Winner of seven Nebula and eleven Hugo awards, Connie Willis is one of the most acclaimed and imaginative authors of our time. Her startling and powerful works have redefined the boundaries of contemporary science fiction.
Here in one volume are twelve of her greatest stories, including double award-winner “Fire Watch”, set in the universe of Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, in which a time-travelling student learns one of history’s hardest lessons. In “A Letter from the Clearys”, a routine message from distant friends shatters the fragile world of a beleaguered family. In “The Sidon in the Mirror”, a mutant with the unconscious urge to become other people finds himself becoming both killer and victim.
Disturbing, revealing and provocative, this remarkable collection of short fiction brings together some of the best work of an incomparable writer whose ability to amaze, confound and enlighten never fails.
This new collection of stories from the multi-award-winning author of Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog contains:
A Letter from the Clearys
At the Rialto
Death on the Nile
The Soul Selects Her own Society
Even the Queen
The Winds of Marble Arch
All Seated on the Ground
Last of the Winnebagos
Ten stories – which have all won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award or both – are compulsory reading for the serious science fiction fan.
Hesta Web, with her hot red hair and her tough, guarded coldness, is trapped with a mother who hates her and a father who is mostly away earning money on an oil rig. When Hesta discovers that her mother and her mother’s lover have had rampant sex in Hesta’s bed, she absconds with her friend Janey to the seaside.
It is the last day of the season, sun bright and sea sparkling. The bars and shops are open, the funfair spins round with shrieks and shouts. As night falls, the illuminations go on. But when Janey catches the last train to London, Hesta stays behind. She falls in with the gothic-looking, unpleasantly attractive Skilt and his subject colony of junkies and beggars. In a rotting hotel on the front, among the broken marble balustrades, the mouse-eaten rooms and the bonfire in the ballroom, Hesta takes up her new life. She hears drugged legends told beside the fire, the rumours of ghosts and the strangeness of the sea.
For now the season has ended, the seaside is deserted, the illuminations are switched off, this place is very strange. Does Skilt know its secret? Should Hesta be wary of the blond man who watches her from the pier? And what happens when the lights go out?
“Variety is the soul of pleasure,” And variety is what this comprehensive new collection of Connie Willis is all about. The stories cover the entire spectrum, from sad to sparkling to terrifying, from classics to hard-to-find treasures with everything in between – orangutans, Egypt, earthworms, roast goose, college professors, mothers-in-law, aliens, secret codes, Secret Santas, tube stations, choir practice, the post office, the green light on Daisy’s dock, weddings, divorces, death, and assorted plagues, from scarlet fever to “It’s a Wonderful Life.” And a dog.
Famous for her “sure-hand plotting, unforgettable characters, and top-notch writing,” Willis has been called, “the most relentlessly delightful science fiction writer alive,” and there are numerous examples here. Among them, Willis’s most famous stories – the Hugo- and Nebula-Award-winning “Fire Watch” and “Even the Queen” and “The Last of the Winnebagos” – along with undiscovered gems like Willis’s heartfelt homage to Jack Williamson, “Nonstop to Portales.” Her magical Christmas stories are here, too, from “Newsletter” to “Just Like the Ones We Used to Know…” which last year was made into the TV movie, Snow Wonder, starring Mary Tyler Moore.
We’ve collected stories from throughout Willis’s career, from early ones like “Cash Crop” and “Daisy, in the Sun,” right up to her newest stories, including the wonderful “The Winds of Marble Arch.” There’s literally something for everyone here. If you’re a diehard Willis fan, you’ll be delighted with hard-to-find treasures like the until-now uncollected, “The Soul Selects Her Own Society…” If you’ve never read Connie Willis, this is your chance to discover “A Letter from the Clearys” and, well, “Chance.” To say nothing of, “At the Rialto,” the funniest story ever written about quantum physicists. And Willis’s chilling, “All My Darling Daughters.”
And…oh, there are too many great stories here to list and pleasures galore. So enjoy!