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Impossible Things

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  1,938 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
Impossible Things
Mass Market Paperback, 461 pages
Published January 1994 by Bantam Spectra (first published January 1st 1993)
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Sep 09, 2008 Jeffrey rated it really liked it
`I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. `When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.'

If there is a raison d'être for genre fiction, it is summarized in the above quote from Through the Looking Glass. But the book "Impossible Things" also rekindles my anger at the fact that things people like Connie Willis write is even classified as anything other than fiction and so shelved away
Aug 17, 2011 Ron rated it liked it
Connie Willis seems to be a one-trick pony. She does that trick very well (as illustrated by her recent Hugo for Blackout/All Clear), but reading her novels leads one to believe the only story she can write involves attention deficit morons beset by monomaniacal monkeys (usually the protag's friends and associates).

But no, there's more. Read Impossible Things. Connie is capable of so much more. Yes, the one-trick pony is still in evidence, but at least one needs only wade through twenty pages of
Mar 13, 2010 August rated it it was amazing
I started this book this morning while waiting for vital laundry to dry. It's a collection of short fiction from the author of the Domesday Book (a personal favorite) so I knew I'd most likely adore it. As if turns out, it was almost entirely love at first read.

As an aside, when moving, be sure the bulk of your clean clothes are not left 300 miles away. It gets... untidy.


And now I've finished it. I'm not really sure I can do this one justice with a straight review. I should probably go down
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 Althea Ann rated it it was amazing
An excellent collection of Willis' short fiction, this book gathers together 11 of Willis' short stories, all previously published, however.

"The Last of the Winnebagos" – Willis' intro says that she has been criticized for this story by people who find it too "sentimental." However, it also won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards, so not everyone agreed with that criticism! The book gives us a future scenario that is similar to that of Bradbury's ‘Fahrenheit 451' in some ways - the highways are
Elizabeth K.
Dec 02, 2011 Elizabeth K. rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-new-reads
What I learned from this book: I either love or hate Connie Willis short stories. Despite being a big fan of To Say Nothing of the Dog, I am going to have to pass on Willis doing comedy in the future.

I'm not sure what aspect of her humorous writing is the most annoying. Candidates are 1. it feels like there is a (pause) at the end of each zinger (and they are very self-consciously zingers) for the benefit of the reader to schedule time to guffaw; 2. her targets are often one of these knee-slapp
Oct 28, 2008 Illyria rated it it was amazing
Is it just me, or women do write more fluid dialogs in their SF stories? After reading McCaffrey, and then Bujold, and then finally reading Connie Willis, it came to me that while authors like Theodore Sturgeon, Greg Bear, even Asimov and Clarke, came up with mindblowing plot and intergalactic sweep, dialogs between their characters might seem stilted and perfunctory. Compare them with the dialogs between the characters of McCaffrey's "Pegasus in Flight" for instance, or Bujold's "The Warrior Ap ...more
Feb 10, 2010 Julie rated it really liked it
A collection of short stories by Connie Willis. I thought I'd read more of her short stories than I had, but there was only one story in here that I'd already read. "Even the Queen", which I like. I'm envious of the characters in it.

The stories have themes you'll be familiar with if you've read other things by Connie Willis. Time travel, the Blitz, Christianity, hectic goings-on, Hollywood.

One type of story she writes that I find uncomfortable is ones in which characters can never seem to sit do
Jul 09, 2012 Marie rated it liked it
I had high hopes of enjoying this since I simply adored "To Say Nothing of the Dog" and "Doomsday Book" but I guess Connie Willis' short fiction isn't as appealing to me. The first story "The Last Winnebago" was dated in amusing ways - you know how it is. We can foresee all these future tech advances - her characters have ring tones that identify callers, but their phones are tied to their homes and cars, not carried around. The main character is photographer and has FILM. Actual film. Wow. I fo ...more
Not being a big fan of humorous SF ( The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was good but the subsequent books got less and less interesting), I found most of the stories in this collection...meh. To be honest, I couldn't even bring myself to finish some of the stories.

That said, "Winter's Tale" is a wonderful answer to all the "who was Shakespeare" conspiracy theorists and alone deserves 4 stars.
Excellent collection of shorter and longer stories. Before I picked this book up at a thrift shop (mostly because of the interesting cover and a little because of the blurb at the back) I had never heard of Connie Willis, but now intend to get my hands on as much of her work as possible. Gardner Dozois was right in his introduction: Willis writes about People, just like Jane Austen, and that is a big part of what makes her stories work so well.
Nov 06, 2010 Julia rated it really liked it
Connie Willis writes amazing novels and, as this collection shows, equally compelling short fiction. The stories in this collection cover a wide variet of stories, although all of them settle some place within science fiction. Willis' characteristic humor and way with words shine in these stories.
Apr 29, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
A lovely collection highlighting the author's characters-first approach to speculative fiction.
Aug 07, 2008 Hirondelle rated it really liked it
Some stories are better than others ( as in any collection), some stories are hilarious, others traumatized me for weeks ( Last of the Winnebagos. Very very good. But traumatic).
Dec 03, 2008 Ellen rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Favorite stories: "Even the Queen," "Spice Pogrom," "Winter's Tale," "Time Out."
Dec 30, 2016 Bruce rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Anthologies, whether of one author or a collection of several, have stories of varying qualities. In this collection of stories by Connie Willis I found I liked the non-award winners better. My favorite is "Ado" which is about sanitizing the classics for school consumption. "Time Out" is a quirky story also partially taking place in an educational setting. I enjoyed "Winter's Tale" which might be a tie-in to "Ado" or vice-versa. "Spice Pogrom" is a fun Sci-Fi story with an interesting end. Femin ...more
Glen Engel-Cox
A collection of stories by Connie Willis, one of the modern masters of the science fiction short.

"The Last of the Winnebagos" -- I remember reading this story years ago and not caring for it that much. Rereadiug it ten years later, I find it much more appealing. In one sense it is a mystery story; in another it is a cautionary tale. The way that Willis weaves together the two-- the tale of the dead dog and the new, authoritarian society--is fresh and clever. Sentimental? Yes. But in the best way
I have had mixed reactions to Willis’ books—loved some (Doomsday Book) and couldn’t finish others (Blackout) and so approached this short story collection with some trepidation. I am happy to report that it was a wonderful read that I would highly recommend to anyone, not just scifi readers. Here are my comments on each story:

The Last Winnebago – Explores the idea that the end of things often comes with a whimper—many small things gone one by one rather than the apocalyptic End Times we enjoy se
Mar 09, 2015 Melanie rated it really liked it
I highly enjoyed these stories, but the book as a whole may have suffered because I'd already read the best of them ('The Last of the Winnebagos' and 'Even the Queen') as part of The Best of Connie Willis. As for the rest:

'Schwarzschild Radius' is sad but poignant and thought provoking. One of the more memorable stories in the set.

'Spice Pogrom' is hilarious, especially if you've seen the '40s screwball comedy 'The More the Merrier' it's based on (it translates the wartime housing shortage in D
Jan 10, 2016 Chel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Connie Willis is amazing! Her story concepts are clever and sometimes hilarious, but they are usually operating on two levels. At one level is the subject of the story (time travel, interspecies negotiations, quantum theory . . . ) and on another level the protagonist stumbles through the minutiae of daily life and interactions with others, usually a carnival of bumps, misunderstandings, and cross purposes, in a way that comments indirectly on the "big subject."

Some reviewers have called these s
Dec 26, 2015 Angela rated it really liked it
I'd rate this a solid 3.5 stars.

The stories are interesting and varied. A number of the stories deal with time travel and the potential dystopian future we could encounter if things in our society don't change. A lot of the stories also left me pondering "what if," and I love it when tales are able to do that.

A recurring theme that was present in "Spice Pogrom," "Chance," and "At the Rialto" was characters being treated unacceptably, and yet said characters don't ever speak up for themselves. Wo
Jul 06, 2010 Kate rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
"Here are eleven of Connie Willis' 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 ban 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 'Space Pogrom,' an outrageous colony in outer space becomes the settin
Alex Lee
Feb 09, 2017 Alex Lee rated it it was ok
I honestly was not moved by this, although Schwaezschild Radius was good. In a sense the stories are patterns within patterns, which seem more cerebral than anything else. The characters are a distraction to me; but there's not much to distinguish them apart from their names.

I think I need to re-read this.
Sep 05, 2007 Tracey rated it liked it
I picked up Impossible Things at a used bookstore a few weeks ago and put it near the top of my To Read List.

I was a little disappointed, as I've really enjoyed Connie Willis' novels; the short stories in this collection IMHO just didn't quite match up. While the story concepts were original, the execution sometimes fell a bit flat. For example, the mix of past & present (both told in present tense) in a couple of stories ("Last of the Winnebagos" and "Chance") made it difficult to keep tra
Dec 12, 2012 Amber rated it really liked it
Connie Willis is one of my favorite authors because I like her writing style, I appreciate her sensibilities, and I enjoy her characters and plots. She often writes comedy with substance, which I love, and very light-touch SF/SN/PN—meaning stories very grounded in the real world but with just enough of an interesting twist to be even more engaging than a lot of highly fantastical tales. Many of her characters in this collection are adults ranging from 30-50s, which is refreshing in a world of fi ...more
Christopher Roberts
Connie Willis is known for her comedic stories but the two strongest entries in this collection are the most serious. The Last of the Winnebagos opens the collection and is a sad and moving piece of near future speculative fiction and Jack is an ingenious horror story set during the London Blitz.

The best of the comedic stories is Even the Queen, a razor sharp satiric jab at those who criticized Willis for not dealing with women's issues. Another solid story is A Winter's Tale, a take on Shakesp
Jan 10, 2008 Punk rated it really liked it
SF, Short Stories. All but four of these eleven short stories are present in Willis' new compendium The Winds of Marble Arch, but I'm giving it four stars anyway because it contains so many of my favorites, including Even the Queen, which I may just love the most. Also nice: Willis writes brief introductions to each piece, giving you a little hint of what she was thinking when she wrote it.

Of the four I hadn't read before, I liked Spice Pogram the best, a screwball comedy with an overcrowded p
Jan 04, 2008 Melanie rated it liked it
Recommended to Melanie by: the Peitzmans
A favorite quote:

“I’m not talking about sin,” Elizabeth said. “I’m talking about little things that you wouldn’t think would matter so much, like stepping in a puddle or having a fight with somebody. What if you drove off and left somebody standing in the middle of the road because you were mad, and it changed their whole life, it made them into a different person? Or what if you turned and walked away from somebody because your feelings were hurt or you wouldn’t open your window, and because of
Jul 06, 2008 Julia rated it it was amazing
Eleven great short stories are in this anthology. “Even the Queen,” is Willis’ answer to complaints that she doesn’t write about Women’s Issues. It’s a hilarious story that seems like it’s going to be about very busy overworked women, then about mother-daughter relations, but settles on something that concerns all women. “Jack” has one of my favorite premises: it’s about a “good” vampire. He’s become an air raid warden during the London Blitz because he’s good at finding people alive under the r ...more
Jul 01, 2011 Malquiviades rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful set of short stories from Connie Willis. Even I have read some of them before (although I cannot pinpoint when or where) it was just the same, as I enjoyed as much or even more than the first time.

We have here a pure Willis style and themes (stories full of real human people, sentiments, warning on censorship and Political Correctness..), and towering above them all the Human Issues, irrespective of which era/time the story is taking place. And, of course, that is what I like
Nicholas Whyte
Oct 21, 2007 Nicholas Whyte rated it it was ok

Connie Willis has won more Hugo awards for fiction than any other writer (and more Nebulas than anyone except Ursula Le Guin), and I'm not entirely sure why. Her best stories have a decent combination of humour and nostalgic mourning; her worst are sentimental glurge. This particular collection includes two of her four joint Hugo/Nebula winning stories - 'The Last of the Winnebagos' and 'Even The Queen', both of which are decent enough; I found some of t
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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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