Firewatch by Connie Willis is the FIRST short story collection I've read for the 2012 Short Story Reading Challenge.
I am SO GLAD this was not my first introduction to Connie Willis. I've discovered that I enjoy her novels so much more than her short stories.
With one little exception, the title story "Fire Watch."
Fire Watch is the FIRST story set in the world of Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Blackout and All Clear. It introduces readers to the alternate-world where time travel is the way historians LEARN their subject. Readers meet Mr. Dunworthy and Kivrin, though the narrator is another historian, one who is accidentally going to St. Paul's during the London Blitz of 1940. His original assignment had him traveling WITH St. Paul! Quite a difference! This novella is great. It won both a Hugo Award and Nebula Award. And I would recommend this story to just about anyone who likes science fiction and time travel.
There are no guidelines for historians, and no restrictions either. I could tell everyone I'm from the future if I thought they would believe me. I could murder Hitler if I could get to Germany. Or could I? Time paradox talk abounds in the history department, and the graduate students back from their practica don't say a word one way or the other. Is there a tough, immutable past? Or is there a new past every day and do we, the historians, make it? And what are the consequences of what we do, if there are consequences? And how do we dare do anything without knowing them? Must we interfere boldly, hoping we do not bring about all our downfalls? Or must we do nothing at all, not interfere, stand by and watch St. Paul's burn to the ground if need be so that we don't change the future? All those are fine questions for a late-night study session. They do not matter here. I could no more let St. Paul's burn down than I could kill Hitler. No, that is not true. I found that out yesterday in the Whispering Gallery. I could kill Hitler if I caught him setting fire to St. Paul's. (12-13)You may read the novelette online.
Other stories in the collection include:
- Service for the Burial of the Dead
- Lost and Found
- All My Darling Daughters
- The Father of the Bride
- A Letter From the Clearys
- And Come from Miles Around
- The Sidon in the Mirror
- Daisy, in the Sun
- Mail-Order Clone
- Blued Moon
I would say that most of the other stories just weren't me. Service for the Burial of the Dead, Lost and Found, A Letter from the Clearys, and And Comes from Miles Around while not quite wowing me had some enjoyable qualities to them.
My least favorite has to be All My Darling Daughters.
Read Fire Watch
- If you're a fan of Connie Willis
- If you're a fan of short stories in the science fiction and fantasy genres
- If you're wanting to read the first Willis time-travel story
© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews