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dogs, cats, art, love, Waterloo, and everything else


Time travel remains my least favorite idea in science fiction. Yet, in Connie Willis’ capable hands, the conceit has, if not legs, at least a purpose: allowing Willis to indulge her penchant for creating complex, intertwining plots and an amazing array of simultaneously crazy circumstances. Set in and around Oxford from 1395 to 2057, To Say Nothing of the Dog, is a sequel of sorts to Doomsday Book (they share a common setting and a few characters). This time Willis explicitly exploits chaos theory and the crisis points that go it, something she also did in Bellwether. I didn’t care that much then—and still less in this novel—if the “sciencey” (I use the word advisedly) discussions don’t always work; the constant flow of plot twists, literary references, and overlapping conversations kept me agog with glee; it’s a madcap, romantic comedy in the tradition of Hepburn and Tracy or Cary Grant opposite numerous leading ladies. So, if you want to enjoy this book, throw caution and believability to the wind, strap yourself down, and enjoy the ride.


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