Thursday, September 9, 2010

Special Book Review: To Say Nothing of the Dog

**This is an excerpt of a review I wrote for Worthy of Note, a book, movie, and TV blog run by my good friend Publius, and a fabulous resource for the discerning reader and viewer. For the full article please see the above link.

Connie Willis has long been acknowledged by literary critics as one of the premier writers in the science fiction genre, but her taste--while excellent and always worth reading--is not mainstream enough to make her a popular favorite. She is not sci-fi enough for typical readers in that audience nor can her books really be classified as regular fiction and thus draw on that considerable demographic for support. Thus despite wining multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, Ms. Willis remains generally unknown even to dedicated bibliophiles who would appreciate her genius the most.

Out of her impressive oeuvre, the three novels that really stand out to me are Doomsday Book (1992), Bellwether (1996), and To Say Nothing of the Dog (1997), the last of these being my personal favorite and the subject of today's review. Any lover of 19th and Early 20th Century fiction will be delighted by the endless stream of thoughtful literary references, and while this book is mostly a fun romp through the romantic comedy genre, Willis still manages to add depth and urgency to the narrative, elevating it far beyond typical literary homages like Jasper Fford's Thursday Next books. Since this book ranks easily as one of my favorite books of all time and is fairly obscure despite winning Hugo and Locus Awards, I will necessarily be taking a lot of print to describe its considerable merits.

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