Highways to the End of Time
“Fire Watch,” sometimes given mistakenly as “Firewatch,” won both Hugo and Nebula awards for best sf novelette of the year. The subsequent novel-length books set in the same time travel framework, but tonally diverse, have been equally successful among voting readers and critics. They are, to this date, Doomsday Book (1992), winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards, To Say Nothing of the Dog (1998), winner of the Hugo and Locus awards, Blackout/All Clear (2010), winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards. This impressively consistent achievement by Connie Willis (b. 1945) is a reflection of her adroit, emotionally engaging, deeply researched and often deadpan funny (even slapstick hilarious, as in To Say Nothing of the Dog: or, How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump at Last). It is the time machine system that enables all this activity, joy and grief in ways that only temporal transition can permit, even when (as happens all too often and for a variety of reasons) it goes horribly wrong.