Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Connie Willis is SFWA's 2011 Grand Master

Taking advantage of the slow three-day weekend to sneak out the news, SFWA announced yesterday that Connie Willis would be renamed Damon Knight at a ceremony to be held in May, and honored her grandness and masterliness.

Wait, let me read that again....

I still don't know why SFWA put out the news on a national holiday -- and I abhor the modern tendency to name every last damn thing after a famous dead person or big-money corporation -- but I'm very happy to see that this year's Grand Master Award (oh, OK, Damon Knight Grand Master Award) goes to the perky and perspicacious Connie Willis.

I have a feeling some readers may believe I'm against Willis, since I was not notably fond of her most recent novel (the overstretched, and gravely mishandled, two-decker Blackout/All Clear), but I've been reading her books -- and enjoying greatly pretty much all of the other ones, some of which are as good as anything in the SF field -- for twenty-plus years now. Doomsday Book is excellent, To Say Nothing of the Dog is one of the sunniest and funniest books in the English language, and even Passage, as frustrating and tragically madcap as it is, has an ominous, hard-to-define power. And her short fiction, at its peak, is even better than that -- "All My Darling Daughters" and "In the Late Cretaceous" on the serious side, the incomparably nutty "The Soul Selects Her own Society" on the funny side.

So she's definitely worthy.

I've been grumbling about successive Grandmaster-ships for over a decade, here and on Usenet before here existed, but I think this one will just get a Yay! from me. Congratulations, Connie.


jmnlman said...

In 2008 the Hugo nominee list was embargoed until 12PM on Good Friday. So this is apparently not just a SFWA thing.

Tim Pratt said...

I've noticed that SF/F people also love to announce news at, say, 5 pm on a Friday, or on holidays, or send out press releases six or seven days after the news they're announcing has already been spread far and wide all over the internet. But these organizations are run by volunteers, often, so it's only to be expected, I suppose.

Espana said...

Connie Willis drafts and entertaining and unique story. The characters easily pull you in for an enjoyable read, which I did not want to put down. Willis also creates a good sense of place throughout the story. I found myself thinking about the ideas presented in the book, the inner workings of the brain and the possibilities of near-death experiences. I too wondered what research Willis had done in writing this book, it all sounds very plausible. This is one of those books that you wish were not just fiction. I enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed Doomsday Book.

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