection he'd had which had
resisted penicillin, and the drug was beginning to be used around the
time of Churchill's pneumonia.
In my defense, the story goes back almost as far as
the report of Churchill's pneumonia, and the original version (which
appeared in Coronet Magazine in December 1944) seems to have been
written by a Washington, D.C. newsman, Arthur Gladstone Keeney, who
worked in the Office of War Information during World War II.
It's too bad the anecdote's not true--it was such a
great story. But it's only great if it's true, and apparently
it's not. Sorry for spreading a story that wasn't true,
The other part of the story I told, about Captain
Michael Burns saving Audrey Hepburn's life with penicillin is
true. I got it from Burns's obituary in the New York Times.
|Dec 21 - A Holiday Message from Connie
Connie Willis here. Merry
Christmas--the carols, the lights, the cookies, the present-wrapping,
the wretched behavior of my fellow man. Honestly, people behave
worse during the "season of good will" than any other time of the year.
In Starbucks (where I write) the other day, I
overheard a man ranting about the laziness of the poor and how their
poverty and homelessness were their own fault. "Are there no
prisons?" I wanted to quote at him. "Are there no workhouses?"
And then there are our elected representatives,
defeating health care benefits for ailing 9-11 responders,
filibustering unemployment benefits, and saying things like "We should
not be giving cash to people who are basically going to blow it on
drugs" (Senator Orrin Hatch) and "...quit feeding stray animals.
You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the
problem if you give an animal or person an ample food supply." (South
Carolina Lt. Governor Andre Bauer) Why don't they just come
straight out and say, "Then they had better die and decrease the
Scrooge is alive and well, and it's depressing to
think that a hundred and forty-three years later, the message of
Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" is still being ignored.
However, like Scrooge's nephew Fred, I am determined
to "keep my Christmas humor to the last," and with that in mind, here
are some of my favorite seasonal quotes:
shall soon be having Christmas at our throats again."
are having the same old things for Christmas dinner this
are God's way of apologizing to us for our relatives."
are three things you never want to see on a Christmas present:
One size fits all.
Fun for all ages.
Removes unwanted hair."
is the day that holds time together."
is 1940 years old and Hitler is only 51. He can't spoil our
Sign in a London shop
during the Blitz
have always thought of Christmas as a good time; a kind, forgiving,
generous, pleasant time; a time when men and women seem to open their
hearts freely, and so I say, God bless Christmas!"
I say "God bless Christmas!" too. Also God bless Hanukkah,
Kwanzaa, the Solstice, Festivus, and the whole holiday season! I
hope you have a great holiday, everybody!"
|Nov 10 - All Clear Notes and Reference
Material - An update from Connie
I'm back from my ALL
CLEAR book tour and had a great time. I got to see lots of people in
Seattle, Portland, San
Diego, and Phoenix. But it's nice to be back home.
I promised I'd talk about some of the things I couldn't put in ALL CLEAR, and here they
are. As with BLACKOUT,
there were tons of things I found out while doing my research that I wasn't able to use. Some
stuff there wasn't
room for, and some didn't fit the story I was trying to tell.
[ The rest of this update is quite long and
I've made it available initially as a PDF which you can read here
All Clear Book Tour
(updated 10-18, 2010)
tour for All
starts on October 19th at the Tattered Cover in Denver, CO. Check
the schedule below for other book store stops over the next month or so.
October 19 – DENVER, CO
Tattered Cover Colfax Avenue
Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80206
October 22 - KENSINGTON, MD *NEW*
Time: 7:00 pm
Rockville - Borders
Kensington, MD 20895
Author Guest of Honor
Oct 22-24, 2010
October 25 - DENVER, CO *NEW*
Broadway, Denver, CO 80209
October 26 – SEATTLE, WA
University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
(Event to be
held at Kane Hall, Room 210.
$5 fee if not purchasing a book)
October 27 – PORTLAND,
Books, Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar
Hills Blvd., Beaverton, OR
October 28 – SAN DIEGO, CA
Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego, CA 92111
October 29 – PHOENIX, AZ
Goldwater, Ste. 101, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Friday, November 12 - Fort Collins, CO
Old Firehouse Books
Street, Fort Collins, CO 80524
Saturday, November 20, Albuquerque, NM
11018 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87111
|Oct 18 - An Update From Connie!
everybody. Connie Willis here. A lot's happened since my
last update. I'm all better from my gall bladder surgery--though
I'm still mad my surgeon wouldn't let me go to Albuquerque for
Bubonicon, but I have something really sad to report.
My agent Ralph Vicinanza, who'd been my agent for over twenty years,
died suddenly a couple of weeks ago of an aneurysm. The news of
his death was like being hit upside the head with a baseball bat for
all his friends and clients (I was both), and it's still sending shock
waves through the publishing world. Ralph was the biggest agent
in science fiction--he handled dozens of clients, including George R.R.
Martin and Stephen King, and there's simply nobody who can replace him.
He was not only a really good agent, but a wonderful
friend to me. I always felt that he cared more about me as a
person than he did about how much money I could make him, and I can't
count the number of times I called him sobbing and he talked me down
out of whatever crisis it was. He even put up with me for the
eight long years it took me to finish BLACKOUT and ALL CLEAR, for six
of which the book was late. I don't know what I'm going to do
without him. And I really don't know what science fiction is
going to do without him.
I was lucky to be able to attend Ralph's funeral and
to see and talk to many of his friends, though the trip was sort of a
nightmare. The funeral was in Yonkers, and New York was in the
grip of a gale, the tail end of an East Coast hurricane, so roads were
flooded and trains shut down, and everyone who actually made it to the
funeral looked like a drowned rat. But that was all somehow
appropriate, a sign of how wrong things had gone with Ralph gone.
If he'd been there, he would somehow have made it all work in spite of
In more cheerful news, ALL CLEAR comes out on
October nineteenth. (Note: it's the second half of a book.
BLACKOUT is the first half. They're not two books, or a book and
a sequel, or the first two installments of an endless series.
They're one book--BLACKOUT-ALL CLEAR.)
I'm going to be doing a lot of signings. (See
schedule.) Several are places I went to for BLACKOUT, and I'm
looking forward to seeing everybody in Seattle, Portland, and San Diego
again. I'll also be going to the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale,
Arizona, and to Page One in Albuquerque, and I'll be doing several
signings in Colorado.
I can't say a lot about ALL CLEAR for fear of giving away what happens,
but I can say that Polly and Eileen and Mike start out ALL CLEAR in
trouble and get in a lot worse trouble before the end of the book, and
that you haven't seen the last of Alf and Binnie. Or Colin.
And that you need to keep in mind that this is World
War II we're talking about, and that sixty thousand English civilians
died. And no, I'm not telling you anything else.
I do sympathize. I've been watching the BBC
series PRIMEVAL--my daughter Cordelia's already watched the first three
seasons, and I've been begging her to tell me what happens to no
avail. She won't even confirm whether my theories are right or
not, the little brat.
(Note: I do recommend PRIMEVAL. The characters are great,
the plotting is very clever, and Andrew Lee Potts is possibly the
cutest thing I've ever seen.)
Anyway, I hope you enjoy ALL CLEAR and that I get to
see you all sometime soon. I just bought my Reno Worldcon
membership, so hopefully I'll see you all then, if not before.
Till then, I'll be working on some new short stories
and my Roswell alien abduction novel, which will be one book, repeat,
one book. I promise.
|Oct 17 - Website Updates & Other News
ConnieWillis.net Blog changes location
blog has moved from the blogspot.com site to a site located at
azsf.net. It can now be reached via http://www.azsf.net/cwblog.
I have not yet been able to move the existing postings to the new
location, so it will remain
as an archive of previous posts.
Bibliography for Novels
A new Visual
Bibliography page has been completed for the Connie Willis Novels
and collections. You can access it directly here.
One for the short fiction is forthcoming, but is not yet ready.
scheduled for Blackout and All Clear.
Gollancz has obtained the rights to Blackout and All Clear for
the UK. According to Amazon.co.uk,
scheduled for a June 16, 2011 hardcover release with All Clear
scheduled for an October 20, 2011 hardcover release. However, the
Books/Gollancz website lists it as a March 2011 release.
Aug 15, 2010 - An Update From Connie!
An Update and Hello to Everybody:
Hi, Connie Willis here. Sorry I've
been out of the loop for awhile. I suffered a minor detour--gall
bladder surgery. I'd been having problems for some time, and just
after I got back from doing the Locus Awards in Seattle in late June,
things reached a crisis, and tests showed my gall bladder was the
culprit. The threshold for surgery is 30 per cent of function; my
gall bladder was at 4 per cent, so I was whipped in, several holes were
drilled, and the offending organ was sucked out with a straw (or at
least I think that's what the surgeon said the laproscopy
entailed.) I'm recuperating nicely, though at this point (two
weeks out) I'm still taking lots of naps and watching tons of TV (which
has to be bad for you, especially the Hallmark and Lifetime
Channels.) My biggest problem is that I'm not allowed to drive,
so Courtney's been having to take me to Starbucks and the library,
which he has been very nice about. But I feel tons better than
before I had the surgery. It's clear my gall bladder had become
the enemy and was slowly poisoning me, just like Ingrid Bergman in
NOTORIOUS, except without the Nazis.
In other news, we had a
great time in Seattle, in spite of my not being able to eat
anything. I love doing the Locus Awards Banquet, and we had a
great crowd, who nearly all wore Hawaiian shirts and participated
gleefully in the festivities. Greg Frost and I taught a writer's
workshop on various aspects of "The Periodic Table of the Writing
Elements" and spoke to the Clarion students (enjoining them to flee
from a writing career while there was still time), a library, and a
terrific group of readers at the University Bookstore, which is one of
my favorite places to go.
On the writing front, the
galleys are now turned in, the book is in production, and ALL CLEAR is
scheduled to come out on October nineteenth, preceded by the trade
paperback of BLACKOUT, which will be released some time in
September. Bantam is sending me on tour for ALL CLEAR at the end
of October and beginning of November, so I hope I'll see some of you
then. ( Note: For anybody who hasn't read BLACKOUT yet,
BLACKOUT-ALL CLEAR is one novel which was too long to be published in
one volume and so was split in two by the publishers. I apologize
in advance to anybody who reads the book without knowing that--I tried
to tell everybody I could--and hope you aren't so mad you don't read
the second. I solemnly promise it's ONLY two volumes, not the
teaser beginning to a fifteen-volume series or something, and that the
book reaches an actual and complete ending in ALL CLEAR.)
I've started working on a
couple of short stories and a new novel, about which more later. Hope
to see you all soon.
|Aug 15, 2010 - All Clear Book Tour taking
Locations and dates are being set for
the All Clear Book
Tour. Cities and dates will be added to this post as they are
Oct 19th - Tattered Cover
Bookstore in Denver, CO.
Oct 29th - Poisoned Pen in
Aug 15, 2010 - All Clear Subterranean Press
|July 7, 2010- Subterranean Press Limited
As expected, the Limited Edition (both
numbered and lettered) of Blackout has sold out from the
publisher. Their latest update on
the status of All Clear was that they had sold nearly 80% of
them. If you missed out on Blackout, copies of may still be
available from some online retailers.
|A Blackout Bibliography
by Connie Willis
was on my tour, a bunch of people asked if I could put together a
bibliography of the books I used to research BLACKOUT.
I can't. There were hundreds of them, many of them
obscure books in libraries I visited when I was travelling--and with
many of them, I had to read an entire book to glean a line or two I
could use. But here are some of my favorites.
NOTE: The books listed here are related specifically to
BLACKOUT. I'll do the ones related to ALL CLEAR--books about
Ultra, the Intelligence War, the Christmas raids, the V-1 and V-2
rocket attacks, and VE-Day--when ALL CLEAR comes out.
TIME TO WAVE GOODBYE by Ben Wicks
An in-depth look at the evacuated kids, with lots of reminiscences--and
some horror stories--from the kids themselves. This was my
favorite book about the evacuees.
NIGHT, MR. TOM by Michelle Magorian
A painstakingly researched and heart-wrenching children's novel about a
gruff old man and the boy he reluctantly takes in when London's kids
were evacuated to the country during the war.
MIRACLE OF DUNKIRK by Walter Lord
The first thing you need to do when you've got to research something is
to find out whether Walter Lord wrote a book about it. If he did,
it will almost certainly be the BEST book written on the subject, as
witness DAY OF INFAMY (his book on Pearl Harbor) and A NIGHT TO
REMEMBER (the sinking of the Titanic.) When I was researching
PASSAGE, I read everything ever written about the Titanic and can say
with absolute certainty that A NIGHT TO REMEMBER is the best Titanic
book ever written. THE MIRACLE OF DUNKIRK is Lord's account of
the miraculous rescue of the British Army (and a bunch of the French)
from the beaches of Dunkirk and all the events leading up to it.
SUMMER by Malcolm Browne
A very good book about the summer of 1940 and the Battle of Britain,
when the badly-outnumbered RAF managed to hold off the Luftwaffe with
grit, great flying, baling wire, spit, and high humor. Churchill
was spot-on when he said, "Never have so many owed so much to so few,"
and SPITFIRE SUMMER tells exactly how it happened.
MINIVER by Jan Struther
Although you're probably more apt to know about the movie than
the novel, the book is really good, too. It's a collection of
short newspaper pieces on life during the war and the runup to it, told
in classic British understated style. They started out being
breezy, domestic columns, but as the war approached, they turned into
something else entirely. I also recommend the Academy
Award-winning movie starring Deborah Kerr.
good movies are:
HOPE AND GLORY--the Blitz from a ten-year-old boy's point of view
MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS--the story of the Windmill Theatre, which had
naked girls and "never closed"
MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY--a great picture of London on the verge
HANOVER STREET--you knew I'd find a way to work Harrison Ford in
somehow, didn't you? The plot's a bit far-fetched, but the Blitz
stuff is great.
SPITFIRE--the classic 1942 movie which tells the story of the plane
that won the Battle of Britain, starring Leslie Howard (Gone with the
Wind, Pygmalion) who would be shot down the following year
DANGER UXB--the high-tension BBC story of a bomb disposal squad; the
forerunner to THE HURT LOCKER
And as far as the attack on Pearl Harbor goes, forget PEARL
HARBOR. Watch TORA TORA TORA, a wonderfully researched and
incredibly exciting movie.
TO THE WALL by Leonard Mosley
This was the first book I read on the Blitz, and it's one of the
best. It not only gives you the big picture, but the personal
stories of the people caught in the Blitz, from nine year-old Sheila
Hardiman, the first person killed, to a bomb disposal expert to a young
woman who made the mistake of sleeping with a German and ended up in
by Lawrence Thompson
This book, which takes you through the year of the Blitz month by
month, was invaluable to figuring out what happened when (and gives you
a good perspective of everything else that was going on in the world.)
FINEST HOUR by Winston Churchill
This book, and the other five: THE GATHERING STORM, THE GRAND
ALLIANCE, THE HINGE OF FATE, CLOSING THE RING, and TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY,
are story of the war from the man who ran it, a man who also happened
to be one of the great writers of the twentieth century.
HOME FRONT by Susan Briggs
The war from the civilian point of view. This book has everything
you need to know about rationing, the blackout, the Home Guard, Digging
for Victory, scrap drives, utility clothing, and gas masks, plus a
recipe for Lord Woolton Pie, made from potatoes, cauliflower, and
FOR THE ALL CLEAR by Ben Wickes
The war from the horse's mouth--interviews with dozens of people who
lived through the war, from nurses to Jewish refugees to midwives who
delivered babies with bombs falling all around them.
In the 1930s the British government began a program to find out what
the British people were thinking by paying them a shilling a week to
write down their "observations" and thoughts in a journal. I'm
not sure what they had in mind or if it was a success. The
important thing is that when the war began, nobody thought to stop
it. The government kept on doling out shillings, and the people
kept on writing down their observations. As a result, we have one
of the broadest and most diverse records of how war affects people ever.
Usually wars are recorded by journalists, politicians, and professional
writers, and World War II is no exception. You can read Virginia
Woolf's and C.P.Snow's and Churchill's takes on the war. But
thanks to the M.O. Diaries, you can also read how the war looked to bus
drivers and Lyons Corner waitresses and munition factory workers--an
absolutely treasure trove of detail.
They're collected in a variety of places. My favorite is LIVING
THROUGH THE BLITZ by Tom Harrison. For women's points of view,
there's also WARTIME WOMEN: A MASS-OBSERVATION ANTHOLOGY, edited
by Dorothy Sheridan.
FOR MRS. MILLER by John Strachey
A clearly-autobiographical novel about an ARP post during the Blitz,
and one of my favorites. It's exciting, horrific, and funny, all
FINE DAY by Mollie Panter-Downes
The collected columns of Mollie Panter-Downes, which originally
appeared in the pages of THE NEW YORKER, which is where I first read
them, and where I recommend reading them if you can--there, among the
ads and theater reviews, you get the full effect of how these must have
looked to Americans still not in the war yet. She's not so much
trying to cover the Blitz as record her personal impressions of it, and
she's got an incredible eye for detail, as witness her account of
Oxford Street after the bombing that destroyed John Lewis.
THIS IS LONDON by Edward R. Murrow
If you don't know who Edward R. Murrow was, you need to rent GOOD NIGHT
AND GOOD LUCK, the story of how he stood up to Senator Joe McCarthy
when everyone else was afraid to. But before See it Now and
Person to Person and his stellar career as a TV journalist, he was the
American war correspondent who did radio broadcasts from London during
the Blitz and the voice of the Blitz for most Americans. SO THIS
IS LONDON is the riveting collection of those broadcasts, frequently
done under fire, including the one beginning, "As I speak to you now,
St. Paul's Cathedral is burning to the ground."
You need to hear them if you can, but reading the book's an experience,
PAUL'S IN WARTIME by the Reverend W.R. Matthews
This book, written by the then Dean of St. Paul's, was my Bible for all
the ST. Paul's stuff in BLACKOUT and ALL CLEAR. It's hard to come
by, and I wasn't able to get hold of a copy till after I wrote "Fire
Watch" (Dave Langford found one and sent it to me, bless him) but it
was invaluable in writing the new book, although it failed to give
enough details about the stained-glass windows. To get that, I
had to keep asking volunteers until somebody went and got a modern-day
version of Mr. Humphreys, who was old enough to remember what I needed
LITTLE PRINCESSES by Marion Crawford
This book was written by the governess for Princesses Elizabeth and
Margaret Rose, and, although it's a memoir, it's also one of the
fullest accounts of the royal family's lives and activities during
World War II.
WAR by Sayre Van Young
I didn't find this till a couple of years ago. I wish I'd had it
from the beginning. It's a tour guide to London, but with a
difference--this one tells you all the places where things during the
Blitz happened, from the buried War Rooms in Whitehall where Churchill
drove everybody crazy by going up on the roofs in his pajamas and
Wellingtons to watch the raids, to the shrapnel damage on the walls of
the Victoria and Albert Museum. There are also a bunch of walking
tours and lots of fascinating side bars.
And if you should happen to be going to London, you've got to go to St.
Paul's Cathedral (natch), the War Rooms, and the Imperial War
Museum. They not only have great exhibitions on the Blitz--the
last time I was there, they were doing one on the evacuated kids--but
their gift shop/bookstore is to die for and is where I found lots of
the above-listed books.
|Blackout on New York Times Bestsellers List!
According to official sources, BLACKOUT will hit #34 on The
New York Times bestseller list for fiction on February 21st.
Blog Updates -
Also, on the Connie Willis.net blog are
some more pictures from the signing tour including ones from the
Borderlands Books signing.
An Update from Connie!
February 17, 2010
everybody! I just got back from my book
tour--sort of. I still have a signing in
Texas on Friday and assorted local signings. Thank
you all for coming to my signings. It was
great to see everybody! And especially
thanks to everyone who
showed up at Borderlands in San
Francisco, where the weather was absolutely wretched.
And in Seattle, where you had to miss
first part of the Superbowl. Or the
Superbowl ads. Which ad was your
favorite? I loved the Paris Google ad
and hated the married guy/Dodge one.
everywhere I went, people asked me the same two questions:
did you get interested in time
and 2. Did you have to do a lot of research for
lot of people also said they wished I'd listed the books I'd used to
the novel at the end of the book. Novels
don't ordinarily have bibliographies, but I promised I'd list some of
favorite research books on this site as soon as I've looked up all the
the meantime, I'll answer the second question:
How did you get
interested in time travel?
actually kind of hard to answer. The
first time travel novel I ever read was Robert A. Heinlein's THE DOOR
SUMMER. It's a great book--all about a
guy who gets betrayed by his girlfriend and his best friend, so he
have himself cryogenically frozen so he can get as far away from them
possible. But when he wakes up in the
future, he finds out...well, I don't want to spoil it.
All I'll say is that the story involves
going back to the past again, and that there's a terrific little girl,
in the book, and a great cat named Pete, which were more than enough to
hooked on time travel.
I'm not sure that was my first intro to time travel.
That may have been Robert Nathan's
OF JENNIE or an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, like the one where the
telling his psychiatrist he's been to Pearl Harbor during the Japanese
attack. Or it might have been one of Jack
stories, or C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner's "Vintage Season," about
decadent jet-setter-like time travelers who come back to our time from
future to see...well, I don't want to spoil that either.
And I don't know which came first.
I know is that as soon as I heard about time travel, I fell in love
idea. I loved the possibility that we
could go back to the past and change mistakes we made--which I am
wishing I could do--and that we could go see the St. Louis World's Fair
Colossus of Rhodes or Lincoln giving the Gettysburg Address. And that we could change history--shooting
Hitler in Berlin in 1934 or knocking the gun out of John Wilkes Booth's
I loved all the games writers played with the contradictions of time
travel--the grandfather paradox and the "chicken and egg"
paradox. (In case you don't know that
one, it goes like this: You go back in
time and tell Einstein the answer is E equals mc squared, and he
"discovers" it, and it ends up in your science textbook, where you
read it, and that's how you knew about it so you could tell him, but in
case where did it come from in the first place?) I
loved reading stories where the authors
explored all the possibilities of those paradoxes, from Heinlein's "All
You Zombies" to Harry Harrison's "The Men Who Murdered
Mohammed," especially Fredric Brown's "The Yehudi Principle,"
where the story's first and last lines form a continual time loop.
my favorite time travel stories were those that showed us how time
redeem us and/or break our hearts, like Bob Shaw's "The Light of Other
Days" and Philip K. Dick's "A Little Something for Us
You can do so many things with time
travel--go to the past (and future), change history, jumble up the
with events and people in all sorts of fun ways, fix your mistakes,
with all the might-have-beens, cause never-thought-of consequences, and
mind-twisting games. Best of all, you can use time travel to illuminate
time and memory affect--and trap--us. And
to gain an understanding of history
and time itself. It's no wonder I love it.
CONNIE WILLIS'S FAVORITE TIME TRAVEL
"A Little Something for Us
Tempunauts" by Philip K. Dick "The
Light of Other Days"
by Bob Shaw THE HOUSE ON THE STRAND by Daphne
DuMaurier "A Christmas Carol" by
Charles Dickens THE DOOR INTO SUMMER by Robert A.
Heinlein "Great Escape Tours,
Inc," by Kit Reed "Vintage Season" by C.L.
Moore and Henry Kuttner
"Behold the Man" by
Michael Moorcock THE FINAL COUNTDOWN "Child By
Charles Harness "Me, Myself, and I" by
William Tenn ME, MYSELF, I (a totally different
story) "Air Raid" by John Varley BRING THE
JUBILEE by Ward Moore "Brooklyn Project" by
William Tenn RUN LOLA RUN "The Men Who Murdered
Mohammed" by Harry Harrison "The Yehudi Principle" by
Fredric Brown THE KID "The Little Black Bag" by
Cyril Kornbluth THE NAVIGATOR: A
MEDIEVAL ODYSSEY "Up the Line" by Robert
"All You Zombies" by Robert A. Heinlein "By His Bootstraps"
Robert A. Heinlein MEMENTO
Connie Willis Guest Blogging on Suvudu
Connie will be guest blogging on Suvudu and will also be answering
questions in the comments. Follow this
link to the first post. This section will be updated with
links to subsequent posts on Suvudu.
|Reviews, Articles, and Pictures from the
I've posted several blog posts with
links to various online articles and have also posted some pictures
from the Mysterious Galaxy signing and the UNC Reception. You can
see those currently on the ConnieWillis.net
|World Fantasy Convention 2011 Guest
The 2011 World
Fantasy Convention in San Diego has announced several of their
guests, including Connie Willis. Announced so far is Author Guest
Neil Gaiman, Editor Shawna McCarthy, and Toastmaster Connie
Connie Reads from Blackout
I have posted three videos on YouTube
with Connie talking about Blackout
and reading from it taped at LA Con IV.
Clip 1 - Connie
talking about Blackout and All Clear
Clip 2 - Connie Reading from Blackout (Part 1)
Clip 3 - Connie
Reading from Blackout (Part 2)
|Read an excerpt from Blackout
Connie's publisher has made available an
excerpt from Blackout
Blackout Book Tour dates announced!
will be doing a short book tour to coincide with the release of Blackout.
All of these booksellers should be able to take online or phone orders
if you don't live in the area or can't make it to the signing. So
far, the signings include:
A MESSAGE FROM CONNIE WILLIS - Jan 2010
finally done with my two-volume time travel to the Blitz novel,
BLACKOUT-ALL CLEAR! Oh, frabjous day! Calloo, callay!
BLACKOUT comes out February second, and ALL CLEAR will be out in the
autumn. And I'm done, I'm done, I'm done!
Okay, okay, I know I said I was done with the Blitz novel in the fall
of 2008. And last spring. And this November. And it's
still not done. I still have the copyedited manuscript and the
galleys to do for the second volume, ALL CLEAR, and there are days when
I think I'll never be done, that like Zeno's frog, I will just keep
halving the distance to completion without ever getting there.
However, I am sort of done, and the first volume, BLACKOUT, is coming
out in February. Honest. I've seen the cover, the
reviewers' copies have been sent out, and assorted booksignings have
been set up. (See schedule above.) And, as my daughter so
aptly put it, "If you're hit by a bus now, you don't have to worry
about some hack finishing your novel."
And I must be done because I A) am sleeping much better; B) am several
inches taller, due to that giant albatross no longer hanging around my
neck; and C) my family says I have been much nicer lately. I have
also been beginning to think about other projects. Every time
I've had a glimmer of a story idea over the last few years, I've had to
firmly squelch it because I had no time to work on anything else, but
now I can actually write other stuff, and the ideas have begun bubbling
up. There's a story I've been wanting to write about a robot who
wants to be a Rockette, and one about Satchel Paige, who was the
greatest baseball pitcher who ever lived, but who never got to play in
the Majors till he was past his prime. And I can't wait to get
started on my Roswell--Area 51--alien-abduction--romantic comedy novel,
tentatively titled The Road to
But first I need to dig out from the mess I made while writing the
novel, answer six years' worth of e-mails, send out my Christmas letter
(I know it's already January!), catch up on six years' worth of
laundry, and find out what Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin have been up
to. (Surely they've gotten over their initial dislike of
President Obama by now.)
I also plan to catch up on my reading. I just finished The
Chimes, one of Charles Dickens' Christmas novels, and it was
terrific. It was also clearly the prototype of It's a Wonderful
Life, right down to the suicide attempt, which I did not know.
Right now I'm reading Screwball (about the great movie comedies of the
thirties) and can't wait to start UFOs and the Murder of Marilyn
Monroe, which I got for Christmas, and which promises to tell me just
how she was "murdered by U.S. government officials because she knew too
much about the Roswell UFO coverup!" Which I also did not know.
In the meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing you--I hope--at one of
my book tour stops and signings or at a convention soon.
A belated Merry Christmas-Hanukkah-Solstice-Kwanzaa-Holiday Season, a
Deliriously Happy New Year, and Good Reading!
Willis, Jan 2010
CONNIE WILLIS DONATES PAPERS TO UNC
Willis is donating her manuscripts, her library of editions of
her own books, her research books for BLACKOUT-ALL CLEAR, PASSAGE, and
other works, her awards, and her other papers to the library of her
alma mater, the University of Northern Colorado. She attended the
university (then Colorado State College) in Greeley, Colorado, from
1963-67, where she received a BA in English and elementary
The donation of her papers will be celebrated by a reception on
February ninth (location and time TBA) The library plans to
digitize her papers and prepare
them to be made available to scholars and other institutions. UNC
also the repository of many of James Michener's papers, including the
manuscript of Centennial, and has a display of his papers and a replica
of his office. UNC has also named a dormitory after Connie Willis
Mildred Hansen, the first female editor of the Greeley Tribune.
Hansen-Willis Dormitory is on Tenth Avenue at Twentieth Street.
of Northern Colorado Special Collections - Connie Willis
|Interview Roundup for Blackout
With the new book, we're getting some new interviews with Connie online.
Weekly - A short Interview with Connie
Magazine - An excerpt from the interview published in the October
|Studio 360 Now Online with Connie
360's Time Travel episode was broadcast on Jan 1st and is now
available to listen to online and they've also made available several
video clips from the taping including
one with Connie Willis and David Goldberg talking about time travel.
Connie Willis on NPR's Studio 360 This
Willis will be in New York on Tuesday, Nov 17th, to take part in a live
recording of NPR's Studio 360
at the Jerome L. Greene
Performance Space. The show is sold out, but they supposedly will
offer a live webcast on the website at 7 pm ET which will likely stay
available. Once I have more details on when it will be broadcast on the
radio and associated links for that, I will post them.
Their web site describes the show as:
On November 17, Studio 360 takes you where no audience has gone before:
traveling through time. In this live show hosted by Kurt Andersen at
WNYC's The Greene Space (taped for later broadcast), scientists and
artists explain why time travel is more than an idle fantasy.
Astrophysicist David Goldberg (A User's Guide to the Universe) unravels
the physics of time travel. Sci-fi writer Connie Willis tells us what
to do if your journey through time goes awry. Simon Wells, the
great-grandson of H.G., shares his obsession with the classic The Time
Machine. Musical sensation Janelle
Monae performs her 28th-century funk. And Mike Daisey drops by to
give us advice from the future.
Studio 360's "Science & Creativity" explores the intersection of
art and science. The series is supported in part by the Alfred P. Sloan
and All Clear Updates
is scheduled for release on February
2nd, 2010 in hardcover and e-book from Spectra. Also in the works
is a limited
edition from Subterranean Press of both Blackout and All Clear. Subterranean
Press's announcement has a fairly detailed blurb about the book, which
some might consider spoilers, so I'll only put a
link to it here on the web page.
Look for more news about and from
Connie here soon!
|Science Fiction Hall of Fame Weekend
and Update From Connie
Connie was honored with being inducted
into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in Seattle in late June.
She also was toastmaster for the Locus Awards. Here's a message
from Connie on the activities:
THE BOOK: My
two-volume novel is at long last done (though still only partly
revised.) I've turned in the Volume 1 revisions and am now
working on Volume 2's. The book will come out as BLACKOUT (Spring
2010) and ALL CLEAR (six months later.) I'm very excited.
THE LOCUS AWARDS
BANQUET: The banquet was this last weekend at the Courtyard
Marriott by Lake Union. It was so fun. We had a
sellout crowd and nearly everyone wore their Hawaiian shirt, some of
which were even more dazzlingly garish than I could have hoped.
Gordon Van Gelder's (an Hawaiian sunset) was almost blinding and
required sunglasses. People
who did not wear Hawaiian shirts--or a Hawaiian dress (a la my
daughter) or a shirt with "Hawaiian" writtten on it in Magic Marker
(editor Eric Raab) or, in one instance, a Hawaiian kilt--were tagged by
me with a
sign saying, "I did not wear a Hawaiian shirt". These included
Chiang, who obviously did not get the message and was dressed in a very
cool-looking suit (or perhaps he had wanted to dress up for the Hall of
Fame stuff, which was immediately following.) These people had
the chance to win a Hawaiian shirt, and those were fab, too. One
had Hawaiian drinks--mai tais, etc.--on it and another was a
combination Hawaiian shirt/bowling shirt, which you do not see every
myself had on a Hawaiian shirt depicting a rocket launching from NASA,
you do not see every day either.
People who did as they were
told and had their Hawaiian shirts got to participate in the Hawaiian
shirt/trivia contest. This
year's questions were all about Hawaii AND science fiction, such
what SF movie did people use time travel to try to stop the attack on
Pearl Harbor?" and "The on-land scenes of what terrible waterlogged SF
movie starring Kevin Costner were filmed in Hawaii?" Greg
Bear--who was wearing a terrific Lilo and Stitch (science fiction and
and is really really smart--won the contest. First prize is an
banana, which will no doubt appear soon on E-Bay, but there were lovely
gifts for everyone, including flip-flop key chains, dead parrots, and
those blowy things that kids have at parties, all of course
As to the Locus Awards
themselves, I'll only say that nearly
everybody who won was there, including Gardner Dozois (badly behaved),
Eileen Gunn (very badly behaved), Ellen Datlow (who is the only person
I know who
can make a Hawaiian shirt look stylish), Paolo Bacagalupi, Michael
Whelan, Ted Chiang, and Jennifer Brehl, who we once again persuaded to
do the hula to "We're Going to a Hukilau." The Locus Awards
Banquet is one of my favorite things to do every year. It's the
audience-participation event in science fiction and everybody has a
great time, although some people take it way too seriously. One
told me that if they'd known how hard the trivia quiz was, they'd have
studied. Keep in mind that the first-place prize is a
banana. If you
decide to come next year, do NOT study. Do, however, wear a
or face the consequences.
THE HALL OF FAME
INDUCTIONS: What can I say? I was so honored to be
inducted, especially the same year as Michael Whelan, the illustrator
Frank R. Paul, and Ed Ferman. It was
lovely. It didn't seem right to be getting honored, though,
when being in science fiction all these years has been its own
reward. I've loved every minute
of it--well, not quite every minute, but you know what I
mean. Aside from awards
ceremonies, the highlights of the weekend were finding a great Greek
restaurant in Fremont which had baklava ice cream, seeing the famous
troll under the bridge, going to Archie
McPhee's (did you know they now have a gummy haggis?), talking to Nancy
Joy Fowler and John Kessel, and having a great breakfast with Terri and
David Haugen and one of those magical science fiction dinners with my
family and Charles N. Brown and Amelia Beemer of Locus, Gary Wolfe, and
Gardner Dozois. We had rockfish (which is more art than food) and
sang all sorts of show tunes and poems. (Did you know that
Ethel Merman on Broadway in Annie Get Your Gun? And that Gary
knows the scores to--oh, everything, as does my aughter?
And that you can
sing the entire "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" to the theme from
Gilligan's Island? We were all reduced to helpless delight and
the time the dinner was over, and it reminded me all over again why I
field and the people in it.
OTHER NEWS: I'm
planning to go to Worldcon in Montreal and to the World Fantasy
Convention this year since it's in San Jose I just agreed to be
a guest of honor at Capclave in October of 2010, and am going to
Bubonicon this summer. The rest of the time I'm trying
finish the revisions to the novel and get them in.
Hall of Fame
Inductees and Presenters
new inductees plaques
Thanks to Cordelia Willis for the photos.
|Aug 5, 2009 - We're Back, Catching Up
Due to varous things including moving
and several conventions, I've not had an update for a while. It's
time to play catchup..
|April 2nd, 2009 Update
All Clear - Editing of All Clear is still in process.
we'll have an update from Connie in the near future.
Connie to join the Science Fiction Hall of
The Science Fiction Museum has announced
Connie Willis will be one of the inductees at the 2009 Science
Fiction Hall of Fame ceremony in Seattle June 26 & 27.
being inducted are Edward L Ferman, Michael Whelan, and Frank R. Paul.
will also be hosting the Locus Awards
ceremony happening that weekend as well.
|Nov 23 - An Update
The novel is now really turned in, though
there's still tons of work (and cutting) to be done on it, so I won't
feel like celebrating until that's done and the book's formally
and everything. I worked on the Obama campaign and I'm still
happy about the election a week later and having a little trouble with
though I am busily watching Sarah Palin's Victory Tour? which is
|Oct 10 - Online
Interviews and a New Short Story
Rocky Mountain News Interview &
For the A
Dozen On Denver series of stories in the Rocky Mountain News,
Connie Willis has contributed a new short story and has also done an
interview. For the interview, go
here, for the short story, "New Hat", including an mp3 of Gabriella
Cavallero reading the story, go here.
Mur Lafferty Interview From BaltiCon 42.
On Mur Lafferty's I Should be Writing 2.0
blog, she has posted a two part video interview with Connie from
BaltiCon Podcast Connie Willis Interview
On the Balticon Podcast site, they
recently posted their podcast
interview with Connie Willis, BaltiCon 42's Author Guest of Honor.
High Plains Library District Foundation
Fundraiser Gala Article
from the Greeley Tribune reports on the fundraiser that Connie was
|Sept 18 - Upcoming
Sept 27th - High Plains Library District Workshop, signing, and Gala.
The High Plains Library District (Connie's
home libraries in Greeley and Weld County ) is honored to have Connie
as the featured event for our one community reads - Big Read 2008 -
Fahrenheit 451. On September 27th, she will be giving a workshop
at 1:00 and at 2:00 a general talk on science fiction and Ray Bradbury.
the evening, she will be receiving the First Annual High Plains Library
Distinguished Author award. Below is the press release for the
Sci-Fi Author Connie Willis to Be
High Plains Library District Sci-Fi Fundraising Gala
Wonder Woman, Medusa and a few aliens are already confirmed guests at
this year's High Plains Library District Sci-Fi Fundraising Gala to be
held on September 27th at the Greeley Country Club from 7 to 10 pm.
Greeley sci- fi/fantasy author Connie Willis will be awarded the High
District Distinguished Author Award. The gala, sponsored by the High
Library District Foundation, is part of this year's Big Read 2008:
451. The gala will feature some far out fun and entertainment including
a dessert buffet, costume contest and dancing. Get your favorite
costumes ready and join us for this exciting evening of fantasy and
Tickets for the Sci-Fi Gala are $50 and can be purchased by contacting
Foundation at (970) 590-9881 or online at www.Blacktie-Colorado.com.
Proceeds from the gala and the auction will be used to support The Big
Read and other library programming.
In conjunction with the gala, there will also be an online auction
including items such as an art print from sci-fi artist Michael Whelan,
a subscription to SciFi & Fantasy Magazine, jewelry and more. The
auction will run
throughout The Big Read, September 21st to October 31st. To bid on
go to www.Blacktie-Colorado.com.
(Note: I'm trying to find out a direct link
to the auction for the website).
The Big Read is an initiative designed to restore reading to the center
of American culture by bringing communities together to read, discuss,
and celebrate one book. This year High Plains Library District is
encouraging the community to read the classic Sci-Fi novel, Fahrenheit
451 by Ray Bradbury.
For more information, please visit the Big Read details at MyLibrary.us .
Nov 16th & 17th - Writing Workshop and Talk in Seattle
Connie will once again be participating in the Writing
Fantastic Fiction Workshop Series sponsored by the NW Media Arts group at the
Richard Hugo House on Sunday, Nov 16th in Seattle, WA. On Monday,
Nov 17th, she will be doing a reading as part of the Fantastic
Fiction Salons, also at the Richard
|Sept 18 - Catching up
on the News - Another Hugo, and More.
San Diego Comic Con - Connie drew a
good crowd for her spotlight panel and signed a lot of books.
Some details were posted on the Connie
Denvention 3 - Connie participated at Denvention 3 in many panels
including a reading and several signings. She
presented two awards at the Hugo Award ceremony then was awarded her
10th Hugo award for "All Seated on the Ground". Again, details on
All Clear - Connie was confident at WorldCon that
she was going to have All Clear finished and delivered to her publisher
within a couple of weeks. I'm hoping to have an
on that soon.
A Dozen on Denver - The Rocky Mountain News is
celebrating Denver's 150th Anniversary by commissioning stories from
about Denver, called A
Dozen on Denver. Connie is one of the writers listed and her
story should be turning up soon.
Philadelphia Science Fiction Society -
Connie gave a talk at the
Philadelphia Science Fiction Society on Sept 12. I
found any reports on the talk, though.
July 22 - Connie's ComicCon Schedule (Updated)
Connie will be doing two panels at the Comic Con International Convention
in San Diego and several autograph sessions. Here are the details as
they stand now:
Thursday, July 24
5:00-6:00 Looking at Our World: Eye on the Past - Authors discuss
how they use and abuse history to inform their fictional stories.
Panelists include Connie Willis (Passage), Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel's
Max Allan Collins (Deadly Beloved), Peter David (Tigerheart), Naomi
(Victory of Eagles), and Jess Winfield (My Name Is Will: A Novel of
Drugs, and Shakespeare). Moderated by Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious
Galaxy. Room 8
Friday, July 25
12:30-1:30 Spotlight on Connie Willis - Time travel, hula
hoops, flying saucers, church choirs, and other proofs of Chaos Theory
action! Multiple Nebula and Hugo Award–winning science fiction author
Comic-Con special guest Connie Willis (Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of
the Dog) reveals the outer reaches and inner secrets of writing science
fiction. Room 10
Note that both of those rooms seat only around 280-300 people, which
could easily fill up with fans. It may seem like a lot, but when
there are around 125,000 attendees, the rooms can fill up quickly.
The group panel with several notable authors will definitely
Autographing in the Sails Pavillion
Looking at Our World: Eye on the Past
Connie Willis, Jacqueline Carey, Max Allan Collins, Peter David, Naomi
Novik, Jess Winfield
Thursday AA6 6:00 pm–7:00 pm
Connie will also be doing a couple
of signings at the Bantam/Spectra Booths that are part of the Random
House set of booths (Booths 1128-1136) in the exhibit hall.
Friday, July 25th - 5pm to 6 pm - Connie Willis Bantam Spectra Booth
Sunday, July 27th - 11 am to 12 pm - Connie Willis Bantam Spectra Booth
|July 15 - All Clear
Update - Not Quite Done.
Reports from Balticon and elsewhere about
the status of All Clear had indicated that All Clear was finished and
turned in. That is not the case. In an email correspondence
with Connie, she indicated "It's not. It's very, very close,
but as you know there's a very great difference between that and
finished." So, no it has not yet been turned in to her
publisher and reports of it having been completed were premature.
|June 22 - Locus
At the annual Locus Awards held in
Seattle, Connie Willis's collection The Winds of Marble Arch and
Other Stories was awarded Best Collection. That
is Connie's 10th Locus Poll Award. Congratulations Connie!
winners can be seen on the Locus
|June 2nd - All Clear
Update, Hugo Nomination
All Clear Finished - As reported
on the Connie
Willis Blog, in one report on Connie's GoH talk at
BaltiCon 42, she indicated that All Clear was finished and just
needed some tweaking before being turned into the publisher. I
hope to get some more details from her soon on when it is likely to hit
Hugo Nomination - A belated mention of
"All Seated on the Ground" being nominated for Best Novella for this
year's Hugo Awards. Details on the full list of nominations and
voting deadlines can be found at the Denvention 3 Hugo Awards page.
The Hugo Awards will be presented on Saturday night, August 9th.
|May 24th - BalticCon
Connie Willis is being honored as Author
Guest of Honor this weekend at BaltiCon
42. Look for links of blog reports about the
convention over the next few days on the Connie Willis Blog. In
one report about opening
ceremonies, with news about Greeley, CO, where Connie is from,
being hit by tornadoes, Connie indicated that her house did not receive
any damage. She had heard from her husband on the phone about it after
she deplaned and before she had gotten to the voice mails of people
asking if she was OK.
|May 24th - Locus Poll
Catching up with a bit of news. Nominations for the Locus
Poll Awards include two for Connie Willis. "All Seated
on the Ground" has been nominated for best Novella and The Winds of
Arch and Other Stories has been nominated for Best Collection. Connie
will be emceeing the Locus
Awards Ceremony, for which tickets are still available, on
June 21st in Seattle, WA..
|April 4th - Hugo
Nomination & Jack Williamson Lectureship
"All Seated on the Ground" has been nominated for best Novella for the
2008 Hugo Awards
that will be presented at this year's WorldCon, Denvention 3, being held in
August in Denver, CO. Details on voting can be found on the Hugo Awards section
of the Denvention 3 web site. Congratulations to Connie for the
2008 Williamson Lectureship -
April 11 in Portales, NM
Connie will be speaking at the 2008 Williamson
Lectureship, being held on April 11th at Eastern New Mexico
University in Portales, NM. Joining her will be Stephen Gould and
|March 15th - Connie
One Book, One Batavia - Doomsday
Batavia, Illinois, has chosen
Doomsday Book as the One Book, One Batavia 2008 selection. As part of
this selection, Connie Willis will be making two appearances in Batavia
on March 20th. One at noon at the Batavia Public Library for the Books
Between Bites lunch session and that night at the Batavia High School
at 7 pm. Full details on on the One Book,
One Batavia page.
Starship Sofa Podcast
The works of Connie Willis are featured on the new edition of the Starshp Sofa podcast, #80 (direct
liink to the mp3 file)
This week the StarShipSofa smacks into on of the brightest stars in SF
and that is Connie Willis. Join Tony C Smith on his own personal voyage
of discovery into all things Connie Willis.
Locus Awards and Science Fiction Hall
of Fame Awards
Connie Willis will emcee the Locus
Awards banquet happening as part of the Science Fiction Awards Weekend
at the Science Fiction Museum
& Hall of Fame in Seattle Washingron on June 20 & 21.
Locus has a registration form online here
, but there's not much information online yet about the actual weekend.
In the March issue of Locus, they do have an ad with more detail
indicating that there will be a reception on Friday night sponsored by
the Clarion West Workshop, a special interview of an author done by
Nancy Pearl of Book Lust, and other events and panels during the
weekend. Once there is more detailed information online, I'll
point to it.
Locus Poll Voting Ends April
Voting in the annual Locus
Awards Poll is open until April 15th and there are several entries
Connie eligible for awards. All Seated on the Ground is
listed for Best Novella and The Winds of Marble Arch and Other
Stories is up for best Single-Author Collection. Both J.K. Potter
and John Jude Palencar (Marble Arch) are listed in the best artist
30th - Catching Up On the Latest News
First of all, there's been a couple of
recent interviews with Connie you should check out. The
Rocky Mountain News had an interview in October with Connie.
picture that went with the article
showing Connie's awards is no longer on the website. The Finding
Wonderland interview is good and also lists some of Connie's
favorite short stories and novels.
Subterranean Press is doing a
second printing of The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories
and is now shipping the limited edition (mine looks very nice).
Note that some copies of the first edition are still available on
and likely still at Camelot
Books (who also have the limited edition available as well as the
other Subterranean Press books). All
Seated on the Ground is now at
the printers and should be shipping
Oct 18 - All Seated on the Ground - In Asimov's AND
Subterranean Press Release
The December 2007 issue of Asimov's has started arriving in
subscriber's mailboxes and should soon be turning up on the bookstore
shelves. The Connie Willis novella "All Seated on the Ground" is
featured on the cover and Asimov's has the first part of it available
Press has also announced they have
a short novel
version of it to be released in late November/early December.
it will be available in a signed limited edition and a trade edition.
The cover will be by J.K. Potter.
16 - Winds of Marble Arch Availability
The Trade edition of The
Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories is now officially sold out
Press. They also indicate that the lettered edition
is sold out as well with the limited
edition likely to sell out soon. Amazon still
indicates they have the book in stock and other online booksellers such
as Camelot Books also
have copies on hand.
|Sept 24 - Connie
A blog has been set up for notes and
news on conniewillis.blogspot.com.
Currently, I will be keeping
track of reviews and blog entries on
the new collection and other reports
as well as likely cross-posting the news posted here.
|Sept 23 - New Novella
in Asimov's in December
Asimov's Science Fiction will feature the new Connie Willis Novella
"All Seated on the Ground." Connie read part of the story at
Bubonicon in August and I'm looking forward to hearing the rest of the
In the December preview of the Oct/Nov issue, Sheila Williams writes
"December issues always provoke an unusual feeling within all who work
on monthly publications, for we find ourselves in festive fictional
surroundings months before the holidays themselves take place. We at
Asimov’s have not decorated our offices for the holiday season quite
yet, (a glance in the direction of my calendar reveals the month to be
July, and subscribers will receive the issue
in October, making everyone confused). No
matter—for us, it is a Christmas in July,
and what better way to celebrate than by
introducing a wonderful new holiday novella
by one of science fiction’s most admired,
popular, and award-winning writers: Connie
Willis. In her first holiday-themed story for Asimov’s since December
2003’s “Just Like the Ones We Used to Know” (a
story I recall reading during a particularly humid summer
thunderstorm), Ms. Willis entertains again with the tale of a
mysterious alien entourage whose purpose upon Earth is not entirely
clear. The mystery of their mission only
deepens as the aliens are taken through a bustling shopping mall during
the frantic holiday season—the events thereafter are sure to surprise
and delight you. This
will undoubtedly be considered one of the best stories of the year, so
don’t miss “All Seated on the Ground”!
|Sept 22 - News Roundup
Magazine has made available their review
of The Winds of Marble Arch and
Other Stories by Gary
Press has indicated that the trade
edition of The
Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories is likely to sell out
The Clarion West
workshop has announced that Connie Willis will be an instructor for
their 2008 session
along with Paul Park, Mary Rosenblum, Cory
Doctorow, Sheree R. Thomas, and Chuck Palahniuk.
The 2008 session will run from June
22nd through August 1st.
|August 5th - Winds of
Marble Arch and Other Stories News
Press has released the cover image
Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories by John Jude Palencar.
The book should be shipping later this month. A few reviews of
the book are turning up online including Rambles.net , a
review in the August issue of Locus Magazine by Gary K. Wolfe, and this
review from Publisher's
Weekly "Willis makes brilliant
short fiction look easy in this collection of 23 novellas and short
stories, which display a powerful range of sensibility, from poignant
tenderness (“Inn”) and
heartbreak (“Samaritan”) to close-to-the-bone satire (“Even the Queen”)
and blackest savagery (“All My Darling Daughters”). The title novella
illustrates many of Willis’s strengths. Starting from some inexplicable
meteorological phenomenon like a blast of fetid air no
one else in London’s Tube tunnels can feel
or smell, “The Winds of Marble Arch” whirls its hapless narrator
through one strange
event after another, until finally his
troubled marriage reaches an otherwise impossible transformation into
and lilacs and love.” A bizarre snowstorm
leads to a whole new fast-cut understanding
of Christmas in “Just Like the Ones We
Used to Know,” and another eerie blizzard
brings the collection to a masterful close
in “Epiphany,” opening a door between
our puny reality and the Great Carnival around and above us all, even
though we rarely perceive it. Willis’s gift promises that signs are
everywhere; we just have to learn to recognize them."
|Aug 5th - News Roundup
Taos Toolbox Reports - There's been a
few reports on the recent Taos Toolbox writers workshop that Connie
participated in. Walter
Jon Williams posted a couple of entries on his blog . One
a short report and another
with some pictures. Spezturra posted notes on the lectures
by the authors on her Livejounral including this one on
Willis. Tobias Buckell has a blog
post with links to all of the
sessions of each author.
announced that Connie Willis will be one of the instructors fot the
2008 session along with Paul Park, Mary Rosenblum, Cory Doctorow,
Sheree R. Thomas, and Chuck Palahniuk. It will take place June
22nd through August 1st, 2008 in Seattle, WA.
|May 18 - Connie Willis on Book Lust
The Connie Willis interview with Nancy
Pearl is now available to view on the Book Lust web
site. It is currently the main interview
on the page. You can also link
directly to the specific show here.
It is in Real Player format and I'd recommend upgrading to a newer
version if you have an older version of Real Player. The show is
also available as a podcast via iTunes.
|May 3 - Nebula Awards & Locus Awards
May 11-13, Nebula Awards Weekend -
Connie is attending the Nebula Awards in
New York. This will be her 25th
Nebula Awards. She is scheduled
for the signing on Friday night. It is not clear if she is doing
any other official activities this year.
June 15-16, Locus
Awards - As has been the tradition,
Connie will be the M.C. for the Locus
Awards, happening as part of the Science
Fiction Hall of Fame Awards Weekend in Seattle, WA.
|April 30 - 2007 Jack Williamson Lecture
Last weekend was the
31st annual Jack
Williamson Lecture in Portales, New Mexico.
Willis was one of the presenters and
Walter Jon Williams reported on
weekend on his blog. As John indicated, they published a
Jack Williamson memorial chapbook that has contributions of
many of the authors including Conniw
Willis. Details on ordering can
be found on the Hafner Press
Another online report on the weekend can be found in the online edition
of the Clovis
Steven Gould had a short report
with links to his previous posts about
|April 6 - D.A.
News - Cover & Reviews
Subterranean Press has released the
cover for the D.A.
A few reviews have been turning up
including Publisher's Weekly
and SF Signal.
I couldn't do a direct link
to the review in PW, but they call
it "cheerfully tongue-in-cheek" and
concludes with "Willis (Inside Job) turns a cherished SF theme
completely inside out. "
Appearance: According to a table of contents listing on SF
Signal of The Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Of The Year Volume
1, D.A. will also be included in that collection. It is being
edited by Jonathan Strahan and published by Night Shade Books.
Nomination - Not this year, maybe next? D.A. was
mentioned on a couple of Hugo Awards recommendation lists, but did not
make it onto the ballot. It is likely it did not garner enough
votes because not enough people had read it since it had been published
only in the Space Cadets collection. It may be that with the
Subterranean Press release, that will make it still eligible for
nomination next year for the Hugo Awards presented at Denvention 3.
|April 6 - Seattle
NW Media Arts Reports
A short report on Connie's Fantastic
Fction Workshop and Reading in Seattle can be found at the NW Media Arts
Livejournal. I'm keeping an eye out for the interview
mentioned in the report that may be turning up on the Book Lust TV show
in Seattle (and hopefully available to view online).
|Jan 23 - Space Cadets Book Availability
L.A. Con IV is now making available the Space Cadets book via Amazon
and Ebay through one of the LA Con IV committee member's online
stores. Follow the links below:
Shop at Amazon.com - Space
at Ebay.com - Space
|Jan 20, 2007 - NW Media Arts Events Feb
25-26 Events in Seattle, WA
Connie Willis will be taking part in two
events in Seattle presented by NW
Media Arts at the Richard
Hugo House. First is The Writing
Fantastic Fiction Workshop series on Feb 25th, where Connie will
teach a class on Fantastic Miracles of Rare Device: The Techniques and
Tropes of Science Fiction. On Feb 26th, she will talk as part of
Fantastic Fiction Salon. Full details at the linked pages.
|Jan 15, 2007 Subterranean Press
The Connie Willis novelette
"D.A.", originally published in the
L.A. Con IV collection Space Cadets,
will be published by Subterranean Press in a limited edition signed and
numbered hardcover book and a Trade Edition hardcover. It is to
be published in June, 2007. Full
pre-order details are available at this
|Jan 15, 2007 - Connie Willis.net Amazon
If you need to catch
up on your Connie Willis and related
novels, I now have set up a Connie Willis.net
Amazon.com aStore with all of the currently available books through
Amazon.com. I do get a small percentage from each sale that will
go towards webhosting
fees for this site (and to help pay for those limited editions
:) I plan to expand it to include some of Connie's favorite
authors and books as well.
- Subterranean Press announces THE
WINDS OF MARBLE ARCH AND OTHER STORIES
Subterranean Press officially announced their Connie Willis career
spanning short story collection, titled THE WINDS OF MARBLE ARCH
AND OTHER STORIES. It will be 600+ pages with 250,000+ words
and will be released in a lettered, limited and trade edtion. The cover
will be done by John Jude Pelencar. Full details on the
Subterranean Press order
|Dec 8th - Space Cadets Book
Still Available From LA Con IV
L.A. Con IV still has copies of the
regular edition of the Space Cadets collection featuring the Connie
Willis novelette "D.A.". It also features stories by Larry Niven,
Nancy Kress, Kay Kenyon, David Brin, Harry Turtledove, Kevin J.
Anderson, Greg Benford, David Gerrold, Mike Resnick, and more.
They do not yet have anything
set up to order it via the LA Con IV
web page, however you can order one by sending an email to make
arrangements for payment to Elayne Pelz [elayne (at) socal.rr.com].
Cost is $25 for the book and $5
|Dec 5th - Publishing Update
The December issue of Locus Magazine has an updated
Forthcoming Books list and the listing for All Clear for
a May release is no longer there. They do list
the forthcoming Subterranean
Press short story collection, A Connie Willis Treasury, for
an August 2007 release.
|Dec 4th - L.A. Con IV
The L.A. Con IV website
now has a ton of pictures from the
convention in the L.A. Con IV Gallery
including many with Connie including Opening Ceremonies, the Guest of
Honor Speeches, the Hugo Awards and some of her
panels. They do not yet have much annotation,
so searching for Connie does not turn
up much as of yet.
- 2006 - Jack Williamson 1908-2006
Noted Science Fiction author Jack
Williamson passed away on Friday, November 10th. A memorial
service on November 16 in Portales New Mexico featured many authors
paying tribute to him, including Connie Willis. Patricia Rogers
pictures from the service and
reception on Flickr.
|Nov 19, 2006 - News
Bantam Spectra has All Clear listed as a May, 2007
release. Indications from Connie is that this will be the first
half of the story.
In the November issue of Locus Magazine, they report that a
comprehensive (250,000 words) Connie Willis short story collection is
in the works from Subterranean Press. No details yet on when it
Editors of Asimov's indicated a new short
story is coming from Connie in a future issue of Asimov's.
LA Con IV (WorldCon)
The Space Cadets Collection edited by
Mike Resnick was released at LA Con IV featuring the Connie Willis
novelette "D.A.". The story has been well received and has
already turned up on the NESFA 2006 Hugo
Recommendations list. It was available at L.A. Con IV in a
trade edition as well as a signed and numbered limited edition. I'm
attempting to track down details
on how it can be purchased. The signed and numbered edition did
sell out at the convention, but copies of the regular edition may still
SFRevue has the
text of Connie Willis' Guest of Honor speech
from LA Con IV in their October issue.
August 28, 2006 - Connie Willis Wins 9th Hugo Award
Connie Willis was awarded the Best Novella Hugo Award, her 9th Hugo
Award, at LA Con IV in Anaheim, CA
over the weekend.
More pictures from the weekend will be posted here soon. For more
pictures from the Hugo Awards Ceremony (which Connie was also the
visit the MidAmerican Fan Photo Archive
|December, 2006 - CBS
adapted the Connie Willis novella Just Like the Ones We Used to
Know as Snow Wonder
for a holiday movie of the week. It aired Nov 20th, 2005 on
CBS and came in second in the ratings behind ABC and ahead of NBC's The
Poseidon Adventure movie. According to the CBS Ratings Press
Release "CBS SUNDAY MOVIE "Snow Wonder" (9:48-11:48PM) scored an 8.2/14
with 11.77m viewers. "Snow Wonder" was up +22% in households and +17%
in viewers compared to the MOVIE's season-to-date delivery. "
Connie Willis at Anticipation, Worldcon
Photo by Kyle Cassidy
| Connie Willis
is the award winning author of Doomsday Book, Passage,
To Say Nothing of the
Dog, Bellwether, and Blackout/All
Clear. Connie has been awarded 11
11 Locus Poll Awards and 8 Nebula Awards.
Her stories have an epic feel to them
and range from laugh out loud funny to deadly serious. The first
half of her newest novel, Blackout, was
published in February 2010 with the second half, All Clear, was
published in October, 2010.
3 pm - July 21, 2013
7:00 pm - August 8th
August 23-25, 2013
Lone Star Con 3 (WorldCon 2013)
Aug 29-Sept 2,
San Antonio, TX
Oct 18-20, 2013
If you know of any other
appearances that you would like me to list,
please let me know
Recent Releases for Connie Willis
Connie Willis Ebooks Available
Cynthia Felice - The three titles Connie co-wrote with Cynthia Felice
are being released as e-books by Cynthia. Promised Land and Water Witch are currently available
on the Kindle with Light Raid
coming soon. Editions for the Nook are also in the works.
Click on the images below to take you directly to the Amazon.com web
page for each book.
|ALL CLEAR - Released October 19, 2010
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,
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.
OUT FROM BANTAM SPECTRA IN FEBRUARY
The first volume of Connie Willis's long-awaited two-book time travel
novel, titled BLACKOUT, will be out from Bantam Spectra on February
2nd, to be followed by the second volume, ALL CLEAR, in the autumn.
BLACKOUT-ALL CLEAR is set in Connie Willis's time-travel world of
Oxford, Mr. Dunworthy, and the net, a world previously visited in "Fire
Watch," DOOMSDAY BOOK, and TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG. This novel
is set in World War II England and tells the stories of several
time-traveling historians who are being sent on assignment to different
parts (and times) of the war. Mike is going to Pearl Harbor,
Polly's going to be a shopgirl in London at the height of the Blitz,
Eileen is already in northern England with a bunch of children--two of
them very difficult--who've been evacuated from London, and Michael's
roommate Charles is busy preparing to go to Singapore in the months
before the invasion by the Japanese. But their plans almost
immediately go awry, and that's not all that's going on--the lab has
suddenly decided to cancel dozens of drops, Mr. Dunworthy's worried
about something, and seventeen-year-old Colin is determined to get to
the past by hook or by crook. There's a lot going on in World War II,
as well--the evacuation of Dunkirk and V-1 attacks, dogfights and
rationing and a plot to make Hitler think the D-Day invasion will be at
Calais instead of Normandy. To say nothing of tube shelters,
crossword puzzles, scrap drives, land girls, Shakespearean actors, and
Bletchley Park, and there's more than enough stuff for three or four
novels. But there's only one--split into two volumes, BLACKOUT
and ALL CLEAR--and they're both done, and, no, there won't be any
being released on Feb 2, 2010 with All Clear being
released in late 2010. Subterranean Press also has a limited
edition of both books, for which you can pre-order a set with
Christmas novella All
Seated on the Ground has been published in a limited and trade
edition by Subterranean
Press in December 2007. As with D.A.,
J.K Potter did the cover art.
Other recent releases include the novellette D.A., published by Subterranean Press in a trade edition and
a limited edition. Subterranean Press
has also published The
Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories: a Connie Willis Compendium in a trade edition, a limited
edition, and a lettered edition. The
cover to the Compendium was done by
John Jude Palencar. The
original printing of all three editions have sold out and Subterranean
Press also did a second printing that is now also sold out from
the publisher, but still available through other booksellers.
| Connie's other recent
published works, the novella of Inside Job from Subterranean Press and
the hilarious chapbook Roswell, Vegas, and Area 51: Travels with
Courtney from Wormhole
writing at Starbucks
outside her favorite Starbucks
the Denver Airport Bookstore
Connie at Chicon 2000
|Connie Willis &
James Gurney with
Guest of Honor Rockets at LA Con IV
At the Asimov's/Analog booth at LA Con IV
Connie Signing at Bubonicon 39