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To Say Nothing of the Dog
Connie Willis
Bantam Spectra Books, 434 pages

To Say Nothing of the Dog
Connie Willis
Connie Willis was born in 1945 in Denver, CO. Her first SF publication was "The Secret of Santa Titicaca" published in Worlds of Fantasy, the Winter 1970-71 issue. For her first novel, she collaborated with Cynthia Felice on Water Witch. She has won Hugo and Nebula Awards for Fire Watch, "The Last of the Winnebagos", Doomsday Book and "Even the Queen" A Hugo Award for "Death on the Nile" and Nebula Awards for "A Letter for the Clearys" and "At the Rialto".

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SF Site Review: To Say Nothing of the Dog

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A review by Margo MacDonald

From the moment this book begins, you can tell it's going to be something wonderful. Willis draws you in right away and continues to wind the threads of her plot around you until you are as caught up as one of the characters.

But don't let me lead you to believe that this is a complicated book. It's not. Willis cleverly combines the romantic ideals of Victorian novels, the twists and turns of classic mystery novels, a touch of the thrill of war novels, with the possibilities of science fiction. The way in which the author interweaves these elements is masterful indeed -- but for all that, the book is really a fun and entertaining read. The author's enthusiasm seems to shine through the writing which adds to the enjoyment factor for me.

The hero of the story stumbles through time and tea parties searching for one of the lost treasures of Coventry Cathedral. Suffering from time-lag (a sort of malady one gets from too much time travel whose main symptoms are the spouting of flowery poetry at inappropriate times and a tendency to fall in love with the first person one sees), our intrepid historian nearly destroys the time-space continuum while, of course, merely trying to set things right. The cast of characters he encounters represent various well-loved "types" (the eccentric professor, the bossy matron, the well-read butler) but their very familiarity makes them endearing. The plot chases through several types of adventures from punting on the Thames through World War II bombings to the drowning of cats and spiritualist table-tapping. And just like time and space, every little thing connects by the end through some twist of plot -- or the flap of a butterfly's wing.

Interwoven with humour, wit and unfailing romanticism, this book is a pure pleasure which leaves you feeling as relaxed and satisfied as a picnic on a green lawn by a rolling river on a warm summer's day... hmmm... and maybe just a touch time-lagged.

Copyright © 1998 by Margo MacDonald

Margo has always been drawn toward fantasy and, at the age of 5, decided to fill her life with it by pursuing a career as a professional actress. Aside from theatre (and her husband), Margo's passion has been for books. Her interests are diverse and eclectic, but the bulk fall within the realm of speculative fiction. She tells us that her backlog has reached 200 books and she's ready to win the lottery and retire.

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