Connie Willis

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Connie Willis
Connie Willis at WonderCon, 2017
Connie Willis at WonderCon, 2017
BornConstance Elaine Trimmer
(1945-12-31) December 31, 1945 (age 75)
Denver, Colorado, US
OccupationWriter
NationalityAmerican
EducationB.A., 1967
Alma materColorado State College
Periodc. 1978–present
GenreScience fiction, social satire, comedy of manners, comic science fiction
SubjectTime travel; War, especially World War II; Heroism; Courtship; Mores
Literary movementSavage Humanism[1][2]
Notable worksDoomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Blackout/All Clear, "The Last of the Winnebagos"
Notable awardsDamon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award, Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award, and others
SpouseCourtney Willis
ChildrenCordelia Willis
Website
conniewillis.net

Constance Elaine Trimmer Willis (born December 31, 1945), commonly known as Connie Willis, is an American science fiction and fantasy writer. She has won eleven Hugo Awards and seven Nebula Awards for particular works—more major SF awards than any other writer[3]—most recently the "Best Novel" Hugo and Nebula Awards for Blackout/All Clear (2010).[4] She was inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009[5][6] and the Science Fiction Writers of America named her its 28th SFWA Grand Master in 2011.[7]

Several of her works feature time travel by history students at the future University of Oxford—sometimes called the Time Travel series.[8] They are the short story "Fire Watch" (1982, also in several anthologies and the 1985 collection of the same name), the novels Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog (1992 and 1997), and the two-part novel Blackout/All Clear (2010).[8] All four won the annual Hugo Award, and Doomsday Book and Blackout/All Clear won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards,[4] making her the first author to win Hugo awards for all books in a series.

Personal life[edit]

Willis is a 1967 graduate of Colorado State College, now the University of Northern Colorado, where she completed degrees in English and Elementary Education.[9][10] She lives in Greeley, Colorado, with her husband Courtney Willis, a former professor of physics at the University of Northern Colorado. They have one daughter, Cordelia.[11]

In a 1996 interview Willis said, "I sing soprano in a Congregationalist church choir. It is my belief that everything you need to know about the world can be learned in a church choir."[12]

Career[edit]

Connie Willis at Clarion West, 1998

Willis's first published story was "The Secret of Santa Titicaca" in Worlds of Fantasy, Winter 1970 (December).[13] At least seven stories followed (1978–81) before her debut novel, Water Witch by Willis and Cynthia Felice, published by Ace Books in 1982.[13] After receiving a National Endowment for the Arts grant that year, she left her teaching job and became a full-time writer.[14]

Scholar Gary K. Wolfe has written, "Willis, the erstwhile stand-up superstar of SF conventions—having her as your MC is like getting Billy Crystal back as host of the Oscars—and the author of some of the field's funniest stories, is a woman of considerably greater complexity and gravity than her personal popularity reflects, and for all her facility at screwball comedy knock-offs and snappy parody, she wants us to know that she's a writer of some gravity as well."[15]

Willis is known for writing "romantic 'screwball' comedy in the manner of 1940s Hollywood movies."[16]

Much of Willis's writing explores the social sciences. She often weaves technology into her stories in order to prompt readers to question what impact it has on the world. For instance, Lincoln's Dreams plumbs not just the psychology of dreams, but also their role as indicators of disease. The story portrays a young man's unrequited love for a young woman who might or might not be experiencing reincarnation or precognition, and whose outlook verges on suicidal. Similarly, Bellwether is almost exclusively concerned with human psychology.

Other Willis stories explore the so-called "hard" sciences, following in the classic science fiction tradition. "The Sidon in the Mirror" harks back to the interplanetary and interstellar romanticism of the 1930s and 1940s. "Samaritan" is another take on the theme of Robert A. Heinlein's "Jerry Was a Man", while "Blued Moon" is similarly reminiscent of Heinlein's "The Year of the Jackpot".

2006 Hugo Awards ceremony[edit]

At the 2006 Hugo Awards ceremony, Willis presented writer Harlan Ellison with a special committee award. When Ellison got to the podium, Willis asked him "Are you going to be good?" When she asked the question a second time, Ellison put the microphone in his mouth, to the crowd's laughter. He then momentarily put his hand on her left breast.[17][18][19] Ellison subsequently complained that Willis refused to acknowledge his apology.[17]

Awards[edit]

David Hartwell, Charles N. Brown, and Connie Willis pose with the 2008 Hugo Awards
  W   Won   N   Nominated

Novels[edit]

Book / Award Hugo Locus Nebula Ref.
Lincoln's Dreams (1987) N [20]
Doomsday Book (1992) W W W [21]
Remake (1995) N W [a][22]
Bellwether (1996) W N [b][4]
To Say Nothing of the Dog (1998) W W N [23]
Passage (2001) N W N [24][25]
Blackout/All Clear (2011) W W W [c][27][28]

Other awards:

Novellas[edit]

Novella / Award[4] Hugo Locus Nebula
Spice Pogrom (1986) N N
The Last of the Winnebagos (1988) W N W
Time-Out (1989) N N
Jack (1991) N N N
The Winds of Marble Arch (1999) W N
Just Like the Ones We Used to Know (2003) N N N
Inside Job (2005) W N
All Seated on the Ground (2007) W N

Chance (1986) and The Winds of Marble Arch (1999) were nominated for the World Fantasy Award.

Novelettes[edit]

Novelette / Award[4] Hugo Locus Nebula
Fire Watch (1982) W N W
The Sidon in the Mirror (1983) N N N
Blued Moon (1984) N N
All My Darling Daughters (1986) N
Schwarzschild Radius (1988) N
At the Rialto (1989) N N W
Miracle (1991) N N
Death on the Nile (1993)[d] W N N
Adaptation (1994) N
Newsletter (1997) W

Short stories[edit]

Short story / Award[4] Hugo Locus Nebula
Daisy, in the Sun (1979) N
A Letter from the Clearys (1982) W
Cibola (1990) N N
In the Late Cretaceous (1991) N N
Even the Queen (1992) W W W
Close Encounter (1993) W
The Soul Selects Her Own Society (1996)[e] W N

Lifetime achievement[edit]

Willis was presented the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award at the Nebula Awards banquet in May 2012.[7]

Bibliography[edit]

Novels and novellas[edit]

Short story collections[edit]

  • Fire Watch (Oxford time travel series, 1984), whose title story won the 1982 Hugo and Nebula Awards
  • Impossible Things (1993) – contains three Nebula Award winners, two of which also won Hugo Awards
  • Futures Imperfect (1996) – omnibus edition of Uncharted Territory, Remake and Bellwether.
  • Even the Queen: And Other Short Stories (1998) – sound recording of five stories read by Connie Willis including "Even the Queen", "Death on the Nile", and "At the Rialto"
  • Willis, Connie (1999). Miracle and Other Christmas Stories. Bantam Spectra.
  • The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories: A Connie Willis Compendium (2007)
  • Time is the Fire: The Best of Connie Willis The Hugo and Nebula award-winning short fiction (2013). ISBN 978-0-575-13114-9
  • A Lot Like Christmas: Stories (2017) – Omnibus edition combining Miracle and Other Christmas Stories, several additional short stories, and the novellas All About Emily and All Seated On The Ground.
  • Terra Incognita (2018) - Collected edition of Uncharted Territory, Remake, and D.A..

Short stories[edit]

Other[edit]

  • Roswell, Vegas, and Area 51: Travels with Courtney (2002)

Essays[edit]

  • On Ghost Stories (1991)
  • Foreword (1998)
  • Introduction (1999)
  • The Nebula Award for Best Novel (1999)
  • The 1997 Author Emeritus: Nelson Bond (1999)
  • The Grand Master Award: Poul Anderson (1999)
  • A Few Last Words to Put It All in Perspective (1999)
  • Bibliography, including a list of all of her SF short stories and "confessions" stories, collected in the "Limited/Lettered Editions" of The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories: A Connie Willis Compendium
  • A Final Word; Twelve Terrific Things to Read... (Christmas stories); And Twelve to Watch (Christmas movies); all collected in Miracle and Other Christmas Stories

Edited[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Remake was classified as a novel by the Hugos and as a novella by Locus.[4]
  2. ^ Bellwether was classified as a novel by the Nebulas and as a novella by Locus.[4]
  3. ^ Blackout/All Clear was published in two volumes.[26]
  4. ^ Death on the Nile (1993) was classified as a short story by the Hugos and as a novelette by the Nebulas and Locus.[4]
  5. ^ Full title: The Soul Selects Her Own Society: Invasion and Repulsion: A Chronological Reinterpretation of Two of Emily Dickinson's Poems: A Wellsian Perspective title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kelleghan, Fiona (November 2008). "A Definition of Savage Humanism, with Autobiographical Anecdotes". The New York Review of Science Fiction. 21 (243). Archived from the original on August 7, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  2. ^ Sawyer, Robert J. (April 29, 2008). "The Savage Humanists". Robert J. Sawyer (official website). Archived from the original on August 3, 2020. Meet the Savage Humanists: the hottest science-fiction writers working today. They use SF's unique powers to comment on the human condition in mordantly funny, satiric stories... In these pages, you'll find the top names in the SF field: including...Connie Willis (The Doomsday Book)...
  3. ^ Merrick, Helen (March 12, 2012). "Nebula Awards Interview: Connie Willis". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Connie Willis Awards". Science Fiction Awards Database. Locus Science Fiction Foundation. Archived from the original on June 12, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  5. ^ "EMP|SFM Announces its 2009 Science Fiction Hall of Fame Inductions". Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (SFM). August 14, 2009. Archived from the original on August 14, 2009. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  6. ^ Strock, Ian Randal (April 6, 2009). "2009's Science Fiction Hall of Fame Inductees". sfscope.com. Archived from the original on July 10, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Connie Willis: Named a Grand Master in 2011". The Nebula Awards. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Time Travel – Series Bibliography". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on August 27, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  9. ^ Zimmerman, Lisa (February 27, 2013). "UNC Writers' Conference Features Internationally Renowned Sci Fi Author". University of Northern Colorado. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018.
  10. ^ "University Archives: RG18 ALUMNI". University of Northern Colorado: University Archives. January 27, 2002. Archived from the original on January 9, 2009. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  11. ^ Myers, Theresa (January 24, 2001). "Greeley sci-fi writer explores social issues". The Denver Post. Archived from the original on August 4, 2021.
  12. ^ "Connie Willis answers your questions". scifi.com. Archived from the original on June 16, 2005. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Connie Willis – Summary Bibliography". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on February 25, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  14. ^ "Connie Willis: The Facts of Death", Locus, January 2003, p. 7.
  15. ^ Wolfe, Gary K. (March 2001). "Passage". Locus. Oakland, California: Charles N. Brown. 46 (3, issue 482): 21. ISSN 0047-4959. OCLC 610386221.
  16. ^ Kathryn Cramer (2006). Hartwell, David G. (ed.). Year's Best Fantasy 6. Tachyon Publications. ISBN 1-892391-37-6.
  17. ^ a b "Sci-Fi Awards Show Marred By Boorish Groping". August 30, 2006. Archived from the original on August 20, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  18. ^ Larry Sanderson (July 9, 2011). "Hugo Awards – Harlan and Connie – 2006". YouTube. Archived from the original on May 23, 2018. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  19. ^ "Don't Let Harlan Ellison Hear This". Archived from the original on May 22, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  20. ^ a b c "1988 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Archived from the original on December 8, 2018. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  21. ^ a b c "1993 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Archived from the original on November 23, 2007. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  22. ^ a b "1996 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Archived from the original on April 5, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  23. ^ a b "1999 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Archived from the original on August 4, 2009. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  24. ^ a b c "2001 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  25. ^ a b "2002 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Archived from the original on June 14, 2018. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  26. ^ Blackout (Connie Willis) series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database.
  27. ^ "2010 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Archived from the original on May 11, 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
  28. ^ 2011 Hugo and Campbell Awards Winners Archived September 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Locus. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  29. ^ "1992 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Archived from the original on August 14, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  30. ^ "1997 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Archived from the original on April 20, 2016. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  31. ^ "1998 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Archived from the original on April 11, 2016. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  32. ^ A Spadeful of Spacetime publication contents at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  33. ^ Distress Call publication contents at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  34. ^ Distress Call title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database

External links[edit]