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Fire Watch

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  3,198 Ratings  ·  207 Reviews
Winner of six Nebula and five 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 o ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 1998 by Bantam Spectra (first published 1984)
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Clouds
The last story, Blued Moon is the star - very much in the same vein as To Say Nothing of the Dog (my favourite Willis novel). It's a sparkling celebration of coincidences and technical jargon. The kind of story that makes me want to shout, "Yes, Connie! Yes! Write more stories like this!"

As with all short story collections it's a mixed bag. Despite kicking off Willis' superb time-travel series (which I love), I was surprised that the title story, Fire Watch didn't do all that much for me.
All My
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Sarah
Nov 26, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
I decided to finally read this, the first of Connie Willis's books about a group of hapless time-traveling historians. I picked today because my library copy of her new book, All Clear, is very large and heavy and impractical to haul around New York on my back along with two dozen bagels, which is impractical enough on its own. I had expected that she might have given some background in this first novella that I had been missing ever since, but I should have known better. She tells us what we ne ...more
Ron
Jul 07, 2015 Ron rated it liked it
Good work. Not quite a four, but it was her first Oxford Time travel story and one of her first. A straight, clear, hit-you-in-the-solar-plexus kind of tale.

References to Kivrin's Doomsday Book adventures are especially interesting as the novella Fire Watch was written almost a decade before Doomsday Book.
Nikki
I just read the title story, not the whole collection. I've been meaning to read Connie Willis' stuff for a long time, since several friends in one of my groups are very enthusiastic about her work. Fire Watch was easy and fun to read -- available online, here, by the way. You get thrown in at the deep end a bit at the beginning: it helped me to know that it was a story about a history student going back in time as part of their studies. But it was very readable, and reasonably easy to catch on ...more
Beth
This collection contains 12 stories.

The title story, "Fire Watch" is a bittersweet tale set in the same universe as Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, but written earlier. It was published in 1982, and won the 1983 Hugo & Nebula Awards for Best Short Story. The narrator is a time-traveling grad student from a future Oxford University, who is sent to the London Blitz due to a clerical error. (He was supposed to travel with St Paul for his practical exam, but instead ends up assigned
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Kogiopsis
Oct 20, 2015 Kogiopsis rated it liked it
After reading the titular novella of this book, I was sure it would be five stars all the way through... but, not surprisingly as this goes with the territory for short story collections, it was a variety of hits and misses. The first and last stories stand out: "Fire Watch" is a breathtakingly well-constructed narrative that withholds just the right amount of information, giving the reader glimpses at a future world through the protagonist's interactions with the past. Of all the stories in thi ...more
Stewart
Apr 14, 2010 Stewart rated it really liked it
This is a 1998 reissue of a 1985 collection of short stories by Connie Willis who has won six Nebula and five Hugo awards for her sci-fi fiction. Her "Doomsday Book" of 1992 was one of the best science fiction novels I've ever read. There are a number of interesting stories among the 12 in the book, including the title story, a precursor to "Doomsday Book." "Blued Moon" is a humorous look at language and coincidence, and "A Letter from the Clearys" is a story that slowly transforms itself from ...more
Laura
Oct 02, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
so like one night my partner-in-crime said this author would be the person he'd trade me in for and I was all offended UNTIL I READ THIS BOOK and now I'm all "Oh, I get it now."
Craig
Sep 11, 2016 Craig rated it really liked it
Fire Watch is an excellent collection of stories and showcases what a wide range of styles Willis masters. Blued Moon, Daisy, in the Sun, A Letter From the Clearys, and All My Darling Daughters are especially good. The title story is the first piece of the Oxford Time Travel series, and I just re-read it after having recently finished Blackout/All Clear. I was amazed at how well the events in a story published almost thirty years earlier had been woven in to the newer novel from a different pers ...more
Melanie
Jan 07, 2008 Melanie rated it liked it
Connie Willis is brilliant. I have to say, I didn't really like the short story "Fire Watch," whose title became the title for the collection. It was okay, but I felt like you really had to read Doomsday Book beforehand to appreciate the way Kivrin kept coming up, and I dunno--it was just dark and dirty in a basement bomb-shelter kind of way, like the bottom of St. Paul's during the bombings kind of way, and long and drawn-out. Maybe Willis was doing that on purpose. However, I liked almost all ...more
Karen
Apr 24, 2011 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was introduced to this author through a friend of mine and found that I enjoyed the universe so when I found out that "Fire Watch" was the first story ever written in this universe I thought I'd start off right and get to know the rest of the stories. I did not realize that "Fire Watch" was actually just a short story and that this book is a collection of short stories, of which "Fire Watch" was the only one set in the universe of time-traveling historians. The rest are an odd collection rangi ...more
Julie
Feb 15, 2010 Julie rated it really liked it
Another collection of short stories by Connie Willis. Looks like the main story, "Fire Watch", takes place after Doomsday Book. And I suspect in the same world as another story of hers I read which I can't immediately recall. Anyway, time travel, the Blitz, saving a church. Themes that crop up in other stories of hers.

Oh yea, one other theme I forgot to mention in my review of another collection of hers: academic bureaucracy.

I don't think any of the stories in here particularly stood out for me.
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Debra
How had I missed knowing about this book? I am most of the way through Fire Watch, the first story, and have put down my Kindle because I don't want my fictional world to end. (Well, the Blitz can end - let say not even start, but I want the Historians to stay around.) Why did it take so long to read this book? I read the stories around library books. The time involved is not a quality indicator.

What a wonderful and varied collection from this marvelous author. Fire Watch, the historian story, o
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David Knickmeyer
Sep 01, 2012 David Knickmeyer rated it liked it


I have enjoyed several of Connie Willis' novels and this collection of short stories had 'Blued Moon', a light hearted short I've always liked. Unfortunately, it and 'Fire Watch' are the only two stories I really enjoyed in this book. Several stories were disturbing, frankly. 'Blued Moon' is fun and 'Fire Watch' is also good, but for it you might be better off if you have read 'the Doomsday Book' and understand her time travel setting. A short story doesn't give much room to explain it.
Jessica
Dec 06, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it
Willis is an author that never ceases to delight me, but for reasons unknown I've yet to go on one of those tears where I devour everything she's written and then wait rather less than patiently for her to write some more. The upshot of this oversight is then getting to fall over gems like this collection, which is a fine example of what can happen with intriguing two-sentence premises in the capable hands of a gifted writer.
Steph
Jul 17, 2007 Steph rated it liked it
Recommends it for: teens and older
A collection of fantasy short stories by Connie Willis. One is set in the same world as 'To Say Nothing of the Dog' and 'Doomsday Book' but the rest are entirely different. Some I liked a lot (especially the last one), others less so, therefore I gave it only 3 stars.
Larry
Aug 01, 2011 Larry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
To say the least, I was disappointed. I read the first short story in this collection, the title work, for its affinity with the Blackout series. It was OK. As I read further I became less and less pleased with the stories. A few were OK, a few were really terrible. I even skipped one. I didn't find this collection up to the author's standards.
Barbm1020
Sep 19, 2011 Barbm1020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful stories, always taut with suspense, Connie Willis's unique stamp all over them. This book still haunts my notion of World War II.
Gevera Bert
Apr 17, 2015 Gevera Bert rated it really liked it
The weakest story in this was the time travel one, only because it did not use the same rules as the related novels.
Jordan Prewoznik
Oct 21, 2014 Jordan Prewoznik rated it it was ok
A bit all of the place. There was one story that was very. very profoundly disturbing, but the other few were just 'meh' at best
MajinFox
Mar 10, 2012 MajinFox rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wstawione
OPINIA Z 5 LIPCA 2009

Pierwsza kobieta zajmująca się sf, którą w ogóle kojarzę. Sam z tego typu książek lubię jedynie serię o Diunie, a cała reszta jest przeważnie infantylnymi opowiastkami. To co dziś przeczytałem to zbiór opowiadań jednego z najlepszych pisarzy sf, z jakimi miałem przyjemność się zetknąć. Jeśli dorzucimy do tego wojnę płci, to mężczyżni z tą panią przegrywają. Porusza dzisiejsze problemy, tylko w innym czasie. Nie bawi się w pokazywanie laserorubinów, filtrfraków i innych kosmi
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Roddy Williams
Nov 18, 2014 Roddy Williams rated it it was amazing
These stories cover a writing period of about five years in the early eighties and contain some of Willis’ best work. There are loose themes of women and religion running through the tales
Willis helpfully provides short introductions to each story, revealing where some of the ideas came from and her methods of working. In the main this is a first rate collection. I’ve always considered ‘The Sidon in the Mirror’ in particular to be one of the finest examples of short SF I have ever come across. T
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Usfromdk
Dec 31, 2016 Usfromdk rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A mixed bag. Many of the short stories were just sort of 'okay' and relatively few were really all that good. Fire Watch was interesting mainly because of the encounter with Kivrin (a main character in the wonderful Doomsday Book), though she was only a minor character here; Blued Moon was fun, as was the short Mail-Order Clone. I don't particularly like stories like The Sidon in the Mirror and Daisy, in the Sun - I prefer somewhat 'hard' science fiction, because when science fiction narratives ...more
Julie
Jan 09, 2017 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All in all an enjoyable collection of short stories. A few I really liked, a few I actively disliked. Some were just sort of there. The author's intros sometimes felt like they would have been better after the story, as there were a few cases where I would have enjoyed reading the story blind a bit more. The titular short story is well worth reading if you have read Blackout/All Clear though.
Rita O'Connell
Nov 12, 2016 Rita O'Connell rated it liked it
Short stories by SciFi giant are entertaining, easy reading. The title story, Firewatch, is later made into a novel about time travel to the London Blitz. I have read most of these stories several times before, but Connie Willis is one of my favorite SciFi writers, and I can read her over and over again.
Bill
Oct 29, 2016 Bill rated it it was amazing
This is a great short story collection with various shades of science fiction. The writings of Connie Willis all have wonderful characters and this collection utilizes many different main characters with dynamically differing qualities. I always enjoy reading work by Connie Willis and this does not disappoint.
Cheryl
Oct 26, 2016 Cheryl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Probably brilliant. Otoh, I, personally, am glad that I've read some of these stories in other collections and could skip them this time. I guess Willis and I just aren't sympatico.... But, if you like *L*iterary SF and can tolerate a fairly high Yuck Factor, enjoy.
Matthew Spencer
Dec 22, 2016 Matthew Spencer rated it it was ok
Stories were pretty uneven and Willis may not be my thing. That said, All my Darling Daughters and Blued Moon were both satisfyingly on point.
Nathan
Jan 18, 2017 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A real mixed bag but "All My Darling Daughters" is one of the most devastating things I've ever read.
Bryan Alexander
Nov 23, 2013 Bryan Alexander rated it it was amazing
An excellent, rich collection. Willis is well known as an sf novelist, but she should be at least as widely appreciated as a short story writer, based on this book.

For me, one of ways I assess a short story collection is by its variety. Fire Watch impresses by its wide range of topic and tone. Willis turns from historical fiction to screwball comedy to religious parable to horror and far-future science fiction.

Willis also excels at economic language. These are not lyrical pieces, preferring to q
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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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