Uncharted Territory

Uncharted Territory

4.0 12
by Connie Willis
     
 

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Planetary surveyors Fin and Carson battle hostile terrain, bureaucratic red tape, and renegade "planet crashers" in this latest novella by the talented author of Doomsday Book. Willis continues to demonstrate her endless versatility in this archly written satire, which is both a love story and a shameless expose of the dark side of political correctness.  See more details below

Overview

Planetary surveyors Fin and Carson battle hostile terrain, bureaucratic red tape, and renegade "planet crashers" in this latest novella by the talented author of Doomsday Book. Willis continues to demonstrate her endless versatility in this archly written satire, which is both a love story and a shameless expose of the dark side of political correctness.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Willis's short novel could hardly be more different from her last, the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Doomsday Book , which dealt with a time-travelling jaunt from the 21st-century back to Europe during the days of the Black Plague. On a rather nondescript alien planet, two hardy planetary surveyors (Findriddy and Carson), a visiting ``socioexozoologist'' (Evelyn Parker) and their alien guide (Bult) embark on a mapping expedition. To avoid any appearance of imperialistic insensitivity, the government has imposed strict rules on the surveyors and allows indigenous guides to fine them. Willis plays it mainly as a farce: Bult takes full advantage of the situation, coming up with creative fines and spending the proceeds on umbrellas, shower curtains, slot machines and the like. Parker prattles on about the bizarre mating habits of various species, while Fin and Carson bicker like an old married couple. It's all fairan old married couple. It's all fairly amusing, though by the end the story hasn't really gone anywhere--Willis ties up the loose ends and returns to the beginning with Fin and Carson resuming the spat over a lost pair of binoculars which they were having on page one. A pleasant diversion, but there's little for the reader to take away when she's done. (July)
Library Journal
Planetary surveyors Fin and Carson battle hostile terrain, bureaucratic red tape, and renegade ``planet crashers'' in this latest novella by the talented author of Doomsday Book (LJ 5/15/92). Willis continues to demonstrate her endless versatility in this archly written satire, which is both a love story and a shameless expos of the dark side of political correctness. A first-rate purchase for sf collections.
Carl Hays
Still not far from the beginning of her career and already the winner of an impressive string of Hugo and Nebula awards, Willis, it seems, can do no wrong. Her latest and shortest novel engagingly introduces a pair of chronically bickering scientists named Finriddy and Carson in an episodic tale one hopes will spawn sequels. Relegated to a backwater world named Bhoote and accompanied by a mistrustful, multijointed Bhootian guide named Bult, the two have the task of mapping and naming the planet's topography when a new scientist, a "socioexozoologist specializing in sex," arrives from headquarters to assist. While traversing the designated territory on horseback, Carson and Finriddy contend with a stream of irksome obstacles--from their own stubborn ponies to the erratic behavior of Bult, who constantly fines them for local violations--before uncovering Bhoote's biggest geological secrets. Willis proves unsurpassed in sf in her ability to unload, within a short but thoroughly satisfying narrative space, a full literary bag of tricks ranging from wry dialogue to extraterrestrial intrigue. Highly recommended.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553562941
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/28/1994
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
480,094
Product dimensions:
4.21(w) x 6.86(h) x 0.44(d)

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Uncharted Territory 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
QuantumMechanic More than 1 year ago
I love Willis' prose - I was going to reference her masterpiece "Doomsday Book" in passing, which I'd finished just prior to diving into "Uncharted Territory," and it almost turned this into a review of the wrong book. Suffice it to say she writes with the elegance, wit and British flavor of H.H. Munro, but she's from...Colorado? Go figure. Anyhow, the alienness of "Uncharted Territory" just knocked me off my chair. It took me at least two chapters just to wrap my brain around the places, the creatures and the activities she was describing - then I got yanked off my unsuspecting duff for a fascinating and quietly hilarious ride across the Boohte back-country. This is listed as a "novella," but by the end you feel as though you've read a handful of chapters of a much larger, unfinished novel. I'm really hoping "Uncharted Territory" is just a prelude to such a full-blown novel, because the setting and characters, which are as richly, totally alien as those of Clarke's Rama or Herbert's Arrakis, scream for the wider plot and theme. This seems like a snippet from a much larger story - as such, it seems to begin in the middle and end arbitrarily, with no deeper, more engaging story to latch onto. "Uncharted Territory" is almost journalistic in that sense. Nonetheless, well worth the trip, a dozen times over, and you will end up thinking about the characters you'll meet on this short journey for days after you finish the last page. It's just that it will leave you wishing you could have the other 80% of the story.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
As Connie Willis is wont to do, Uncharted Territory is a pithy novel that is very funny and very smart. Some interesting twists and turns as well as gentle pokes at our present culture's future. Read and enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the middle of the huge forest many preditors call home a wide stream flows through. A cat is capadle of jumping over but it is quite deep. When you look close you can see fish swimming around. Unaware of danger...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TERRITORY