Daily Illuminator

October 2, 2006: To Say Nothing Of The Dog

. . . is a science fiction novel written almost a decade ago by Connie Willis. Ever since then, I've been hearing how excellent it was, and telling myself that I really ought to read it. That and dozens of others.

Last week, I saw it on the library shelf and, of course, checked it out. In both senses. It proved to be a wonderful book. Perhaps a bit slapstick at times; there is a great deal of almost falling into the river, actually falling into the river, and being bossed around by loud-voiced women. But there's a point to it all. Willis offers us a perfectly reasonable explanation for why Our Heroes can be professional time travelers yet woefully ill-prepared for the past, as well as for why very smart people might approach a mystery by looking at each other, blinking in confusion, and thinking "The butler always did it in the stories, so he's our main suspect." It also offers a most satisfactory ending. I was smiling for quite a while after I finished.

To Say Nothing of the Dog will have to go into my own collection now, and I can recommend it to all fans of intelligent time-travel stories. That link goes to Amazon, for those who don't have a neighborhood bookstore.
-- Steve Jackson

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