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Shelf Indulgence

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Aftermath
Chuck Wendig
Dhalgren
Samuel R. Delany
Jackals
Charles L. Grant

All about Emily

All about Emily - Connie Willis Anything by Connie Willis is squee-worthy for me. I've found that her novellas are usually just a hint of what she can do with the longer form, but reading her stuff is such a joy. She can take something mundane and make it interesting. She can make you care about her characters in just a few short pages. She can keep you reading to see what happens next, without making it look like there's any effort to it at all.

I love the way Willis conveys so much of the exposition through natural dialogue. This novella begins with the main character, Claire Havilland, a theater actress, having a conversation with her manager, and in those few pages, we understand the setting, the premise, the central conflict, and the main character. She does this with so many of her stories, and does it so naturally, that this is the first time I've really noticed it.

She also has a knack for adding her commentary of any social construct into her stories. Willis has made satirical attacks on movies and Hollywood before, and she does the same thing here, even if the story is about musicals. In true Willis form, theater is the new trend, and like Hollywood, the newest trend in the new trend is to remake all of the old movies into musicals (including High School Musical: The Musical). She peppers the story with sly references to current events, even though this story is clearly set in a near future of ours.

Is All About Emily as good as Bellwether, To Say Nothing of the Dog, or Doomsday Book? No. But it is Connie Willis at her peak, showing you just how deft of a writer she is.