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The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  775 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
"Variety is the soul of pleasure," And variety is what this comprehensive new collection of Connie Willis is all about. The stories cover the entire spectrum, from sad to sparkling to terrifying, from classics to hard-to-find treasures with everything in between -- orangutans, Egypt, earthworms, roast goose, college professors, mothers-in-law, aliens, secret codes, Secret ...more
Hardcover, 700 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Subterranean Press (first published September 25th 2007)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
June 9, 2015: $2.99 on Kindle. A novella and 23 short stories by Connie Willis, one of my favorite SF/fantasy authors.
Stephen
3.5 stars. This review is only for the title story, "The Winds of Marble Arch." A subtle, very well written story about the ability of a few people to feel the "emotional echoes" of traumatic historical events and the effect such experioencs have on them.

Winner: Hugo Award for Best Novella
Nominee: World Fantasy Award for Best Novella
Jon
3.17 stars to be exact. For mini-reviews of all the short stories, please see the comments associated with my status updates.

My six favorite stories were:

The Blued Moon - This was laugh out loud hilarious. It reminded me of my favorite episode of Fawlty Towers.

A Letter from the Clearys - Post-apocalyptic stressed out family with a non-barking dog making do on the slopes of the Peak.

The Last of the Winnebagos - Good mystery and interesting alternate future with a Gestapo-like Humane Society.

A
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Punk
Jan 01, 2008 Punk rated it really liked it
SF, Short Stories. This isn't the definitive Connie Willis collection -- it's missing a few stories from Miracle and Other Christmas Stories and Impossible Things -- but it's close.

Of the ones I hadn't read before, I liked Nonstop to Portales, a bus of tourists in the middle of nowhere; Ado, in the future, teaching Shakespeare will only take a minute; In the Late Cretaceous, a university's paleontology department has to evolve or die; The Last of the Winnebagos, a future where dogs are extinct a
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Ron
Jul 07, 2015 Ron rated it it was ok
Connie Willis is something of a one-trick pony. She does her trick very well, but the shallowness of her style shouts when a dozen of her short stories are lumped together, as here. Especially when some are poor enough that they’d probably never see publication except in such an anthology. 700 pages of it.

As her readers know, Willis is fascinated with London during the Blitz. That is represented here, but she ranges far across the globe to present the usual suspects—late, lazy, lost or looney—fi
...more
Mara
Apr 10, 2008 Mara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anthology
I'm not usually a big fan of short stories, but of course I'll read anything Connie Willis writes. Even the ones that have been published before are fun to read again. I was thrilled to see "Firewatch" included in this collection, and felt the ending as strongly this time as I did the first time I read it. Other stories, like "Blued Moon" and "At the Rialto" carry Willis' trademark corporate stupidity and mangled language, but others, like "A Letter from the Clearys" and "Nonstop to Portales" ...more
Sus
Nov 14, 2008 Sus rated it it was amazing
Connie Willis makes me crazy. How can she be so prolific, and so brilliant, and such a masterful craftsman, and make it all look so easy? (All right, yes: the middle two explain the last.)

This collection of short fiction, while a door-stopper, is amazing. (Actually, my biggest complaint is that the Subterranean Press designer did a pretty unprofessional job with the cover font. Let that be the last I speak of it.) Connie Willis, now, writes in -- could we call them several different modes? One o
...more
Shelley
Dec 16, 2009 Shelley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, historical
For some reason, it took me awhile to get into the title story. It's classic Connie and once I picked it back up after vacation, it flew. But it's still not my favorite.

I did immediately love Cash Crop. It was an early story, so haunted, very reminiscint of Daisy, in the Sun. I wasn't surprised by the twist, but I had thought she was a carrier. Still, this was gorgeous. I thought it was my favorite, until I read the next new story.

Curse of the Kings was creepy and scary and if you love The Mummy
...more
Jamie Collins
Aug 19, 2014 Jamie Collins rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction, wwii
A great collection. My favorite stories are Fire Watch, Even the Queen, Newsletter, Inn, and The Soul Selects Her Own Society. I love her fascination with Christmas and with The Blitz.

Stories included:
The Winds of Marble Arch
Blued Moon
Just Like the Ones We Used to Know
Daisy, in the Sun
A Letter from the Clearys
Newsletter
Fire Watch
Nonstop to Portales
Ado
All My Darling Daughters
In the Late Cretaceous
The Curse of Kings
Even the Queen
Inn
Samaritan
Cash Crop
Jack
The Last of the Winnebagos
Service for the Bu
...more
Liviu Szoke
Da, doar două stele, volumul 2 mi s-a părut chiar mai slab decât primul. Povestirile premiate sau nominalizate la Hugo sau Nebula mi se par destul de slabe ca să încep să nu mai consider un criteriu incontestabil de valoare aceste două premii. O fi Connie Willis cea mai premiată autoare de SF, dar pe mine 95 % din povestirile cuprinse în cele două volume apărute până acum la Nemira pur și simplu nu m-au impresionat.
Thomas
Jul 29, 2016 Thomas rated it really liked it
Ms. Willis has done a lot of research into the bombings of London during World War II. This is evident through her inclusion of three (three!) different stories in this collection that have some connection to that theme. “The Winds of Marble Arch” is one; “Night Watch” is another; and “Jack” rounds out that triptych of stories.

Now, am I complaining? Heck no! Ms. Willis is a fine, extraordinary writer, and she has a knack for writing stories that are a lot like those zany romantic comedies from t
...more
Kat  Hooper
Jul 09, 2012 Kat Hooper rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
I read an audio version of The Winds of Marble Arch (not the "Other Stories")

Originally posted at FanLit.

Tom and his wife are visiting London so Tom can attend an academic conference while his wife goes shopping with a friend. When Tom takes the Tube to the conference, he feels a strange wind in the Underground. It’s more than just the normal drafts created by trains coming and going; this wind smells ancient and deadly and makes him feel afraid. Skipping the conference, and forgetting to buy th
...more
Jess
Apr 25, 2009 Jess rated it it was amazing
I'm giving this one five stars, not because all the stories were perfect, but because taken as a whole, the collection presents a fabulous variety. Some of the stories are science fiction (like "Cash Crop"), some are contemporary with odd little twists (like "Just Like the Ones We Used to Know"), some have time travel (like "Fire Watch," which has the added bonus of a Doomsday Book reference), and one is so downright creepy I'd like to forget it. Some short story collections feel awkward, not be ...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
I'm not a fan of short stories and novellas. I never really enjoy them because they are so... short! There is hardly time for character or plot developement and I always feel that something is lacking.

Now when the stories are written by Connie Willis... Her short stories and novellas are really condensed version of her novels. She is such a fantastic writer that she manages to develop a plot in only a few pages. I think what I love most about her writing is that the story doesn't usually make m
...more
Raquel Laforet
Jul 16, 2015 Raquel Laforet rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
De los relatos de Connie Willis yo haría dos secciones: los que son temas recurrentes en el resto de sus obras y por tanto son buenos, y los que son más originales y directamente son geniales.

Hay un par de relatos sobre el Blitz; unos cuantos más de romances casuales, divertidos y con un toque ligero de ciencia que da la historia; muchos relatos navideños (y cuando hablo de Navidad hablo de religión además de la festividad); y esto sólo entre los temas recurrentes. A mí, algunos de los original
...more
Meg Leader
I hate giving Connie Willis three stars.

I've read her books for years and usually grab them as soon as they come out. I don't know if I missed this collection when it first came out, or by passed it before I expected the issue that happened. Either way, I decided to read it now.

I realized many, many years ago that I do not like reading collections of short stories. Five or six in a row? fine. Story after story....eh?

I was good with Connie's collection for about 500 pages - so, yes, I really l
...more
Althea Ann
Aug 22, 2012 Althea Ann rated it it was amazing
If you are a fan of Connie Willis, you will like this book. You will also have read a great deal of it before.
I believe, however, that this is the most comprehensive collection of Willis' short fiction out there. it's got just a ton of stuff... and it weighs a ton.
It'd be a great introduction to Willis' work, and it's a must for completists.
Wealhtheow
Apr 25, 2010 Wealhtheow rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I love Connie Willis, but her rapid-fire dialog and interweaving plots start to feel a little tiring after the fifth or sixth short story in a row. This is definitely not a book to read all in one week.
Beatriz
Jan 07, 2008 Beatriz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wishlist
Excellent collection of Connie Willis's short stories, including some hard to find. Loved "Newsletter," a Christmas story I'd never read of hers. As usual, "Chance" is my favorite short story of all time, but "Daisy in the Sun" is also unforgettable and "The Last of the Winnebagos."
Martha
Jan 01, 2009 Martha rated it it was amazing
Well up to the usual Connie Willis standard, which is very high! Besides the stories themselves, I enjoyed her introduction very much, in which she talks about her favorite things....
Rachel
Dec 24, 2007 Rachel marked it as to-read
recommended on ATC....we'll see if it pans out.
Melanie
Oct 21, 2016 Melanie rated it it was amazing
You can't do better than a compilation of Connie Willis' stories, and this is the biggest volume. It has nearly all her best stories (notable exclusions are 'All Seated on the Ground' and 'Spice Pogram', two of my favorites). The reason why Willis is my favorite living author is because, even though her work is classified as science fiction, it often takes a broader definition than the norm. Many of her stories are screwball comedies, and the ones that are more dramatic than comedic have a ...more
James
Oct 26, 2016 James rated it really liked it
Great little compilation. I especially enjoyed the tale with the subway that still remembers World War II bombing raids. The winds never forget. Creepy. Some repeats from other anthologies. A decent intro to Connie Willis, though nothing beats her Doomsday Book!
Lara
Oct 01, 2016 Lara rated it really liked it
She's SO GOOD. How can everything she writes be so darned good???
Adrienne
Dec 04, 2011 Adrienne rated it really liked it
As usual, short story anthologies are notoriously difficult for me to read, since I never love all of the stories and skip the ones that don't grab my interest. Still, this one showed a very wide variety of the types of writing that Connie Willis can do.

Here are the ones that I read, with commentary about those that stood out. I didn't make it through all of them since it's quite a big book.

Stories I loved:
- The Last of the Winnebagos: Loved it. Loved. Almost made me cry. Want to re-read it.
- A
...more
Julia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Estibaliz79
May 20, 2016 Estibaliz79 rated it it was amazing
In all honesty, maybe the top five stars rating is a little bit too much, specially when you take every story individually, but the whole level of this book, as it happens with all the Willis' writing is just top notch, whether you love every individual piece or just like it... you might feel kind of mild towards some of them, but very rarely hate them (I'd almost dare to say that's impossible).

Extraordinary imagination and narrative, all kind of feelings are triggered for this substantial colle
...more
Kate
Nov 08, 2010 Kate rated it really liked it
Some stories in this collection are repeats of stories in other collections. I'm not repeating them here, sorry!

"The Winds of Marble Arch" is the story that the collection is named for. It was a good story- set in London, and told the story that... pretty much suffering can be felt. It lingers. Not my favorite of her work, but made for a good mystery.

"Blued Moon," is utterly zany and fun! One of her "screwball comedy" stories. They always make me smile.

"Just Like the Ones We Used to Know" had m
...more
Michelle
Sep 16, 2011 Michelle rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful collection of short stories/novellas by Connie Willis that fall in the fantasy/science fiction/speculative fiction genres. The title story "Winds of Marble Arch" keys off of the London Underground where Tom experiences flashes from the past from the Blitz and other horrors which seem to be affecting his current life but finds that hope is present, if he looks hard enough. She makes fun of the Christmas newsletter in "Newsletter" adding in an alien takeover that makes everyone ...more
Kaethe
Jul 17, 2014 Kaethe rated it it was amazing
I'm about halfway through this collection. Willis is amazing. She is the best writer of screwball comedy alive, but she also has amazing range and depth. The title story is a clear-eyed story about love in middle age, while "The Curse of Kings" is a short thriller as full of twists as Law and Order, and "Even the Queen" is just one of the best stories ever written.
Now I got to look up some Jack Williamson, because of Willis things he's a good writer, he must be great.

***

I think "Last of the Win
...more
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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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“Actually, writers have no business writing about their own works. They either wax conceited, saying things like: 'My brilliance is possibly most apparent in my dazzling short story, "The Cookiepants Hypotenuse."' Or else they get unbearably cutesy: 'My cat Ootsywootums has given me all my best ideas, hasn't oo, squeezums?” 63 likes
“I was on a walking tour of Oxford colleges once with a group of bored and unimpressable tourists. They yawned at Balliol's quad, T.E. Lawrence's and Churchill's portraits, and the blackboard Einstein wrote his E=mc2 on. Then the tour guide said, 'And this is the Bridge of Sighs, where Lord Peter proposed (in Latin) to Harriet,' and everyone suddenly came to life and began snapping pictures. Such is the power of books.” 26 likes
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