Impossible Things

Impossible Things

4.5 7
by Connie Willis
     
 

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Winner of six Nebula and two Hugo awards for her fiction, Connie Willis is acclaimed for her gifted imagination and bold invention. Here are eleven of her finest stories, surprising tales in which the impossible becomes real, the real becomes impossible, and strangeness lurks at every turn.

The end of the world comes not with a bang but a series of whimpers

Overview

Winner of six Nebula and two Hugo awards for her fiction, Connie Willis is acclaimed for her gifted imagination and bold invention. Here are eleven of her finest stories, surprising tales in which the impossible becomes real, the real becomes impossible, and strangeness lurks at every turn.

The end of the world comes not with a bang but a series of whimpers over many years in "The Last of the Winnebagos."

The terror of pain and dying gives birth to a startling truth about the nature of the stars, a principle known as the "Schwarzschild Radius."

In "Spice Pogrom," an outrageous colony in outer space becomes the setting for a screwball comedy of bizarre complications, mistaken identities, far-too-friendly aliens--and even true love. 


From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Willis ( Lincoln's Dreams ) demonstrates her sly wit and quirky perspective in this solid collection of 11 previously published science fiction pieces. Romance becomes entangled with interplanetary negotiations when a Navy linguist and the neglected fiancee of an officious NASA diplomat try to keep a visiting alien happy--even though language problems obscure whether the powers-that-be are arranging a space program or a spice pogrom. In a story that will look like SF only to readers who have steered clear of higher education lately, a consultant promoting ``relevantness'' and modern pedagogical theory nips at the heels of professors teaching paleontology at a state university. During the Battle of Britain, a Civil Defense worker gains a disturbing insight into himself and the war from a mysterious volunteer who has an uncanny ability to locate bombing victims buried under rubble. Willis's fondness for Shakespeare translates into two stories: one considers how much text would be left intact if all right-wing, left-wing and special-interest groups could delete the bits of which they do not approve; the other tackles the old conundrum, If Shakespeare wasn't Shakespeare, who was? (Jan.)
Library Journal
Eleven short stories by one of sf's most exciting new voices explores topics that range from Shakespeare to feminism to quantum physics. Most of these stories have only seen magazine publication.
School Library Journal
YA-This must-have collection includes several of Willis's prize-winning (Hugo and Nebula) stories. Any library buffeted by the winds of censorship needs to include ``Ado,'' a hilarious send-up in which the attempt to please everyone is carried to its logical extreme. ``Spice Pogrom'' makes it clear exactly how difficult real communication is, and ``Schwarzchild Radius'' is a fascinating whole-language addition to the physics curriculum. ``Even the Queen,'' however, is the indispensable selection. The author's introductions to each piece are a lovely bonus.
Carl Hays
Ranging in style from biting satire to speculative history, Willis' second collection of short fiction displays a versatility of form and conception few in the genre can match. A frequent sf award recipient throughout the last decade, Willis opens with her Hugo- and Nebula-winning "Last of the Winnebagos," a brilliant though sobering peek into a future devoid of either RVs or man's best friend. Here, in following a photographer's detective-style leaps of discovery, Willis reveals an almost razor-sharp wit--an edge that cuts just as effectively even in her less serious, more satirical pieces. "Spice Pogrom," for instance, is a hilarious pastiche of Hollywood screwball comedies in which materialistic aliens with unpronounceable names misunderstand almost every communication with their human hosts. Some tales, such as "Ado," in which ubiquitous political correctness leaves only a page of Shakespeare uncensored for an English class, deserve immediate recognition as classics. Gardner Dozois' laudatory introduction justifiably cites this as one of the best short story collections of the year. An impressive showcase for a major sf talent.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307784452
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/02/2011
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
191,859
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Connie Willis is an American science fiction and fantasy writer. She has won eleven Hugo Awards and seven Nebula Awards, including Hugo Best Novel for Blackout/All Clear in 2010. Willis' novels showcase the comedy of manner style of writing and often feature time travel, which are informally referred to as the Time Travel series. In addition to numerous novels and novellas, Willis has written short story and essay collections. Her notable books include Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, the aforementioned Blackout/All Clear, and the short story "The Last of the Winnebagos".

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Impossible Things 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
slimikin More than 1 year ago
Witty and wise, poignant and playful, this collection of Connie Willis' short stories blends a bit of science fiction, a pinch of speculative history, and a dash of satire and screwball comedy. All of the stories are beautifully written, and each is prefaced by a brief explanation of its history or origin---how Willis came up with the idea or what she hoped to achieve in the writing of it. Some of the stories made me laugh, a handful made me cry, and a couple of them made me wish I'd thought to pick up a degree in physics while I was busily chipping away at my BA. If you're looking for a superbly written short story or just some very smart science fiction, give Impossible Things a read.
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