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Passage by Connie Willis Review

Title: Passage

Author: Connie Willis

First published May 1, 2001

780 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780553580518 (ISBN10: 0553580515)

Rating: 3.7

Overview

Step into a tunnel, a light, and a door that lead to the unimaginable. Dr. Joanna Lander is a psychologist who has dedicated her life to studying the mysteries of near-death experiences.

With the help of a brilliant neurologist, Dr. Richard Wright, Joanna embarks on a journey to experience the closest possible version of death. Her first journey is intriguing, but she soon realizes that the place she visits is eerily familiar.

As Joanna returns again and again, her fear grows. Her gut tells her that something is not right, and she can’t help but wonder what the purpose of these experiences is.

Just when she thinks she has it all figured out, a shocking turn of events threatens to shatter everything she thought she knew. Connie Willis’ Passage is a gripping and thrilling page-turner that will keep you up all night, eagerly anticipating the final crescendo.

About the Author

Meet Constance Elaine Trimmer Willis, a renowned science fiction writer from the United States. If you’re a fan of science fiction, you might recognize her as one of the most acclaimed authors of the 1980s and 1990s.

Her astounding talent has earned her numerous awards, including ten Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards. In 2008, she bagged another Hugo Award for her book All Seated on the Ground.

Her contributions to the genre were recognized in 2011 when she received the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA).

Currently, Willis resides in Greeley, Colorado, with her husband Courtney Willis, who works as a professor of physics at the University of Northern Colorado. They have a daughter named Cordelia.

Fans of Willis’ work appreciate her easy-to-read writing style and the likable characters she creates. Her stories often revolve around time travel and are set in the future University of Oxford.

Among her most famous works are the Hugo Award-winning novels and the short story collection titled “Fire Watch,” which includes the critically acclaimed short story of the same name.

Willis’ writing style is often described as a comedy of manners. Her protagonists are ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances, dealing with single-minded individuals pursuing illogical agendas.

For instance, in one of her stories, people attempt to organize a bell-ringing session in the middle of a deadly epidemic, while in another, the efforts to analyze near-death experiences are frustrated by putting words in the mouths of interviewees.

Editoral Review

Passage by Connie Willis is a stunning piece of literature, filled with adventure, humor, and a deep exploration of the mystery of life and death. Widely considered one of the best time-travel books, Passage captures the essence of a madcap adventure brought to life, set in the midst of an epidemic that threatens to end human existence as we know it.

The author, Connie Willis, is an accomplished science fiction writer known for her exceptional ability to craft intricate, complex stories set against a backdrop of history and technology. Her impressive storytelling skills are on full display in this book, taking readers on a journey through time and space as a group of historians are sent back to the past to witness the Black Death.

The plot of Passage is centered around the main character, a young historian named Kivrin, who is sent back in time to the year 1348. The twist is that this is not a safe journey but in fact, fraught with danger and unpredictable complications.

Kivrin finds herself adrift in a world of superstition, fear, and distrust, where her scientific knowledge is viewed with suspicion and even hostility. Meanwhile, her colleagues are stranded in a future that is infected with a new strain of the virus, leaving them with little hope of survival.

The characters are compelling, fully-formed, and multi-dimensional, with their insecurities, fears, and desires brought to life with an expert touch by the author. Each character is unique, with a backstory that adds depth and texture to the story, making them more than just window dressing but rather an integral part of the narrative.

The setting of the book is equally impressive, taking readers on a journey through time to the medieval world with remarkable attention to detail in portraying the culture, customs, and beliefs of the people of that time. From the mud to the clothes, from the language to the people’s beliefs, every aspect of the setting is rendered in vivid detail.

One of the strengths of this book is its exploration of the theme of life and death. It delves into what it means to be human- how to deal with the inevitability of death and possibly the after-effects of certain choices that we make in life.

The impending epidemic serves as a trigger to the deeper meaning of Passage- the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing every moment.

Overall, Passage is a rewarding experience that will satisfy anyone searching for both serious inspiration and unrelenting entertainment.

Its exploration of the medieval world and the human condition will leave the reader with a sense of amazement and deep appreciation for the author’s storytelling skills. Arguably, Passage is the best science fiction book in recent years and one that should not be missed by anyone fond of the genre.

Rating: 4.5/5

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