aryllian: (butterfly)
[personal profile] aryllian
Ways in which this is very typical of a Connie Willis book:

1. Frenetic pace (although my favorite part was when the two main characters temporarily slow down and have some time together).

2. Quirky characters. (I also feel like it's typical of Connie Willis that the female lead was surrounded by quirky characters but was mostly quirky herself in trying to deal with them than in adding to the quirk factor herself. Also, the female lead was more socially connected than the male lead...though I may just be thinking about Bellwether as a comparison here.)

3. Mental constructs were treated as another form of reality, or as a setting with which the characters could interact. (See also Passage.)

4. No villains, just lots of people going at sometimes contradictory goals.

5. History has an important place in the worldbuilding. (It's not only in her time travel books that Willis looks at history, her books about other topics generally talk about a made up or not so made up history -- I'm never really sure exactly where the line is drawn, because I'm generally not an expert on the subjects.)

6. The characters argue a lot. (And it's not really serious arguing, it's exploring the world and trying to find patterns through argument, basically, not trying to hurt someone through arguing, not the kind of arguing that has negative personal repercussions, or that hurt relationships. The characters, even when feel overwhelmed by their relationships and the frenetic demands of everything going on in their lives, are careful about how they deal with other people.)

7. But history and worldbuilding are all very personal. No one talks about history because of an abstract interest in history (though they might have an abstract interest), it's because history is relevant to something that's going on in their life, or because they want to convince someone else of something using examples from history. (I'm also thinking about To Say Nothing of the Dog, and the way the problems of history and the timeline become personal because of the way the time travel and history work in Willis's universe, but really all the time travel books make history personal by setting historians down in history, and her other books generally use history in the same style as this book.)


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