Connie Willis

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Connie Willis
Connie Willis by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Connie Willis at WonderCon, 2017
BornConstance Elaine Trimmer
(1945-12-31) December 31, 1945 (age 73)
Denver, Colorado, US
OccupationWriter
NationalityAmerican
EducationB.A., 1967
Alma mater Colorado State College
Periodc. 1978–present
GenreScience fiction, social satire, comedy of manners, comic science fiction
Subject Time travel; War, especially World War II; Heroism; Courtship; Mores
Literary movementSavage Humanism [1]
Notable works Doomsday Book , To Say Nothing of the Dog , Blackout/All Clear , "The Last of the Winnebagos"
Notable awards Damon 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 awards than any other writer [2] —most recently the "Best Novel" Hugo and Nebula Awards for Blackout/All Clear (2010). [3] She was inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009 [4] [5] and the Science Fiction Writers of America named her its 28th SFWA Grand Master in 2011. [6]

Science fiction genre of fiction

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction, typically dealing with imaginative concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific and other innovations, and has been called a "literature of ideas".

Fantasy genre of literature, film, television and other artforms

Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often inspired by real world myth and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, television, graphic novels and video games.

Hugo Award set of awards given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year

The Hugo Awards are a set of literary awards given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The awards are named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and were officially named the Science Fiction Achievement Awards until 1992. Organized and overseen by the World Science Fiction Society, the awards are given each year at the annual World Science Fiction Convention as the central focus of the event. They were first given in 1953, at the 11th World Science Fiction Convention, and have been awarded every year since 1955. Over the years that the award has been given, the categories presented have changed; currently Hugo Awards are given in more than a dozen categories, and include both written and dramatic works of various types.

Contents

Several of her works feature time travel by history students at a faculty of the future University of Oxford—sometimes called the Time Travel series. [7] 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), as well as the two-part novel Blackout/All Clear (2010). [7] All four won the annual Hugo Award but Doomsday Book and Blackout/All Clear won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. [3]

Time travel is the concept of movement between certain points in time, analogous to movement between different points in space by an object or a person, typically using a hypothetical device known as a time machine. Time travel is a widely-recognized concept in philosophy and fiction. The idea of a time machine was popularized by H. G. Wells' 1895 novel The Time Machine.

University of Oxford Collegiate research university in Oxford, England

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two 'ancient universities' are frequently jointly called 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Oxford has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

"Fire Watch" is a science fiction novelette by American writer Connie Willis. The story, first published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in February 1982, involves a time-traveling historian who goes back to the Blitz in London, to participate in the fire lookout at St. Paul's Cathedral.

Early life

Willis is a 1967 graduate of Colorado State College, now the University of Northern Colorado, where she completed degrees in English and Elementary Education. [8] [9] 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.[ citation needed ]

University of Northern Colorado

The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) is a public research university in Greeley, Colorado. The university was founded in 1889 as the State Normal School of Colorado and has a long history in teacher education. Approximately 12,000 students are enrolled in six colleges. Extended campus locations in are in Loveland, Denver, and Colorado Springs. UNC’s 19 athletic teams compete in NCAA Division I athletics.

Greeley, Colorado Home Rule Municipality in Colorado, United States

Greeley is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Weld County, Colorado, United States. Greeley is in northern Colorado and is situated 49 miles (79 km) north-northeast of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. According to a July 2015 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the city is 100,883, and a 2014 population estimate made Greeley the 12th-most populous city in Colorado. Greeley is a major city of the Front Range Urban Corridor.

Career

Connie Willis at Clarion West, 1998 ConnieWillisCW98 wb.jpg
Connie Willis at Clarion West, 1998

Willis's first published story was "The Secret of Santa Titicaca" in Worlds of Fantasy , Winter 1970 (December). [10] At least seven stories followed (1978–81) before her debut novel, Water Witch by Willis and Cynthia Felice, published by Ace Books in 1982. [10] After receiving a National Endowment for the Arts grant that year, she left her teaching job and became a full-time writer. [11]

Cynthia Felice is an American science fiction writer. She is best known for her complex, carefully plotted stories and expansive universes.

Ace Books American specialty publisher of science fiction and fantasy books

Ace Books is an American specialty publisher of science fiction and fantasy books. The company was founded in New York City in 1952 by Aaron A. Wyn and began as a genre publisher of mysteries and westerns. It soon branched out into other genres, publishing its first science fiction (sf) title in 1953. This was successful, and science fiction titles outnumbered both mysteries and westerns within a few years. Other genres also made an appearance, including nonfiction, gothic novels, media tie-in novelizations, and romances. Ace became known for the tête-bêche binding format used for many of its early books, although it did not originate the format. Most of the early titles were published in this "Ace Double" format, and Ace continued to issue books in varied genres, bound tête-bêche, until 1973.

National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an independent agency of the United States federal government that offers support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence. It was created by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. The NEA has its offices in Washington, D.C. It was awarded Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre in 1995, as well as the Special Tony Award in 2016.

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." [12]

Gary K. Wolfe Science fiction scholar, critic and editor

Gary K. Wolfe is an American science fiction editor, critic and biographer. He is an emeritus Professor of Humanities in Roosevelt University's Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies.

Science fiction convention

Science fiction conventions are gatherings of fans of the speculative fiction genre, science fiction. Historically, science fiction conventions had focused primarily on literature, but the purview of many extends to such other avenues of expression as films, television, comics, animation, and games.

Billy Crystal American actor

William Edward Crystal is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, director, and television host. He gained prominence in the 1970s and 80s for television roles as Jodie Dallas on the ABC sitcom Soap and as a cast member and frequent host of Saturday Night Live. He then became a Hollywood film star during the late 1980s and 1990s, appearing in the critical and box office successes The Princess Bride (1987), Throw Momma from the Train (1987), When Harry Met Sally... (1989), City Slickers (1991), Mr. Saturday Night (1992) and Analyze This (1999), and providing the voice of Mike Wazowski in the Monsters, Inc. films starting in 2001.

Willis is known for writing "romantic 'screwball' comedy in the manner of 1940s Hollywood movies." [13]

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 Heinlein's "Jerry Was a Man", while "Blued Moon" is similarly reminiscent of Heinlein's "The Year of the Jackpot".

2006 Hugo Awards ceremony

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. [14] [15] [16] Ellison subsequently complained that Willis refused to acknowledge his apology. [14]

Religious beliefs

Willis is a Christian. In 1996, Willis wrote, "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." [17]

Awards

Hugo Awards

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

Wins

Nominations

Nebula Awards

Wins

Nominations

Locus Awards

Wins

Nomination

Arthur C. Clarke Awards

Nominations

World Fantasy Awards

Nominations

John W. Campbell Memorial Award

Win

British Science Fiction Association Award

Nomination

Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award

Bibliography

Novels and novellas

Short story collections

Short stories

Other

Essays

Edited

Critical studies and reviews of Willis' work

De Lint, Charles (Aug 2000). "Review of Miracle and other Christmas stories". Books to Look For. F&SF . 99 (2): 22–25.

See also

Related Research Articles

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<i>Fire Watch</i> (book) book by Connie Willis

Fire Watch is a book of short stories by Connie Willis, first published in 1984, that touches on time travel, nuclear war, the end of the world, and cornball humour.

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<i>The Nebula Awards 18</i>

The Nebula Awards #18 is an anthology of science fiction short works edited by American writer Robert Silverberg. It was first published in hardcover by Arbor House in October 1983; a paperback edition with cover art by Gary LoSasso was issued by Bantam Books in September 1984.

<i>Terry Carrs Best Science Fiction of the Year</i> book by Terry Carr

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<i>Nebula Awards 33</i>

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References

  1. Sawyer, Robert J. (April 29, 2008). "The Savage Humanists". Robert J. Sawyer . Retrieved June 16, 2013. 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)...
  2. Merrick, Helen. "Nebula Awards Interview: Connie Willis". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
  3. 1 2 "sfadb : Connie Willis Awards". www.sfadb.com. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  4. "EMP|SFM Announces its 2009 Science Fiction Hall of Fame Inductions". empsfm.org. 2009-08-14. Archived from the original on 2009-08-14. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
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  11. "Connie Willis: The Facts of Death", Locus , January 2003, p. 7.
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  14. 1 2 "Sci-Fi Awards Show Marred By Boorish Groping". August 30, 2006. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  15. Larry Sanderson (July 9, 2011). "Hugo Awards – Harlan and Connie – 2006". YouTube.
  16. "Don't Let Harlan Ellison Hear This" . Retrieved June 14, 2017.
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