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Connie Willis

AKA Constance Elaine Trimmer

Born: 31-Dec-1945
Birthplace: Denver, CO

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Author

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Doomsday Book, Lincoln's Dreams

Author Connie Willis is not well known by name, however her work has earned her numerous Hugo and Nebula awards, more than any other author in the science fiction genre. Her best known novels include Lincoln's Dreams (John W. Campbell Memorial Award), Doomsday Book (Nebula Award), To Say Nothing of the Dog (Hugo), and Passage (Locus Award). Considered one of the current masters of the short story format, she has published a vast amount of short fiction, including the award winners "Even the Queen", "Fire Watch", "The Last of the Winnebagos", "A Letter from the Clearys", "Death on the Nile", and "The Winds of Marble Arch", and "At the Rialto". She is a frequent and popular speaker at science fiction conventions.

Willis was born Constance Elaine Trimmer in 1945. When she was 12 years old her mother died during childbirth. Willis would later relate that this already abrupt and painful transition was made more difficult by hordes of well-meaning relatives who came to her spouting trite platitudes, giving her little comfort and generating a great deal of anger. Instead she found solace in books that showed the reality of coming to terms with death and other difficult experiences, an approach that would shape her own approach to such subjects. Her irritation at the sentiment foisted on her after her mother's death eventually spurred her to tackle topics like near death experience and UFOs, dealing out suspense and mayhem with satirical wit.

Her career path was further shaped by her childhood discovery of Robert A. Heinlein, especially his classic juvenile novel Have Space Suit, Will Travel. She was enamored of his "sense of humor, his down-to-earth approach to the future, and his clever plots", and found in him inspiration for what could be achieved. Her childhood ambition was to grow up and write a sequel to Have Space Suit, Will Travel, and she concedes that, although she did not intend it that way, her To Say Nothing of the Dog nearly fits the bill.

Willis majored in English during college and settled down to teach elementary school, but after the birth of her daughter Cordelia, she hoped to at last launch her writing career. Being both a busy new mother and a literary unknown, she found it slow going, but by the 1980s she had published a number of science fiction and "tawdry true confession" romance stories and was finally working full time. Her dogged persistence had paid off, with her many short story publications building her a readership.

Although her style varies from story to story, to suit the plot, Willis is best known for her satirical humor and a light, breezy tone that belies deeper themes and an impressive complexity of plot. She often compared to P. G. Wodehouse. A frequent Willis theme is time travel.

Husband: Courtney Willis (physicist)
Daughter: Cordelia

    Hugo Best Novelette, for Fire Watch (1983)
    Hugo Best Novella, for The Last of the Winnebagos (1989)
    Hugo Best Novel, for Doomsday Book (1993)
    Hugo Best Short Story, for "Even the Queen: (1993)
    Hugo Best Short Story, for "Death on the Nile" (1994)
    Hugo Best Short Story, for "The Soul Selects Her Own Society..." (1997)
    Hugo Best Novel, for To Say Nothing of the Dog (1999)
    Hugo Best Novel, for The Winds of Marble Arch (2000)
    Hugo Best Novella, for Inside Job (2006)
    Hugo Best Novella, for All Seated on the Ground (2008)
    Hugo Best Novel, for Blackout/All Clear (2011)
    Nebula Best Novelette, for Fire Watch (1983)
    Nebula Best Short Story, for "A Letter from the Clearys" (1983)
    Nebula Best Novella, for The Last of the Winnebagos (1988)
    Nebula Best Novelette, for At the Rialto (1990)
    Nebula Best Novel, for Doomsday Book (1993)
    Nebula Best Short Story, for "Even the Queen" (1993)
    Nebula Best Novel, for Blackout/All Clear (2010)

Official Website:

Author of books:
Water Witch (1982, novel, with Cynthia Felice)
Berserker Base: A Collaberative Novel (1984, novel, with Poul Anderson, Edward Bryant, Stephen R. Donaldson, Larry Niven, Fred Saberhagen, and Roger Zelazny.)
Fire Watch (1985, short stories)
Lincoln's Dream (1987, novel)
Light Raid (1989, novel, with Cynthia Felice)
Doomsday Book (1992, novel)
Impossible Things (1993, short stories)
Uncharted Territory (1994, novel)
Remake (1994, novel)
Bellwether (1996, novel)
Promised Land (1997, novel, with Cynthia Felice)
To Say Nothing of the Dog (1997, novel)
Even the Queen (1998, short stories)
Miracle and Other Christmas Stories (1999, short stories)
Passage (2001, novel)
Roswell, Vegas, and Area 51: Travels with Courtney (2002, non-fiction)
Inside Job (2005, novel)
D.A. (2007, novel)
The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories (2007, short stories)
All Seated on the Ground (2007, novella)
Blackout (2010, novel)
All Clear (2010, novel)

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