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The Best of Connie Willis: Award-Winning Stories

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  1,007 Ratings  ·  220 Reviews
Few authors have had careers as successful as that of Connie Willis. Inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and recently awarded the title of Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Willis is still going strong. Her smart, heartfelt fiction runs the gamut from screwball comedy to profound tragedy, combining dazzling plot twists, ...more
Hardcover, 473 pages
Published July 9th 2013 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2013)
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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
Before I became a romance reader, I was addicted to sci-fi. Connie Willis was like my crack. She writes these really engaging, time travel-y books that keep my interest like no other. When I saw that a book of her short stories was coming out, I immediately snatched it up.

The majority of the stories in this anthology were awesome. I think my least favorites were the first and last stories in the collection (both felt really dated). However, some of the other stories were both historically fascin
Jul 14, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it
It’s not a secret that I’m a fan of Connie Willis’s writing. Mind you, I’m not the only one.

Connie has accumulated eleven Hugo Awards and seven Nebula Awards at the time I’m typing this, more than any other living writer, and has the distinction of becoming an SFWA Grand Master in 2011. She was also inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009.

Such awards often reflect a great deal of hard graft and honing a writer’s skill over many years. This is also true of Connie. Her first story w
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Jul 24, 2016 Rachel (Kalanadi) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: collections

Originally posted on my website, Koenix

Time is the Fire is a collection of 10 Hugo and Nebula award-winning stories by Willis, ranging from short stories to novellas. Willis is well-known for her humor and "comedy of manners" plots, which usually involve characters running around, unable to communicate, and completely misunderstanding each other. These stories walk a thin line for me between amusing and annoying, since lack of communication is one of my habitual pet peeves in fiction. I think

Kim McGee
Jul 14, 2013 Kim McGee rated it really liked it
After discovering Connie Willis when her book Blackout came out I eagerly searched for her other books in vain. She is not what you would call a speedy author. Her books are complex using science fiction time travel to fact check she takes us back to times we could only imagine and then see firsthand through the eyes of the time traveler how difficult it can be to only observe never change the outcome.
After Blackout and the sequel, All Clear, I had hoped to see a new title. Alas, this collection
Sep 09, 2016 Kelly rated it really liked it
‘The Best Of Connie Willis’ is a collection of award-winning short stories by Connie Willis. The hefty volume also includes an introduction by the author and three of her speeches. Both the introduction and the speeches are as entertaining as the stories.

In the introduction, Willis explains why it’s hard to talk about her own stories or the process by which they journey from idea to completion. She explains that the stories often change, conceptually, as she is writing them. She says, ‘While you
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Connie Willis is a writer of ideas. In longer novel form, I think this is a good thing; I enjoyed Blackout/All Clear quite a bit. I still haven't made it to her earlier works like To Say Nothing of the Dog or The Doomsday Book - both books that others say are her best work. When this collection of stories was listed in NetGalley, I jumped at the chance, to try to get to know this Grand Master a little better.

Back to this ideas issue. Connie Willis often zooms in on a thought she has (What if we
Jul 10, 2016 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-sf, read-2016
This is a short story collection, subtitled The Best of Connie Willis, and I believe all of the stories here are award winners or award nominees. The main highlight of the book for me was the novella Fire Watch, which is the first story set in Willis’ Oxford Time Travel series. I love all of the novels in that series, in fact I recently reread To Say Nothing of the Dog, which I reviewed in a previous video, and I’m planning to reread her other novels in this series over the next few month. This ...more
Howard Cincotta
Apr 28, 2014 Howard Cincotta rated it liked it
Connie Willis is the stalwart center of the science fiction establishment, one of a select group of editors and writers connected to the SF magazine Asimov’s who continue to uphold the cherished “Golden Age” traditions of her illustrious forebears that ran from the 1940s to the 1970s, depending on how you count these things.

These luminaries include Isaac Asimov himself, of course, along with such figures as Frederick Pohl, Jack Williamson, Theodore Sturgeon, Ray Bradbury, and, first among equals
(The five-star rating here is for the best stories; some don't quite rank so highly, but why punish the whole for a few less-than-stellar entries?) Willis is that rarity in science fiction—a comedian, and a writer who loves her characters. Maybe that's why what I remember most from the first time I read the stories in this collection (decades ago in some cases) are not the SF ideas in the stories but the things I felt while reading them. That doesn't happen so often in SF.

I would quibble with th
Aug 05, 2013 Neil rated it it was amazing
When the title of the book is The Best of Connie Willis you really can expect the best of the best. While I had read most of these stories, some were new to me and all were well worth reading and re-reading. Especially when each had an afterword which together with her superb introduction and the three speeches published at the end meld together to provided the kind of anthology that most authors can only dream of.

My favourite had to be All Seated on the Ground, a first contact story unlike any
Jun 26, 2013 Linette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know how sometimes you just click with an author's writing? That's what has happened to me with Connie Willis's stories. The humour, the fast pace, the sheer number of ideas delight me.

I am not normally one for short stories, but I enjoyed the majority of these and found myself looking forward to diving back in to the electronic pages. Joy.

I think my favorites were:
Fire Watch - set in the world of the Oxford Time travellers, of course I love this one.
Winds of Marble Arch - set in my favor
Jun 27, 2014 Taylor marked it as to-read
I recently started proofreading Analog, a rather long-standing sci-fi mag, and it's been neat in that I don't generally read much science fiction and it's introduced me to a genre I've never particularly sought out. In the process, it's made me want to seek out more sci-fi, but also particularly sci-fi by women, since wowza, talk about a genre with a ton of dudes writing it. So, I saw this book in the Goodreads giveaways and ended up winning! (Also, yes, I did recently get some Ursula K. Leguin. ...more
Bob Nolin
Oct 03, 2016 Bob Nolin rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Got this remaindered from Daedalus Books, thinking I'd really like it since I enjoyed her "To Say Nothing of the Dog" and "Doomsday Book." Unfortunately, her short stories, which I had heard were her strong suit, were fairly dull. Her sense of humor reminds me of television sitcoms, the type that laughs at people rather than with them. If you thought the Oxford Time people fighting over toilet paper in "Doomsday Book" was unfunny, be warned: there's more of the same on offer here. As others have ...more
Jul 10, 2013 Marilyn rated it it was amazing
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 introducti
Jul 10, 2016 Raj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
I've not read a huge amount of Connie Willis before, although I wasn't hugely fond of Lincoln's Dreams. However, she's an author I've heard good things about, and when I found out that she's won enough Hugo and Nebula awards to make a (pretty big) book out of, I was intrigued. And dear me, but this is a good book!

It starts slowly with A Letter From the Clearys, a story that definitely shows more than it tells. Perhaps it leaves a little too much unsaid for my tastes, but it's a wonderfully atmos
Barbara Brien
Mar 30, 2016 Barbara Brien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed most of the stories in this compilation, and the ones I didn't enjoy I as much I still believe are well written. I prefer Willis's happy / funny works, but my introduction to her was Doomsday Book, which blew me away. So even while I may not completely love the darker themes, I am drawn into them. I'm just going to write a thought for each story rather than a true review.

A Letter from the Clearys - I thought this was one of the weaker stories in the compilation. I liked the young lady
Feb 05, 2014 Anthony rated it liked it
I'm a huge fan of science fiction and Connie Willis is a giant in the field. When I came across this book at the library, I had to read it. But I must say, while she is an excellent writer, I found these stories to be mediocre at best. For me, the best part of the book was reading the texts of two speeches she gave at science fiction awards dinner and one that she wrote, but never presented.

The problem I had with these stories is that they are among her older stories, and reading them in today's
Mar 02, 2014 Jenny rated it liked it
The work of Connie Willis tends to be hit or miss for me. I've liked some of her stuff a lot and others I did not care for at all. Although this was the collection of her best short stories, my experience was no different. My favorite two were "Inside Job" and "Even the Queen", both which were a little more lighthearted and moved at a good clip. The two I liked the least were "At the Rialto" and "Death on the Nile". I could see what she was going for with those stories but they didn't appeal to ...more
Shawn Thrasher
Jan 02, 2015 Shawn Thrasher rated it it was amazing
If this book of short stories is a chocolate chip cookie, then it's a cookie that's completely made up of chocolate chips. Unlike most books of short stories, in which you have a few wonderful stories, and a hodgepodge of mediocre stories, and a couple of stinkers - each and every one of these are brilliant. They are all award-winners of some sort (but that doesn't mean anything when it comes to liking or not liking a piece of literature); what really makes them delectable is that they all are ...more
Jun 29, 2013 Sue rated it it was amazing
I have read, and loved, most of Connie Willis' novels but I had only read a handful of her stories. This collection took care of that problem. Connie Willis writes science fiction from a very human based slant; less about the physics and mechanical inventions and more about how very recognizable people deal with it all. Her range is impressive: the post-apocalyptic, romantic comedy, horror, time travel, historical and these stories provide great examples of each. "At The Rialto" is the closest ...more
Oh man, I love Connie Willis. I’ve been hooked ever since I cracked open Doomsday Book and fell into her madcap world of time-travel catastrophes and frantic communication errors, history and science-fiction all packaged up in a neat little box that never takes itself too seriously.
This book is a compilation of her best short stories, and they are all gems. Each one features a commentary at the end in which Willis explains how or why she wrote it, which I like because it gives the reader a glim
Dec 04, 2014 Dennis rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Short stories. All great but my favorite was 'All seated on the ground' in which 6 Aliens arrive at a small town in the USA and just stare at everybody. In an attempt to communicate with them a committee is formed who try everything to get there attention. They are eventually taken to a shopping mall and all of sudden the entire group sits on the ground. After much discussion it is decided that they have reacted to a Christmas carol that was playing. The rest of the story is about finding the ...more
Apr 07, 2014 Mike rated it it was ok
It pains me to rate a Connie Willis book so poorly, especially since this is touted as a collection of her Award-Winning stories. However I just wasn't enthralled by this book. I absolutely loved Doomsday Book, and I really enjoyed Blackout and All Clear. However I didn't connect with her short stories. There were a few I would rank higher, if I could do so individually, however overall I found they failed to captivate me, they lacked the banter and characters I loved from her books, and most fa ...more
May 26, 2015 Jnotes99 rated it it was amazing
Connie Willis is really a treasure. I've read all of her novels and this is a book of her short stories, and as a bonus, three award acceptance speeches (one of them never given). I can recommend everything she has written and this book of gems is no exception. What are you waiting for ? Go buy one of her books ! I'm not kidding - go !
Mar 28, 2016 Katharine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-52-books
I love Connie Willis!

This is really 4.5 stars! Now I'd never call myself a science fiction fan, but I do love smart, quirky, fun stories with messages, even if I don't agree with them. What a great collection!
Jul 10, 2016 Nathalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure I like every story, but it really did make me realize why I'm so fond of her "Doomsday Book". I just started re reading it for the umptiest time... and again I'm hooked.
Jack Skillingstead
Jul 08, 2014 Jack Skillingstead rated it really liked it
My two favorites in this collection are "The Winds Of Marble Arch," and "Death On The Nile." If you're new to Connie's work, this isn't a bad place to start
Kristin Schneidler
Aug 21, 2013 Kristin Schneidler rated it really liked it
I've read all the stories in this book already, through the wonders of magazines and the Internet and previous anthologies, but what the heck - good collection anyway.
Jun 10, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it
I read these short stories so fast. I had to read one story between other books I was reading to make them last. So enjoyable that I bought her Christmas story collection. Christmas in June and July!
Mindy McAdams
Dec 02, 2016 Mindy McAdams rated it really liked it
Shelves: by-women
I came across this collection on a discount table in a bookstore in Denver, and I'm so glad I did.

Hugo Award winners in this collection:

* "Fire Watch," novelette : 1983 — really excellent! Belongs to Willis's Oxford time-traveling historians series. (Also won the Nebula Award.)
* "The Last of the Winnebagos," novella : 1989 — one of the saddest stories I've ever read (I cried). (Also won the Nebula Award.)
* "Even the Queen," short story : 1993 — hilarious! Worth the price of the book just for th
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SF Masterworks Group: Time is the Fire: The Best of Connie Willis 1 7 Jul 19, 2013 05:49AM  
  • The Best of Kage Baker
  • The Time Traveler's Almanac
  • Kabu Kabu
  • Bears Discover Fire and Other Stories
  • Twenty-First Century Science Fiction
  • At the Mouth of the River of Bees: Stories
  • Half Past Human
  • The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 8
  • The Other Half of the Sky
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2014
  • MIND MGMT, Volume Three: The Home Maker
  • Word Puppets
  • The Water Museum
  • Arrivals (Tremontaine #1.1)
  • Christmas Present (The Chronicles of St Mary's #4.5)
  • Lightspeed Magazine, June 2014: Women Destroy Science Fiction! Special Issue
  • Take Back Plenty (Tabitha Jute, #1)
  • Last Summer at Mars Hill
Constance Elaine Trimmer Willis is an American science fiction writer. She is one of the most honored science fiction writers of the 1980s and 1990s.

She has won, among other awards, ten Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards. Willis most recently won a Hugo Award for All Seated on the Ground (August 2008). She was the 2011 recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Ficti
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“It's that undefined something we're really afraid of-the flicker of movement we don't quite catch out of the corner of our eye, the bad dream we can't quite remember when we wake up, the sound of a door opening downstairs we thought we heard. And worst of all, the things we're not sure even happened, the things that we might just have imagined, that might mean we're going mad, all those nameless, nebulous things we can't quite put our finger on and can only guess at.” 5 likes
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