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Uncharted Territory

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,442 ratings  ·  146 reviews
Findriddy and Carson are two explorers sent to Boohte to survey the ridges and scrub-covered hills of the planet. Back home, their adventures are followed by countless breathless fans, but the reality is far less romantic as they deal with dust, nitpicking regulations, and uncooperative aliens. Teamed with a young intern whose specialty is mating customs, and a native guid ...more
Paperback, 149 pages
Published June 1st 1994 by Spectra
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Average rating 3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,442 ratings  ·  146 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
2.5 stars. Uncharted Territory is a short, farcical science fiction novel about a team of explorers of a planet called Boohte that is filled with strange alien life - almost as strange as the relationships between the humans on this planet. Findriddy (Fin) and Carson are two planetary surveyors who embark on a trouble-plagued expedition to map the largely uncharted planet. In an excess of concern about cultural insensitivity and imperialism, the government has imposed some ridiculous constraints ...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Well well well, would you look at that? Here I am, giving 4 stars to a book with a Most Miserable Average Star Rating (M²ATR™)! How very surprising indeed. I mean, it’s not like this happened fairly recently. Nor is it a regular occurrence or anything. Nope, not at all.

Anyhoo and stuff, everyone seems to have read this one wrong, so set the record straight I most graciously shall. (view spoiler)

Okay, so I have to admit that the People of Despicable Book Taste (PoDBT™)
Jul 02, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, american-lit
The best and worst of Connie Willis, in one slim volume! The first half of this book annoyed me so much I almost considered not finishing it. In describing the problems facing interplanetary surveyors Carson and Findriddy, Willis, as she often does, pokes fun at the stupidity of bureaucracy; however, it felt like all the humor in this book totally missed the mark. It was like actually being stuck in line at the DMV as opposed to reading a funny satire about such a situation. But then, Willis do ...more
Nov 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
this is just a tiny novella, but lovely. ever have an itch of cognitive dissonance when you read? it could be lazy, inconsistent writing, or it could be the author skillfully setting you up for a slow realization later on. Whenever I read something by Connie Willis I start out confused, and finish wanting to have her babies.
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This seemed like a good way to try a new author, a book so short, it’s barely longer than a novella. And such a fun cover. The plot has to do with intergalactic surveyors, Fin and Carson, bickering their way through a distant planet. They are accompanied by a native guide with heavy bureaucratic tendencies and a young intern, who specializes in mating rituals of various species. The premise is perfectly set up for some slapstick comedy and sure enough, slapstick comedy peppers the narrative. It ...more
Emilia Barnes
Short and sweet, a treat for Connie Willis fans.
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I love Connie Willis' prose - I was going to reference her masterpiece "Doomsday Book" in passing, which I'd finished just prior to diving into "Uncharted Territory," and it almost turned this into a review of the wrong book. Suffice it to say she writes with the elegance, wit and British flavor of H.H. Munro, but she's from...Colorado? Go figure. Anyhow, the alienness of "Uncharted Territory" just knocked me out of my chair. It took at least two chapters just to wrap my brain around the places, ...more
Just as good as I remembered. Willis deconstructs both sci-fi exploration stories and tales of the old west in one go, while also turning in a fun character study, no mean feat. This is a thoroughly enjoyable novella.
Tim Hicks
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Nah. In the end it turned out to be a mildly interesting plot, but the first half had a problem that turns up in several Willis works: it's frustrating and boring, as nothing much happens. The whole thing with Bult's fines became infuriating.

You could say that the description of the setting never got in the way of the plot. Or that it was just weak, and failed to give us anything we could work with to build a useful mental picture.

Plot twist? I suppose. Saved the story from being a total waste
Melissa McShane
Jul 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
What I love most about this book (now that I've read it many times and its secrets are known to me) is watching the way the plot unfolds in tandem with Ev's talk about sex and mating rituals. It's a contrivance, but Willis's skill with characterization and dialogue makes it work. ...more
2.5 stars

Meh. This was just okay. This novella was more like the short stories from Willis than her epic-length books in both tone and plot. The characters and setting were very typical old-school Sci-Fi. In fact, it felt a little like an excerpt or a short story that would've been featured in a high school English/Literature textbook. The characters felt very just written that way rather than their actions being demonstrative of their personality — lacking a certain level of complexity that I t
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Short story, rife with bureaucracy -- and still a good read, because Willis. Kinda feels like cheating to add this toward the book challenge, since it's so short, but it was a legit book with pages and a cover and everything, so suck it. ...more
Peter Tillman
Jan 25, 2019 rated it liked it
The most memorable part of this short novel/long novella was the cover! Not among Willis's finest. ...more
Meh. This one didn't do much for me. A little bit funny (in places); a little bit interesting (in places). It felt somehow older SF-wise than it's 1994 publishing date. ...more
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Eh. Not Connie Willis' best work. I did like the voices of Findriddy and Carson et al. This is in contrast to the Ursula K. LeGuin classic I just read, in which otherwise promising characters in a lovely complex story were quite monotone. But--damningly--the dustjacket of Uncharted Territory was more exciting than the actual story: "As they survey canyons and cataracts, battle dangers, and discover alien treasures, they will soon find themselves in alien territory of another kind: exploring the ...more
Julie Davis
Jun 11, 2010 rated it really liked it

A short and witty story by Connie Willis. Carson and Findriddy, are planetary surveyors who have their hands full doing a map of uncharted territory on Boohte. The book clearly makes fun of political correctness as the government (nicknamed Big Brother) is intent on being sure that indigenous species have the fullest power possible over their planet. Right down to the point where Bult, the indigenous guide, spends most of his time levying fines for things like "destruction of indigenous
John Defrog
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
I like Connie Willis, but this novella didn’t quite work for me. The premise is nice: planetary surveyors Finriddy and Carson are scouting the planet of Boohte. They’re famous back home because of TV shows based on their adventures, but their reality is unglamorous as they deal with over-the-top govt regulations and an indigenous guide all too eager to enforce them. The book reads like an extraterrestrial Western of sorts, albeit one that serves mainly as a vehicle to (1) satirize govt bureaucra ...more
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, adventure
Great fun, intelligently deceitful, and ever so slightly too long.

Her characters are instantly recognisable for their vim and vigour and resourcefulness, their slightly one-track-minded insistence on things like naming places after them (no matter how forbidden), and for their charming obtuseness in the face of overwhelming evidence. The romantic potential is realised, of course, and the alien frontier mystery solved, but not without just a tad too much repetition of the facts for my liking.

Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Clever and snappy, and avoids the difficulty of Willis's later work where everyone is always interrupting each other for some important call or another. The dynamics of the exploration crew are realistically hilarious, and the commentary on media coverage of romanticized jobs is really funny. I'm glad I found this! ...more
Joanne G.
Connie Willis can't be put into a box. I never know quite what to expect from her, but it's usually entertaining. As was this. Odd, but entertaining.

I read this in the omnibus Imperfect Futures.
Will Boncher
Dec 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Short and cute; finished it in a couple of hours. A few interesting bits, and a couple surprises, but it felt very incomplete.
Vel Veeter
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This is another genre-bending novel by Connie Willis. I haven’t actually read any of her longer or “more important” works, but now I’ve read three of the short ones. I am not sure I have a “sense” of her yet, but I am thinking that a few things she really likes is to challenge genre conventions, to slightly rail against the loss of something within modern culture, explore love and gender and sexuality in light ways, and to put people together in interesting climes.

In this novel, an alien planet
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 A more slapstick-y novella, with a "true SF" setting for a change, in which a pair of planetary surveyors are saddled with bureaucracy, a fan, a slatternly team member and a self-interested local guide. Primarily straight-up satire, though both a deeper and a lighter theme eventually emerge, as well a a running joke with the reader that the players never catch on to. Entertaining and absolutely Willis – a nice, albeit rather trite and nonessential, addition to the canon. ...more
Stephanie Foust
Jul 30, 2020 rated it liked it
This novella about gender roles and political correctness enacted(because of colonialism) didn't chart any new ground.Except for the indigenous being who keeps fining the two explorers for flora and fauna destruction this story was a disappointment . Certainly not up to the standard of Blackout or All Clear or Dooms Day Book. ...more
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this as a new audiobook recording through Hoopla. The novella length lent itself well to my current attention span for stories -- and it was my favorite kind of subtle implied found family workplace romance in space. I would recommend this for a romance reader interested in trying something a little bit different!
Rita	 Marie
May 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-sff
A pleasant, light hearted story. Not the best of Connie Willis, but still fun and with her classic magic touch. But how did I not know until halfway through that Finriddy was female? Did Willis intend that to happen, or was I just being dense?
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Uncharted Territory is a fun story about some explores mapping a new planet, trying to work within a set of rules that are well meaning but open to abuse by the locals. It took me a little while to get into it, but when I did I flew through it. Well worth the read.
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love Connie Willis! Her characters are just so earnest and down to earth, even when they are sheep or aliens. And her writings are so matter of fact that it allows you to just sit back and enjoy knowing you'll be entertained and never disappointed. It's like Americana, only on other planets. ...more
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun alien Wild West adventure.

I really like the bizarre nomenclature the author uses for off world flora and fauna. Her ability to obscure sex/gender so long into the book made it even more interesting.
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Carmichael Librar...: Uncharted Territory Discussion 4 2 Dec 19, 2020 04:52AM  

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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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