Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fire Watch

Title: Fire Watch
Author: Connie Willis
Published: 1982
Genre: Science fiction

Rating: 8/10

Thoughts: I've been on a bit of Connie Willis streak (thoughts on Doomsday Book are coming soon!). This is actually the first novelette to introduce the time-travelling history department in Oxford. A graduate student, Mr. Bartholomew, travels back in time to be part of the fire watch in St. Paul's Cathedral during WWII. There he learns some unexpected lessons.

Overall, the story is told in first-person narration and structured as a diary that Bartholomew keeps during his stay in the past. The format works well for me, even though the main character can be extremely dense at times, it's a type of situational irony that I enjoy. It also tickled me that the character named Elona in the story is the word alone spelled backwards.

Overall, it's a pretty representative of Willis's writing that I've encountered so far and overall I enjoyed it even though I could see through some of the "twists" they were planning. The novelette won both Hugo and Nebula when it was first published. I would definitely recommend reading it, and if you like it, read the rest of the books in the same universe.


  1. Alright Alright Alright... I'll hurry up and finish already... I see you're quite smitten with Ms WIllis.

    Did you read this before or after The Dooms Day Book?

    Oh, and I think a solid first person narration from Kivin's point of view would have been wonderful for The Dooms Day book.

    1. I read this after Doomsday Book. And Kirvin makes an appearance in the novelette too as a minor character. It's pretty neat.