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Thursday, December 31, 2015

That 'amazing, surprising' literature

“Science fiction is an amazing literature: plot elements that you would think would be completely worn out by now keep changing into surprising new forms.” – Connie Willis

A fellow Coloradoan who makes her home in Greeley – where she studied at Northern Colorado – Willis is one of science fiction writing’s trailblazers and an inductee in the Science Fiction Writers Hall of Fame. 

Born on this day in 1945, Willis has won more major awards than any other writer – an  an incredible 11 Hugos and 7 Nebulas.  Her 2010 novel Blackout/All Clear won both, and just preceded her being named by the SciFi Writers Association as a “Grand Master,” their highest honor. 
                           An English and elementary education major, she combined her teaching with short story writing for more than a dozen years before the awards (and income) started piling up from her writing.  She’s been a full-time writer since the mid-1980s.

While much of her writing is grounded in the social sciences, she often weaves technology into her stories in order to prompt readers to question what impact it has on the world.  And, several of her works feature time travel by history students and faculty of the future University of Oxford—sometimes called her Time Travel series.

An advocate of meticulous research and exquisite detail (check out her books Passages or Remake for two terrific examples), she encourages new writers to do the same and never in just one take.  “I have never written anything in one draft, not even a grocery list,” she quipped, “although I have heard from friends that this is actually possible.”

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