Reviews

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

This anthology demolishes any attempt to pigeonhole SFWA Grand Master and Science Fiction Hall of Famer Willis (Blackout/All Clear). Her six Nebula Awards and 10 Hugo Awards confirm her eminence in speculative fiction, but her versatile range and forthright wit wouldn't be out of place in the literary mainstream. The gradual revelations of horror through a young girl's narration in "A Letter from the Clearys" and the madcap comedy of quantum physics playing against randomness in everyday life in "At the Rialto" bear overtones of Shirley Jackson, an acknowledged influence. "Death on the Nile" plumbs identity loss and suggestions of reversion to the past, with no Hercule Poirot to set things straight. Contemporary satire appears in "Even the Queen," wherein the woes of menstruation are used to skewer hippie feminists. Whimsy also appears in "All Seated on the Ground," in which a young woman's experience with a frosty aunt gives her confidence to deal with sulky aliens. Confirmed Willis fans will find interesting reflections in the author's afterwords, and the reader for whom this diverse selection is an introduction will find incentives to build on the acquaintance. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

In her humble and reflective introduction to this collection, spanning 25 years of Hugo and Nebula Award-winning short fiction, Willis describes how she fell so madly in love with sf short stories in her youth that she's still writing them 40 years later. Her passion comes through in the vision and variety represented in this collection, from haunting futures ( A Letter from the Clearys ; The Last of the Winnebagos ) to wryly funny portrayals of scientists, academics, and aliens ( All Seated on the Ground ; At the Rialto ). Famous figures such as Emily Dickinson ( The Soul Selects Her Own Society ) and H. L. Mencken ( Inside Job ) save the world in unexpected ways, and women's issues take on new meaning in Even the Queen. Fire Watch expresses Willis' fascination with the compassion and resilience of Londoners during the Blitz, while the eerie Death on the Nile philosophically confronts the inevitability of death, ideas that come together in Winds of the Marble Arch and are explored in later novels. Three signature award-acceptance speeches are also included. This is the essential Willis collection.--Hutley, Krista Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

This anthology demolishes any attempt to pigeonhole SFWA Grand Master and Science Fiction Hall of Famer Willis (Blackout/All Clear). Her six Nebula Awards and 10 Hugo Awards confirm her eminence in speculative fiction, but her versatile range and forthright wit wouldn't be out of place in the literary mainstream. The gradual revelations of horror through a young girl's narration in "A Letter from the Clearys" and the madcap comedy of quantum physics playing against randomness in everyday life in "At the Rialto" bear overtones of Shirley Jackson, an acknowledged influence. "Death on the Nile" plumbs identity loss and suggestions of reversion to the past, with no Hercule Poirot to set things straight. Contemporary satire appears in "Even the Queen," wherein the woes of menstruation are used to skewer hippie feminists. Whimsy also appears in "All Seated on the Ground," in which a young woman's experience with a frosty aunt gives her confidence to deal with sulky aliens. Confirmed Willis fans will find interesting reflections in the author's afterwords, and the reader for whom this diverse selection is an introduction will find incentives to build on the acquaintance. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Compared to 2012 SFWA Grand Master Willis's full body of work (Blackout/All Clear; Passage; The Doomsday Book), these award-winning short stories tend toward the humorous or sweet, rather than the dark. Willis is at her best skewering scholarship to laugh-out-loud effect in "At the Rialto" and "The Soul Selects Her Own Society: Invasion and Repulsion; A Chronological Reinterpretation of Two of Emily Dickinson's Poems: A Wellsian Perspective." Two other stories, "The Last of the Winnebagos" and "A Letter from the Clearys," reveal dystopian futures through the perceptive study of a single character. "Even the Queen," "All Seated on the Ground," and "Inside Job" sacrifice plausibility for amusement value, while "Death on the Nile" and "The Winds of Marble Arch" are reminiscent of Passage, where metaphysics, sentiment, and the supernatural meet. "Fire Watch" is a perfect introduction to her time-travel novels but adds little for those who've read them. Verdict These shorts were chosen for winning the Hugo and/or the Nebula Award, making the collection most meaningful for fans who know the honors involved, especially the bonus tracks, Willis's Los Angeles Worldcon Guest of Honor and Grand Master speeches. For those who don't care about genre inside baseball, 2007's The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories provides a more comprehensive overview of Willis's illustrious career.-Meredith Schwartz, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.