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Inside Job

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,650 ratings  ·  205 reviews
Professional debunker Rob, proprietor of the Jaundiced Eye magazine, considers himself incredibly lucky to have Kildy as his sole employee. Smart, dedicated, gorgeous, and, thanks to her last movie before she hung up on Hollywood, rich, she's a pleasure to oblige when she says Rob has to witness this channeler Ariaura's act--on her, not the Eye's, nickel--despite channeler ...more
Hardcover, 99 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Subterranean Press (first published 2005)
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3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,650 ratings  ·  205 reviews

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Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Other Connie Willis Lovers
Recommended to Flannery by: My Love of Connie Willis
You might like this book if: You’re a skeptic, you get depressed by this, you know a lot (or a little) about the Scopes Trial, you think séances, channeling, and psychics are a bit of a joke, you love Connie Willis, you are making your way through all the Hugo Award Winners (best novella), you can laugh at yourself for at least thinking once or twice of ordering stuff off of infomercials, or you like H.L. Mencken quotes.

You probably won’t like this book if: You are a creationist, you believe
Althea Ann
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hilarious little novella based around a paradox:

Can the existence of a disembodied spirit prove that a 'channeler' claiming to communicate with spirits is a fraud?

Our protagonist, Rob, is a freelance journalist and professional skeptic. His assistant, Kildy, is a gorgeous and wealthy Hollywood type moonlighting in the field. Rob has a crush on Kildy, but fears she's far out of his league.

It's Kildy who's picked out the latest target for an exposé: The New Age charlatan Ariaura, who channels the
ᴥ Irena ᴥ

Inside Job is a humorous story of a sceptic journalist Rob, who is in the business of debunking, his wonderful assistant Kilby and their strange and new experience with the spirit world.
His lovely employee Kildy left the glamorous life of a film star to work with him. He hasn't got any idea why. She is 'too good to be true' and he keeps waiting for that inevitable day when she'll get bored and leave. Kildy is lovely.

Kildy has found a new target for them to debunk - a woman who claims she ch
4.0 stars. Having been underwhelmed by some of Connie Willis' short fiction, I was surprised at how much I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of a paranormal debunker who comes across a very unusual case. Smart, funny and very well plotted. Recommended!!!

Winner: Hugo Award for Best Novella
Nominee: Locus Award for Best Novella.
Kat  Hooper
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

I have a goal of eventually reading all of the major SFF award winners, including novels, novellas, novelettes, and short stories, so that’s why I picked up Connie Willis’s Inside Job when I saw that it was available on audio. Inside Job won the Hugo Award for Best Novella in 2006. Just a couple of months ago, by the way, Connie Willis received the SFWA Grand Master Award (January 2012).

Inside Job is a story about Rob, a professional debunker of pseudoscie
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A psychic de-bunker, his beautiful assistant, and a very unusual skeptic - H.L. Mencken all combine to debunk Hollywood scam artists pretending to channel mystical spirits.

But for those of you who want to contact great grandpa and find out where he buried the diamonds - then send money now!


Olga Godim
May 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
Too cold, too distant. The writing was OK, but at no point did I care about any of the characters. The story is about charlatans and gurus, mediums of all sorts who perform cheap theatrical tricks, make gullible people believe, and extract good money from their victims for the privilege to be conned. The protagonist makes his living debunking such conmen, and most of the story is a preaching by the author about the harm the unethical quacks inflict on everyone and the need to take them down. The ...more
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Connie Willis is incapable of writing bad stuff. She has a great concept (professional skeptics debunking charlatans), twists (three very good ones, including a very satisfying end twist), and characters right out of a good film noir. Easy to fall into, easy to enjoy, and easy to give 5 stars.
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Purchased as part of a Humble Bundle a while back.
So in this fantastical tale, a professional "skeptic" who exposes charlatans claiming to talk to spirits and channel supernatural beings, is confronted with one who appears to be channeling the deceased atheist H. L. Mencken, who himself railed against charlatans, creationism, God, the Bible, and was champion of the "truth".

While well-written and suspenseful, the worldview bias is crystal clear.
Apr 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
INSIDE JOB won the Hugo for best novella in 2006--didn't even know that was an award. I knew they awarded for short-stories, but not for novella. I wonder how many high quality science-fiction novellas are published every year? Anyway, I enjoyed this breezy, over in a heartbeat book from Connie Willis. I have liked Willis in the past [DOOMSDAY BOOK, TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG] and recently hated her BLACKOUT. I was really let down by BLACKOUT as time-travel and WW2 and Willis seemed a perfect fit ...more
Shawn Thrasher
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another Connie Willis gem. Don't let the length fool you - this pithy little book is chock full of Willis's trademark rich, entanglingly layered, often humorous, occasionally surprising prose. It's a comedy of manners, the manners being a skewering of Hollywood's obession with psychic healing and mediums, the comedy a debunking journalist and his insider actress assistant who discover that a medium may be channeling the ghost of all time greatest debunker of all, H.L. Mencken. And there is a rea ...more
Janine Southard
Feb 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
3.5 stars.

Quick premise summary: A fraudulent medium may or may not have channeled H. L. Mencken, the great skeptic with more famous quotes than Mark Twain (possibly). This causes serious issues for skeptical newspaper owners who both want to believe Mencken has returned...and who couldn't possibly believe in the charlatan who's acting as his channeler.
Quick and cute, with an interesting central conundrum and Willis's typical sharp eye for descriptive detail. (Atypically for Willis, people have cell phones and use them; I appreciate a screwball comedy not centered on preventable communication mix-ups.)
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a book of novella length at about 100 pages. It centers around a medium who appears to be channeling H.L. Mencken and a debunker of fake psychics. It was a light and mildly entertaining read but a week after finishing it I had to go look up what it was about. If you have a couple of hours to kill and nothing else to read this is worth looking at.
Tim Hicks
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, humour
It's good to find another Willis that I liked, since her recent time travel books went beyond being not-good and all the way into annoying. OK< this is from 2005, but it was new to me.

Like the time travel books, this one shows off Willis's research. I wonder if she gets an idea, researches the heck out of it, and then finds a story in it somewhere -- or does it in another sequence.

The story's JUST the right length for the tale it has to tell. I took it along when I went out for a solo dinne
Jul 13, 2009 added it
Rob is a professional skeptic. He makes a living debunking psychics, channelers, mediums and other frauds. One day, his employee, Kildy Ross, urges him to go see Auriaura Keller, who channels a spirit named "Isus", but she won't tell him what's so different about this woman. They go, and, what a surprise! In the midst of the usual New Age b.s. from this so-called spirit, a second voice interrupts, calling the proceedings "hokum" and Keller a "snakecharming preacher". What the heck is going on?

Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
It seems I either give a four star or two star rating with Connie Wills' books. This fell into the latter category.
A potential buyer should be aware that this is a novella only 99 pages long and the publisher’s price tag is hefty for such a slim volume.
A writer for a magazine that exposes fraudulent psychics thinks he’s being duped by the person who led him to the story. The psychic then starts channeling H.L. Mencken. That’s essentially all there is to it outside of the filler. You don’t have t
Rosalyn Eves
Jun 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Connie Willis is one of my favorite sci-fi authors: her To Say Nothing of the Dog is one of my favorite books. So I was thrilled to see a book I hadn't read of hers. And while I would agree with other reviewers that this isn't her best, it was still a fun, enjoyable read.

Rob owns and writes for the Jaundiced Eye, a professional debunking magazine. When his lovely assistant (and sole employee) Kildy brings him reports of a new psychic, he's not exactly interested--the psychics are all the same. B
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a very enjoyable novella. It's about a publisher at a skeptics' publication called Jaundiced Eye who comes across something he can't immediately debunk. The odd thing is, he can't disprove that someone is channeling the famous skeptic, H. L. Mencken.

As Mencken is a hero of his, our narrator, whose only name given is Rob, attacks the problem head-on, doing everything in his power to disprove it as a phenomenon.

It was a short novella, though, so I'm only writing a short review: I enjoyed i
Aug 11, 2009 rated it liked it
The sons of bitches are gaining on us!

connie willis! i love you, connie willis. i love everything you write. i love that you are so intelligent and funny and sharp all the damn time, and i love how you can make all these strange and amazing historical events/figures come to life, and i love that you mention my favorite authors all the time - LIKE JAMES M. CAIN AHHHH "baby in the icebox" reference!! - and i love that your main characters are always people i wish i could know in real life.

but i a
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure the cleverness of this novella will appeal to some. It wasn't enough for me, and even halfway through I just found it a waste of my time. I just put it away. This floored me, because I love Connie Willis. But also, cleverness isn't generally enough for me, anyway.
In the growing attack on Christianity around me, I do have trouble telling when someone is actually attacking my beliefs, and when they are simply setting up a story. Most of the time I can tell the difference. This time, I jus
Lis Carey
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, f-sf, fiction
Rob's a professional debunker, publisher of a skeptic/debunker magazine. At the insistence of his too-good-to-be-true, beautiful, former actress assistant, Kildy, he attends a performance of a hot new channeler. It's all very normal and boring, with the alleged spirit, Isus, spouting typical "insights" and advice--until a different booms out from the psychic "channeling" him. This voice is different, skeptical, belittling--and oddly familiar.

Is Ariaunna channeling H.L. Mencken?

Or is this a new t
Sarah Sammis
Jan 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
At the start of the year I was going through a science fiction binge. On my radar at the time was Connie Willis. I chose two novellas: D. A. and Inside Job.

Rob is a confirmed skeptic. He's sitting in at a psychic reading hoping to debunk an up and coming celebrity psychic. What he sees isn't what he expected. Apparently the psychic is channeling the spirit of a well known skeptic!

The book is short, silly and delightful. I read it in about an hour. I love her humorous books.
May 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This novella might feel slightly dated, since it takes on fraudulent New Age seminars at the peak of their crystal-gazing heyday. But the premise is still hilarious: what if a fraudulent channeller started actually channelling a spirit? And not just any spirit, but the spirit of H.L. Menken, the famous skeptic newspaper reporter who covered the Scopes trial?
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a clever story and a fun read. The humor reminded me of some of Asamov's short stories, though the writing was much more slick. The whole thing flowed like a giant short story: the chapter breaks felt almost forced. I've never read anything else by Willis but, based on her skilled writing here, I look forward to doing so sometime soon.
Anthony Faber
Dec 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Short (around 100 pages) but a bit better than her usual. I really liked "Firewatch" and thought "Domesday Book" was pretty good, but I got the feeling that a lot of her other books came about because she learned about something and felt obliged to use that knowledge in a novel. This doesn't have that feel. I'm not going to spoil it, but skeptics should really enjoy this.
Rhys Wade
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short read and brilliant as hell

I don’t do reviews normally and I hate story recaps. All I’m going to say is that Connie Willis is a literary treasure and you should read this. It’s funny, it’s convoluted, and it’s wildly creative. If you don’t fall in love with this, your heart is a shriveled husk and you are dead to me.
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A quick, fun read (listen). The story has something of the feel of a classic Chandler detective story but in a more humorous vein about a skeptic and professional debunker getting caught in a Catch 22 situation.
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very cute little yarn with the signature Connie Willis ending. I am glad that the author follows her ideas and creates stories, even the little short ones like this. It's good once in a while to have something that's easy and fun to read.
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
A typical rush of brilliance: a spirit is charged to prove that he's for real but the Channeler who is channeling him is a fake.

"What chance do facts and reason possibly have against what people desperately need to believe?"
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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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