Impossible Things by Connie Willis


Science Fiction

Impossible Things Impossible ThingsConnie Willis; Spectra 1993WorldCat

Connie Willis wrote many short stories in the 1980’s and 1990’s for the science fiction magazines of the time. In this collection of eleven short stories, we are given a wide look at her talent. She covers the possible future (“Ado”), the near past (“Jack”), and the far past (“Winter’s Tale”) in these stories. She sees genetic disasters (“The Last Winnebago”) and genetic boons (“Even the Queen”). She writes serious tales (“Schwarzschild Radius”), quiet tales that take the reader by surprise (“Chance”), and screwball comedy (“Spice Pogrom”). She tackles the world of education (“In the Last Cretacious”), experimentation (“Time Out”), and scientific education conferences (“At the Rialto”).

I read this collection when it was first published in the 1990’s. I believe this is the book that introduced me to her work. This was all it took for me to be hooked. Since then Willis has always rated high on my lists. Her mind bounces all over the place.

In “The Last Winnebago” and “Ado” she takes conditions that currently exist and draws them out to a believable conclusion. Wait until you see what happens to Shakespeare in “Ado”. I wanted to cheer the first time I read “Even the Queen”. Now, over ten years later, her dream in that story is coming closer. Willis herself is a busy wife and mother to her own family as well as a dreamer/writer. That is what makes her wives in “Chance” and “Time Out” so believable. In “Time Out” the husband and children are real to life as well.

I imagine she spends a lot of time laughing at the silliness of life as well. It shows up in stories like “Spice Pogrom” (a favorite of mine), “Time Out”, “The Last Crustaceous” and “At the Rialto”. That doesn’t prevent her from contemplating serious subjects such as in “Schwarzschild Radius”. “Jack” takes a serious subject and throws an unusual twist to it.

You don’t have to be a science fiction reader to appreciate Connie Willis. She looks at humans and writes about what could be or could have been like “Winter’s Tale”. If you haven’t tried any of her work yet, start with Impossible Things. These stories show the evidence of the quality of her work.

More books by Connie Willis

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