Connie Willis News
 Website update for April 14, 2014 (which is late to the website due to the webmaster being swamped with getting ready for Phoenix Comicon).

            SEVEN SUPER WAYS TO CELEBRATE SHAKESPEARE'S BIRTHDAY

Shakespeare's 451st birthday is coming up next week on April 23rd.  He's my favorite writer of all time, for at least 451 reasons, the top five (for each century) being:
    1.  He can do virtually anything:  comedy, tragedy, romance, adventure, burlesque--you name it.  And he's good at all of it.

    2.  He does great female characters.  My favorite is Viola (Twelfth Night), but there's also Kate and Beatrice and Rosalind and Helena and little Hermia ("Again!  Little and low
!") and poor doomed Juliet and poor dumb Desdemona, to say nothing of Lady Macbeth--all different and all dead on!

    3.  His dialogue's terrific, from "What's done is done," to "Westward, ho!" to "Come kiss me, Kate!"


    4.  Some of the speeches are amazing.  My favorites:  the St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V and Prospero's speech from The Tempest: 

              "The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
               The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
               Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
               And like the insubstantial pageant faded,
               Leave not a wrack behind."

    5.  He practically wrote the entire English language, everything from "eyeball" to "neither here nor there" to "It was Greek to me."  You can't get through a sentence without unconsciously quoting him.  Don't believe me?  How about

    dead as a doornail            
    catch a cold
    eat me out of house and home
    with bated breath
    one fell swoop
    seen better days
    Knock knock, who's there?
    for goodness sake
    foul-mouthed
    wild-goose chase
    a heart of gold
    so-so
    high time
    I haven't slept a wink
    sea change
    fancy free
    a charmed life
    and, for Sherlock fans:  "The game's afoot."

I definitely think we should celebrate the occasion, but a cake would have to be really big to support 451 candles, so in lieu of cake (or cakes and ale) here are seven things you might not have seen or read which would be good ways to mark the occasion:

1.  10 Things I hate about You.  A great modern version of The Taming of the Shrew, set in high school and starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger.  It's funny, charming, and pretty darn faithful to the original, except that Bianca has a lot more sense and spunk than the original.  And I don't think Shakespeare actually wrote, "The shit hath hitteth the fan." 

   
2.  This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart.  A modern Gothic romance set on the island of Corfu, and in amongst all the murders and mystery, Stewart makes a compelling case that Corfu might have been the original for Shakespeare's island in The Tempest, with appearances by Ariel, Caliban, Miranda, and a legendary Shakespearean actor.

3.  Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing.  Firefly's director did this modern-day version of Shakespeare's terrific comedy in two weeks at his own house with a bunch of friends, like, say, Nathan Fillion and  "Fred" and Wesley from Angel.  I didn't think I could like anything better than the Emma Thompson-Kenneth Branagh-Denzel Washington Much Ado, but I was wrong.

4.  Renaissance Man.  This was a Danny DeVito comedy that was mostly overlooked when it came out, but it's wonderful.  It's about an out-of-work ad executive who's forced to take a job teaching on a military base who resorts to Shakespeare to get through to his "dummy" recruits, and it has the best rendering of Henry V's St. Crispin's Day speech I've ever heard, spoken, as it should be, by a soldier.

5.  Hamlet.  No, not the Kenneth Branagh one, or the Laurence Olivier, or even the Mel Gibson one (which isn't all that bad, surprisingly.)  This is the Ethan Hawke one, set in modern-day Manhattan, with polaroid photos of flowers, surveillance bugs, and corporate takeovers.  The "play within the play is a video montage," the ghost is on closed-circuit TV,  and Hamlet does his  "To be or not to be" speech in a video store, surrounded by shelves labelled "Action."

6.  Get Over It!  A not-quite-as-good update as 10 Things I Hate About You, but very fun, this is an update of A Midsummer Night's Dream, set in a high school that's doing a production presided over by Martin Short, as a director with dreams of glory, both past and present.  Kirsten Dunst is great as a modern-day Helena, who really likes Ben Foster, but he's hung up on Melissa Sagemiller.  I loved the stagehands, who would fit perfectly in Shakespeare's comedies, and the dancing by Sisqo, as well as the story, which is still great after all these years.

7.  Have Space Suit, Will Travel.  This was the first Heinlein book I read, and the first science fiction book, and it's still my favorite, partly because of the critical part Shakespeare's The Tempest plays in saving the Earth--I mean, if you were called on to defend the planet, wouldn’t' Shakespeare be our best bet?  This book was my first exposure to Shakespeare (except for my ninth-grade class's reading of Julius Caesar, which should NEVER be taught to anyone under the age of thirty) and to The Tempest, and I fell in love with them as well as with science fiction.  It also led directly to the writing of Blackout/All Clear, in which The Tempest once again is involved in saving the world. 

Have a great Shakespeare's birthday!

                                    Connie Willis

March 27, 2014 - New Connie Willis Stories on the Way!

There are a couple of new Connie Willis short stories being published soon. 
In the anthology ROGUES (edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois), Connie's story will be 
"Now Showing."  According to Connie, "It's a novelette about the possible future (or maybe already present) reality of movie-going. " It is being published on June 17th.  Check out this post on George R. R. Martin's Not a Blog for more information and the full list of contributors.

Coming soon from Subterranean Press is The Book of Silverberg, edited by Gardner Dozois and William Schafer.  Connie's contribution is titled "Silverberg, Satan, and Me…".
  If you've seen Connie and Bob banter at a convention, you might have some inkling  of what to expect.  It is available to pre-order and will have a signed limited edition as well as a trade hardcover edition.


December 23, 2013 Update from Connie Willis

    Is it just me, or does the fussing, fuming, and feathers surrounding Christmas seem worse than usual this year?  I've said "Happy Holidays" to two different people in recent days who told me in no uncertain terms they wanted to hear "Merry Christmas" instead, so I am now saying, "Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah (even though it's over), Happy Ramadan, Happy Kwanzaa, Jolly Festivus, and a Solstice That's Not Too Dark, and just in case I've forgotten anybody, Happy Everything!"  This takes longer, but is closer to what I meant anyway.
    But it's annoying that what is supposed to be a season of peace and good will has become just another occasion for people to behave badly.  Although a number of years ago I wrote a Christmas story called "Newsletter," in which the way you could tell that people had been taken over by aliens is that they were behaving nicely at Christmas.
    Anyway, in the spirit of peace and good will, three Christmas/Hanukkah/Festivus/Solstice/Kwanzaa/Ramadan/Etc. gifts from me:

1.  In response to the whole what color is Santa question, this carol by Wihla Hutson and Alfred S. Burt, written in 1951:

    Some children see him lily white,
    the baby Jesus born this night.
    Some children see Him lily white,
    with tresses soft and fair.
    Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
    The Lord of heav'n to earth come down,
    Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
    with dark and heavy hair.
   
    Some children see Him almond-eyed,
    this Savior whome we kneel beside.
    Some children see Him almond-eyed,
    with skin of yellow hue.
    Some children see Him dark as they,
    sweet Mary's Son to whom we pray.
    Some children see him dark as they,
    and, ah, they love Him, too!
   
    The children in each different place
    will see the baby Jesus' face
    like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace,
    and filled with holy light.
    O lay aside each earthly thing
    and with thy heart as offering,
    come worship now the infant King.
    'Tis love that's born tonight!

You have to listen to it to get the full effect of this lovely carol, and here are a couple of ways to do that:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s49gEmTIOTk James Taylor

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81fEJMJR1R8 Andy Williams.

2.  A movie recommendation.  We saw ABOUT TIME, Richard Curtis's new movie about time travel to your own past.  Richard Curtis is the guy who did LOVE ACTUALLY and NOTTING HILL and ABOUT A BOY and THE VICAR OF DIBLEY, all of which are also good to watch at this season of the year.  ABOUT TIME has some problems, especially with keeping to his own rules of time travel, but the movie has a terrific message, and one we could all use every day of the year.

3.  For those of you who are Madeleine L"Engle or A WRINKLE IN TIME fans, I came across the poem that is the source for one of her titles.  There was that pleasant jolt of recognition, and then a resolution to reread her books. 
    It's also a great poem.  It's "Morning Song from SENLIN" by Conrad Aiken (I've also resolved to read more Conrad Aiken.)   I won't quote the whole thing--you can read it online--but here are a couple of relevant passages:

    ...I arise, I face the sunrise,
    And do the things my fathers learned to do.
    Stars in the purple dusk above the rooftops
    Pale in a saffron mist and seem to die,
    And I myself on swiftly tilting planet
    Stand before a glass and tie my tie...

    ...The earth revolves with me, yet makes no mostion,
    The stars pale silently in a coral sky.
    In a whistling void I stand before my mirror,
    Unconcerned, and tie my tie...

    ...I ascend from darkness
    And depart on the winds of space for I know not where;
    My watch is wound, a key is in my pocket,
    And the sky is darkened as I descend the stair.
    There are shadows across the windows, clouds in heaven,
    And a god among the stars; and I will go
    Thinking of him as I might think of daybreak
    And humming a tune I know...

A wonderful season to all of you,
full of holidays and songs!

Happy holidays!

                            Connie Willis

November, 2013 Update from Connie

Hi, Everybody,
I haven't posted in awhile--mostly because I've been working like mad on my new novel, which is due in the spring.  But a couple of weeks ago my husband and I took a couple of days to go to Milehicon, where we saw tons of people--Carrie Vaughn, Cynthia Felice, Wil McCarthy, Paolo Baccigalupi, Jim Van Pelt, Rose Beetum, Carol Berg, Ed Bryant--and had a great time.  We had breakfast with Craig Chrissinger's Albuquerque gang and planned out our traditional Thanksgiving dinner-booksigning-movie get-together.  I'm pushing for Disney's new animated film, FROZEN, though it looks like there are tons of possibilities this year, including THE BOOK THIEF and SAVING MR. BANKS, the Emma Thompson-Tom Hanks movie about the real-life making of MARY POPPINS.  (She plays P.L. Travers, he plays Walt Disney, and if you get a chance, check out the newspaper ad for the movie--it's brilliant!)
     (Note:  The reading and signing is at Page One Bookstore in Albuquerque on November 26th at 7:15 p.m.)
    As to the rest of the convention, my husband Courtney demonstrated antique sewing machines, taught kids to sew, and did science demos.  (He's way more of a draw at Milehicon than I am, so much so that I always end up scheduled against him because no one else wants to be.
    I did a thing on happy endings and a reading and was on a panel about how to create alien and one on "The Ten Best Fantasy Films," which was great.  Everybody had wonderful lists, all of which were very different, except for a few common favorites like LORD OF THE RINGS and THE WIZARD OF OZ, and the audience suggested a bunch more we hadn't thought of.
    The biggest problem was that there were so many terrific fantasy movies to choose from.  We voted not to include animated films (that's next year's panel), which helped a little by getting rid of TANGLED, SPIRITED AWAY, and THE YELLOW SUBMARINE, but there were still way too many.
    And all so different!  I mean, how exactly do you compare THE HAUNTING to TIME BANDITS, or BEETLEJUICE to CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON?  Or THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD? 
    There are all those wonderful 1930s and 40s afterlife and angels comedies like HERE COMES MR. JORDAN and A GUY NAMED JOE, and fairy tales like THE PRINCESS BRIDE and LADYHAWKE and LABYRINTH, and spooky ghost stories like THE SIXTH SENSE and THE HAUNTING, and things that don't seem to fit in any category, like MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL.
    To say nothing of all those Christmas movies, which almost always have a fantasy element--A CHRISTMAS CAROL, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, THE SANTA CLAUSE, THE BISHOP'S WIFE, you name it.
    And they're all so different!  I mean, when you're naming favorites, how exactly do you compare TIME BANDITS to BEING JOHN MALKOVITCH or BEETLEJUICE to CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON? 
    And ten is obviously way too few for a definitive list, so I went for a list of personal favorites which people might not have seen, and then cheated a little.  And then kept thinking of more I wanted to add.
    Here's my list, in no particular order except the top two and the last one, which are my all-time favorites:
   
            MY TOP TEN FAVORITE FANTASIES YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

    1.  DREAMCHILD--The little girl who was the inspiration for ALICE IN WONDERLAND travelled to New York City in 1932 (when she was a very old lady) to accept an honorary degree on behalf of the late Lewis Carroll--and to confront her memories and inner demons.
    2. BETWEEN TWO WORLDS--A bunch of people are sailing to the States from England on an ocean liner during World War II, but the ship's curiously deserted--and maybe going somewhere else altogether.  It's based on Sutton Vane's play (and novel) OUTWARD BOUND, and is my favorite eerie movie ever.
    3.  THE OTHERS--The most terrifying ghost story I've ever seen, and all accomplished without any gore, any screechy violins.  We saw it on the day it opened without knowing anything about it, which is the best way to see it and the reason I'm not going to say anything else.
    4.  THE KID--Lily Tomlin, Jean Smart, and Bruce Willis at his snarky best in a story about a mysterious kid who shows up wanting his toy airplane back.  Best line--"I don't have a dog?!"
    5.  DRAGONSLAYER--Okay, the CGI's beyond primitive, but I'll pit the story against THE HOBBIT any day, (and I love THE HOBBIT!)  I was surprised at the chorus of "Yeah!"s from the audience when I mentioned it, so it's obviously a lot of other people's favorite, too.
    6.  GHOST TOWN--We went to see this movie because Greg Kinnear was in it, and have watched it probably fifty times since.  Think THE SIXTH SENSE, only hilarious--and very touching.  Who would have thought Ricky Gervaise would make a charming romantic comedy hero? 
    7.  ENCHANTED-- This might actually belong in the animated section--or it might not.  But either way, it's cute and funny and has the only song about cockroaches and rats in any movie I know of.  Who knew Disney had a sense of humor about itself?
    8.  BELLE ET LA BETE--From the ridiculous to the (literally) sublime.  Jean Cocteau's version of Beauty and the Beast is truly transcendent.  I had a hard time choosing between this and Cocteau's ORPHEE, but BELLE won out just because it's so beautiful!
    9.  Every fantasy movie Emma Thompson's ever been in.  (This is the cheating part, where I squeeze in more than one movie as one choice.)  She's amazing whether she's playing a homely babysitter in NANNY MCPHEE or the reincarnation of somebody else in DEAD AGAIN or the desperate, slightly deranged,  chain-smoking writer in STRANGER THAN FICTION.  No wonder she's playing P.L. Travers in the upcoming SAVING MR. BANKS.  She's practically perfect in every way.
    And speaking of practically perfect,
    10.  GROUNDHOG DAY.  We watch this every year on February second, know whole chunks of it by heart, and live it over and over along with Bill Murray.  And it gets better every time.    
    11.  All of Nick Welling's stuff on the Syfy Channel.  More cheating, especially since they aren't movies, they're miniseries, but they're just too interesting to leave out.  They're inventive adult reimaginings of well-known children's books, and I love all three--and hope there'll be lots more.  My favorite is ALICE, with its drug-dealer hero Hatter and its dystopian Wonderland, though TIN MAN (with Zoe Deschamel) is generally considered to be the best.  But NEVERLAND has one of the best last lines ever, and Bill Nighe is Captain Hook.
    12.  TOPPER--I love all of the ghost-angel-heaven-full-of-dry-ice-clouds movies from the thirties and forties, but whoever thought of having Cary Grant as a cocktail-swilling ghost was divinely inspired, and Leo G. Carroll and Constance Bennett are really good, too.
    And finally,
    13. TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY--I've saved one of the best for last.  It's all about loss and mourning, it's funny, it's ironic, it's sad, and it has Alan Rickman in it.  Lovely, lovely, lovely movie.
    Oh, and I forgot PLEASANTVILLE and SLIDING DOORS and THE CIRCUS OF DR. LAO, and SPLASH and...
    What's that you say?  The worst fantasy movie?  That's easy.  GHOST.  Hands down.
    I can hear howls of protest from some of you, but that's only because you've never seen TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY.  Go watch it right now.
    I'd also like to raise a glass to DVDs and DVRs and Netflix and IMDB for making it possible to watch all of these great movies!
    Oh, and on a personal note, we survived the floods, and in the election this week my county voted NOT to secede.  Yay!
    Have a happy November!
                                    Connie Willis

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 collection out. 
    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 Master. 
    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 year.
    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 matching sunglasses. 
    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 all.
   
    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:
       
                  LOCUS AWARDS 2013

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 year.

"What's PRIMEVAL?" did you say?

(explanation)

Well, anyway, one of the things I was so impressed with in England
was how old everything was.

In Glastonbury we ate in an inn that was opened in the 800s.
We drove through the New Forest--where, by the way, Connor and Abby
ran into the fake dinosaur in that one episode--sorry--

Anyway, 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. 
Didn't Charles 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?
And make 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.

LOCUS was 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.

The fledgling magazine faced enormous obstacles:
1--the populace couldn't read
2--the Sheriff on Nottingham kept trying to shut him down
and 3--except for that part of BEOWULF with the dragon in it,
there was no such thing as science fiction.

Friar Brown did not let that stop him.
He worked tirelessly to jump-start SF, lobbying Chaucer to include "The Wyf of Betelgeuse" in his Canterbury Tales,

suggesting to Richard II that he shout, "My Westeros, my Westeros,
my 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
who 1--was married
and 2--wore puffy shorts
and write a fantasy trilogy.

Alas, she did not listen to him, and in the ensuing rash of beheadings,
Friar Brown was forced to flee the country,  stopping only to see Shakespeare
in Stratford on Avon and suggest he change Titania and Oberon
into little 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 Kaleakakua, Hawaii."

He suggested Captain Cook do the same, but his advice was once again ignored.

After Captain Cook's death, Charles escaped with the help of Elvis Presley,
who was 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,
who oddly insisted Charles call him Ishmael.

Charles worked 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.

Mel--sorry, 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.
There, Charles convinced her to stop writing goopy fan-fic about sparkly vampires and write something commercial, like FRANKENSTEIN.

She did, 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.

When Wells refused to listen, Charles stuck him in a time machine
and went off to help Alexander Graham Bell invent the telephone
and Marconi 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 whispered.
    "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 hospital zone."

Rod Serling 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. 

No, 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 practically twins.
    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 Kamehameha?
    6.  Both Hawaii and England are famous for their jewels.  England has the 106-carat Koh-i-noor diamond.  What is Hawaii's biggest diamond?
    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 coconut bras.
    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,
                                    Connie Willis

Oops, I almost forgot.  The answers to the trivia questions were:     

    1.  The North Sea
    2.  Having a baby
    3.  Fog
    4.  Rupert Murdoch
    5.  Surfing
    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 I, Part IIPassage (with Spoilers)

Suvudu.com  - Audio Interview

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)

Talking Writing by Lorraine Berry
          Part 1 - History is the Raw Data, Part 2 - Success is the Best Revenge

 
And some Reviews:

SFFWorld - Review by Mark Yon

Lytherus.com - Review by Emma Engel

Millwauke 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 Willis.



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 several things:

    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 drought here.
    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 him!
    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 Smudge's scrapbook!]

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 them.
    Actually, now that I look at that list, I can see why I've been so remiss:  I've been really busy.
    But still...
   
    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 good book.

    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 the Clearys." 
   
     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 great idea. 

    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 best.   

    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)
and
    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!

Merry holidays and here's to the first daffodil!

                                                                            Connie Willis

     




Our 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 Weekend 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 below.  


Connie Willis Ebooks Available

Books with 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.

         
              Water Witch                     Promised Land                       Light Raid

  
 February 26, 2012 - A late winter update from Connie - A List of Favorites.

    Hi, everybody!  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 favorite books.
    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 amazing book!
    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 to.
    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, unfortunately, yes.

                                                               Connie Willis


A PARTIAL LIST OF CONNIE WILLIS FAVORITES


MY ALL-TIME FAVORITES
1.   KRISTIN LAVRANSDATTER by Sigrid Undset   
2.   ALL HALLOW'S EVE by Charles Williams
3.   TOUCH NOT THE CAT by Mary Stewart
4.   GAUDY NIGHT by Dorothy L. Sayers
5.   THE HOUSE ON THE STRAND by Daphne DuMaurier
6.   TWELFTH NIGHT by William Shakespeare
7.   LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
8.   THE MOVING FINGER by Agatha Christie
9.   A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE by Peter Beagle
10. AN EPISODE OF SPARROWS by Rumer Godden
11.  A NIGHT TO REMEMBER by Walter Lord
12.  MYTHS AFTER LINCOLN by Lloyd Lewis
13.  THE UNCOMMON READER by Alan Bennett
14.  THREE MEN IN A BOAT by Jerome K. Jerome
15.  INTO THE WOODS by Stephen Sondheim
16.  FOUR QUARTETS by T.S. Eliot
17.  THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J. R. R. Tolkien

SOME GREAT FICTION YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
1.   THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson
2.   A ROOM WITH A VIEW  by E.M. Forster
3.   A DEATH IN THE FAMILY by James Agee
4.   INDIA INK by Tom Stoppard
5.   GUYS AND DOLLS by Damon Runyon
6.   THE SEARCHERS BY Alan LeMay
7.   COLD COMFORT FARM by Stella Gibbons
8.   THE CIRCUS OF DR. LAO by Charles Finney
9.   THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY by G.K. Chesterton
10.  SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES by Ray Bradbury
11.  THE MOST OF P.G. WODEHOUSE by P.G. Wodehouse
12. TILL WE HAVE FACES by C.S. Lewis
 
AND SOME GREAT NON-FICTION
1.  ROUGHING IT by Mark Twain
2.  BORN STANDING UP by Steve Martin
3.  HOW WE DIE by Sherwin W. Nuland
4.  DAY OF INFAMY by Walter Lord
5.  THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING by Joan Didion
6.  A CHRESTOMATHY by H.L. Mencken
7.  THE DENIAL OF DEATH by Ernest Becker
8.  CLINGING TO THE WRECKAGE by John Mortimer
9.  THE PRACTICE OF HISTORY by G.R. Elton
10.  IS SEX NECESSARY?  by E.B. White and James Thurber
 
TEN GREAT SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORIES
1.  "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes
2.  "The Light of Other Days" by Bob Shaw
3.  "Day Million" by Frederik Poh;
4.  "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick
5.  "Itsy Bitsy Spider" by James Patrick Kelly
6.  "Bernie the Faust" by William Ten
7.  "The Man Who Lost the Sea" by Theodore Sturgeon
8.  "Lot" by Ward Moore
9.  "One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts" by Shirley Jackson
10.  "Great Escape Tours, Inc." by Kit Reed

TEN CHILDHOOD FAVORITES
1.  LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott
2.  ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery
3.  THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS by Kenneth Grahame
4.  THE WATER BABIES by Charles Kingsley
5.  BEANY MALONE by Lenora Mattingly Weber
6.  OZMA IN OZ by L. Frank Baum
7.  A LITTLE PRINCESS by Frances Hodgson Burnett
8.  A GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST by Gene Stratton Porter
9.  HAVE SPACE SUIT, WILL TRAVEL by Robert A. Heinlein
10.  A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith

TEN DELIGHTFUL THINGS TO WATCH
1.  PRIMEVAL (BBC)
2.  THE OFFICE (the American version)
3.  DREAMCHILD
4.  KINKY BOOTS
5.  GHOST TOWN
6.  LOVE, ACTUALLY
7.  SHERLOCK (BBC)
8.  THE AFRICAN QUEEN
9.  TWELFTH NIGHT (with Imogen Stubbs)
10. ALICE (Syfy)

OH, AND JUST IN CASE YOU'RE
INTERESTED, A FEW OF MINE
BLACKOUT and ALL CLEAR (one book)
DOOMSDAY BOOK
INSIDE JOB
TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG
ALL SEATED ON THE GROUND
BELLWETHER
FIRE WATCH
PASSAGE

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!

    And so 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!


                                                               Connie Willis


Jan 16, 2012 - Connie Willis Named SFWA Grand Master!
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 Christmas.) 
    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
            MIRACLE AND OTHER CHRISTMAS STORIES.

"All About Emily"--Asimov's December 2011
                (out shortly from Subterranean Press)

"All Seated on the Ground"--Asimov's December 2007
                       Subterranean Press

"Cat's Paw"--MIRACLE AND OTHER CHRISTMAS STORIES

"Christmas Card"--STARWIND

"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
            FIRE WATCH
            THE WINDS OF MARBLE ARCH
            (and lots of other places)

"In Coppelius's Toyshop"--Asimov's December 1996
                      MIRACLE AND OTHER CHRISTMAS STORIES

"Inn"--Asimov's December 1993
    MIRACLE AND OTHER CHRISTMAS STORIES
    THE WINDS OF MARBLE ARCH

"Just Like the Ones We Used to Know..."
                --Asimov's December 2003
                 --the CBS TV movie SNOW WONDER

"A Little Moonshine"--CHRYSALIS 10
                     REALMS OF FANTASY, 1994

"Miracle"--Asimov's December 1991
         MIRACLE AND OTHER CHRISTMAS STORIES
         
"Newsletter"--Asimov's December 1992
            MIRACLE AND OTHER CHRISTMAS STORIES
            THE WINDS OF MARBLE ARCH

"The Pony"--
Asimov's December 1986
            CHRISTMAS ON GANYMEDE
            MIRACLE AND OTHER CHRISTMAS STORIE

"Winter's Tale"--Asimov's December 1987
               IMPOSSIBLE THINGS

    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 Robinson
    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 wanted.
    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 human nature."
    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.
   
                        Merry Everything,
   
                        Connie Willis 

           -----------------------------------------------------------------------

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

    Hi, everybody!
I just got back from the World Fantasy Con, and right before that, Milehicon.  Both were 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 myself.)
    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 Analog.
    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 people.
    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 need to.

*  *  *

    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 important."
     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 Cause.
    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 specific people.
    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."
    and
"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…"
    and
"All great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage."

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.

*  *  *

OTHER STUFF

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:
200 S. Broadway
Denver, CO 80209
(303) 744-BOOK
www.BroadwayBookMall.com

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 January.

                                                 Connie Willis


Nov 21 - World Fantasy Videos from YouTube

Connie's Conversation with Neil Gaiman

World Fantasy Awards Ceremony with Connie as Toastmaster

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 issue's page



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 the year.

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 the convention:


    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 would say.)


                            Connie Willis

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 here). 

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 Novel winner
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 Ustream page.

July 31 -Two Updates From Connie
(read them in chronological order)

"Hi, 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!

    The Locus 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 year.

    There's a 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?"*)

    There are 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.)

    This year 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.

    Thanks to 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 excited.


    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 glass bricks.)

    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 Bisson.

    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. 


    More later.

                            Connie Willis

SECOND UPDATE

    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 video poker)


    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 Leonard--and Connor)


    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 there! 


                            Connie Willis

 
*Wash on Firefly and Serenity
June 25 - 2011 Locus Awards
Best Science Fiction Novel


Blackout/All Clear 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 coverage soon.


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:
------------------------------------
May 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 at SFWA's 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 article.

---------------------------------------------

May 11 - Blackout/All Clear is Locus Awards Finalist
Locus 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 Bujold (Baen)
  • Zero History, William Gibson (Putnam; Viking UK)
  • The Dervish House, Ian McDonald (Pyr; Gollancz)
------------------------------------

April 24 - Blackout/All Clear nominated for Best Novel Hugo 

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 Bujold (Baen)
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr)
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 31, 2011

-------------------------------------------

Feb 28 - Nebula Ballot Best Novel Nomination
SFWA 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 Native Star, M.K. Hobson (Spectra)
  • 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 Okorafor (DAW)
  • Blackout/All Clear, Connie Willis (Spectra)
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.

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 as

Title: Blackout/All Clear
Author: Connie Willis.
Publisher: Spectra


Jan 20 - An Update from Connie
Primeval and Churchill

MID-JANUARY UPDATE

    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 true. 


    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 loved it.


    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 Syfy." 


    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 bureaucrat ever.


    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 actually herbivores?


    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:  A  CORRECTION/RETRACTION

    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 to Snopes.com 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 "wondrous fable."

    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, everybody.


    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.


Connie Willis

Dec 21 - A Holiday Message from Connie
-------------------------
Connie Willis here.  Merry holidays, everybody!

     I love 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 surplus population?"


    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:


"We shall soon be having Christmas at our throats again."
                        P.G. Wodehouse

"We are having the same old things for Christmas dinner this year...relatives."
                        Mark Twain

"Friends are God's way of apologizing to us for our relatives."
                        Anonymous
   
"There are three things you never want to see on a Christmas present:
         One size fits all.
         Fun for all ages.
         Removes unwanted hair."       
                        Jim Mullen

"Christmas is the day that holds time together."
                        Alexander Smith   

"Christmas is 1940 years old and Hitler is only 51.  He can't spoil our Christmas."
                        Sign in a London shop
                        during the Blitz

"I 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!"       
                        Charles Dickens

    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!"

                            Connie Willis



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)

The book tour for All Clear 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.


Tuesday, October 19 – DENVER, CO
Time: 7:30pm
Tattered Cover Colfax Avenue
2526 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80206

Friday, October 22 - KENSINGTON, MD *NEW*

Time: 7:00 pm
Rockville - Borders
11301 Rockville Pike
Kensington, MD 20895
 
Capclave 2010
Author Guest of Honor
Rockville, Maryland
Oct 22-24, 2010

Monday, October 25 - DENVER, CO *NEW*

Time: 7:00pm
Broadway Book Mall
200 S. Broadway, Denver, CO 80209

Tuesday, October 26 – SEATTLE, WA
Time: 7:30pm
University Bookstore
4326 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
(Event to be held at Kane Hall, Room 210.
 $5 fee if not purchasing a book)

 
Wednesday, October 27 – PORTLAND, OR
Time: 7:00pm   
Powell’s Books, Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, OR
 
Thursday, October 28 – SAN DIEGO, CA
Time: 7:00pm
Mysterious Galaxy
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego, CA 92111
 
 Friday, October 29 – PHOENIX, AZ
Time: 7:00pm
Poisoned Pen
4014 N. Goldwater, Ste. 101, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Friday, November 12 - Fort Collins, CO
7:00 pm
Old Firehouse Books
232 Walnut Street, Fort Collins, CO 80524

Saturday, November 20, Albuquerque, NM
3:00 pm
Page One Books
11018 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87111

Oct 18 - An Update From Connie!

    Hi, 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 the difficulties.


    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. 
                                  Connie Willis
                                  Oct 17,2010

Oct 17 - Website Updates & Other News

ConnieWillis.net Blog changes location
The ConnieWillis.net 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.

New Visual 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.

UK Release scheduled for Blackout and All Clear.
Gollancz has obtained the rights to Blackout and All Clear for the UK.  According to Amazon.co.uk, Blackout is scheduled for a June 16, 2011 hardcover release with All Clear scheduled for an October 20, 2011 hardcover release.  However, the Orion 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.

Connie Willis

Aug 15, 2010 - All Clear Book Tour taking shape
Locations and dates are being set for the All Clear Book Tour.  Cities and dates will be added to this post as they are announced.

Oct 19th - Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, CO. 
Oct 29th - Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, AZ

Aug 15, 2010 - All Clear Subterranean Press Cover Revealed


There are still a few copies left of All Clear to be ordered from Subterranean Press
July 7, 2010- Subterranean Press Limited Editions Update
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
    When I 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.

NO 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.

GOOD 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.

THE 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.

SPITFIRE 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.

MRS. 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.

    Some other good movies are:
    MRS. MINIVER
    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 of war
    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. 

BACKS 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 Holloway Prison.

1940 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.)

THEIR 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. 

THE 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 oatmeal.  Yum!

WAITING 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.

THE M.O. DIARIES
    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.

DIGGING 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 at once.

ONE 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.

SO 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, too.

ST. 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 to know.
   
THE 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.

And finally,
LONDON'S 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.
    Good reading!


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

     Hi, everybody!  I just got backAll Clear Cover 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 the 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.

   Anyway, everywhere I went, people asked me the same two questions:

        1.  How did you get interested in time travel?
and   2.  Did you have to do a lot of research for BLACKOUT?

  A lot of people also said they wished I'd listed the books I'd used to research the novel at the end of the book.  Novels don't ordinarily have bibliographies, but I promised I'd list some of my favorite research books on this site as soon as I've looked up all the titles and authors.

    
In the meantime, I'll answer the second question: 

How did you get interested in time travel?

     That's actually kind of hard to answer.  The first time travel novel I ever read was Robert A. Heinlein's THE DOOR INTO SUMMER.  It's a great book--all about a guy who gets betrayed by his girlfriend and his best friend, so he decides to have himself cryogenically frozen so he can get as far away from them as 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 his going back to the past again, and that there's a terrific little girl, Ricky, in the book, and a great cat named Pete, which were more than enough to get me hooked on time travel.

     But I'm not sure that was my first intro to time travel.  That may have been Robert Nathan's PORTRAIT OF JENNIE or an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, like the one where the guy keeps telling his psychiatrist he's been to Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack.  Or it might have been one of Jack Finney's 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 the future to see...well, I don't want to spoil that either.  And I don't know which came first.

     All I know is that as soon as I heard about time travel, I fell in love with the idea.  I loved the possibility that we could go back to the past and change mistakes we made--which I am always wishing I could do--and that we could go see the St. Louis World's Fair or the 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 hand.

     And 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 that 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.
 
     But my favorite time travel stories were those that showed us how time travel could 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 Tempunauts."
 
You can do so many things with time travel--go to the past (and future), change history, jumble up the pieces, mess with events and people in all sorts of fun ways, fix your mistakes, experiment with all the might-have-beens, cause never-thought-of consequences, and play mind-twisting games. Best of all, you can use time travel to illuminate the way 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

CONNIE WILLIS'S FAVORITE TIME TRAVEL STORIES
 (AND MOVIES)
 
"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
SLIDING DOORS
"Behold the Man" by Michael Moorcock THE FINAL COUNTDOWN "Child By Chronos" 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 Silverberg
"All You Zombies" by Robert A. Heinlein
"By His Bootstraps" by 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 Blackout Tour

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 Blog

World Fantasy Convention 2011 Guest Announcement

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 Willis. 


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  at this location.

Blackout Book Tour dates announced!
Connie 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:

Date
Location
Time

2/02/10
Tattered Cover Book Store
1628 16th Street
Denver, CO  80202

7:30 pm

2/03/10
Mysterious Galaxy
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.  #302
San Diego, CA  92111

7:00 pm

2/04/10
Borderlands Books
866 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA  94110

7:00 pm

2/05/10
Powell's Books
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd
Beaverton, OR 97005

7:00 pm

2/07/10
University Bookstore
4326 University Way NE
Seattle, WA

1:00 pm

2/09/10
University of Northen Colorado
Book Reception
Greeley, Colorado
James A. Michner Library

4:00 pm

2/13/10
Who Else! Books
Broadway Book Mall
200 S. Broadway
Denver, CO

3:00 pm

2/19/10
Murder by the Book
2342 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX  77005

6:30 pm

A MESSAGE FROM CONNIE WILLIS - Jan 2010

I'm 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 Roswell.

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!

Connie Willis, Jan 2010

CONNIE WILLIS DONATES PAPERS TO UNC
   
Connie 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 education.  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 is 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 and Mildred Hansen, the first female editor of the Greeley Tribune.  The Hansen-Willis Dormitory is on Tenth Avenue at Twentieth Street.

University of Northern Colorado Special Collections - Connie Willis


Interview Roundup for Blackout

With the new book, we're getting some new interviews with Connie online.

Publisher's Weekly - A short Interview with Connie

Locus Magazine - An excerpt from the interview published in the October issue.

Studio 360 Now Online with Connie

NPR's Studio 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 this one with Connie Willis and David Goldberg talking about time travel
.

Connie Willis on NPR's Studio 360 This week

Connie 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 Foundation
Blackout and All Clear Updates

Blackout 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 Ted 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 day.  I myself had on a Hawaiian shirt depicting a rocket launching from NASA, which 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 as:  "In 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 Hawaii) shirt and is really really smart--won the contest.  First prize is an autographed
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 Hawaiian. 

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 ultimate
audience-participation event in science fiction and everybody has a great time, although some people take it way too seriously.  One person 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 Hawaiian shirt 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 Kress and Karen
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 Charles saw Ethel Merman on Broadway in Annie Get Your Gun?  And that Gary Wolfe 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 laughter by the time the dinner was over, and it reminded me all over again why I love this
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 frantically to finish the revisions to the novel and get them in. 


Hall of Fame Inductees and Presenters


Connie with new inductees plaques


Connie's Plaque

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.  Hopefully we'll have an update from Connie in the near future.

Connie to join the Science Fiction Hall of Fame
The Science Fiction Museum has announced that Connie Willis will be one of the inductees at the 2009 Science Fiction Hall of Fame ceremony in Seattle June 26 & 27.  Also being inducted are Edward L Ferman, Michael Whelan, and Frank R. Paul. Connie will also be hosting the Locus Awards ceremony happening that weekend as well.


Nov 23 - An Update From Connie

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 really feel like celebrating until that's done and the book's formally accepted and everything. I worked on the Obama campaign and I'm still deliriously happy about the election a week later and having a little trouble with withdrawal, though I am busily watching Sarah Palin's Victory Tour? which is helping some.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Oct 10 - Online Interviews and a New Short Story

Rocky Mountain News Interview & Story
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 42.  
Part 1   Part 2

BaltiCon Podcast Connie Willis Interview
On the Balticon Podcast site, they have recently posted their podcast interview with Connie Willis, BaltiCon 42's Author Guest of Honor.


High Plains Library District Foundation Fundraiser Gala Article
An article from the Greeley Tribune reports on the fundraiser that Connie was honored at.

Sept 18 - Upcoming Events

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 for writers at 1:00 and at 2:00 a general talk on science fiction and Ray Bradbury. In the evening, she will be receiving the First Annual High Plains Library Distinguished Author award.  Below is the press release for the SciFi Fundraising Gala.


Sci-Fi Author Connie Willis to Be Honored at
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 Plains Library District Distinguished Author Award. The gala, sponsored by the High Plains Library District Foundation, is part of this year's Big Read 2008: Fahrenheit 451. The gala will feature some far out fun and entertainment including a dessert buffet, costume contest and dancing. Get your favorite sci-fi/fantasy costumes ready and join us for this exciting evening of fantasy and fun. Tickets for the Sci-Fi Gala are $50 and can be purchased by contacting the 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 items, 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 Hugo House.


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 Willis Blog.

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 the Connie Willis Blog.

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 update on that soon.

A Dozen on Denver - The Rocky Mountain News is celebrating Denver's 150th Anniversary by commissioning stories from local writers 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 haven't 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 Legacy), Max Allan Collins (Deadly Beloved), Peter David (Tigerheart), Naomi Novik (Victory of Eagles), and Jess Winfield (My Name Is Will: A Novel of Sex, 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 in action! Multiple Nebula and Hugo Award–winning science fiction author and 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 fill up.

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 Signing
Sunday, July 27th - 11 am to 12 pm - Connie Willis Bantam Spectra Booth Signing


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 Awards Results
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!  The full list of winners can be seen on the Locus Magazine Website.

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 the stores.

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 News
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 Nominees

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 Marble 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 nomination!  

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 Christopher Stasheff.

March 15th - Connie News Round-up

One Book,
One Batavia - Doomsday Book
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 15th
Voting in the annual Locus Awards Poll is open until April 15th and there are several entries by 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 (All Seated) and John Jude Palencar (Marble Arch) are listed in the best artist category.

Nov 30th - Catching Up On the Latest News
 
New Interviews

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.  The 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.  

Books update
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 Amazon 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 soon.

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 to read online.  Subterranean Press has also announced they have a short novel version of it to be released in late November/early December.  Like D.A., it will be available in a signed limited edition and a trade edition.  The cover will be by J.K. Potter.
Oct 16 - Winds of Marble Arch Availability
The Trade edition of The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories is now officially sold out from the Publisher, Subterranean 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 Willis.net Blog
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 story.

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
Locus Magazine has made available their review of The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories by Gary K. Wolfe.

Subterranean Press has indicated that the trade edition of The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories is likely to sell out quickly.

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
The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories - Cover by John Jude Palencar Subterranean Press has released the cover image for The 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 starred 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 “leaves 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 with a short report and another with some pictures.   Spezturra posted notes on the lectures by the authors on her Livejounral  including this one on Connie Willis.  Tobias Buckell has a blog post with links to all of the sessions of each author.

Clarion West 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 Update
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 Reports

Last weekend was the 31st annual Jack Williamson Lecture  in  Portales, New Mexico.  Connie Willis was one of the presenters and Walter Jon Williams reported on the 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 web site.

Another online report on the weekend can be found in the online edition of the Clovis News Journal.

Steven Gould had a short report with links to his previous posts about Jack Williamson.

April 6 - D.A. News - Cover & Reviews
Subterranean Press has released the cover for the D.A. release.
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. "

Best of 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. 

Hugo 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 Update
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:
Lyzard13 Shop at Amazon.com - Space Cadets
Lyzard13 Store at Ebay.com - Space Cadets

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 the Fantastic Fiction Salon.  Full details at the linked pages.

Jan 15, 2007  Subterranean Press announces D.A.
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 page.

Jan 15, 2007 - Connie Willis.net Amazon aStore.
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.

Dec 12th - 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 page.

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 for shipping.

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 Pictures
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.  
Nov 19th - 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 has posted pictures from the service and reception on Flickr.

Nov 19, 2006 - News Roundup/Catchup

Upcoming releases

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 is expected.

Editors of Asimov's indicated a new short story is coming from Connie in a future issue of Asimov's.

LA Con IV (WorldCon) Followup

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 be available.

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 emcee), 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. "



  Photo by Kyle Cassidy
Connie Willis at Anticipation, Worldcon 2009
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 Hugo Awards, 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.

Upcoming Appearances

Locus Awards Weekend
  June 27-29, 2014
Seattle, WA

BuboniCon 46
August 1-3, 2014
Albuquerque, NM

LonCon 3 (WorldCon 2014)
Aug 14-Aug 18, 2014
London, England


If you know of any other appearances that you would like me to list, please let me know.



Upcoming and Recent Releases for Connie Will
is

Connie Willis Ebooks Available

Books with 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.

     
              Water Witch                Promised Land

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, tragically wrong.

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

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

BLACKOUT 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 sequels. 

Read an excerpt here!

Blackout
is 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 matching numbers.

The 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 Books


ConnieWillis.Net Picture Gallery
Native habitat - Photo by Cordelia Willis
Connie writing at Starbucks

Starbucks - Photo by Cordelia Willis
Connie outside her favorite Starbucks

Denver Airport - Photo by Cordelia Willis
Connie at the Denver Airport Bookstore


Chicago WorldCon
Connie at Chicon 2000
Willis & Gurney
Connie Willis & James Gurney with
Guest of Honor Rockets at LA Con IV
Signing at Asimovs
At the Asimov's/Analog booth at LA Con IV
Connie at Bubonicon 39
Connie Signing at Bubonicon 39






Website maintained by Lee Whiteside, hosted at SFTV.org

 
 























Home