The Best of the Best of Connie Willis

The Best of Connie Willis: Award-Winning Stories
By Connie Willis, with an introduction by Connie Willis
496 pages — Publication Date: July 9, 2013

Available in hardcover and Kindle


Reviewing this collection was a pleasure. I love Connie Willis’ writing. All of it. Short stories, novels, novellas, everything. In this volume, I especially enjoyed her introduction. I had already read the stories and loved them. Getting insight into how she came to write them was enormously interesting to me.

Equally interesting were her list of the authors who influenced her, especially since they are the same authors who influenced me, notably Shirley Jackson and Robert Heinlein.

My introduction to Connie Willis was The Doomsday Book. Not exactly one of her lighthearted humorous books, but it was written entirely for me. I have two huge literary passions: the 14th century and time travel. The Doomsday Book is about time travel back to the 14th century, so I was predestined to love it. After that, I worked my way through the rest of the Cambridge Time Travel series and then …

I discovered her shorter works. All Seated On the Ground (included in this anthology) had me laughing so hard it woke my husband from a dead sleep to ask me what in the world was going on. This has got to be the funniest alien invasion in all of science fiction. Yet it also has a message. Willis is one of the few authors who can include a message without making you feel like someone’s banging you over the head with it. It’s there, not hidden, not obscure, but gently put. For your consideration.

I love every story in this collection, though All Seated On the Ground is my favorite. The Last of the Winnebagos is a must-read for every science fiction fan. Honestly, every story in this collection is a must-read. These are fantastic, wonderful, elegantly written stories. Some of them are novellas long enough to sink into and stay a while.

A Letter From the Clearys is an example of perfect economy in writing. Every sentence is crafted, layered, purposeful. Every paragraph is important as the story slowly peels away layers to uncover a post apocalyptic world in which one family tries desperately to cope.

Connie Willis_portraitThe stories are, without exception, gems. At the Rialto is funny, weird, full of the bizarre contradictions of time travel and chaos theory. Connie Willis is obviously fascinated by chaos theory as am I.

I am obliged to admit at this point that short stories are not my favorite literary form. I prefer long books. Very long books. I like series of very long books. After I move into a world, I want to stay there, settle down, and get to know the neighbors. Connie Willis is the only author whose short stories I like as much as her longer works. Do not miss this collection. Even if you have read the stories elsewhere, having them together in one binding is special. I hate to sound like an advertisement, but this would make a great gift for anyone who loves science fiction.

The book includes:

And although I have all these stories in various books including a couple of them as standalone novellas, this is worth having for the wonderful introduction (don’t skip it!) and the delight of having such great stuff in one book.

I have it on Kindle, but this one? I ordered the hardcover too, because some books are worth the shelf space.

Categories: Arts, Book Review, Books, Fiction, Literature, Reviews, Sci Fi - Fantasy - Time Travel, Supernatural, Writing

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

11 replies

  1. Having time to read? I am so envious !


  2. Thanks for the link 🙂 great article


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