Young Bill Young here. Kitty is on duty at her family’s flower shop. (Valentine’s Day don’t ya know.) So I’m your Okie Reads poster today.
No question what I’m going to write about, either: Connie Willis, who has a brand new novel out titled Blackout. This is a book I can’t wait to crack open and start devouring. Problem is, I have family coming into town, and other responsibilities will probably keep me from bedding down with one of my all-time favorite authors this weekend. (Yeah, that double entendre was on purpose!)
Willis is classified as a science fiction/speculative fiction author, but please don’t let that pigeonholing keep you from discovering this great writer. A friend turned me on to her by recommending Lincoln’s Dreams, which was really more about Robert E. Lee’s dreams. I followed up with the time travel novel, Doomsday Book, winner of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. Doomsday is a devastating and poignant work, and it simply doesn’t prepare you for her subsequent time-travel novel, To Say Nothing of the Dog, which has to be the downright funniest book I’ve ever read.
That’s the thing about Willis: the diverse emotions evoked by her words feel true and authentic. And I just know she’s a good soul. Her goodness shines through even when she writes painful, difficult scenes. She loves Christmas, and she actually makes this resident grinch like the holidays while reading her. She’s fascinated by Britain during the blitz, is a dedicated library-user, thinks romance is the cat’s meow, thinks H. L. Mencken said some damn important things, is one of the best darn short story writers ever, and has some astonishing ideas that give her A+ sci-fi credentials. But Willis knows it’s not just about the ideas, however original or unique. To paraphrase a popular political line: It’s the characters stupid! And I really like and care about the people who populate a Willis story. I’m always ready to get on board for the ride.
I can’t wait.