Monday, July 18, 2011

Fire Watch

This collection of a dozen short stories is from the earlier part of Connie Willis's career. Most of the stories included were published between 1979 and 1984. Even though all are technically science fiction, they show quite a range for a young author, with their variety of points of view and theme.

I knew very little of what I should expect going into this short story collection. I only knew that the title story had some characters related to the time traveling books that I'd already read, and that St. Paul's Cathedral figured prominently. In fact, St. Paul's was why I read this book now: on my recent trip to London, seeing St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey in particular made me want to read as much fiction and nonfiction about London and England as possible. I'd rather expected most of the stories to be interrelated, but that was not at all the case. As in many short story collections, I liked some and hated others. "All My Darling Daughters" disgusted me and I nearly put down the collection for good there. But I'm glad I continued, because the last story, "Blued Moon," was light and funny and left a smile on my face. Most of the other stories were somewhere in between, making this a decent collection and worth a browse for those interested in '80s science fiction.

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