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Constance Elaine Trimmer Willis (born 31 December 1945) is an Americamarker science fiction writer.

She has won, among other awards, ten Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards. Willis most recently won a Hugo Award for All Seated on the Ground (August 2008). Willis is a 1967 graduate of Colorado State College, now the University of Northern Coloradomarker. She lives in Greeley, Coloradomarker with her husband Courtney Willis, a professor of physics at the University of Northern Coloradomarker. She also has one daughter, Cordelia. Connie Willis was the 2009 inductee to the Science Fiction Museum and Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

Willis is known for her accessible prose and likable characters. She has written several pieces involving time travel by history students and faculty of the future University of Oxfordmarker. These pieces include her Hugo Award-winning novels Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog and the short story "Fire Watch", found in the short story collection of the same name. She is currently working on another book set in this universe, to be published as a two book set. The first volume, Blackout is scheduled for release on February 2, 2010. The second volume, All-Clear, is scheduled to be released six months later.

Writing style

Willis tends to the comedy of manners style of writing. Her protagonists are typically beset by single-minded people pursuing illogical agendas, such as attempting to organize a bell-ringing session in the middle of a deadly epidemic (Doomsday Book), or frustrating efforts to analyze Near-death experiences by putting words in the mouths of interviewees (Passage).

Other themes and stylistic devices include:
  • a scientist as protagonist (the main theme of Bellwether, but also present in Uncharted Territory, Passage, and—to a lesser degree—the Fire Watch universe stories)
  • an aversion to rampant political correctness (notably the over-appreciation of indigenous cultures in Uncharted Territory, anti-smoking stances in Bellwether, censorship of "addictive substances" in Remake)
  • the inclusion of meticulously researched, detailed trivia related tangentially or symbolically to the narrative (fads in Bellwether, mating customs in Uncharted Territory, old movies in Remake, the Titanicmarker disaster in Passage, famous pairs of ill-fated lovers in To Say Nothing of the Dog)
  • the constant presence of trying to come to terms with grief, loss, and death; this is often attributed to her mother having died while Willis herself was still a child.

Willis is acclaimed as a science-fiction writer, most often exploring the "soft" or social sciences. She weaves technology into her stories only 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.

Among other themes, Uncharted Territory contemplates the extent to which technology shapes expectations of gender; "technology" here ranges from a land rover and binoculars to Bult's online "tchopping" and the pop-up holograms—even socioexozoology. Remake embraces old movies and the computer graphics revolution, as well as intellectual property, digital copyright issues, and the question of public domain.

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 "Year of the Jackpot".


Hugo Awards


Additional Nominations
  • Daisy, In the Sun : short story : 1980
  • The Sidon in the Mirror : novelette : 1984
  • Blued Moon : novelette : 1985
  • Spice Pogrom : novella : 1987
  • At the Rialto : novelette : 1990
  • Time-Out : novella : 1990
  • Cibola : short story : 1991
  • In the Late Cretaceous : short story : 1992
  • Jack : novella : 1992
  • Miracle : novelette : 1992
  • Remake : novel : 1996
  • Passage : novel : 2002
  • Just Like the Ones We Used to Know : novella : 2004

Nebula Awards


Additional Nominations
  • The Sidon in the Mirror : novelette : 1984
  • Schwarzschild Radius : novelette : 1988
  • Jack : novella : 1992
  • Death on the Nile : novelette : 1994
  • Bellwether : novel : 1998
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog : novel : 1999
  • Passage : novel : 2002
  • Just Like the Ones We Used to Know : novella : 2005

Locus Awards

  • Doomsday Book: SF novel: 1993
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog: SF Novel: 1999
  • Passage: SF novel: 2001

Additional Nomination
  • Lincoln's Dreams: Fantasy Novel: 1988

Arthur C. Clarke Awards

  • Doomsday Book: SF novel: 1993
  • Passage: SF novel: 2001

World Fantasy Awards

  • Chance : novella : 1987
  • The Winds of Marble Arch : novella : 2000

John W. Campbell Memorial Award

  • Lincoln's Dreams: 1988

British Science Fiction Association Awards

  • Doomsday Book: SF novel: 1993



Short story collections

Short Stories

  • "Samaritan" (1978)
  • "Capra Corn" (1978)
  • "Daisy, in the Sun" (1979)
  • "And Come from Miles Around" (1979)
  • "The Child Who Cries for the Moon" (1981)
  • "Distress Call" (1981)
  • "A Letter from the Clearys" (1982)
  • "Fire Watch" (1982)
  • "Service For the Burial of the Dead" (1982)
  • "Lost and Found" (1982)
  • "The Father of the Bride" (1982)
  • "Mail Order Clone" (1982)
  • "And Also Much Cattle" (1982)
  • "The Sidon in the Mirror" (1983)
  • "A Little Moonshine" (1983)
  • "Blued Moon" (1984)
  • "Cash Crop" (1984)
  • "Substitution Trick" (1985)
  • "The Curse of Kings" (1985)
  • "All My Darling Daughters" (1985)
  • "And Who Would Pity a Swan?" (1985)
  • "With Friends Like These" (1985)
  • "Chance" (1986)
  • "Spice Pogrom" (1986)
  • "The Pony" (1986)
  • "Winter's Tale" (1987)
  • "Schwarzchild Radius" (1987)
  • "Circus Story" (1987)
  • "Lord of Hosts" (1987)
  • "Ado" (1988)
  • "The Last of the Winnebagos" (1988)
  • "Dilemma" (1989)
  • "Time Out" (1989)
  • "At the Rialto" (1989)
  • "Cibola" (1990)
  • "Miracle" (1991)
  • "Jack" (1991)
  • "In the Late Cretaceous" (1991)
  • "Much Ado About [Censored]" (1991)
  • "Even the Queen" (1992)
  • "Inn" (1993)
  • "Close Encounter" (1993)
  • "Death on the Nile" (1993)
  • "A New Theory Explaining the Unpredictability of Forecasting the Weather" (1993)
  • "Why the World Didn't End Last Tuesday" (1994)
  • "Adaptation" (1994)
  • "The Soul Selects Her Own Society: Invasion and Repulsion: A Chronological Reinterpretation of Two of Emily Dickinson's Poems: A Wellsian Perspective" (1996)
  • "In Coppelius's Toyshop" (1996)
  • "Nonstop to Portales" (1996)
  • "Newsletter" (1997)
  • "Epiphany" (1999)
  • "deck.halls@boughs/holly" (2001)
  • "Just Like the Ones We Used to Know" (2003)
  • "Inside Job" (2005)
  • "D.A." (2007)
  • "All Seated on the Ground" (2007)
  • "New Hat" (2008)


  • Roswell, Vegas, and Area 51: Travels with Courtney (2002)


  • On Ghost Stories (1991)
  • Foreword (1998)
  • Introduction (1999)
  • The Nebula Award for Best Novel (1999)
  • The 1997 Author Emeritus: Nelson Bond (1999)
  • The Grand Master Award: Poul Anderson (1999)
  • A Few Last Words to Put It All in Perspective (1999)



External links

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