Connie Willis has won six Nebula Awards (more than any other science fiction writer), six Hugo Awards, and for her first novel, Lincoln's Dreams, John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Her novel Doomsday Book won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards, and her first short-story collection, Fire Watch, was a New York Times Notable Book. Her other works include To Say Nothing of the Dog, Bellwether, Impossible Things, Remake, Uncharted Territory and Miracle and Other Christmas Stories. Ms. Willis lives in Greeley, Colorado, with her family and is hard at work on her next novel, Passage.
This new book by Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning author Willis ( Lincoln's Dreams ) is an intelligent and satisfying blend of classic science fiction and historical reconstruction. Kivrin, a history student at Oxford in 2048, travels back in time to a 14th-century English village, despite a host of misgivings on the part of her unofficial tutor. When the technician responsible for the procedure falls prey to a 21st-century epidemic, he accidentally sends Kivrin back not to 1320 but to 1348--right into the path of the Black Death. Unaware at first of the error, Kivrin becomes deeply involved in the life of the family that takes her in. But before long she learns the truth and comes face to face with the horrible, unending suffering of the plague that would wipe out half the population of Europe. Meanwhile, back in the future, modern science shows itself infinitely superior in its response to epidemics, but human nature evidences no similar evolution, and scapegoating is still alive and well in a campaign against ``infected foreigners.''p. 204 This book finds villains and heroes in all ages, and love, too, which Kivrin hears in the revealing and quietly touching deathbed confession of a village priest. (June)
"A stunning novel that encompasses both suffering and hope. . . .
The best work yet from one of science fiction's best
writers."--The Denver Post
"Splendid work--brutal, gripping and genuinely harrowing, the product of diligent research, fine writing and well-honed instincts, that should appeal far beyond the normal science-fiction constituency."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"The world of 1348 burns in the mind's eye, and every character alive that year is a fully recognized being. . . . It becomes possible to feel . . . that Connie Willis did, in fact, over the five years Doomsday Book took her to write, open a window to another world, and that she saw something there."--The Washington Post Book World
A time-traveling history student is trapped in the Middle Ages, dangerously close to the onset of the Black Plague. Her rescuers in 21st-century Oxford battle their own deadly epidemic to reach her in time. The author of Lincoln's Dreams ( LJ 4/15/87) balances two storylines with exquisite skill as she depicts a pair of closely knit communities--each facing an unknown and frightening enemy. Willis uses the language of time travel and advanced technologies to speak of human concerns, finding parallels that transcend time in the hopes, struggles, and fears of her modern and medieval characters. The clarity and consistency of her writing, as well as her deft storytelling ability, place her among this decade's most promising writers. A priority purchase.