THE WINDS OF MARBLE ARCH AND OTHER STORIES by Connie Willis. Cover by John Jude Palencar. Burton, MI; Subterranean Press; 2007. 1st edition trade hardcover.
Comprehensive new collection of Connie Willis. 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 Santas, tube stations, choir practice, the post office, the green light on Daisy's dock, weddings, divorces, death, and assorted plagues, from scarlet fever to "It's a Wonderful Life." And a dog.
Famous for her "sure-hand plotting, unforgettable characters, and top-notch writing," Willis has been called, "the most relentlessly delightful science fiction writer alive," and there are numerous examples here. Among them, Willis's most famous stories -- the Hugo- and Nebula-Award-winning "Fire Watch" and "Even the Queen" and "The Last of the Winnebagos" -- along with undiscovered gems like Willis's heartfelt homage to Jack Williamson, "Nonstop to Portales." Her magical Christmas stories are here, too, from "Newsletter" to "Just Like the Ones We Used to Know..." which last year was made into the TV movie, Snow Wonder, starring Mary Tyler Moore.
Subterranean Press has collected stories from throughout Willis's career, from early ones like "Cash Crop" and "Daisy, in the Sun," right up to her newest stories, including the wonderful "The Winds of Marble Arch." There's literally something for everyone here. If you're a diehard Willis fan, you'll be delighted with hard-to-find treasures like the until-now uncollected, "The Soul Selects Her Own Society..." If you've never read Connie Willis, this is your chance to discover "A Letter from the Clearys" and, well, "Chance." To say nothing of, "At the Rialto," the funniest story ever written about quantum physicists. And Willis's chilling, "All My Darling Daughters."
Tentative Table of Contents:
In Which May be Found Personal Correspondence, Travel Guides, References to Royalty, Weather Reports, Parking Fines, and Other Violations, including Matters of Life and Death (and Afterwards), an Epiphany or Two, and an Appendix.
The Winds of Marble Arch (*),
Just Like the Ones We Used to Know (*).
A Letter from the Clearys,
Nonstop to Portales (*).
Parking Fines and Other Violations:
All My Darling Daughters,
In the Late Cretaceous.
The Curse of Kings (*),
Even the Queen,
Matters of Life and Death:
Cash Crop (*),
The Last of the Winnebagos.
Service for the Burial of the Dead,
The Soul Selects Her Own Society... (*).
At the Rialto,
* previously uncollected
From Publishers Weekly (Starred Review):
:"Willis makes brilliant short fiction look easy in this collection of 23 novellas and short stories, which display a powerful range of sensibility, from poignant tenderness ('Inn') and heartbreak ('Samaritan') to close-to-the-bone satire ('Even the Queen') and blackest savagery ('All My Darling Daughters')."
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
"Along with her writing skills, the breadth of knowledge—scientific as well as religious and literary—packed into each of Willis' stories will awe readers. Her stories are both pompous and populist, touching upon everything from Shakespeare, Christmas, 1940s movies, love and death, marriage and divorce, and popular music and television to the latest developments in physics and how to properly cook a goose... In The Winds of Marble Arch, Willis' love for her craft and for the vagaries of the human heart—of which she so writes so ably—is on ample display."
"There is a great variety of Willis' work represented here, so whether you're a die-hard fan or just starting, this book cannot possibly disappoint."
Fine in fine dj. Massive 700 page collection. A bargain at the price.